Namaste. We pick you up in Delhi and we proceed to Shimla, the summer capital of Himachal Pradesh and one of the most popular mountain resorts during the summer period. After checking in at your hotel, we will walk on the 'ridge', a large bustling esplanade, and on the famous 'Mall road', a long pedestrian street lined with shops of all kinds. We will also stroll through the 'lower bazaar', which is a typically Indian market with stalls of spices and wooden buildings crumbling under the weight of time. Overnight in Shimla.
Shimla, the summer capital of Himachal Pradesh,
We will continue our visit of Shimla by the Jakhou temple, the most famous Hindu shrine of the city. Dedicated to Hanuman, the monkey god, he stands atop the Jakhou hill at an altitude of 2455 m and his 33 m high statue is visible from a distance; it is one of the greatest effigies of the god Hanuman in the world. Going down, we will visit the Church of Christ which is part of the postcard of Shimla. We will end the visit of Shimla by the Viceregal Lodge, a mansion of classical and Gothic architecture, which was once the summer residence of the British Viceroy of India. Overnight in Shimla.
Shimla - Sarahan (Kinnaur)
Departure for the village of Sarahan, our first stop in Kinnaur. Sarahan is famous for its temple-tower dedicated to the goddess Bhimakali, one of the best examples of Kinnaur's unique architecture. The village is also famous for its bird sanctuary. En route, we will have lunch in Rampur and visit (from outside) the Maharaja Palace. Overnight in Sarahan
Departure for Chitkul, the last inhabited village near the Indo-Tibetan border. This small village with traditional wooden houses is also the starting point of the Uttaranchar (Harkidun) trek and the arrival point of the famous pilgrimage-trek Kinner Kailash Parikarma. Overnight in Chitkul.
After breakfast, we will drive to Kalpa. This picturesque village, surrounded by the majestic Kinner Kailash Massif, was formerly known as 'China' under the British Empire. After having refreshed yourself at the hotel, we drive down to Reckong Peo (the neighbouring city) to obtain the permit that will allow us to continue our route to the border areas of China. While waiting for the permit (approximately 1 hour), we will have lunch in one of the best restaurants of the city. Free evening, walk in the village of Kalpa. Overnight in Kalpa.
Visit of Kalpa and surroundings
After breakfast, we leave for Roghi, a small hamlet 4km away, where we can admire the very peculiar Kinnauri architecture. The temple of the village is wooden and carved with Hindu deities. This temple is the first one within Kinnaur to have this type of Kinnauri wooden carvings. The temple is said to be 500 years old.
Next, we walk uphill to visit the forest rest house built in 1859. From there, the scenic beauty of the Kinner Kailash is simply breath taking.
We go back to Kalpa and visit Kalpa itself, as well as its surroundings: Kothi Durga Ma Temple, the Buddhist Monastery, Pangi village (15 km). We can also do some shopping at the Reckong Peo main market.
We go back to the homestay at Kalpa to have a good dinner.
[Option: one can stay for one/two more days and trek to Chaka (3800 m), a big pastureland which provides drinking water to inhabitants of Kalpa. One can enjoy snow at 4000m from the months of April to June.]
Kalpa - Kanam via Lippa and Labrang
After breakfast, we will leave for the village of Lippa to meet the craftsmen working the wood and the metal and the inhabitants. We will then head to the village of Spillo where we will have our lunch and continue our journey to the village of Kanam via the village of Labrang known for its ancestral temple-tower. We will spend the night in a guesthouse in Kanam with a dinner cooked with local products and, if you wish, you can test the local beverage made from apricots and apples. Overnight in Kanam.
Kanam - Ropa - Kanam
After breakfast, we will stroll through Kanam to meet the locals and visit several gompas. Kanam is an important Buddhist and historical center. It is also here that the kinnauris shawls called 'Yungrung' and 'Swastika' were designed for the first time by one of the weavers of the village. We will leave for the village of Ropa via Sunnam, Rushkalang and Giabong to meet the locals and to admire the beauty of the surrounding nature. Lunch will be served in one of these villages. Back to Kanam, in your guesthouse.
Departure for Nako, located near the Indo-Chinese border. This is the a last village of the Kinnaur region (3,625 meters). It is known for its crystal clear lake and its 11th century gompa with the Reo Purgyal Peak as background, at 6,816 meters above sea level, the highest mountain in Himachal Pradesh. We will spend the night in tents or in a guesthouse near the lake. A Local meal will be served for dinner. [Option: we can stay a day longer to trek to the Tashigang Monastery. ]
Back to Kalpa. We will visit Reckong Peo, the bazar and its Buddhist temple whose statue dominates the city. Overnight in Kalpa.
We return to Shimla. It will be our longest trip, about 7 hours. We will have a break in Rampur. Arrival in Shimla in the evening. Overnight in Shimla.
After breakfast, We will travel to Nalagarh, a stopover town before Delhi. Nalagarh was the seat of a Rajput princely state, founded in medieval times under the name of Hindur. There are few vestiges of this prestigious period beside the palace where you will spend the night. Overnight in the heritage palace of Nalagarh.
Back to Delhi. End of the trip in the heart of the kinners' culture. Looking forward to meeting you again. Namaste.