Mesmerizing views, Spitian way of life and unending mountains of fresh white snow!
Step into one of the harshest regions in the world where temperatures plummet to -30º C and yet life goes on for the people and the wildlife who call The Middle Land, the Spiti Valley their home.
For the people of Spiti, the winter months are a time of hibernation, family time, time for merriment, time to spin and weave while they warm up around a fire and plan for the summer months ahead. A time to step back and linger, something that the city folks seldom forget to. For the wildlife this is a time of little or no food, and very little water, a time to step out beyond their territories. The animals that otherwise spend their time high up in the peaks now descend down to warmer temperatures in the valleys and for water flowing in the streams below, this is time in the wild to hunt and scourge for food.
If you’ve been curious about the Himalayan winters, think you love snow and are really keen on an experience that is both humbling and insightful then come with us and introduce yourself to a whole new world of cultural and geographical diversity. Listen to the stories of the locals sitting by a warm hearth and enjoying a hot cup of tea, hear them narrate stories of their everyday life, of their ancestors that to us seem like adventures and stories of legends that make these mountains a blessed place and home for them.
If you are seeking an experience that is off the beaten path this winter then you MUST try this unique and once in a lifetime experience in the mountains.
Who can do this tour?
The Himalayan winter hike is ideal for anyone who wants explore Spiti and its beautiful waterscape for, culture, history, local way of life, nature, wildlife and the outdoors, hike from one village to another on snow. The hike will be for 3 days and of medium intensity with ample time for breaks to stop and explore. We will however be hiking at high altitudes of over 3500 meters ASL. The drive days are not tough but are long and can be a bumpy one on some stretches.
Being physically fit is a MUST, we would however suggest you put in sometime getting your legs in shape with some practice while walking on inclines, be it on road or on a treadmill.
You will meet your Unventured guide at the Chandigarh Airport, we will drive out from the Airport latest by 1:00 PM. Travellers are requested to schedule their arrival before 2:00 PM or alternative arrive the night early. We will drive out to Narkanda by car making stops along the way to stretch our legs and grab a warm of cup of tea. An approximate 6 hour drive through scenic fern lined roads will take us to our hotel. Upon arrival, we will check into our gather for dinner for a quick briefing on the days to come and rest for the night.
Drive Distance : 184Kms/ 6 hours
– Meet and greet with your fellow travellers and your Unventured tour host
– Arrive into Chandigarh and transfer to Shimla
– 4 hour drive through scenic fern lined roads
After an early breakfast we will checkout from the hotel and Drive to Kalpa. Our journey will take around 5 hrs. It’s a beautiful drive through the foot hills of Himalayas. Kalpa is known to be the home of ancient temples and monasteries. The people of the region follow a syncretism of Hinduism and Buddhism and you will see nuances of this in their architecture, temples and even in their way of life. Take time to connect with locals and understand their unique culture. The views though are breath-taking with a glimpses of the sacred Shivling rock that changes colour through the day. Overnight at homestay in Kalpa.
Drive Distance: 162 Kms/ 5 Hours
Accommodation Type: Hotel/Homestay
– Scenic drive from Shimla to Kalpa
– Walk about Kalpa Village
– Visit one of Kalpa’s oldest monastery.
Post breakfast we will checkout from our hotel and drive toward Dhankar. Our journey will take around 8 hrs along the Sutlej river and we enter into the middle land, Spiti Valley. Lunch will be in the quaint Nako village right next to the Tibetan border. We will visit the 11th Century monastery and the holy Nako lake. Post lunch we continue our drive to Tabo and overnight night stay at a homestay in Dhankar.
Drive Distance: 180 Kms/ 6 Hours
– Scenic drive along the snow-capped mountains
– Visit a 11th Century Monastery
– Stay with the locals in a Village homestay
Post Breakfast we will visit Dhankar Monastery that magnificently rests at an elevation of 3800 mtrs. The monastery is over 1000yrs old and is one of the only fort monasteries that served as a prison during the erstwhile era. Just as the locals do we soak in the calm at the monastery and we begin our trek with beautiful views of snow-capped mountains toward Demul. Demul Village is popularly known as the village with 1 phone, with just about 50 families, the winter time is quiet and cosy. Our trek will take around 7-8 hrs with a climb up to Demul. . We will spend the evening and overnight at a homestay with a local family.
Hike Time – 7-8 hours
– Visit to the Dhankar Monastery
– Scenic hike to Demul Village
– Stay with a local host
Second day of our trek will start after a local home cooked breakfast and we will begin our hike toward Komic Village, Komic which literally means “eye of a snow cock” ( Ko – snowcock , mic – eye) is also the World’s highest village. The hike up to Komic will take about 6-7 hours. The final leg of the hike will be along a ridge getting to the homestay closer to the monastery. The village of Komic comprises of 10 odd homes, the monastery’s history goes back to many centuries, post resting up at the homestay we will head out to explore the monastery. Overnight at a homestay in Komic.
Hike Time – 6 – 7 Hours
– Hike up to the World’s Highest Village
– Explore the Komic Monastery
– Overnight in a cosy home, stay with a local
Post a delicious home cooked breakfast, we will hike to Langza, also known as the fossil village, the region is rich in ammonite fossils around 100 million years old. At an altitude of 14,500 ft above sea level, Langza is one of the highest villages in the region. Closer to the Tibet and China border, the community largely follows Tibetan Buddhism, the cuisine is varied based on seasonality, enjoy roasted barley and a fusion of Indian and Tibetan food. Evening we will walk up to the tall Buddha and behind it the 500 yr old temple. Overnight in a homestay at Langza.
Hike time – 5-6 hours
– Hike to the fossil village
– Visit a 500 yr old Temple
– Overnight at a local homestay.
We begin our day post breakfast and start out on our drive toward Khibber. Perched at 14,200 ft, the Kibber wildlife sanctuary is popular for blue sheep, Himalayan Thars. Red fox and elusive snow leopard. En route to Kibber we will stop at the Kye Monastery, one of the biggest monastery’s in Spiti. A short drive of 30+ Kms will take us to our homestay, We will head out post lunch to explore the valley.
Drive Distance – 30+ Kms
Accommodation – Homestay
– Scenic Drive from Langza to Khibber
– Visit to Kye Monastery
– Short Hike in Khibber
We head out early in the morning at the break of dawn which brings the snow leopards to the fringes looking for a hunt. We will hike up to a spot that is populated with Blue sheep and the Ibex, this increases our probability to catch a glimpse of the snow leopard in action. Today will be a delight for wildlife and photography enthusiasts. We’ll spend the morning waiting by the spot to catch a glimpse of this action along with other photography and wildlife enthusiasts. Post lunch we will Hike about in the periphery of the valley looking for more endemic wildlife. Overnight at a homestay in Kibber
Hike Time – 3-4 hours
Accommodation – Homestay
– Local hike in Kibber
– Chances of spotting some endemic wildlife
– Stay with a local host
We’ll try our chances again to spot the Snow leopard and post a late breakfast we will begin our drive to Nako. About 130 Kms away is the high altitude lake that is known to have the foot like impression ascribed of the saint Padmasambhava. We will reach Nako Village for a late lunch, we’ll spend the evening strolling about the lake and visiting the monastery in time for prayers.
Drive time – 130 Kms/ 3 hrs
– Scenic drive from Khibber to Nako
– Relaxed walk about the Nako Lake
– Overnight at a homestay.
Today will be a long day of driving from Nako to Naldhera. Post breakfast we head on our drive to Naldhera, which will take about 8+ hours covering over 290 Kms. We will take ample stops along the way to stretch our legs and cover the distance comfortably.
Drive Time/Distance : 290 Kms , 8 Hours
Accommodation : Hotel/Homestay
– Scenic drive from Nako to Naldhera
– Overnight at a hotel/homestay
We will depart from Naldhera early in the morning covering a little over 160+ Kms. With a drive time of 5 hours, you will be dropped off at the Chandigarh airport by noon. Those of you returning to your home destination are to book flights that fly out of Chandigarh International Airport post 2:00 PM.
Drive – 160 Kms/5 Hours
The Unventured Experience
On the Unventured trail, you will experience this diverse and unique side of Spiti trailing in the peak of winter. Along the journey you will have plentiful interactions with the local people to learn of their way of life and unique culture and traditions. The winter time is also ideal for Wildlife enthusiasts to spot the elusive snow leopard and the resilient blue sheep, along with many other endemic wildlife.
Difficulty Level: Moderately challenging with one or two long days of hiking through rough terrain.
Preparedness – Physical & Mental
The tour is graded medium intensity because of a few days of intense climb in the snow. Once you have decided to take up on 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 in the vehicle. An Unventured NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) tour leader will be there to guide you along with the local support staff and team of experienced mountaineers. The traveller to support staff ratio is 4:1, so there is ample qualified support given in 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.
Food And Nutrition
Our food menu is based on fresh food to provide three nutritious, plentiful and tasty meals daily.
A full sized first aid kit including oxygen canisters will be carried during the trip. Our tour leaders have appropriate wilderness first-aid training and are experienced in dealing with a range of medical problems associated with adventure travel. We also recommend that you bring your own personal medication, sunscreen and multi-vitamin tablets (just in case).
We are cautious and diligent with the safety of our guests and as an adventure expedition the risk of injuries is higher than most other travel journeys. We follow a strict guideline in controlling and managing the pace of the group and discipline. We are well versed with the challenges faced by travellers on this stretch and also have in-depth information on possible places to reach out to for medical aid in the event of an emergency. You will be instructed each day on the trail, what to expect, do’s and don’ts so you do not put your lives at risk and affect the fellow travellers’ tour experience. Although we indemnify ourselves and our staff from the legalities of any life threatening events through a “Declaration” document. We genuinely are worried about your safety and security, we want you to follow the safety guidelines and leave your other worries with us and take to exploring.
Our crew comprises of professional guides mostly locals dedicated to providing the best experience. Tour crew /porters will provide you with essential support. Local cooks will dish out some delicious cuisine for you after a long day’s of trekking. It is very likely that the times you spend with them – walking, talking, and sharing experiences – will be among the most memorable memories of the expedition.
Accommodation on the trek will be in very basic homestays and simple food with limited facilities. In these cold conditions the locals have very little access to resources to help make our stay luxurious. There will however be no dearth in the form of warmth, a friendly smile and good conversations.
Transport will be in a local jeep set-up, Tata Sumo or similar. These vehicles can power-up in extreme weather conditions and can handle rough weather well and hence will be the best mode of transport on the terrain.
NOTE: We DO NOT expect any snowfall during our stay since it is the end of the winter season.