A suspense thriller novel or movie with a plot on mountain road expedition could never match the thrill that rushes in the nervous system on an actual trip across two mountain states- Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir. A Jeep Safari from Shimla to Leh through the valleys of Spiti and Lahaul can serve the purpose of facing scenarios where accepting challenges is not an option but a mandate.
The once summer capital of British Raj, Shimla now enjoys a unanimous status of honeymooner’s dream, but for individuals with a peculiar habit of breaking out of rut can choose a road trip beginning from here and presenting a wide stretch of road to be steering-maneuvered. The features that make it popular excuse of explorers and enthusiasts in secluded places include the simple yet distinctive culture of the mountains who deal with all the harshness of Nature but never move away in complain.
Temples (Jakhu and Bhimkali), peaks (Kinner Kailash, Shrikanda Mahadev, etc), mountain passes (Kunzum, Baralacha, Tanglang La and Kardung La), valleys (Spiti, Lahaul, Pang and Indus), rivers (Sutlej, Indus and Tzanspo), monasteries (Tabo, Ki, Lalung, Hemis, etc) and the villages that house all the above mentioned lures are key attractions of Jeep safari from Shimla to Leh.
Day 1 Delhi - Shimla
In the morning after early breakfast drive to Shimla by Toyota Qualis. Lunch enroute. Upon arrival in Shimla, transfer to hotel. Evening free to explore the Mall Road. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 1 Shimla
Morning visit Indian Institute of Advanced Studies built in 1888. Situated on a hillock, this was formally the palace of the British Viceroy. Also visit the Jakhu temple. Evening visit The Mall the main shopping area of Shimla and The Ridge.
Day 2 Shimla - Sarhan
We start our jeep safari to Sarhan Enroute; we visit the palace in Rampur. We drive further the steep mountain and arrive in Sarhan (1950m). Sarhan, the tiny village offers the splendid views of Shrikhanda Mahadev Peak (5155m). You will also visit the famous Bhimkali Temple, the big attraction of Sarhan. Overnight lodge .
Day 3 Sarhan - Sangla
Drive along the spectacular Hindustan Tibet road which s carved in a rock and goes along the wild Sutlej River. A view of Kinner - Kailash Peak is splendid from Sangla. Visit remote villages of Rackcham and Chitkul. On arrival in Sangla check in and overnight at camp.
Day 4 Sangla - Kalpa
Morning visit Kamru village and fort. Later travel by surface from Sangla to Kalpa located in backdrop of Kinner Kailash mountain range. Evening free to explore Kalpa village.
Day 5 Kalpa - Tabo
Travel by surface from Kalpa to Tabo enroute visiting Nako village beautifully located on banks of a small lake. On arrival in Tabo , check in and overnight at guest house .
Day 6 Tabo - Kaza
Morning visit Tabo monastery. Later travel to Kaza enroute visiting Lalung and Dhankar Gompa. On arrival in Kaza check in at guest house.
Day 7 Kaza
Morning visit the Ki monastery, 12 kms from Kaza. These centuries old Gompa is a labyrinth of rooms and corridors - and at one time also acted as a fort. It houses valuable Thangkas and offers a panoramic view of the area. Also visit the small Gompa at Kibber, 9 kms further ahead. Kibber at 4205 m/13,792 ft has the distinction of being the highest permanently inhabited village of the region.
Day 8 Kaza - Keylong
In the morning drive to Keylong via Kunzum Pass (4558 m/14,950ft) which provides beautiful views of CB ranges. Enroute visit several villages of Spiti and Lahaul valley. On arrival check in at hotel. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 9 Keylong - Sarchu
Today we will drive from Keylong to Sarchu over Baralacha Pass (4800 m). On arrival check in at camp at Sarchu. Evening free to walk around in Sarchu. Dinner and overnight in camp.
Day 10 Sarchu - Leh
Early morning drive to Leh gives you a feeling of being in the high Tibetan Plateau. One climbs a series of Galta loops consisting of 32 hairpin bends on the way up from Sarchu and come out in Pang valley. It is here that one can divert to the right and visit the huge high altitude lakes of Tsokar and Tsomoriri. This region also has rare wild life like the Tibetan wild Ass, wolf, and the elusive Snow Leopard, the black-necked Crane and Tibetan Snow Cock. Cross to the other side of the Pang, Tzanspo River to continue drive up to yet another plateau for a long traverse on the legendary Moore plains. The highest of the Tibetan Plateau at 4200 Mts. Continue driving Tangling La (5280 Mts.) the second highest motorable pass in the world that commands breath taking views of the Zanskar range. A pleasant drive about 20 Kms brings you to the Ladakhi hamlet, Gya, heralded by prayer flags. After crossing few more villages one reaches the great Indus River. Further drive to Leh town, overnight at hotel.
Day 11 Leh
After breakfast full day sight seeing. Evening back to hotel for dinner and overnight stay.
Shey Gompa is about 15 kms from Leh. It used to be the summer palace of the kings of Ladakh. There are lots of Stupas and Gompas built around the palace. Shey palace was built by Deldan Namgyal in the beginning of 17'Th century AD. Main attraction in Shey is the 12m Shakyamuni Buddha statue inside the Dresthang Gompa.
Thiksey Gompa, close to Shey is about 17 kms from Leh. The monastery is considered to be one of the most beautiful in Ladakh and belongs to the Gelukspa order.
Hemis, about 45 kms south of Leh it is one of the most famous and largest monastery in Ladakh. It belongs to the Drukpa order and was founded in the early 17'Th century. The setting is perfect with the monastery cradled in a lovely valley, surrounded by streams and fronted by long Mani walls.
Day 12 Leh - Khardung La - Leh
In the morning drive for the Khardung - La Pass. This is the ultimate challenge of the trip. It is the highest motorable road in the world taking you to a dizzy 5,600m! The view from the top is spectacular, stretching from the Indus valley in the South over the endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range to the giants of the Sesser Massif in the North. You can feel proud of a true achievement as you finish the trip with your final satisfying descent. Evening back to Leh for dinner and overnight stay.
Day 13 Leh - Delhi
Early in the morning transfer to airport. From here catch a flight for Delhi.