Level of fitness required: Experienced and fit trekkers only
Please note: This trek covers one of the most isolated areas of Himachal Pradesh. There are a number of demanding days so an extra day (day 9) has been set aside for rest and acclimatisation. Apart from the occasional Gaddi shepherd camps there are no settlements until Bara Bhangal – a village of approximately 50 houses which is cut off by high passes and deep snow for at least six months of the year. Overnight camping is mostly in alpine campsites. This is a challenging route and can only be undertaken by experienced and fit trekkers.
*Trekking routes can alter due to adverse weather conditions
Your Trek Leader
You will be joined in India by Back Track Director, Ray Baker. Ray has 39 years of trekking experience and has led over 60 Himalayan treks.
This will be Ray’s third visit to the Indian Himalaya and he has designed an itinerary sure to appeal to lovers of high places. His energy, enthusiasm and zest for adventure are contagious.
Expert drivers will handle the road transportation before and after the trek. They will safely deliver you to your destination. A support team of guides, kitchen staff and pony handlers will join you on the trek. Your interaction with the local crew will greatly enhance your enjoyment.
Your Trek Guide
You will also be accompanied throughout by Vikas Kumar, our local Trek Guide who comes from Naddi – a small, picturesque village above Dharamsala in the Indian State of Himachal Pradesh. Vikas is an experienced, professional English speaking guide who will be happy and honoured to share his knowledge. He is passionate about the area and the Himalaya. Since leaving school he worked as a porter then as a trekking guide from Dharamsala to Ladakh, in the remote Himalaya. He completed his tertiary education part time whilst working as a guide. Since then he has taken groups throughout India and Nepal. Vikas’ gentle nature, passion for history and the culture of India, combined with his local networks makes him the perfect guide to ensure the safety and wellbeing of his trekking groups.
20 August 2019
Welcome to incredible India! Upon your arrival at the airport in Delhi, our representative will greet you and escort you to the hotel. After checking into your hotel, spend the rest of your day at your leisure exploring the local area and relaxing in the hotel. Our friendly guide and hotel staff will be on hand should you need recommendations or general provisions.
Tonight we have the option of enjoying a special ‘Namaste’ welcome dinner in one of New Delhi’s many fine Indian restaurants. This is dependent on flight arrival times. There is also the option of enjoying the welcome dinner in Manali the following night.
Overnight: Hotel, New Delhi
21 August 2019
Fly to Chandigarh in the early morning and drive to Manali from the airport. This scenic drive follows the Beas River and passes through one of the most beautiful gorges that Himachal Pradesh has to offer. Sit back and admire the stunning views as we travel in comfort through what is known as the ‘Valley of the Gods’.
There is the option of enjoying the welcome dinner tonight if time did not permit in Delhi.
Overnight: Hotel, Manali
22 August 2019
We will spend the morning sightseeing in Manali, including a visit to the hot water springs in Vashist (walking tour) to soothe your muscles before we start the trek. We will then explore the exotic charm of old Manali and visit the Manu Hadimba Temple.
In the afternoon you will meet your trekking guide to orientate and prepare for your trek.
The rest of the day is at your leisure to explore this picturesque town or to take a well deserved rest. Manali also has a range of restaurants offering a variety of local and international cuisines for you to enjoy dinner in.
Overnight: Hotel, Manali
23 August 2019
Today the trek starts in Manali (altitude 2050m). We will follow the trail past the Hadimba Temple to the entrance of the Manali Sanctuary. We will then start to climb through a deodar forest for 3kms until we reach a rocky outcrop with a view of Manali. A steep ascent of 400m follows through small pastures and conifer and oak forest. Your campsite is at Lama Dug (2920m), a large meadow surrounded by maple, spruce and oak trees.
Overnight: Camping, Lama Dug
24 August 2019
This morning we will head towards the southern perimeter of the Manali Sanctuary. There are wonderful views of the Soling and Routing Valleys with their snow capped peaks. After admiring the view we will continue on our trail across the high pastures. This long and gradual ascent has spectacular views of Hampton Valley and Doe Tibia at 6000m. After walking for 4-5 hours you will reach the highest alpine ridge at 3800m. From this grassy plateau we will make the final ascent to a small valley and from then it is a gradual climb of 2-3kms through a small oak forest to Riyali at 3320m.
Overnight: Camping, Riyali Thach
25 August 2019
Today the trail winds above the upper river course before descending to the valley floor. You can see views of the Kalihani pass from this point. After 2 hours, the trail crosses a bridge at 3270m and from here you will climb a series of grassy ridges and pass a number of Gaddi shepherd camps to reach your campsite at 3700m.
Overnight: Camping, Kalihani Base Camp
26 August 2019
Today we will follow the trail along a grassy ridge to a small plateau at 4000m before ascending to a series of moraines, which have been formed over time by glacial deposits. This area is steep in sections and leads to the base of the spectacular Kalihani Pass. A short ascent will lead us to a snowfield, where we will push on through the ice to reach the prayer flags of the Kalihani Pass at 4610m (3-4 hours). You can have a short rest here and enjoy the impressive views of a series of snowfields with hanging glaciers that form the crest of the Bara Bhangal range. We will then head across the snowfield to reach a series of glacial lakes (4350m). Tonight’s camp is 2-3 hours from this point.
Overnight: Camping, Danku Thach
27 August 2019
Today we will cross the river and continue down into the valley and across some scree slopes. There is a short, steep ascent before climbing to a side valley. Along the way we can stop to admire the panoramic views of the Dhauladhar mountain range. We will then continue on to Damari Thach (3550m) which is 3-4 kms away. We will set up tonight’s camp in this large alpine meadow.
Overnight: Camping, Damari Thach
28 August 2019
This morning we will continue to another stunning alpine ridge (3670m) before crossing a series of high altitude pastures. A long and gradual descent leads us to the village of Bara Bhangal. Along the way you will see birch, rhododendron and blue pine trees. You may also get to see evidence of brown bears and snakes. We will then reach Bara Bhangal (a village spread out over a number of kilometres) where we will camp for 2 days. We will set up camp by the river and across from the village.
Overnight: Camping, Bara Bhangal
29 August 2019
Today you have the entire day for resting and relaxing around the village. You can sit back and enjoying the view or take a walk around Bara Bhangal to observe traditional village life.
Overnight: Camping, Bara Bhangal
30 August 2019
In the morning we will cross the river and begin a steep 400m ascent to the south of the valley. We will continue for 3kms until we reach a broad glacial valley. We will then cross open meadows and scree slopes in a gradual ascent. When we reach the base of a the waterfall we will stop for a rest before our final ascent towards the series of meadows at Thamsar (3750m).
Overnight: Camping, Thamsar
31 August 2019
After we leave Thamsar we will hike for 3-4kms before negotiating scree and boulder fields in order to reach a glacial lake at 4100m. Continue on the trail to another glacial lake at the base of the pass (4380m). Crossing the snowfield leads to a prominent ridge line and the crest of the Dhauladhar range and Thamsar Pass. The pass is marked by Tibetan prayer flags and Hindu tridents. There are impressive views in both directions – the Pir Panjal Range to the north and the vast plains to the south. The steep 3 hour descent passes by a large glacial lake at 4370m before we reach Panhartu at 3390m.
Overnight: Camping, Panharu
1 September 2019
From Panhartu the trail descends across a series of permanent snow bridges for 2-3kms. This trail leads us through a mixed forest of rhododendron, spruce and oak; before we reach a forest rest house at Palachak (2500m). After a short break we will continue to descend through the corn and potato fields near Rajgundha (2400m), where we will cross the river to take the trail to Narotta. At this point there are scenic views of the plains of India. We will continue for another 4-5kms around the contours and alpine ridges until we reach Billing (2200m). From here we will travel to McLeod Ganj by private car (2.5 hours). Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride, you deserve it!
Overnight: Hotel, McLeod Ganj
2 September 2019
We will spend today relaxing and sightseeing in this fascinating North Indian hill station. We’ll visit the temple of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, the Namgyel Monastery; as well as the Tibet Museum. We will then visit the Norbulingka Institute, which was created with the intention of preserving Tibetan culture. For a unique showcase of Tibetan art we will take a guided tour of the workshops to see the artisans at work. There is also a cafe here where you can enjoy sampling some local delicacies.
Spend the rest of the afternoon at your leisure, either resting in the hotel or strolling through the town. You might like to indulge in a massage or do some last minute shopping.
Tonight we will enjoy a farewell dinner at one of the many fantastic local restaurants before preparing to leave Himachal Pradesh the following morning.
Overnight: Hotel, McLeod Ganj
3 September 2019
In the morning we will take a flight back to Delhi. The tour arrangement ends at Delhi airport where you can transfer for your return flight home. Thank you for travelling with us and we hope to see you again soon.
Fully accompanied by representative of Back Track Adventures
Met by a Back Track Adventures representative at the airport in Delhi
Local English speaking guide for the duration of the tour (Delhi to McLeodGanj)
9 nights trekking accommodation in a tent (twin sharing), all food and guide and porters for the duration of the ten day trek
5 nights accommodation in hotels with breakfast included
Flight from Delhi to Chandigarh and Dharamsala to Delhi
Transfers to and from airports
Transfers from Chandigarh to Manali and from Billing (end of trek) to McLeod Ganj
All transfers and sightseeing by private A/C vehicles
Welcome and farewell dinners
Entrance fees at Norbulingka Institute (Dharamsala)
Airfares to and from India
Indian tourist visa (on arrival)
Travel Insurance (compulsory)
Personal expenditure such as drinks (including bottled water), laundry service and souvenirs
Lunches and dinners not specified in the itinerary
Extra activities and transport not stipulated in itinerary description