Himachal Biking II – The delightful Satluj Valley and its magnificent feeders, including Baspa, Spiti and others. A long fun filled but at times demanding expedition that takes us from the alpine green valleys to the high altitude rocky barrenness of the Kinner Kailash massif and to the haunting and as yet less frequented Spiti valley in the high altitude desert region of north Himachal. Watch one culture and religion giving way to another equally charming one. 25 days of enthralling biking and odd small treks to delight your inner being. Note a cushion of 3 to 4 days, apart from rest days, has been inbuilt on this particular route. (HP Bike 2)
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 on occasion trek through the most verdant and pristine hills and mountains and through the northern high altitude desert of north Himachal Pradesh. To take our love for biking even deeper and to give ourselves a great chance to enrich our inner souls by being as close to nature as we can get in the modern world.

2. Duration 33 (reducible) adventure filled days in India of which 25 days are spent on mountain biking and on few simple treks in Satluj and Spiti valleys.

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 Simla and at the end we return by road to Delhi passing through Manali, again by car/jeep or a suitable coach.

4. Best time. Late June (earliest starting) to mid – October (to clear Spiti and Lahaul). Some road blocks in July and August can be anticipated in the Kinaur – Kailash belt and so a 3 to 4 day cushion is built into the itinerary by adding side trips or activities other than biking that can be curtailed, even though they act as a creamy layer to the trip. In case of road blocks that lead to loss of time then the itinerary will be altered in consultation with the group by removing some of the extra days programmed in the schedule.

5. Age Profile.18 years upwards, as per fitness.

6. Broad Itinerary.(Refer Map)   (HP Bike 2)

(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 Simla. A beautiful alternative is to take the early toy train from Kalka to Simla and the group will have to indicate their choice at an early stage so that reservations can be arranged accordingly. (4 days – can be reduced if stay in Delhi or Agra is curtailed, if desired please specify).

(b) At Simla (2250 m) we spend one day to check out our bikes and prepare for the bike expedition from the morrow. Take time to visit the capital of the state as we prepare for the countryside in the weeks ahead. (1 day)

(c) Biking Days 1 to 9. The next day we start the biking expedition. On Day 1 we start from Simla and head out for the old Hindustan – Tibet road. It’s a shorter first day as we will cover only about 45 km to Kotkhai via Theog. It will help us open our legs and warm up for the longer rides ahead. The countryside we pass through is apple land and full of beautiful pine forests. On Day 2 we are descending into the beautiful Pabar valley whose waters flow eastwards into the Yamuna, the only river to do so in Himachal. That night we camp at the paradise for anglers, Rohru, at about 1550 m. Day 3 is long as we bike up westwards on a long 35 km ascent to cross the ridge line and then descend past Sungri to Rampur on the Satluj. The total trip is about 93 km for the day. Rampur is renowned as a major agro-commercial center in the region. Being below 1000m we may find it warm. On Day 4 we cross the Satluj and take the road up via Nimund to a small village called Sarahan (2440 m) about 47 km from Rampur. The place is idyllic and we camp there on a pretty meadow. On Day 5 we undertake a one day trek from Sarahan to the Bashleo Pass (3280 m) and back. It’s a stiff climb of about 3 hours but worth every step as the views from the Pass are excellent. Day 6 is when we move from this Sarahan to another much bigger and well known Sarahan south of the Satluj. Located at 1920m on the old Hindustan – Tibet road this Sarahan is one of the most beautiful places in the world. The descent is via Arsu, then up the Satluj till Jeori and we turn off from Jeori to bring the 78 km for the day to an end. On Day 7 we bike on into the beautiful Baspa valley and reach Sangla (2680 m) after biking over the distance of about 94 km. We spend Days 8 and 9 exploring this beautiful Valley dominated as it is by the Kinner Kailash massif. The more enterprising of the group can consider a short five hour to six hour return trek either southwards towards Rathiya Thach and Mathiya Thach from half way between Sangla and Chhitkul or from Chhitkul eastwards towards Charang Ghati Pass.

(d) Biking Days 10 to 18. On Day 10 we bid adieu to the Sangla valley and bike back to the Satluj and crossing the river at Powari climb up to Kalpa (2960 m); a journey of 51 km. We also visit Rekong Peo and its monastery on this day or the next (Day 11) on our way down as we bike down to the river and head for Thangi (2966 m) via Morang, a distance of 61 km. On Day 12 we are into great mountain biking as we bike on a trail up the Tirung Gad Nala to Charang (3506 m) where exists an ancient monastery. After an exhilarating halt here, including short climbs on foot to get good views of the Kinner Kailash range we next head back for Thangi on Day 13. However the night halt will be a bit further at Morang astride the river. Day 14 is an easier bit as we make it over the 30 km to Puh (2837 m) easily. On Day 15 the camp holds fast at Puh as we back track to go up into the Ropa Gad valley to Ropa and above it till the track allows us to bike. Then we return to the camp at Puh. Apart from the other benefits this also helps us acclimatize. Beyond Puh we are in purely Buddhist territory with Hinduism having Ropa as its last mail outpost. The next day, Day 16, onwards we are well into higher altitudes as we bike past the confluence of the Spiti with the Satluj and after a stiff climb up on the national highway branch Reach the village of Chango (3658 m) where we halt after biking up the 48 km from Puh. Day 17 is a trekking day on which we take the old walking route to Nako lake (3650 m), returning to Chango by nightfall after also seeing the Chango glacier basin behind the village. On Day 18 we are back on the road and then after covering some 45 km we arrive at Tabo (3050 m), our gateway into the Spiti region. That evening we explore the famous Tabo Monastery. The pride of Spiti, it is a thousand years old yet amongst the best preserved.

(e) Biking Days 19 to 25. Our last leg spent in Spiti before exiting into Lahaul. On Day 19 we bike from Tabo to Attargo (3250 m), a short distance of 28 km. From there we continue to bike up taking the side road to Dhankar (36 km from Tabo) to visit its famous Gompa (3890 m), also of the Gelugpa Sect. We are now in the Bhar, as Spiti’s middle region is known. After visiting the Dhankar Monastery, interestingly perched on a height above the road, we will climb to Dhankar lake which is about an hours climb above the village. For camping we bike down to camp at Attargo. The target for Day 20 is Kaza (3600 m), a short 22 km away. However en route at Lidong we will take the link road to climb up the sharp rock slopes to visit Demul (4300 m) and returning to the highway head for Kaza where the administrative headquarters of Spiti are located. Day 21 is the day to visit the renowned Ki Monastery and cycle along the road to nearby Kibber, Gette and Tashigong before returning to Kaza. Day 22 is the last rest day as we make the final push towards Lahaul. On Day 23 we hit the highway again and bike 57 km, ever increasing in altitude, to reach Losar (4079 km) at the base of Kunzum La (4551 m). Day 24 is the last full day of biking. We bike up to Kunzum La, a demanding 19 km and reach the highest point of the expedition. The wide enchanting vista of Lahaul lies before us. However we will enter the main Lahaul on the morrow and here we branch off northwards and take the rough road to the serene Chandra Tal lake (4270 m), from its name is named the Chandra River, one of Lahaul’s major rivers along which we will drive on the morrow. That evening and night spent at Chandra Tal lake will be one to treasure through out our lives. On Day 25 we bike back to Kunzum La and here our biking ends for this trip. Waiting transport is then loaded up and we move by road down to the Chandra Valley and climbing Rohtang Pass arrive at Manali.

(f) The verdant Beas Valley greets us as we reach Manali by late evening. We spend a day and a half in Manali recouping and visiting some parts of the Beas Valley. Then we take the evening bus for the long but comfortable overnight journey to Delhi. We reach Delhi early in the morning and the last day in India is spent shopping or relaxing. 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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