Himachal Biking I – The charms of Kulu Valley – the alpine heart of the state. A trip entailing 19 days (reducible) on bikes that can enthrall you as you bike into the interiors of the Kulu Valley along the many feeders that flow down to make this such a great river. The trip is spruced up with minor exposures to other adventures like treks, rafting, safaris, etc. Treat yourself to some of the Himalayas most pristine mountains and search its beautiful flora and fauna, camp on some of its best meadows, bike past its brooks and streams, explore the people and their heritage. Let nature and your love for biking combine to enrich your soaring spirit. (HP Bike 1)
Note: Our plans include exciting additions to the main discipline of biking that add great value to the trip by extending your adventure to beyond biking and allowing you to reach places you may not otherwise have. However if the focus is to remain on biking only then please specify when registering as that may reduce the days spent on the trip.
1. Intention. To enjoy nature at her best as we bike or trek through the most verdant and pristine hills and mountains of Himachal Pradesh. To take our love for biking even deeper and to give ourselves a great chance to enrich our inner being.

2. Duration 27 (reducible) adventure filled days in India of which 19 days are spent on mountain biking and few small treks. There is also an exposure to rafting and road safaris in the Himalayas.

3. Modes of Transportation By road in cars/jeeps or a suitable coach as per the itinerary below. A train move is also involved. Then the bike trip and inbuilt treks follow from Manali and at the end we return by road to Delhi, again by car/jeep or a suitable coach.

4. Best time. Mid- May to October. It can get very wet in July (and on occasion even in August), hence pre or post July is to be preferred.

5. Age Profile. 16 years upwards, as per fitness.

6. Broad Itinerary.(Refer Maps – Map A Map B)   (HP Bike 1)

(a) Arrive at Delhi, received, halt over at hotel to rest and recoup. A days sightseeing in Delhi. Next morning move to Agra to see the Taj Mahal and night over at Agra. Note that in summers it can be really hot outdoors at Delhi and even more so at Agra. The next morning return to Delhi and after lunch transfer to the railway station to catch the super fast train to Chandigarh. Night over in a hotel and the next morning we undertake the beautiful road drive through the lower Himalayas to Manali. (4 days – can be reduced if stay in Delhi or Agra is curtailed, if desired please specify).

(b) A day of rest at Manali and we spend time in the evening ambling along the river. The next morning we take a road safari to the famous Rohtang Pass (3980 m), the gateway to Lahaul and Ladhak. Return to Manali the same day after visiting the pretty Solang Valley. (2 days)

(c) Rafting We drive down to Kulu for a stint at rafting if in season. The rafting is exhilarating, but is curtailed during the monsoon from July to mid or end Sep. Back to Manali same day (1 day).

(d) Biking Days 1 to 8. The next day we start the biking expedition. On Day 1 we bike down to Jagatsukh and then up the Duhangan Nala towards the base of Deo Tibba at Chandra Tal (4480 m) or till wherever the ground conditions prevailing at that moment in time allow us to reach. This day we bike up to Seri/Tenta (4180 m) but after some time descend to camp above Chhika at about (3100 m). Day 2 sees us bike and trek upto Chandra Tal and return to camp again at Chhika. On Day 3 we return to the main road and we bike down along the Beas to Naggar the ancient capital of Kulu. The afternoon is spent exploring the old fort of Kulu Raja and the unique temples of this township and the art gallery of Russian painter Nicholas Roerich. On Day 4 we bike down to nearby Kulu and at Bhuntar turn east to bike up along the fast flowing but beautiful Parvati river. That night we camp at Jari. On Day 5 we have a climb as we bike up the sharply climbing road that goes up along Malana Nala to the unique Malana village, one of its kind in the world. It’s a sharp climb as we ascend from 1520 m to 2650 m and we spend the afternoon visiting this strange village taking great care to observe all its customs and rules. Days 6 and 7 are trekking days – we climb up to Rashol Pass (3230 m) on the first day to stretch our legs and on the second day we climb Chandrakhani Pass (3660 m). The latter climb and descent are a bit stiff but the views make everything worth our while. On Day 8 we bike down back to Jari and continue up the Parbati River to Barshiani (2190 m) which is the road head at the moment. This is also alpine territory and en route we visit Manikaran, a holy place with hot springs. On Day 9 we start back down the Parbati and going past the airfield at Bhuntar proceed a little further to Bajaura (1097 m) where we camp for the night after visiting its famous Basheshar Mahadev Temple.

(e) Biking Days 10 to 18. On Day 10 we start biking from Bajaura up towards the watershed due west of the Beas. We cross the ridgeline near Kandi and descend to Kataula before starting a beautiful ascent to the serene Parashar Lake (2730 m). That night we camp near the lake even though the descent to Mandi is feasible. On Day 11 we start early for Mandi, a historical and religious center. The day is spent visiting the monuments of this city and on Day 12 we make a very early start to beat the traffic and head for Sainj, a valley only now opening up to visitors. It’s a very beautiful valley and is at the edge of the Great Himalayan Park. On Day 13 we back track on the road to Larji on the Tirthan River, famous for its trout. It is almost a rest day and we relax in the beauty of the place, angling if some want to try for trout. The night is spent there. On Day 14 we head south wards climbing up to Jalori Pass (3223 m). From the Pass we head east on a track to Saryolsar Lake (3120 m) set in most pristine setting. Returning to the Pass we halt for a few hours at the Pass to take in a short trek to visit the historic Raghupur Fort (3297 m) just 4 km away. Post the trek we descend about 5 km to Khanag (2690 m) which is where we will rest after an interesting day. Days 15 and 16 are great; we bike eastwards at an altitude of about 2500 m on an old forest dak runners trail. The drives are short on each day being a mountain trail but entirely memorable because of the flora and fauna en route. The first night is spent at Margi and the second at Kulu Sarahan (2440 m). On Day 17 we halt to rest and acclimatize. Day 18 is reserved for a moderately stiff trek of about 3 hours up to Bashleo Pass (3350 m). After a halt to take in the views and enjoy the mountains on both sides of the Pass we descend back to Sarahan. Day 19 is the last day of biking when we descend to the Satluj from Kulu Sarahan north of the Satluj and head upriver along the Satluj to another Sarahan (1920 m), bigger, more renowned and located south of the Satluj at one of the most picturesque places in Himachal with grand all round views of the Himalayas. Taking in this little village cum town with its famous Bhimkali Temple we celebrate that evening with a campfire.

(f) The next day we start early by road for Simla, the state capital of Himachal Pradesh, which is reached by evening after a long but beautiful drive. The next morning we leave for Delhi which is reached after about 9 hours. At Delhi we stay o/n in a hotel and then the last day in India is spent in shopping or relaxing and at night we catch the flight home, but with plans for the next adventure trip to other parts of Himachal Pradesh, or elsewhere in India already taking shape in the mind.

7. Accommodation and Cuisine. This will be a mix of hotels, rest houses/inspection bungalows, camps in tents, the odd home stay where viable. Changes can be made to suit specific participant requirements. Cuisine A variety of Indian, Continental, Chinese or Tibetan with due care and regard to sensitivity to spices.

8. Cost of Basic Itinerary above (Delhi airport back to Delhi airport).

(a) Our plans are all inclusive in India and based on a group of about 10 for the basic itinerary suggested above. This includes airport transfers, hotel and basic sightseeing costs at Delhi, Agra and at all halts in Arunachal Pradesh, domestic air fares within India, tips, accommodation (twin sharing), water and all meals. It also includes all costs of treks/rafts including costs of English speaking trek leaders, guides and rafting boat-masters, equipment, porters and ponies, entry fees at various places/parks, road transport in exclusive jeeps, government royalties, and the costs of any special clothing that you want us to arrange for the duration of the trip which can be indicated to us when registering. However international air-fares, airport taxes, visa charges, duty on any items and personal expenditure such as drinks, laundry, tobacco, phone calls, camera charges where applicable and individual expenses incurred away from the plan for the group are excluded.

(b) Registration. As this is the peak tourist period it is essential that Registration be done at least three to four months prior to arrival. Half the determined costs to be paid on registration and the balance to be paid six weeks prior to arrival.

9. Changes in the itinerary, if requested, can be worked out and costs evaluated separately. Or, any other specified itinerary can be developed to match your interests.

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