Manali via Spiti Valley to Leh



Highlights :

The tour will begin near the town of Manali and we will ride to Spiti via the lovely Kinnur valley. We will have plenty of time to explore along the way, and once in Spiti valley will have a base from which to explore Spiti and Pin valley, and to fall in tune with this amazing place. Later we will ride over the KunzumLa pass into Lahul valley and then follow the Chandra Baga river to its confluence with the the Chanab river. Once again we will have time to visit and explore the side valleys and ancient temples. Our ride to Leh will take us over 4 more high mountain passes of ever increasing height! Lahaul-Spiti is rich in the religions and cultures of Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism.

Kinnur Valley.
The mighty Sutlej river has its source in lake Mansarova at the base of Mt. Meru, (Mt. Kailas) in Tibet. After entering India from Tibet it carves its way throughout the Kinnur valley. This was the ancient Himalayan Trail into Tibet from India and in places the precarious road is cut cut into the solid rock walls which follows the river’s path, passing Kinnur Kailas the mystical mountain known as the seat of Shiva.

Spiti Valley.
Spiti valley was once called ‘middle valley’ and was part of the ancient Kingdom of Guge in western Tibet. It lies along the present day border between India and Tibet. There are several side valleys, one of which is the beautiful Pin Valley, home of the famous Pin valley ponies and the Kungri Gompa with its ancient Ningmarpa temple. The Ningma order was founded after Padma Sambhava the magician and tantrika converted Tibet to Buddhism. Donkar. Situated high above the Spiti river Donkar is the ancient ruined capital of Spiti. It was largely destroyed by an earth quake 800 years ago! There is a short trek above Donkar to a high lake in the mountains for those of us who want to have a change from riding our bikes.

Comic Gompa.
This monastery lies at 4500 meters! The monks stay here all year round and it must be the highest working monastery in the world! The friendly monks do month long ‘Pujas’ (chanting and reading scriptures). The ride up here is stunning! Nearby on the Eastern border with Tibet is Lingti Valley, once part of the ocean floor before the mighty Himalayan mountains were created. It is still littered with fossils that are between 250 million and 500 million years old! We can approach the nearby Kibber national park which is a nature reserve for rare fauna and flora.

Tabo Monastery.
Over 1000 years old this is the oldest Tibetan Gompa in India and with its massive adobe walls looks as if it should be in New Mexico USA, not Asia! It has a peace and power that is clearly palpable.

Pin Valley.
Famous for the Pin valley horses and on an important ancient trekking route which connects it to the Kullu valley. It also has several old and new Tibetan Monasteries.

Lahul Valley.
We will ride along the mighty Chandra river, from its source near the Kunzum pass where we enter Lahul from the Spiti Valley, all the way to Tandi, where the Chandra river is joined by the Baga river. This narrow valley is unsurpassed in its stunning beauty. Waterfalls and glaciers abound, falling from the high side valleys in the sheer mountain sides on both sides of the road.

Our ride will take us over more high passes on this amazing day. We stay in a very comfortable tent camp in Sarchu, and possibly see marmots on the hillside, sunning themselves in the early evening light.

More Plains and Rupse Valley.
At 14000 ft (4000 meters), More plains has an other world quality and the beautiful mountains peaks on either side look deceptively small. We cross the 17,480 ft (5328 meter) high Tanglang La and wind down and through the wonderful Rupse valley to the Indus river valley. Leh. Riding into Leh there is a wonderful feeling of wonder and achievment. Leh was an important market town since the days of the silk road caravans. Our hotel is in the traditional Ladakhi style, both friendly and comfortable and there are scores of restaurants to choose from with delicious international food choices.
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