Detailed Itinerary

Day 01 Departure Europe/USA - Arrive Delhi:

Meet our tour-leader at the international airport departure terminal in Europe/USA and board premium airline, economy class flight to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi, traditional welcome and meet local staff at the Indira Gandhi International airport; transfer and overnight in hotel.

Day 02 Delhi – Chandigarh:

Brunch at the hotel. Later drive by air-conditioned coach to Chandigarh - 242 km approximately 5 hours. Chandigarh is the best-planned city in India, with architecture which is world-renowned, and a quality of life, which is unparalleled. As the capital of the states of Punjab and Haryana, and the Union Territory of Chandigarh it is a prestigious city. The face of modern India, Chandigarh, is the manifestation of a dream that Pt. Jawahar Lal Nehru envisaged and Le Corbusier executed.
Serenity and a city are two diametrically opposite concepts, which however, get belied in the 'City Beautiful'. Chandigarh is a rare epitome of modernization co-existing with nature's preservation. It is here that the trees and plants are as much a part of the construction plans as the buildings and the roads. India’s first planned city, is a rich, prosperous, spic and span, green city of the North. Overnight in Chandigarh in hotel.

Day 03 Chandigarh – Manali:

Early in the morning proceed to Manali - 2050 m, 312 km approximately 8 hours. In the first hours  we drive through the great fertile plains and simple villages of Punjab & Haryana States.
After a refreshing stop and snack at the emerald green Govind Sagar Lake, the road winds through the dense coniferous forested hills of the lower Himalayas, with beautiful villages and river Beas along the route through the Kulu Valley. Arrive Manali and check in the hotel. In the evening take a leisurely stroll of the bazaar.

Day 04 Manali – Keylong:

Continue our drive further. En route visit a wooden temple of the Hindu goddess Hadimba (1553 AD). In the afternoon drive past the Rahi waterfalls and beautiful coniferous forest, all the way to Rohtang pass 3980 m. From here, we can enjoy a wonderful view of the mountain and glacier terrain of Lahul and Spiti. In the previous times the pass was feared by the caravans (Rohtang = heap of dead bodies). Descend down to the two headwaters of the Chenab - the Chandra and Bhaga, son of the Moon and the daughter of the Sun got married here - so it says in the legend. Drive on to Keylong, the district centre of Lahul, with the towering 6000 m cluster of the Mulkila group. In the middle of the last century there was a missionary center here to which we owe much of the history and knowledge about Ladakh. We are now in the Buddhist Habitat, as we can recognize this in the Tibetan architecture of the houses. Overnight in camp.  

Day 05 Free in Keylong for rest and Acclimatization:

Our camp here lies at 3400 m near Keylong in the Bhaga Valley with its impressive surroundings. We shall use this day for exploring the area and acclimatize to the upcoming high reaches. There is no dearth of motives for our cameras here. Overnight in camp.

Day 06 Chandra Bhaga – Baralacha La – Tserap-Chu:

From here the road winds up the Bhaga Valley and over the thin air of Baralacha La 4892 m and past a sunny lake we reach the final weather-limit isobars of the main ridge of the Himalayas. Also an old caravan route from Spiti in the East  crosses the source waters of the Bhaga River. And now before us lie the wild, arid mountains of Ladakh, whose border we cross at Sarchu. Soon we encounter the Tserap Chu a tributary of the Zanskar River which cuts its way from here through narrow canyons and gorges all the way to the Indus. We cross a bridge nearby on the new military road, leading to the Lachalung La. Here we leave the road and meet our horses and horse drivers. We pitch our tents and set up our camp.

Day 07 Tserap-Chu – Lummun-Chu:

This is our first trekking day. As we trek downstream, to a broader valley we leave any traces of civilization behind us.  It is surprising to see lovely little meadows or grazing grass patches at an altitude of almost 4000 m. that look very inviting to take a break. We take it easy today and pitch tents at a clear source of Lummun Chu. Overnight in camp.

Day 08 Lummun-Chu – Base Marang La:

We follow the Tserap Chu to its confluence with the Tsara River and after some river crossings in a deep gorge we climb gradually up to the base camp below the 5200 m high Marang La. Overnight in camp.

Day 09 Base Marang La – Tsara:

Today we make an early start climb up a gorge, which eventually leads to a high valley over the Marang La, that offers a stark, spectacular view of a wild rugged scenario of mountains. Over a further small pass, we get back down to the Zara River where the nomads grow barley in the valley at an altitude of 4400 m in the really short summer. Their fields are in strong contrast to the desert of stone, sky and water. The area is has a large population of wolves and night attacks by these on horses are not seldom. It is also the natural habitat  of snow leopards. This is confirmed by the trapping pits built by the nomads to protect their herds. Overnight in camp on the Tsara River.

Day 10 Tsara – Last Spring:

The trail opens into a wide valley and we pass the winter settlements of the Rupshu Nomads, that are abandoned this time of the year as the nomads inhabit the grazing grounds lying much higher in the hidden valleys. They feed their Yaks, sheep and goats at an altitude of up to 5600 m! At Sangtha we come across simple stone houses and prayer walls (Manis) covered with woolen saddle blankets. Our caravan trail now follows along a narrow rivulet which looks like winding green band in seemingly endless wide valley and finally disappears in a scree. This is the last spot where we find fresh water. It is here that we shall camp. For want of a name we shall call it Last Spring. Overnight in camp.

Day 11 Last Spring – Tsokar Basin:

A long water-less day lies ahead of us. We must make sure to fill all our drinking flasks and canteens  to the brim. After traversing a long wide valley we cut across the street to Leh, and at the point where it winds up the  5300 m high Taglang pass, we draw on to the northern edge of the Mora plateau, at a height of 4700 m, with  sparing growth of grass and shrubbery reminiscent of Tibet. Our estimate of distances is relentlessly outwitted – that what seems close is actually almost endlessly far away.  To this we must get used to for next two days. At long last between two ridges, we find our way  into the great basin of the Tsokar Lake. A large spring just gushes out of a green pasture  - an unbelievable luxury after the hard and tough day. Overnight in camp.