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The Himachal Pradesh Exploratory Bike Journey – 22 Nts / 23 Days

This fascinating bike journey takes you through different districts of the state each with its own distinctive traditions and cultures. The colourful rustic Kangra valley, the vibrant Shimla and Kullu regions and the tribal territories of Kinnaur and Spiti all spread over completely different terrain ranging from sub tropical to alpine to hi-altitude cold desert. Religions merge - Hindu and Buddhist faiths being equally respected all over the state more so in the tribal belts. You get to ride past lush green alpine meadows, thickly forested hillsides adorned with sparkling mountain streams visiting ancient Hindu temples, Christian churches and Buddhist monasteries. You'll mingle with extremely hospitable hill folk, savour their wholesome cuisine and take part in their fairs and festivals. Snowbird makes sure that you experience a journey of a lifetime as we take you on this memorable bike tour.

Mountain Biking

Delhi – Pathankot - Dharamshala – Palampur – Mandi – Ghagas – Shimla – Narkanda – Sarahan – Rekong Peo – Nako Lake – Tabo – Kaza – Kibber – Batal – Khoksar – Murhee – Manali - Delhi

Day 1 : On your arrival at the International airport in New Delhi we meet you and drive you to your pre-reserved hotel. As most international flights arrive early in the morning after checking in at the hotel you can either spend the day relaxing or opt for a half day city tour. Our tour takes you to the old city of Delhi with its numerous narrow lanes exuding the aura of an age gone by yet very much still existent. Visit exotic bazaars selling an amazing variety of merchandise; stop by to sample delicious cuisine the recipes of which date back to the 15 th and 16 th centuries; explore the imposing Red Fort and the elaborate yet simple Jama Masjid a Moslem mosque both built in the 15 th century and by late evening return to your hotel with a treasure trove of memories. After dinner drive to the New Delhi Railway Station to board your train to Pathankot from where your adventure begins.

Day 2: Pathankot – Dharamshala – 90 Kms
We arrive at Pathankot Railway Station by 7:30 am and after breakfast ride 90 Kms on a well paved road to Dharamshala 1387m / 4549ft and then 9 Kms uphill to the charming hill resort of Mcleodgunj at 1770m / 5805ft where we check into a pre-reserved hotel. At the average cycling time of 15 Kms an hour with a couple of rests en-route leaving Pathankot at 8:00am we should arrive at Macleodgunj at 5:00pm. After ‘high tea' we relax in our hotel which affords fabulous views of the towering snow clad Dhauladhar mountain range.

Day 3: In Mcleodgunj: After a leisurely breakfast, stroll around this peaceful suburb the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile and the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Visit the Monastery and the bazaar with its interesting shops selling curios, antiques and handicrafts; the laid back restaurants offering Israeli, Thai, Chinese, Tibetan, Italian, Continental and Indian cuisine; and then return to your hotel for the night.

Day 3 > 40Kms we inspect our bikes and make certain that everything is well to begin our journey down into the lush green Kangra valley. Today we begin our first day by cycling down to Dharamshala 1387m / 4549ft and then taking the Pathankot Mandi road bike for 40 Kms to the undulating tea gardens of Palampur - 1219m / 3998ft. We set up camp near the Neugal Stream with spectacular views of the Dhauladhar mountain ranges. Take a walk around the picturesque tea estates. Return to camp for the night.

Day 4 > 90Kms Today we ride along the Kangra valley via the small towns of Baijnath and Jogindernagar – 1500m / 4920ft on a up and down hill road to our next halt at Mandi town 750m / 2460ft.

Day 5 > 58Kms Our drive through beautiful hill landscapes takes us to the small hamlet of Ghagas where we camp near a stream.

Day 6 > 89Kms Today we ride through thickly wooded hillsides crisscrossed by streams till we reach the suburb of Tutu a small settlement 5 Kms south of Shimla. We head onto Shimla – 2205m / 7380ft and check into a pre-reserved hotel for the night.

Day 7 > Today is a rest day in Shimla. After a leisurely breakfast we take a stroll around Shimla town to view its heritage buildings especially the Indian Institute of Advanced studies once the Viceregal Lodge. Later in the evening stroll along the Mall Road the main promenade with its glittering shops and fine eating establishments. Return to your hotel for the night.

Day 8 > 64Kms We leave Shimla after breakfast and head north east passing the small village of Kufri famous for its winter ski slopes and the hillside village of Fagu towards the small hamlet of Narkanda at 2708m / 8882ft. We check into the comfortable Tourism Hotel for the night from where you get breathtaking 180 ° views of the entire snow clad Himalayan ranges far to the north.

Day 9 > 73Kms Leaving the small town of Narkanda also a ski resort in winters, we head north and mostly downhill to the town of Rampur 924m / 3030ft the erstwhile capital of the Bushahr Kings. We check into a comfortable guesthouse for the night.

Day 10 > 40Kms We ride beside the River Sutlej till we reach a bifurcation off the main highway leading uphill to the charming small settlement of Sarahan at 2165m / 7144ft high above on a ridge. We check into the Hotel Srikhand a deluxe tourism property with magnificent views of the mountain ranges all around. In the afternoon we visit the Bhima Kali Temple that stands out due to its unusual Indo-Buddhist architecture. Return to our hotel for dinner and the night.

Day 11 > 94Kms Today's ride takes us along the Sutlej River through lush green hillsides and small rural communities to the capital of Kinnaur district the sprawled out town of Rekong Peo 2290m / 7557ft. We check into a comfortable hotel in town after a long ride.

Day 12 > 76Kms The lush green landscape begins to thin out as it gives way to starker brown and desolate terrain as we head into arid northern Kinnaur. We halt at the small settlement of Khab where the Spiti River meets the River Sutlej at a raging confluence. We set up camp high above the confluence.

Day 13 > 31Kms The Road continues beside the Spiti River on this stretch with rocky hillsides sustaining hardy shrubs. After 27 Kms we head east and uphill to the hidden jade green lake of Nako at 2950m / 9375ft. The village itself still gives the appearance of a medieval hamlet with boulders and stones making up the walls of dwellings. We check into the modern Leo Pargyal hotel for the night.

Day 14 > 70Kms Our destination today is the ancient Buddhist Monastery of Tabo - 3050m / 10,065ft in the hi-altitude desert landscape of Spiti valley . The road takes us through remote stretches with hardly any villages till we reach Tabo by evening built unlike most monasteries on level land off the present highway. We check into a comfortable guesthouse / hotel for the night.

Day 15 > 47Kms After breakfast we take a tour of the different temples in the Tabo monastery built at a height of This simple complex consists of 9 temples, 23 Chortens besides monks and nuns chambers. It is often called the Ajanta of the Himalayas due its similarity to the fine artwork and murals of the Ajanta Cave temples in Central India. The Tabo Choskhor Monastery was founded more than a millennium back in 996 A.D . in the Year of the Fire Ape according to the Tibetan Calendar. It houses a priceless collection of thangkas (Buddhist scroll paintings), manuscripts, superb stucco statues, frescos and murals portraying tales from the Mahayana Buddhist Pantheon all amazingly still well preserved. Tabo has since been declared a World Heritage Site by the UNESCO . After an early lunch we take to the road and head towards the main town of Spiti the charming town of Kaza – 3600m / 10,973ft. On arrival we check into a comfortable guesthouse for the night.

Day 16 > 18 Kms Leaving Kaza after breakfast we drive to the Ki Monastery noticeably perched on a rocky escarpment below stark barren mountains. This ancient monastery houses numerous manuscripts, thangkas and images besides old musical instruments. After visiting the monastery we head north to Kibber village at 4328m / 14,200ft where we check into a guesthouse for the night. Stroll around the neat and tidy village with its brilliant white washed houses with small chocolate coloured windows and doors. Return to your guesthouse for the night.

Day 17 > 68 Kms Our drive of 68 Kms after breakfast takes us through vast plains and a spectacular gorge before reaching the sleepy village of Losar 4079m / 13,379ft the last village in Spiti. We check into a basic guesthouse for the night.

Day 18 > 30 Kms After breakfast at Losar we begin our gradual ascent of 18 Kms to the Kunzum La pass at 4551m / 14,927ft.  From here we descend 12 Kms to the small one hutment hamlet of Batal . We camp here near this rugged dwelling cum café for the night.

Day 19 > 51 Kms Leaving Batal we ride alongside the Chandra River past the small hutments of Chattru, Chottadara and Gramphu to the small settlement of Khoksar . We camp near the river for the night.

Day 20 > 65 Kms Our initial ascent to the 3978m /13,050ft Rohtang Pass from where it is a complete descent of 51 Kms to the hill resort of Manali and our final destination on this bike journey. On arrival we check into a comfortable hotel and simply unwind.

Day 21 > After a leisurely breakfast we ride around the town visiting the 500 year old Hadimba Devi Temple in a grove of gigantic Deodar (Cedrus Deodara) trees; the hot sulphur springs of Vashisht; the Tibetan monastery and return to our hotel for a late lunch. Our evening is free to wander around the Mall road and shop for handicrafts and other curious. Return to your hotel for dinner and the night.

Day 22 > The morning is free to pack your bikes and relax. We board the overnight, Luxury coach to Delhi, a journey of about 14 hours.

Day 23 > On arrival in Delhi early in the morning we check you into your hotel. After spending a relaxed morning and lunch we take you on a half day tour of the historical backstreets and monuments in Old Delhi. Savour some fine delectable Mughal Cuisine of Kebabs and curries; visit the imposing Red Fort and the largest mosque in India the Jama Masjid both built during the heydays of the Mughal Empire in the 15 th century. Return to your hotel in the evening. After a farewell dinner we drive you to the international airport to board your ongoing flight to your next destination.

Other Mountain Biking Tours
S. No. Tour Region Days
1. The Great Himalayan Cultural Bike Passage Himachal 30
2. The Comprehensive Manali Leh Cycle Tour Himachal 21
3. The Garhwal Hills and Forests Biking Tour Uttaranchal 10
4. Biking the Corbett Trail in Kumaon Uttaranchal 12
5. The Pangong Lake Circuit Ladakh & Zanskar 11
6. The Tso Moriri Lake Trail Ladakh & Zanskar 12
7. The Nubra Valley Tour Ladakh & Zanskar 9


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