Himachal Biking III – The joys of biking in Lahaul and Spiti, far away secluded, amazing valleys unlike any other part of the verdant Himachal, almost Ladhaki so to say. Almost the entire expedition is in high altitudes, though the initial few days will be below 3000m. We explore the Chandra and Bhaga rivers in Pangi and Lahaul regions and then Spiti valley, venturing into regions that are as stupendous as they are stark. The region is beyond the Pir Panjal range, cut off for six to seven months in a year, yet offering much to fill the adventurers’ golden hearts. A difficult trip as the altitude is high, yet a feasible odyssey into northern Himachal that challenges only to please. (HP Bike 3)
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 test our biking skills and fitness as we express our love for both nature and biking in some of the worlds most beautiful yet lonely high altitude desert regions north of the Pir Panjal Range in Himachal Pradesh. To deepen our love for biking and to give ourselves a great chance to enrich our inner souls.

2. Duration 31 adventure filled days in India of which 22 days are spent on mountain biking and few simple treks in the Pangi, Lahaul and Spiti valleys. There is also an exposure to 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 when we move to the start point from Manali. At the end we return by road to Delhi passing through Manali, again by car/jeep or a suitable coach.

4. Best time. Mid/end June (earliest starting as we have to cross Rohtang Pass) to mid – October (to clear Spiti and Lahaul by this time).

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

6. Broad Itinerary.(Refer Map)   (HP Bike 3)

(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) At Manali (2050 m) we spend one day to check the valley and visit some of its key places. The next day we check out our bikes and prepare for the bike expedition as we leave for the start point on the morrow. (2 days)

(c) Biking Days 1 to 9. On Day 1 we leave for Killar by road. It’s a long long day as we cross the beautiful Rohtang Pass (3980 m) and descend to the Chandra, driving down river till we cross Tandi where the Bhaga flows into it. (We will visit Baralacha La much later; the rivers both originate from this pass, flowing in different directions till they meet at Tandi). We conclude the drive at Udaipur (2743 m). A night here and the next day, Day 2, we continue the road safari to Killar (2591 m), which is the district headquarters of the Pangi district in which we presently are. Seeing this pretty place in summer it is hard to believe that the winter temperatures often touch minus 20 Celsius ! At Killar we make our final preparations. Day 3 and we are off. The first day we cover about 55 km. We bike upriver up to village Sach Khas on the main road (15 km). Here we turn up the Saichu Nala and bike another about 20 km to Sainchu (2770 m) till where the road goes up this pretty nala. From Sainchu we bike back to Sach Khas and spend the night there. On Day 4 we cover a bit more (65 km) but all along the main road, biking carefully past the Chandra-Bhaga gorge near Tindi. By evening we are at Udaipur for another night there, this time better earned ! On Day 5 we go up the Miyar Nala. Since we are not trekking today we will do a days biking effort up to Karpat (3150 m) and beyond towards Urgus and Khanjar as per the going. For the night we return to Karpat and camp. But on Day 6 we will trek! We will climb almost a thousand metres on this day going up towards the Phabrang base camp or alternatively to the west towards Menthosa and descend by evening after enjoying the climb and the views of the Greater Himalayas that we would not otherwise get. On Day 7 we exit Karpat, head down to Udaipur, move upriver to Tandi and then after having covered about 72 km on this day are at Keylong (3340 m), the district headquarters of Lahaul. Day 8 and we start early on the road Manali to Leh, making it to Patseo (3790 m) this day. The 45 km distance seems less but altitude is king. On Day 9 we continue up along the upper most reaches of the Bhaga till we reach its start point near Baralacha Pass (4640 m). This is a definitive point of the journey, however we will not camp there.

(d) Biking Days 10 to 14 . We are now faced by the choice of either moving back by road and going up the Chandra River, past where we descended from the Rohtang Pass on Day 1 to a place called Batal (3960 m) or of taking the bikes on the trekking route from Baralacha La down the Chandra Valley to Chandra Tal. On this route bikes may often have to be carried on our shoulders when we traverse a difficult stretch. It has been done before by determined and physically fit bikers. Either way we will descend back to Patseo for the night to facilitate acclimitisation. If going by road to Batal then on Day 10 we will do that. In case we decide to pick up the bit and go biking on the trekking route then on Day 10 we will drive up to Baralacha la and start the enterprise from there towards the Chandra Valley. From Batal we reach Chandra Tal (4270 m) on Day 11, being just a days biking. From Baralacha La we will take at least two days to reach Chandra Tal, which will also be by evening on Day 11. Next, on Day 12, we rest at Chandra Tal and give ourselves to nature and the great views across the river. On Day 13 we start towards Spiti, crossing Kunzum La (4551 m) and reaching Losar (4079 m) where we halt for the night. On Day 14 we reach Kaza (3600 m), the headquarters of the amazing Spiti Valley.

(e) Biking Days 15 to 22 . Based at Kaza Day 15 is the day to visit the renowned Ki Monastery and cycle along the road to nearby Kibber, Gette and Tashigong before returning to Kaza. On Day 16 we visit Komik Gompa via and return again to Kaza. On Day 17 we head into central Spiti and reach Attargo (3250 m), but 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 Attargo. Days 17 and 18 are reserved for the beautiful Pin Valley. On Day 18 we cross the Spiti River and bike upto the last village in Pin Valley (). On Day 19 we return to Attargo. Day 20 is for Dhankar with an earlier foray to visit Lalung (3680 m) on another side road. We reach Dhankar and climb up to the ancient yet very active Gompa. Night is spent adjacent to Dhankar Village (3700 m). Day 21 starts with a short trek (one hour each way) to visit Dhankar Lake above the village. On return to Dhankar we set off down hill for Tabo (3050 m), the gateway into the Spiti region from Simla. That evening we explore the famous Tabo Monastery. The pride of Spiti, it is a thousand years old yet amongst the best preserved. The night is spent at Tabo. We have our little campfire going over the entire trip because the next day we will be back at Manali. On Day 22 we load everything onto the waiting transport and are away, going back into Lahaul and the Chandra Valley and driving over Rohtang Pass arrive back at Manali.

(f) The verdant Beas Valley greets us as we return to Manali by late evening. We spend a day and a half in Manali recouping and doing what we wish. 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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