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The Himachal Leh Jeep Crossing 9 Nts / 10 Days


Day 1: We meet you on arrival at Delhi airport and transfer you to your pre-reserved hotel. As most International flights arrive in Delhi in the early morning, the entire day is kept free for you to relax. If you feel up to it we can arrange a half day sightseeing tour of historical Old Delhi in which you visit the majestic Red Fort and the largest mosque in Asia- Jama Masjid both built in the 15 th century by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jehan. We also take a stroll among the back streets reminiscent of a medieval town passing wayside vendors selling delicious Mughal cuisine of Kebabs and Mutton Pilafs besides an array of knickknacks. We return to the hotel in time for dinner and the night.

Day 2: Delhi Chandigarh: 248 Kms to Dharamshala: 239 Kms (487 Kms). After an early breakfast we start our journey in a comfortable Jeep to the hill resort of Dharamshala in the Himalayas. Mcleodgunj at 1800m / 5904ft, a suburb also known as upper Dharamshala is 9 Kms from Dharamshala town and is the headquarters of the Tibetan Government in exile and the residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. On arrival by evening we check into a pre-reserved hotel at Mcleodgunj.

Day 3: Explore Mcleodgunj. The small laidback suburb is also known as Little Tibet for its salubrious climate and small shops selling a wide assortment of Tibetan curios, jewellery and other artefacts. A number of cafes also offer a multi cuisine fare including Continental, Israeli, Indian and of course Tibetan and Chinese. We visit the Namgyal Monastery and the Jokhang or main temple opposite the residence of the Dalai Lama. It houses three main images: that of the Sakyamuni Buddha, Padmasambhava and Avalokitesvara, the Buddha of Compassion, of whom the Dalai Lama is the current emanation. The main image in gilded bronze and three metres tall is that of Sakyamuni Buddha. There are also two images of Padmasambhava and Avalokitesvara that face Tibet. We have lunch in one of the many cafes and then take a 2 Km stroll to the ancient Bhagsunag temple and spend some time near the cascading waterfall nearby. We return to Macleodgunj and your hotel by evening

Day 4: Dharamshala Manali: 238 Kms. We start our drive to the hill resort of Manali through the scenic Kangra valley with its rambling green fields and quaint villages. We drive past the undulating tea gardens at Palampur - 1249m / 4096ft with the massive granite face of the Dhauladhar ranges in the backdrop keeping us company till we branch off at Jogindernagar 1500m / 4920ft. We reach the large town of Mandi 760m / 2493ft, in time for lunch. Mandi is an important business centre and also home to numerous temples. We continue along the Rivers Uhl and Beas till we reach the large lake reservoir at Pandoh. From here we begin our gradual ascent towards the Kullu valley. The road cut through sheer granite rocks goes high above the River Beas till we reach the small hamlet of Aut from where we enter the Kullu valley. The road now winds past fertile fields and rich apple and plum orchards, and by passing the main valley town of Kullu 1219m / 3999ft reaches the now popular hill resort of Manali - 1950m / 6398 ft where we check into a comfortable hotel.

Day 5: Acclimatization day in Manali. After a leisurely breakfast we visit the 500 year old Hadimba Devi Temple built in a thick grove of giant Deodar trees overlooking the town. We then go across the Manalsu Stream and driving through the Old Manali village with its archaic buildings still seen amidst modern guesthouses stop at the revered Manu Temple dedicated to Rishi Manu after whom Manali got its name (Manu-alaya - meaning the abode of Rishi Manu). It is now a modern structure maintaining the traditional architectural style and offers splendid views of the upper Beas Valley. We return to town and stroll around the interesting Tibetan Market and visit the Tibetan Monastery with its enormous gilded statue of Buddha. In the afternoon after lunch we drive south to the quaint village of Naggar once the capital of the Kullu Kingdom. Here we visit the ancient castle now a heritage hotel which offers excellent view of the central Kullu valley which is also its widest stretch. From here we stroll up to the charming cottage of the famous artist and philosopher Nicolas Roerich which is now a museum displaying his haunting and beautiful landscapes of the higher Himalayan regions. We return to Manali by evening. The evening is free for shopping for the local shawls famous for their colourful patterns. Also shop for caps, mufflers and socks all woven in traditional designs besides other curios.

Day 6: Manali- Keylong Jispa: 147 Kms. We leave Manali after breakfast and drive uphill to the famous Rohtang Pass at 3978m / 13,050ft stopping en-route at the café hamlet of Marhi for some steaming tea. Stroll around the saddle of the pass with its unforgettable views of the great Himalayan ranges to the north our destination in the coming days. We then drive down into the relatively barren Lahaul valley and driving beside the Chandra River and passing small oases' like villages reach the main town of Keylong. After a hot lunch here we drive north past small villages and green fields below bare mountains to the small village of Jispa where on arrival we check into a comfortable hotel overlooking the Bagha River.

Day 7 : Jispa Sarchu: 96 Kms . After breakfast we drive through some of the most awesome hi altitude terrain seen anywhere in the world. Here we drive past mountain streams and bare hills of granite and pale brown shale without any habitation or vegetation in sight. Our drive gives us views that'll remain in our memories forever. We bypass Deepak-tal a miniature lake before coming up on the larger Suraj Tal a large turquoise body of water below the 4650m / 16,500ft high Baralacha la the second pass on our journey. The road now descends into a large open plain where we stop for the night at the Sarchu Camp site at 4253m / 13, 950ft.

Day 8: Sarchu Pang Rumtse Leh: 230 Kms. After breakfast we drive leisurely through awesome landscape. We pass fantastically sculpted brown and rust hills in bizarre shapes and colours with the traverse of the sun in a deep blue sky. The road ascends 21 hairpin bends known as the Gata loops as it reaches the Naki la pass at 4950m / 16, 250ft and a bit ahead the higher 5064m / 16, 616ft high Lachulung la pass our third and fourth on this journey. Driving down to the tiny settlement of Pang we stop for some lunch and then continue on our way crossing some extremely impressive gorge country before emerging into the vast More plains - 4650 m / 15,252 ft. The road continues arrow straight for 45 Kms till we reach the small nomad camp at Debring from where we begin our 20 Kms ascent to the 5200m / 17,582ft high Tanglang La our last and highest pass on this drive. From here it's a descent into the Leh valley where we come across Rumtse our first village after leaving Lahaul. From here we drive along the Indus River till we reach Leh by evening to check into a comfortable hotel.

Day 9: Rest day in Leh. You can stroll around; walk through Changspa a tourist village and visit the Shanti Stupa a kilometre away on a ridge with spectacular views of the town; then walk up to the imposing Leh palace high on a hill above Leh. The evening can be spent shopping for interesting artefacts and curios in the main bazaar before returning to your hotel for the night.

Day 10: We leave for the airport early to catch the morning flight to Delhi.

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