Take the route of “Gaddis”(Shepherds) on the Bhaba Pass Trek
Exploring Spiti: Call it “Piti” or Spiti, the beauty of this “Middle Land” positioned between India and Tibet is reflective of its unique cultures. Bordered around Tibet, Nepal, and Pakistan the topography is filled with Himalayan ranges, valleys enveloping high altitude lakes, everywhere you turn there are beautiful snow-capped mountains waiting to play peek-a-boo. Culturally, Tibetan Buddhism is the prominent religion in the north of the region and Hinduism in lower Lahaul. You can expect to see some beautiful monasteries that date back beyond 100+ years and temples dedicated to eternal goddesses who have governed over the mountains.
If you’ve been curious about legends of traders charting their way discovering trade routes or shepherds mapping new routes for greener pastures, then this is the trek for you. You will hike through thick forests, surreal meadows of the Kinnaur and climb through the desolate valley of Spiti. The Pin Bhaba pass at 4,865 metres will have you hiking by buckwheat and potato farms, cross handmade footbridges, hike beside the Wangar river and finally a steep ascent to the pass. Nine days of serenity, quiet, and surreal views is what we have in store for you.
Who can do this tour?
The Bhaba Pass trek is ideal for anyone who wants to explore Spiti and its beautiful locales at a slower pace. The trek itself is of medium intensity with ample time for breaks to stop and explore. As for altitude, the trek is planned to accommodate acclimatization to avoid high altitude sickness. You will be hiking an average of 6-8 kilometres per day with a difficult day of hiking when you cross the Bhaba Pass which is about 19 kilometres of uphill and flat terrain hiking. The drive is not tough except for the last day’s drive from Chandratal to Manali which can be bumpy.
On this 13-day tour starting from Chandigarh, we will cover some surreal campsites like Mulling, Kara, Fustirang, and of course stays in little homestays in Mudh and Langza. You will witness the inner Himalayan region in close quarters taking you closer to its unique flora and fauna. The cultural shift of Buddhist traditions fluently intermingling with the Hindu way of life reflecting in their architecture, heritage, and family traditions. This is ideal for those who want to explore beyond the tourist routes and wants to get a “real feel” of the region interacting with the Gaddi shepherds and travelling through listening to the stories of the locals. The interactions with the locals will leave you spellbound and you’ll be overwhelmed at their gentle and kind ways.
You are to arrive in Chandigarh on or before noon, upon arrival and meeting your tour host; we will drive toward Shimla, a 3+ hours drive through winding roads overseeing the surreal views of the coniferous forests. Lunch en-route with adequate stops to stretch your legs and capture the views. Spend the evening on a guided walk through Shimla’s colonial past and learn of the railway’s in India that had its beginnings in this colonial town. Enjoy a delicious Himachali dinner with your fellow trekkers, overnight stay in Shimla.
• Meet and greet fellow travellers
• Crive to Shimla from Chandigarh
• Guided walk through colonial Shimla
We start with an early breakfast and continue our drive toward Sarahan; a small village in Himachal Pradesh known for the ancient Bhimakali temple that has influences of both Hindu and Buddhist religions. The journey to Sarahan’s about 160KMs away and will take about 5+ hours. We will reach Sarahan by lunch or eat en-route. Evening at leisure to explore the temple on a guided walk. Overnight and stay in Sarahan.
• Drive to Sarahan
• Vist a 300+ year old Temple
• Explore the village
Post breakfast, we drive a short distance toward Kafnu, approximately 65 KMs away from Sarahan. We will reach the start point of our trek by mid-morning and begin our hike to one of the most beautiful trek routes in Himachal. The river Sutlej flows by your side and the mesmerising Pin valley ahead, Expect to bump into shepherds who are heading towards greener pastures or children getting to school on makeshift trolleys to cross the river. The hike to our campsite in Mulling (Alt: 3,250m) will take about 5 hours, approximately 6+ KMs. Relish some warm tea and snacks at the camp. Dinner and overnight stay at camp by the river.
Hike distance: 6 kilometres
Accommodation Type: Campsite
• Enjoy the drive from Sarahaan to Kafnu
• Trek through wooded hills from Kafnu to Mulling
• First night in tented campsite
Today is an easy hike day, with an early start post breakfast we will begin our climb further into the Bhabha Valley. An 8 KMs hike through streams of glacial melt and pastures of green will take to Kara (3560m). Enjoy a packed picnic lunch en-route; this route has many opportunities to connect with local shepherds and slow down to capture the spellbinding views of the valley. Evening at leisure to rest and explore. Dinner and Overnight stay at camp by the river in Kara.
Hike distance: 8 kilometres
Accommodation Type: Campsite
• Entering the Bhabha valley
• Shepherds grazing their livestock
• Spot endemic birds and wild animals
Post breakfast we begin our hike to Fustirang, an approximately 7KMs hike through the wooded valleys and scenic landscapes with chance meetings with local shepherds, we will reach Fustirang (4000m) by mid-afternoon. Lunch will be en route or at the campsite. Evening at leisure to walk around one the most scenic campsites. Dinner and overnight stay at camp by the river in Fustirang.
Hike distance: 7 kilometres
Accommodation Type: Campsite
• Overview of the snow-capped mountains
• Views of meadows and the woodlands
Step out of your camp and look up, the peak that you see, yes, the tall mountain there is what we will be facing as we climb to the summit of Bhaba Pass (4,865m). We will take the torrid terrain to the summit and cross over Bhaba Pass toward Bara Bulder. It’s a tough day of close too 19 kilometres of walking and yet rewarding with the most beautiful views the valley has to offer. Post summiting the Bhaba pass, the terrain to our camp at Bara Bulder will be a decent and flat ground all along. Dinner and Overnight camp at Bara Bulder.
Hike distance: 19 kilometres
Accommodation Type: Campsite
• Tough day with intense climbs
• Enter the dry high altitude desert region of Trans Himalayas
• Summit to the Bhaba pass
Are you looking forward to a hot shower already? Well then, let’s walk through a defined path today (10 KMs), following the river and take the road often taken by trekkers and backpackers for shorter treks from the Mudh village (3819m). Expect tea houses and quaint homestays en route. We check in to ours by lunchtime where our hostess will have a Spitian lunch freshly cooked just for you—evening at leisure to explore Mudh village and connect with trekkers from around the world. Dinner and Overnight at a homestay in Mudh.
Hike distance: 10 kilometres
Accommodation Type: Homestay
• Hike to the first Spitian Village
• Try local Spitian cuisine
• Night of comfort in a homestay
So, are you ready to look for some pre-historic fossils? Langza is a village situated at an altitude of 14,500 ft above sea level, also the highest village with a motorable road. You can spot fossils of marine creatures and plants in plenty under the sedimentary rocks. These fossils date back to millions of years. The easiest way to detect these naturally formed fossils is to go hike around the mountains in Langza and to look for them under the rocks. Do note, you will have to put them back to where you found them as taking fossils or buying from the locals is illegal. Overnight stay at a quaint homestay in Langza.
• Drive to the fossil-rich Langza Village
• Enjoy resturaunt food, in Kaza the capital town
• Views from Langza overlook the Spiti Valley
Post a hearty breakfast and packed lunch we will hike toward Komik, the highest village and onward to Hikkim to send out postcards from Asia’s highest post office. No trip to Spiti is complete without sending a postcard to keep the post office going and of course to preserve a memory of your visit. Given the time, we will learn to cook some local cuisine in the homestay we will be staying at. Overnight stay in Langza.
• Hike up to the highest village
• Visit Highest Post office and send postcards to family and friends
• Learn to cook Spitian food in a traditional kitchen
Today we head to Losar village, a 70 Kms drive, is at the tether end of the Spiti valley and adjacent to the Indo-Chinese border. This village situated near the confluence of Losar and Peeno streams has a small population of farmers and local weaving communities. Set amid the magnificent mountains, and surreal streams, the landscape is similar to Ladakh and a delight for photographers to walk about and capture the most breath-taking images.
• Easy drive to Losar
• Evening at leisure to walk about in the village
Post a relaxed breakfast, we will drive across the Kunzum pass, pay our respects to the local deity who is known to guard the mountains and also popular for her gracious wish fulfilling powers. The journey to Chandratal (moon lake) is about 40 KMs, we’ll take sufficient breaks along the way and reach our campsite by lunch time. The crescent moon shaped lake has many myths and legends to proclaim a “Holy lake” tag, however, this high-altitude wetland offers one of most splendid views during spring time when the colourful flowers bloom along the marshy plateau. Take the 3KMs walk around the lake in time for sunset and we head back to our camp for a quiet dinner. Overnight stay at a camp near Chandratal Lake.
• Drive to across Kunzum La pass
• Hike to Chantra Tal lake
• Fun/Leisurely evening
We start the day early and drive toward Manali via Rohtang Pass. The 130 KMs drive will take us about 5+ hours to get past some rough terrain. Manali is known as the backpacking center and still has a “Hippy” vibe that brings every cliché of 80’s India alive. Our accommodation is carefully chosen in the old quarters of Manali close to all the interesting places and popular hangouts. We head out to treat the team for their efforts, a late evening stroll around is a great way to acquaint yourself with Manali and its many quirks. Overnight stay in Manali.
• Early morning start
• Drive up to Rohtang Pass
• Team Dinner in Manali
You have the morning to explore Manali town. You can walk up to the 16th Century Hadimba Temple shrouded in the woods. It is known that the grand legend of Mahabharatha has its connections here. We will plan a fun day as per your interests. Another option could be to visit a trout farm and feast on some fresh trout, straight from the farm to plate. We re-assemble at the hotel reception at 2:00 PM to head towards the main bus station. The overnight bus journey to Delhi.
Accommodation: Overnight coach
• Free Day : Morning at leisure to explore Manali
• Evening/Overnight journey to Delhi
We will arrive in Delhi latest by 8:00 AM. You can book your onward flight to your home destination post noon or alternatively if you would like to stay longer we can plan an interesting itinerary for your extended stay in Delhi and onward in India.
The Unventured Experience
On the Unventured trail, you will experience this diverse and unique side of Spiti trailing with the Gaddi shepherds. Along the trek, you will have plenty of time to interact with the local people and learn of their way of life, unique culture, and traditions.
Difficulty Level: Moderately challenging with one or two long days of trekking through difficult terrain.
Preparedness – Physical & Mental
The tour is graded medium intensity because of the 1 day of an intense climb to the summit and down. Once you have decided to take up this trek you will be guided to a weekly regime to get your legs going and strengthen the necessary muscle groups.
Your trek will be supported with trekking guides who are familiar with the region and would have already led this trail many times over. Your big baggage will be carried through the trek by mules. The traveller to support staff ratio is 3:1, so there is ample qualified support given any emergency. You will be required to go through a medical check and give a fitness certificate before you sign up on the trek. This is to make sure we are prepared for you and your well being.
Accommodation will be in homestays and campsites. All campsites will be close to a river bed so you have access to water. Homestays are basic and simple. These are homes of people with limited resources. Spiti as a region has recently opened its doors to travellers, their influence of modern technology is limited.