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The Great Trans Himalayan Cultural Bike Passage 30 Nts / 31 days (Manali Leh)

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.

Delhi Pathankot - Dharamshala Palampur Mandi Ghagas Shimla Narkanda Sarahan Rekong Peo Nako Lake Tabo Kaza Kibber Batal Sissu - Jispa Patseo Sarchu Pang Debring Leh Delhi Agra- Delhi.

Mountain Biking
Shey Gompa
Stok Palace
Thiksey monasteries

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: We arrive at Pathankot Railway Station by 7:30 am and drive 90 Kms by road to Dharamshala and 10 Kms further to Macleodgunj where we check into a pre-reserved hotel. After lunch we stroll around this peaceful suburb also home to the Tibetan Government in exile and 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: 69 Kms leaving Batal we ride alongside the Chandra River past the small hutments of Chattru, Chottadara and Gramphu / Khoksar and ride on to the small village of Sissu . We camp above the river for the night with beautiful views of a beautiful cascading waterfall on a mountainside across the river.

Day 20: 34 Kms f rom Sissu we drive along the Chandra River till it meets the River Bhaga at the Tandi River. From here we turn north and head to Keylong - 3350m / 10,988ft , the district capital of Lahaul-Spiti where we check into a hotel for the night.

Day 21: 48 Kms the road winds north along the River Bhaga skirting a few villages, after riding through the sleepy village of Jispa we reach Darcha the main trek head to Zanskar and Ladakh. The road continues through a rocky gorge and then climbs gradually towards the small village Patseo at 3820m / 12,529ft, where we camp for the night in solitary splendorous surroundings.

Day 22: 58 Kms the road now steeply winds up to the 4830m / 15,483ft Baralacha La the second mountain pass on our route with excellent views of the Zanskar and Spiti ranges. From here we descend to the Bharatpur gorge country before emerging into the pastures of Sarchu where we camp for the night. Sarchu is the site for quite a few seasonal camps and therefore quite a busy spot during the seasonal months of June through September. We camp ahead of these tented settlements.

Day 23: 51 Kms the road continues north sometimes arrow straight through rocky mountain faces and then ascends to the 5059m / 16,600ft Lachulang La winding through the 21 Gata loops (hairpin bends). From here Pang is just a 3 Kms stretch away where we set up camp for the night amidst a surrealistic landscape of wind hewn rock and granite hills displaying the awesome eroding power of the winds that blow in this desolate country.

Day 24: 53 Kms the road from here climbs up past two mountain streams and emerges into the vast 4750m / 15,580ft Morey Plains (45 Kms long and 2 to 3 Feet wide) also referred by locals as the Kyangshu Thang. Kyang in Tibetan dialect refers to the Tibetan Wild Ass which roams these expansive plains. The road goes straight past grazing land with its colonies of marmots and pica. Wildlife in the form of Kyang, Tibetan Woolly hare, Marmots, Pica, Tibetan red Fox and Wolf besides the elusive snow leopard inhabit these plains fringed by barren mountains. These plains are an extension of the Changthang Plateau and home to a few large brackish water lakes. We camp near the abandoned road workers camp at Debring 16 Kms below the Tanglang La pass.

Day 25: 79 Kms the road now begins a winding ascent to the Tanglang la at 5334m / 17,582ft (the third highest motorable road in the world the first is the Marsimik La near Pangong Tso and the second is the Khardungla La north of Leh). From the pass it's entirely a downhill ride to the small village of Rumtse and further to the settlement of Upshi. We camp near the Indus River for the night.

Day 26: 68 Kms we are now in the Indus Valley and the road heads west to Leh passing a few monasteries and oasis like villages. On reaching Leh we check into a comfortable hotel for the night.

Day 27: Rest Day in Leh . Wander around this laid back town sample some of the amazingly available international cuisine Italian, Israeli, Chinese, Ladakhi, Tibetan, Kashmiri, Indian, and Continental.

Day 28: After breakfast we leave on a exploratory tour of Shey, Stok Palace and Thiksey monasteries. On our way back we stop over at the Tibetan settlement of Choglamsar before returning to Leh by evening.

Day 29: Our route today leads north towards the Khardungla pass the second highest motorable road in the world at 5570m / 18,2569ft. After getting fabulous views of the Nubra valley and having our packed lunch we return to Leh and your hotel by evening.

Day 30 : We leave early for the airport to enable you to board your one hour flight to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi we drive you to your hotel. After a brief rest and lunch we go on a half day's tour of the historical backstreets with their colourful bazaars and monuments in Old Delhi . Savour some fine delectable Mughal Cuisine of Kebabs Biryanis (meat and fragrant rice) and spicy 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.

Day 31 : After an early breakfast we drive 4 hours to the historic city of Agra. After washing up in a hotel we visit the legendary Taj Mahal, the imposing elaborate Red Fort and the abandoned city of Fatehpur Sikri . All ancient edifices built in the 14 th and 15 th centuries when the Mughals ruled over India. We leave for Delhi by late afternoon and return to our hotel where after a farewell dinner we drive you to the International airport for your flight to your next destination or home. Normally all international flights depart only after 2300 hrs (11:00 pm) at night or early in the morning.

Other Mountain Biking Tours
S. No. Tour Region Days
1. The Himachal Pradesh Exploratory Bike Journey Himachal 23
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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