Expedition into Little Tibet
& Trek to the Lake of the Moon
Regions traversed : Kullu, Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnaur & Shimla
Max. altitude attained : 4551 Mts. (14,950 ft. The Kunzum Pass)
Temperature range : -5°C at night to 25°C in the day.
Spiti, the very name conjures up images of a mystic land lost in time and space in the remote Himalayan Ranges. This once forbidden land steeped in Buddhism is one of the last remaining strongholds of the Tantric form of the faith. The breathtaking stark moonscape of the Spiti Valley with its ever-changing hues and its ancient spiritual culture transports one into an era gone-by.
From Shimla one drives up the ancient Hindustan Tibet Road, the second highest highway in the world. It’s a long two-day drive through Kinnaur, the land of the Gods, till Spiti. Day three is spent in exploring the Spiti Valley and its ancient monasteries. On the fourth day starts the trek to Chandratal, the Lake of the Moon. Walking through the Greater Himalayas truly unfolds the stunning magnificence of the surrounding landscape. This emerald lake lies in the midst of a high altitude meadow lined with magnificent peaks of the mighty Kunzum, Mulkila and Chandra Bagha Ranges. The two nights spent in tents on the banks of the lake treats one to an unforgettable night-sky that tempts one to reach out and touch the stars as they seem so near. One reluctantly departs this fairy land on the sixth day to trek back to join the road where motorised transport takes over to return to civilisation and whizzes one to Manali to end an experience to cherish for a lifetime.
In summer, the days can be quite warm, but the temperature plunges suddenly as the sun sets. Accordingly you will require light cotton clothes as well as warm underwear, a thick pullover and a windproof and waterproof suit. A good sleeping bag and two pairs of stout walking shoes are essential. The sun’s rays are rather strong here, hence you must have a sunscreen lotion with a high protective factor, sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat and lip cream.
Personal medication, binoculars, torches with extra batteries, a knife, camera and as many rolls of film as you can carry.
Day 1: Shimla (2206 Mts.) – Recong Peo (2290 Mts.)…. 271 Kms.
Depart Shimla in the morning and drive along the legendary Hindustan – Tibet Road. It’s a hard days drive till Recong Peo, the H.Q. of Kinnaur District. The awesome Kinner Kailash peak (6050 Mts.) looms over Peo along with a gorgeous spectacle of snow-capped Himalayan ranges. Overnight in tents / guesthouse.
Day 2: Recong Peo – Tabo (3050 Mts.)…187 Kms. / Kaza (3600 Mts.)…233 Kms.
Drive along the torrid Sutlej River. We have now entered the greater Himalayas and the landscape changes dramatically. The thick forests are replaced by vast stretches of barren splendour. Tabo (3050 M) was the venue of the last Kaalchakra ceremony performed by His Holiness, the Dalai Lama in 1996. It is the seat of a thousand year old Buddhist Gompa, regarded next only to the Tholing Gompa in Tibet. Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti. Overnight in tents / guesthouse
Day 3: Tabo / Kaza – Kibber (4205 Mts.) – Losar (4079 Mts.)…94 Kms.
In the morning visit the Dhankar Monastery. Dhankar is a big village and the erstwhile capital of the Spiti kingdom. Proceed further through some spectacular scenery to Kibber (4205 Mts.), the highest permanently inhabited village in the world. Enroute visit the famous Ki Monastery, which is perched precariously on a craggy rock face. Ride along the sprawling Spiti Valley till Losar at the base of the mighty Kunzum Pass. Overnight in tents / guesthouse.
Day 4: Losar – Kunzum Pass (4551 Mts.)…18 Kms. – Chandratal (4270 Mts.)
A short and rough ride takes us to the top of Kunzum La (Pass). This is the only link between the Spiti and the Lahaul Valleys. From here we start the five-hour trek to Chandratal. The sheer and stark beauty of the surroundings has to be seen to be believed. This relaxed walk (14 kms.) with a slight gradient at places takes one to Chandratal, the lake of the moon. Overnight in tents on the banks of the lake.
Day 5: At Chandratal
This lake of exquisite beauty is set on a large meadow between a lower ridge and the main Kunzum range with an out- let into the Chandra River. Across the river is an unforgettable view of gigantic glaciers and the awesome peaks of Kunzum, Mulkila and CB ranges. A day of exploration, of the soul, or of the surroundings. The serenity and overwhelming solitude of the place sedates the senses and takes one on a voyage of the soul. Overnight in tents
Day 6: Chandratal – Batal (3960 Mts.) – Manali (2050 Mts.)…..115 Kms.
Depart from this dreamland to start a relaxed walk to descend to Batal (16 kms.). This five-hour walk treats one to a magnificent view of the Bara Shigri Glacier, the second longest glacier in the world. Join the road where the waiting jeep picks up to drive across the Rohtang Pass (3980 Mts.) into the Kullu Valley at Manali.