The Trans-Himalayan Nomad Trail of the north takes you through the limitless beauty of the Himalayas, in a quest to discover the ancient tribes of the awe-inspiring mountains and become acquainted with their unique lifestyles. Traverse adventurous roads through some of the best landscapes
IOn arrival in Delhi, we set off immediately on a long drive along the historic and now a bustling expressway, the Grand Trunk Road, first built by the emperor Sher Shah Suri. The drive takes you through the Shivalik ranges and we gradually make our way to the middle Himalayan ranges to Manali.
Manali is a small hill station bustling with tourists. Start early next morning with a drive on the left bank of the River Beas to the village of Naggar, which is famous for the Russian artist Roerich’s gallery. Naggar also has a famous castle and the views around the area are spectacular. Return to Manali and drive to Solang, which is a paragliding and skiing zone.
The next morning, embark upon a day-long journey that takes you through the 13,000 foot high Rohtang pass and before descending into the valley of the River Chandra, over Kunzum. The entire drive is through landscape that will take your breath away.
We first travel to the highlands of the left bank plateau for altitude acclimatization and return to Kaza for overnight stay. The visit includes Kye village (30 minutes), and the Kye Gompa, the largest monastery in Spiti. The drive upto Kibber village (30 minutes), which at 14,000 feet above sea level, is the road head for the trade route into Ladakh over the Parang La Pass.
Continue to the village of Gette and Tashigang (1 hour), high up in the mountains. Time permitting, walk down a spectacular, steep, downhill trail to Kye Gompa, where jeeps pick you up for the drive back. Spend the evenng roaming the Kaza market, where you may find interesting local handicrafts.
After breakfast, prepare for a short drive to Langza village (90 minutes), located in a large high mountain meadow with the spectacular massif of Chau Chau Khang Nilda towering in the backdrop. Visit the Lang (temple) before stopping for lunch. The Lang is regarded to be the headquarters of all the deities in the valley and houses some old frescos and thangkas (paintings on silken canvas). After savouring a steaming local lunch at the homestay, we visit the village fossil centre accompanied by a field expert.
The trek trail traverses along a natural fossil center with the opportunity to spot some rare relics of Spiti’s geological history. For most of the way you follow carefully laid out irrigation channels, getting an insight into the laborious and intricate system of water management. The trail runs parallel to the stunning Pasham Range with the peaks of Chau Chau Khang Nilda and Chau Chau Khang Namo forming a striking backdrop. The trail is rich in flora and spotting blue sheep is on the cards. We stay overnight in a tented camp.
Camp 1 – Camp 2
The trail slowly winds itself over pasturelands and the day is spent marvelling at the magnificent and imposing stature of the grazing yaks and horses. The night is spent camping at a summer settlement of local villagers.
Camp 2 –
After breakfast, travel on yaks to a vantage point from where you will get spectacular views of the valley. On the way back to Demul village, sample its local brew (arak). Located in one of the most remote areas of Spiti, this village has a very interesting legend associated with its foundation. After a warm lunch in a homestay, we visit some unique spots close to this village.
The route is primarily downhill and brings you to the valley floor of the Padang River. Follow the Lingti River thereafter which leads the company to the village of Lhalung. Visit the oldest Sarkhang temple and possibly one of the oldest trees (dating back to over a 1000 years) in Spiti. We have lunch and sample the warm hospitality of the mountain people. We transfer to Dhankhar by jeep for overnight stay. Dhankhar, the ancient capital of Spiti, is one of the most stunning locations in the Spiti valley. Dhankhar houses an ancient Monastery perched precariously between unique wind eroded structures. Remnants of the Dhankhar Fort, which housed the royal family of Spiti, still remain.
Embark upon an early morning hike (1 hour) up to the Dhankhar lake to get some stunning views of the confluence of the rivers Spiti and Pin, a 1000 mts below you. Set amidst stark bronze folds, Dhankhar Lake has its own story to tell. After breakfast, set off for Tabo, famous for its 1000-year-old monastery. Explore the monastery, meditation caves and the numerous temples at the monastery. In the evening we drive back to Kaza.
The last two days will pre-dominantly be spent in transit from Kaza to Manali and then Manali to Delhi, and yet, you’ll never tire of looking out the window at the spectacular landscapes that greet you round every bend!
Copyright 2014 The Blue Yonder