"Not for the feint hearted! Here is a chance to really get to explore serious mountains through the Kaliheni La pass with glimpses of the Himalaya!"
Trek to remote villages, cross high-altitude mountain passes and indulge in some sightseeing on this exciting and challenging tour. Negotiating two passes at an altitude of nearly 5,000 metres, you’ll need good levels of endurance and prior experience to embark on this exhilarating trek, which passes through the remote mountains of Pir Panjal. Beginning in Delhi, you’ll journey north by train to Chandigarh and on to Manali in the lush and fertile Kullu Valley. Following the old Hindustan-Tibet highway, you’ll drive through the Himalayan foothills alongside the Beas River to arrive in the vibrant bazaar town of Manali.
From here, your trek begins with a steep climb through dense alpine forests to reach Lamadug, with awesome views across the Dhauladhar and Pir Panjal ranges your reward. The trail continues through upland meadows and virgin forests before reaching the spectacular Kaliheni La pass (4,650m) where you’ll see majestic glaciers and the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas. Walk through a stunning hidden valley, crossing picturesque streams and admiring unparalleled views of spectacular mountain ranges. Visit one of India’s most remote villages, Bara Bhangal, following shepherds’ trails to reach the icy Thamsar Pass. Descending steadily through Panattu and Rajgunda, you’ll continue to the home of the exiled Dalai Lama at McLeod Ganj. Spend one final night here before returning to Delhi to conclude your tour.
Active India Holidays are local operators and, as such, have seen first-hand the benefits that tourism can bring to some of India’s most remote regions. They understand that tourism often helps to alleviate poverty and develop communities and, as part of the global tourism industry, acknowledge that they too have a crucial role to play in providing commercial benefits and financial impetus in local communities. The company is conscious of both the negative and positive impacts its operations potentially have within sensitive environments and communities, particularly in the Himalayas where most of Active India’s trekking and adventure operations are conducted.
To ensure that they operate in as responsible a way as possible, Active India trains all of its tour leaders and support staff on sustainability practices. One example is their ‘Leave no Trace’ policy, which ensures that campsites and trails are left free from any waste. The company even extends this policy to include the waste left by travellers who have come before them, collecting and disposing of any extra rubbish in a safe manner. Active India hopes to contribute towards building a tourism industry that brings pleasure to travellers whilst also constructing a future for the local people and places that the industry depends on.
Arrival in Delhi: After arriving at Delhi international airport, you’ll receive a traditional welcome before transferring to your hotel. Attend an initial briefing and eat lunch before spending the rest of the day at your leisure.
Delhi – Chandigarh – Mandi: Take an early morning transfer to the railway station, where you’ll embark on a train journey to Chandigarh. The shared capital of the Punjab and Haryana states, Chandigarh is a gateway to the many hill stations in Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and the northern parts of Punjab. Upon your arrival in Chandigarh, you’ll drive north to the old market town of Mandi. Follow winding mountain roads, you’ll trace the river deeper and deeper into the foothills. Arrive in Mandi and check in to your hotel.
Mandi – Manali: Rise early for today’s drive to the famous hill station of Manali. You’ll follow the old Hindustan-Tibet highway alongside the Beas River that runs through the foothills of the Himalayas. The road is lined with deodar trees and apple orchards, and offers tantalising glimpses of the Himalayas. You’ll continue to follow the Beas River until you reach the Kullu Valley, renowned for its fertile agricultural land and fruit trees. Continuing your drive, you’ll arrive in Manali (2,050m) in the afternoon. Check in to your hotel, then enjoy a sightseeing walk around the streets of this lively bazaar town.
Manali – Lamadug: Today marks the beginning of your trek. Your walk is not long, but the trail is steep in places. Walk through deodar, oak and pine woodland, before reaching a rocky outcrop offering good views of Manali. Continue through a small meadow above this vantage point, then ascend steeply through pastures and conifer and oak forest. Eventually you’ll reach your camp on the grazing area of Lamadug (2,950m), a scenic meadow fringed with maple, spruce and oak trees.
Lamadug – Riyali: Follow the trail as it ascends across the ridge along the southern edge of the Manali Sanctuary, crossing a high pasture area and providing fantastic views of the Solang and Rohtang valleys. You’ll follow in the footsteps of the Gaddi shepherds, continuing to gain height until you reach the highest of the alpine ridges. From here, the trail leads southwards across several lush green ridges. Descend into a valley and set up camp in a meadow beyond Riyali.
Riyali: You'll spend the day acclimatising at the camp.
Riyali – Kaliheni Base Camp: Today the trail weaves and winds above the upper river course, before gradually descending to the valley floor. You’ll ford the river before beginning your ascent towards Kaliheni Pass. After crossing a small stream you’ll climb several grassy ridges, passing by shepherd encampments along the way. You’ll enjoy excellent views of the Chanderkhani Pass and the distant Indian Himalayan peaks, and there’s a chance you’ll spot wildlife including Golden eagles, ibex and the majestic Bearded vulture.
Kaliheni Pass – Kaliheni Valley: Walk through changing landscapes, as forests and meadows give way to rocky terrain and patches of snow. Today’s climb is tough, with a long and steep climb taking you to the top of the Kaliheni Pass (4,650m). Follow a grassy ridge to a small plateau, beyond which there is only rock, snow and moraine. The views from the pass encompass glaciated terrain and numerous snowy peaks from the Bara Bhangal and Pir Panhal ranges to the main Himalayan range. From the pass you’ll descend into the remote valley of the Kaliheni Nullah (stream) to reach your campsite at 3,550m.
Kaliheni Valley – Lambapad: Today will be spent hiking down the Kaliheni Valley. You’ll follow a path above the tree line, enjoying great mountain views in the upper part of the valley. As you continue to descend, you’ll reach sparse juniper and birch woodland, followed by pine and oak. You may need to ford some of the many tributary streams. At the end of the day, you’ll set up camp in a grassy clearing overlooking the valley.
Lambapad – Sukha: This morning’s trek takes you across ridges and over streams, past Gaddi encampments and alpine meadows. You'll reach your camp in a beautiful meadow called Sukha after an ascend via a river crossing.
Sukha – Bara Bhangal: After a short climgb, a steep descent leads you through terraced fields to the Gaddi village of Bara Bhangal (2,550m). In the summer months, this secluded village is occupied by people from the upper Kangra Valley. After a final dusty descent, you’ll arrive at your campsite near the confluence of the Kaliheni and Ravi rivers.
Bara Bhangal – Marhu (Base of Thamsar Pass): Your trek turns south today, as you cross the Kaliheni River and begin a steep 400 metre ascent. After reaching a broad glacial valley, you’ll gradually ascend across open meadows and grazing areas, following a route regularly used by the Gaddi. You’ll set up camp in Marhu, a flat knoll below the Thamsar Pass.
Thamsar Pass – Panattu: Start out early to make your approach to the Thamsar Pass. The trail gradually ascends past a prominent side valley and a glacier, climbing through boulder fields to reach a glacial lake at the base of the pass. Reaching the pass itself (4,750m), you’ll admire magnificent views of many snow-capped peaks including the majestic Mount Kailash. Descend steeply across snow and moraine to reach the first pasture. Continue with a steep descent to your camp at the meadow at Panattu.
Panattu – Rajgunda: Today begins with a walk on the glacier. Descend across several permanent snow bridges to reach a trail that weaves through rhododendron, spruce and oak forest. Reaching Palachak, you’ll cross a metal bridge and continue through the forest before arriving in fields of corn, beans and potatoes near Rajgunda (2,400m). Gentle ascents and descents take you through mixed woodland, leading to your destination - the fields of Rajgunda (2,450m). This tiny settlement will be your final campsite.
Rajgunda – Billing – McLeod Ganj: Your final day of trekking is a pleasant one – walk along the pleasant foothills of Dhauladhar through pine, oak and rhododendron woodland and across picturesque farmland. The trail winds around contours and ridges to Billing, before descending to Bir. Here you’ll visit an exiled Tibetan community, before enjoying lunch and meeting your transport. Your tour continues into McLeod Ganj, part of the town of Dharamsala. Upon your arrival, you’ll check in to your hotel before enjoying a free evening to explore the area. Home of the exiled Dalai Lama and his Tibetan Government, McLeod Ganj is a lively and colourful town with an interesting collection of monasteries and temples.
Dharamsala Delhi – Delhi: Early morning flight to Delhi.
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person (on a double sharing basis)
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- Refunds: 80% refund available until 30 days prior to check-in; 50% refund available 15 days prior to check-in; 25% refund available 6 days prior to check-in; within 5 days of check-in there will be no refund.
- Breakfasts while staying at hotels
- Full board meals during camping
- Full trekking service including food and equipment (apart from personal equipment)
- English speaking monument sightseeing guides at cities
- All land transport
- Government service tax as applicable
- Travel insurance
- Indian visa fees
- Any monument entrance fees
- Flights (domestic/international)
- Any optional activities or services not mentioned in inclusions
- Services of any professional English speaking tour leader/escort during the tour
- Miscellaneous expenses for tips, laundry, drinks, any medical emergencies and souvenirs etc.