Trans-Himalayan Road Trip - Mumbai - Spiti - Ladakh

First Draft...

7 to 8 Jeeps/ Cars... On a Once in a Life Time Journey..

The 'Offbeat Mandala' - Great Trans-Himalayan Road Trip 
(Open only by invitation).

Mumbai - Ahmedabad - Jaipur - Chandigarh - Narkhanda - Sarahan - Sangla - Chitkul - Tabo - Kaza - Spiti Valley - Ki Monastery - Kalpa - Fagu - Delhi - Udaipur - Ahmadabad - Mumbai..

Crossing Great Desserts - Some of the highest motor-able roads - Spiti - Largest Plains in the world and Remotest Offbeat Places - High altitude deserts - Remote Silk Routes - and experiencing life time adventure.. 

Driving Conditions on plains - Road conditions on plains are relative good but the weather will be tough.. average driving on plains will be 10 hours daily. 

Driving Conditions on Trans-Himalayas - Road conditions on Himalayas are tough and adventurous. Most times the road will not be in good conditions. Weather will be pleasant during day time at lower altitudes and cold to very cold during evenings/nights and during crossing high passes. We will be crossing several passes that are higher than 13,000 feet above sea level to 15,000 feet above sea level. Average driving daily 6 hours to 8 hours not factoring the breaks in between. 

 Approximate 5000 to 5500 km to be covered during the Road Trip of 16 days..

More research will go into in.. and changes may happen in next 2 week.. final dates and design will be ready by October 10th, 2016.

Part 1 - Self Drive Road Trip - Mumbai - Spiti - Mumbai

Part 2 (Optional) - Ladakh Road Trip (Leh to Leh). additional 7 days.

Those who do not have vehicles; we can provide you commercial vehicles to join the trip (Chandigarh - Spiti - Chandigarh)

 Day 1 - Mumbai to Ahmedabad - May 14, 2017. (Sunday)

Distance - 550 km
Road Conditions - Very Good
Driving time - 8 hours
Weather - Warm to Hot
Altitude: Sea Level
Place of Stay - Super Deluxe AC Rooms

Start early morning (6 am - reach by 5 pm in the evening including lunch and breakfast break)..

 Day 2 - Ahmedabad to Jaipur - May 15, 2017.

Distance - 670 km
Road Conditions - OK..
Driving time - 11 hours
Weather - Warm to Hot
Altitude - Sea Level
Place of Stay - Super Deluxe AC Rooms

Start early morning 5:30 am.. 11 hours drive reach by evening 6 pm.

The Place: Jaipur is the capital of India’s Rajasthan state. It evokes the royal family that once ruled the region and that, in 1727, founded what is now called the Old City, or “Pink City” for its trademark building color. At the center of its stately street grid (notable in India) stands the opulent, colonnaded City Palace complex. With gardens, courtyards and museums, part of it is still a royal residence.

 Day 3 - Jaipur to Chandigarh - May 16, 2017.

 Distance - 550 KM via NH 48 or NH 44
Road Conditions - Good
Driving time - 11 hours
Weather - Warm
Altitude - 
Place of Stay - Super Deluxe AC Rooms

The Place: Chandigarh, the capital of the northern Indian states of Punjab and Haryana, was designed by modernist architect Le Corbusier. His modernist buildings include the Capitol Complex with its High Court, Secretariat and Legislative Assembly, plus the giant Open Hand Monument. The nearby Rock Garden is a park featuring sculptures made of stones, recycled ceramics and industrial relics.

note: 3.1 
In order to visit this picturesque valley of the Trans – Himalayan region, either one can take a long 3 day journey over Hindustan – Tibet Highway running through Shimla – Kinnaur Valley 
they can tread along the path of Manali and then take Manali – Rohtang Pass – Kunzum Pass – Kaza (Spiti Valley) route.

We will be taking th (Shimla - Kinnaur Valley Route..)

note 3.2:
Members of respective cars who do not wish to travel the plains can reach Chandigarh before noon and check into the hotel here.

Day 4 - Chandigarh to Narkhanda - May 17, 2017.

Distance - 185 KM via NH 5
Road Conditions – Mountain roads challenging and in bad conditions.
Driving time - 6 hours
Weather - Warm during day time to pleasant as we cross  Kufri and Night
Altitude - Narkhanda (8884 ft); Hatu Peak (11,152 ft)
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Narkhanda

The Place: This tiny hamlet, has splendid towering trees and is famous for ski slopes, apple orchards and the Hatu Peak.

Day 5 - Narkhanda  – Sarahan - May 18, 2017.

Distance - 100 KM via NH 5
Road Conditions - Mountain roads challenging and in bad conditions.
Driving time – 3 to 4 hours
Weather - Pleasant during day to cold at nights
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Sarahan
Altitude – Sarahan (2708 Mtrs); Hatu Peak (11,152 ft)

A steep 8km drive through thick pine forests will takes us to Hatu peak, from where we can get a clear view of the Himalayas. There is a lovely wooden temple also. After that we are on our way to Sarahan, a pretty hamlet in Kinnaur Valley. . Though it’s beautiful, this place can easily be avoided and one can head straight to Sangla. The only thing that stands out here is the famous Bhimakali Temple, made of stone and wood. It’s built with layers of stone and timber to protect it from earthquakes. You may try sipping local wine.

Sarahan is small picturesque village in Himachal Pradesh of India. It is the site of famous Bhimakali Temple, originally known as Bhimadevi Temple, dedicated to the mother goddess Bhimakali, presiding deity of the rulers of the former Bushahr.

Day 6 – Sarahan to Sangla - May 19, 2017.
Distance - 100 KM via NH 5
Road Conditions - Mountain roads challenging and in bad conditions.
Driving time - 4 hours
Weather - Pleasant during day to cold at nights
Altitude: Sangla - 2,960 Mtrs (9,710 ft)  ; Chitkul - 3,450 m (11,320 ft).
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Sangla 

The Place: Sangla is a city in the Baspa Valley, also referred to as the Sangla valley, in the Kinnaur District of Himachal Pradesh, India, close to the Tibetan border. Sangla is a picturesque place, surrounded by snow-capped peaks. Sangla is the major town in the valley with a petrol pump, Bank ATMs, Post Office, Restaurants, Bar, mid range hotels and shops. The valley is surrounded by forested slopes and offers views of the high mountains. We may make a quick stop for lunch and then head to Chitkul village, 28km ahead. The drive through the narrow road is spectacular, crosses over streams and there are endless pastures and meadows below the lofty peaks and greenery all around. This charming village, the last one close to the Indo-Tibet border, has traditional Kinnauri-style wooden houses with slate roofs and small tea shops. Get back to Sangla before it is dark so you may need to rush and barely get half an hour here. Hit the sack early as the next day is going be long.

Day 7 – Sarahan to Sangla - May 20, 2017.

Exploring Sangla Valley.. 
Place of stay - Sangla 

Day 8 – Sangla to Tabo May 21, 2017.
Distance - 190 KM via NH 5
Road Conditions - Mountain roads challenging and in bad conditions.
Driving time - 9 hours
Weather - Pleasant during day to cold at nights
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Tabo
Altitude: 3,280 m (10,760 ft)

The Place: This is a really long tough part of journey, mentally geare up for a challenging road ahead. Tough rugged roads, mountains change from green to craggy brown. You come face-to-face with these rugged, dramatic mountains, it leaves one speechless. At first they are rocky, but then later they became gentler. You may stop at Nako village for lunch. This sleepy place has a charming lake and a monastery as well. What strikes you about this town is how stark it is – surrounded by rugged pinnacles.

Tabo is famous for its monastery, which is more than 1000 years old. It’s unlike any other monastery I’ve ever seen – made of mud walls – and has a beautiful temple inside. This World Heritage Site is regarded as one of the holiest by Dalai Lama. Next in line is the 1200-year-old Dhankar monastery, on the way to Kaza. The monastery sits between many jagged peaks and has an amazing view of the Spiti River. But it is listed as one of the world’s 100 most endangered monuments. From its roof we get a bird’s-eye-view of the Dhankar village and the Pin and Spiti rivers. On our way to Kaza, the capital of Spiti, we will pass many tiny villages, rocky-mountains, vertical rocks and cliffs. This is the biggest town in the region with an old market, and new hotels.

Day 9 - Tabo-Kaza  via Dhankar Monastery - May 22, 2017.

Distance - 40 KM
Road Conditions - Mountain roads challenging and in bad conditions.
Driving time - 3 hours
Weather - Pleasant during day to cold at nights
Altitude - Kaza - 3800 Mtrs; Spiti (4270 Mtrs / 14,009 ft); 
              Kye-Monastery (4166 Mtrs / 13,668 ft)
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Kaza
Around Kaza to Ki Monastery, Kibber, Langcha and Komic villages
(40 KM) same day. (add 3 to 4 hours )

The Place (en-route Tabo-Kaza): Ki Monastery, about 14km away, this 13th century marvel is largest one in Himachal, looks like a cluster of many white homes sitting atop a conical hill.  Kibber, Langcha and Komic villages, seem like a sprinkling of whitewashed houses on a green and brown landscape – the meadows encircled by snow-capped peaks. All these villages have very small population. Langcha is one of highest villages in Asia, located at the height of 13,943 feet and it has a huge Buddha statue and a temple. Komic village is 14,800 feet high and has just 114 people. Interestingly the population of Spiti is just 13,000 and that’s because the second son of every family has to become a monk, but this is not necessary when it’s a girl.

(note 8.1: The road from Spiti / Kaza to Keylong has to cross Kumzum pass. this road does not open till end of June). Baralachla (Pass) between Keylong between Ladakh does not open till 4th or 5th of June.

Day 10 - Kaza -  Spiti Exploring places around.. - May 23, 2017.

Distance - (exploring) around 80 to 100 KM
Road Conditions - may be hire a local vehicle or a combination of our vehicles and local vehicles..  an attempt to Chandratal if possible. 
Driving time - exploring..
Weather - Cold
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Kaza / Spiti valley

Day 11 - Kaza -  Kalpa.. - May 24, 2017.

Distance - 200  KM
Road Conditions - Mountain roads, challenging. 
Driving time - 6 hours +
Weather - Cold
Altitude - Kalpa (average elevation of 2,960 metres (9,711 feet)
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Kalpa

Kalpa is a small town in the Sutlej river valley, above Recong Peo in the Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh, Northern India, in the Indian Himalaya. Inhabited by Kinnauri people and famous for its apple orchards. Apples are a major cash-crop for the region. The local inhabitants follow a syncretism of Hinduism and Buddhism, and many temples in Kalpa are dedicated to both Hindu and Buddhist gods and goddesses.

Kalpa is a town with a history of ancient temples. The Sutlej River below hurtles through deep gorges, the winding mountain road is bordered by chilgoza forests. The serenity of this sleepy hamlet was not often visited by foreigners until recently, but there are still relatively few visitors. There are now over 5 places to stay in Kalpa and more, below, in Reckong Peo where travelers must stop to get their inner line permits to continue upwards to the Spiti Valley, which is a small ancient part of what used to be Tibet. The view from Kalpa is beautiful with an observer getting the feeling that he is sitting in the lap of the mountains with the entire range of peaks being visible. Also visible from this place is the sacred Shivling rock on the Kailash mountain that changes its color at different points in the day.

more insertions on the way.. here..

Day 12 - Kalpa -  Fagu.. - May 25, 2017.

Distance - 220  KM
Road Conditions - Mountain roads, challenging. 
Driving time - 9 hours
Weather - Pleasant to cold during evenings / night.
Altitude - 8000 ft
Place of Stay - Deluxe Rooms at Fagu


Fagu is 22 kms from Shimla and renowned for snow experience in Winter.  Being highest point around Shimla therefore enjoys the very cool weather even in peak summerFagu is home to a few getaway resorts and is excellent for walking, trekking and relaxed getaways. Kufri otherwise is a popular getaway and visited for good views, touristy activities and salubrious climate

Day 13 - Fagu to Delhi - May 26, 2017

Distance - 362  KM
Road Conditions - Mountain roads, Initially, later road are good at plains. 
Driving time - 9 hours
Weather - Pleasant to warm on plains.
Altitude - Sea Level


Park vehicles at Delhi...
Note: 13.1 - Those interested in Ladadak Road trip.. (not self drive) 
Day 1 - Flights from Delhi - Leh Rest.. O/N Leh. (May 28)
Day 2 - Culture tour O/N Leh (May 29)
Day 3 - Nubra Valley Overnight Hunder... O/H Hunder  (May 30).
Day 4- Nubra Valley to Leh O/N Leh (May 31)
Day 5 - Leh to Pangong - O/N Camping at Pangong (June 1st)
Day 6 - Pangong to Leh O/N Leh (June 2nd)
Day 7 - Fly back Leh to Delhi O/N Delhi June 3rd)
detailed plan to be shared soon).

Delhi - to Udapipur 10 to 12 hours (670 KM) 

Distance - 670 KM 
Road Conditions - Road conditions relatively good.
Driving time – 10 to 12 hours.
Weather - Hot to warm.
Place of Stay - Deluxe AC Rooms at Udaipur. 
Altitude – sea level

About the place:

Udaipur, formerly the capital of the Mewar Kingdom, is a city in the western Indian state of Rajasthan. Founded by Maharana Udai Singh II in 1559, it’s set around a series of artificial lakes and is known for its lavish royal residences. City Palace, overlooking Lake Pichola, is a monumental complex of 11 palaces, courtyards and gardens, famed for its intricate peacock mosaics.

 Udaipur to Ahmedabad 

Distance - 260 KM via NH48
Road Conditions - Road conditions good.
Driving time – 5 to 6 hours.
Weather - Hot to warm.
Place of Stay - Deluxe AC Rooms at Ahmedabad. 

Altitude – sea level

 Ahmedabad to Mumbai - 

Distance - 550 KM via NH48
Road Conditions - Road conditions very good.
Driving time – 8 to 10 hours.
Weather - Hot to warm.
Place of Stay - Back Home.. 

Altitude – sea level







           (1ST LEVEL) - OCTOBER 24TH..





Petrol Pumps.. in Remote Himalyas
You will be able to find fuel pumps only at: Shimla, Theog, Narkanda, Rampur, Jeori, Tapri, Reckong Peo, Kaza It is very important not to miss to refuel at Kaza as well as may be Reckong Peo if you are staying at Kalpa or Peo, Also petrol pump will be just before Keylong.

ATMs in Remote Himalayas and Trans-Himalaya
Shimla, Rampur, Reckong Peo, Possibly Keylong, Leh (for sure) (No ATM in Spiti, so carry cash)

Most of the connections work throughout the route but once you cross Powari, the other connections starts dying and eventually from Ribba – Akpa belt only BSNL works and that too in between only.
Of course BSNL has more coverage and better connectivity within this range than any other operator. Other operators like Airtel, Vodafone, Aircel etc. works in up to Powari – Ribba – Akpa but with poor connectivity.
Even BSNL looses connectivity too in between, at places from Akpa – Jangi – Nako – Tabo – Kaza route.
SMS does work fine for both BSNL.

Fixed Phone Lines:

Almost all the towns/villages en-route Spiti Valley have fixed landline telephone connectivity, apart from very tiny hamlets.

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