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14 Nights Shimla & Manali with Kalpa

Destinations Covered
New Delhi-Shimla-Sarahan-Sangla-Kalpa-Tabo-Nako-Kaza-Manali-Chandigarh

Day 1 New Delhi – Shimla (370km/8hrs 30min)

On arrival at Shimla Airport/Station, you will be met by our representative and assisted to the designated coach/car booked.

Transfer and check-in at selected hotel.

Shimla, the former summer capital of the British in India, and the present capital of Himachal Pradesh, has been blessed with all the natural bounties which one might conceive of. The spectacular cool hills, accompanied by the structures made during the colonial era, create an amazing aura. Founded by the British in 1819 after the Gorkha War, Shimla is famous for its natural beauty, architectural buildings, wooden crafts and apples.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2 In Shimla

Post breakfast, take a half-day heritage walk in Shimla, visiting Scandal Point, General Post Office, Catholic Church, Town Hall, Gaiety Theatre Complex, Kalibari Temple, Gorton Castel, Vidhan Sabha, State Museum and Viceroy Lodge.

Scandal Point, located on the Mall Road, is a major landmark of the town due to its interesting past. The place derives its name from the story of the commotion caused after the Maharaja of Patiala had eloped with the British Viceroy’s daughter, at this junction point.

This had led to the British authorities banning the Maharaja from entering Shimla. He countered by setting himself a new summer capital: the now-famous hill resort of Chail, 45km from Shimla.

The General Post Office is next to Scandal Point. The building was constructed in 1882 for the Director General of the Post Office for the whole of British India. It’s a timber-framed structure which is an eclectic mix of different styles, similar to other British-era buildings in Shimla.

The Catholic Church was built in the neo-Gothic style in 1857, to serve the largely Anglican British community in Shimla. Situated on The Ridge, it is one of the prominent landmarks of Shimla. This church remains one of the enduring legacies of the British Raj.

The Town Hall is a renovated Municipal Corporation building of Shimla. Built in 1910 during the British regime, the Town Hall exhibits architecture reminiscent of the pre-independence era, preserved in its original form. During non-summer months, Shimla was governed by the Municipal Board established in 1851, which oversaw matters pertaining to water supply, sanitation, roads and taxation. The Town Hall was built on the foundation stone laid by the Municipal Board.

The Gaiety Theatre Complex was opened on the 30th of May in 1887, and was designed by Henry Irwin. The building's exquisite Gothic style of architecture is a true manifestation of Victorian artistry. The most popular attraction in this complex is the Victorian Theatre, where legends like Rudyard Kipling, Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Baten Powel, K. L. Sehgal and others have performed. Beyond being a century-old symbol of art and culture, the Gaiety is primarily known as a social club. With an array of venues including an exhibition hall, art gallery, multi-purpose hall, amphitheatre, and an old theatre hall, this is the hub of performing arts in the state.

Kali Bari Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali, also known as Devi Shyamala. It was built in the year 1845 amidst the rolling hills of Shimla. Legend has it that it is from the name of Goddess Shyamala that “Shimla” has been derived.

Gorton Castle was completed in 1904 by legendary architect Swinton Jacob. Gorton Castle remains one of the most stunning buildings in all of Shimla. Perched upon a hill, this structure was built from grey stone and had a red-tiled roof on it, until monkeys wreaked havoc and pulled off the tiles. Galvanized red roofing eventually replaced the tiles. This castle served as the Government of India’s Secretariat Building during the British Raj.

Vidhan Sabha: This edifice was inaugurated by Lord Reading, the then-Viceroy of India, on August 27, 1925. The need of this building arose when the British chose Shimla as the Summer Capital of the Imperial Government.

State Museum Shimla: This is housed in an old Victorian mansion, carefully altered to adapt it into a museum. The museum houses a huge collection of magnificent paintings, sculptures, coins, handicrafts, photos, etc., not only from the state of Himachal Pradesh but from beyond as well.

The Viceroy Lodge was built in 1888 by the British Viceroy, Lord Dufferin. The premises also has a museum and beautifully laid out gardens. It housed all subsequent Viceroys and Governor Generals of India. Today, it houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies. The building was designed by Henry Irwin, an architect in the Public Works Department. The Viceroy Lodge had electricity as early as 1888, much before the rest of the town of Shimla. Many historic decisions have been made in this building, during the Indian independence movement. The Shimla Conference was held here in 1945. The decision to carve out Pakistan and East Pakistan from India was also made here, in 1947.

Later in the afternoon, return to hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3 In Shimla

Post breakfast, morning at leisure.

Later in evening, take a walking excursion to Jakhoo Temple.

Jakhoo Temple is an ancient temple dedicated to Shree Hanuman. It is situated on Jakhoo Hill, 2.5km from The Ridge, at a height of 2,455 metres above sea level. It’s the highest peak of Shimla and offers a panoramic view of the city. The world's tallest statue of Lord Hanuman was unveiled here on November 5th, 2010. Legend goes that Shree Hanuman stopped there to rest while searching for sanjivni booti (a life-giving herb) to revive Ram’s brother Lakshman, in the epic Ramayana.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4 Shimla – Sarahan (165km/5hrs 30min)

Post breakfast, check-out and drive to Sarahan, visiting Hathu Peak on the way.

Hatu Peak (3300 metres) road is surrounded by pine and spruce trees. On top of the hill, an ancient Hatu Mata temple is located. The peak offers spectacular views of the Himalayan range of snow-clad mountains, while below there are dense forests, green fields and apple orchards.

Afterwards, resume journey to Sarahan.

Sarahan Bushahr is a beautiful hamlet located in the Sutlej Valley. It offers the opportunity to explore nature at its best. Placed at an average altitude of 2165 metres above sea level, Sarahan commands a view of Srikhand Mahadev Peak.

The place is popular for the ancient Bhimakali Temple, apple orchards, pine forests, small streams, rustic settings and slate-roofed houses. Sarahan is identified with the Shontipur mentioned in the Puranas. Due to Usha-Anirudh, Shree Krishna fought here against Banasur, the eldest son of great demon King Bali. After Banasur’s death, Pradyumna, the son of Shree Krishna, became the ruler of this Bushahr Kingdom. Since then, this Kingdom was governed uninterruptedly by this same dynasty, and Goddess Bhimakali is recognized as the presiding deity of the ruling house. Sarahan Bushahr has been the summer capital of the Bushahr Kingdom, with Rampur Bushahr being the winter capital. Mother Goddess Bhimakali is the presiding deity of the ruling house.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

In the evening, visit the Bhimakali Temple to witness evening aarti (ceremony).

The Bhimakali Temple, dedicated to Goddess Bhimakali, is one of 51 Shakti Peethass. The manifestation of the goddess is reported to have taken place during the Daksha-Yajna incident, when the ear of Satidevi fell here. The Tibetan-style, wooden Bhimakali Temple – with its slate roof, pagodas, exquisitely carved silver doors and golden towers – is magnificent to behold.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 5 Sarahan – Sangla Valley (90km/2hrs 40min)

Visit Bhimakali Temple to witness the morning aarti.

Post breakfast, morning at leisure.

Check-out in the afternoon, and depart for Sangla valley via Karcham.

Sangla,or Bapsa Valley, is nestled beautifully in the lap of the Himalayas. It is resplendent with amazing natural beauty and picturesque locations. The region and its vicinity are famous for its cherry and apple trees, and its pine nut orchards. Besides the natural beauty, Kamru Fort, Buddhist Monastery, Sangla Meadow and Tibetan Wood Carving Centre are Sangla’smain attractions. The place is famous worldwide for Kinnauri caps and handmade shawls. The major source of livelihood for the locals is agriculture and related activities, and Bastseri, in Sangla, is the only area in the region where chilgoza (a rare dry fruit) is grown.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 6 Sangla – Chitkul – Sangla (20km/1hr - one way)

Post breakfast, half-day excursion to Chitkul.

Chitkul is the last inhabited village in the Indian side of the Indo-Tibet border, situated 20km from Sangla. The village lies on the right bank of the River Baspa. The most popular attraction here is the temple of local goddess Chitkul Maathi, also known as Mata Devi. Chitkul experiences heavy snowfall during winters, when it becomes completely un-inhabited.

Enjoy the scenic beauty of green orchards, and the view of the brilliant stream running past.

Take a free afternoon to relax and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 7 Sangla – Kamru – Sangla (2km/20min - one way)

Post breakfast, take a half-day excursion to Kamru Fort, Badrinath and the Kamakhya Temple.

The Kamru Fort is located at a height of 2600 metres above sea level, around 2km from Sangla Valley. The fort has many gates, and a picture of Lord Buddha at its main gate. A wooden balcony adorns the upper parts of the fort, whereas the deity of Kamakhya Devi (Kamakshi Dev) is housed in the 3rd floor. It is believed that the deity was brought from Guwahati. There is also a 15th Century Badrinath Temple located in Kamru Fort’s premises. A big fair is organized every year in the temple to honour the deity.

Afterwards, return to hotel.

Later in the evening visit the Bering Nag Temple.

The Bering Nag Temple is dedicated to the local deity of Shree Jagas, located in the centre of Sangla Village. It is an important point for many functions and religious activities.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 8 Sangla – Kalpa (50km/2hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Kalpa.

Situated at an altitude of 2960 metres, Kalpa is an ancient village in the Sutlej River Valley that is famous for its apple orchards and pine nut trees. Kalpa is located at the base of Kinner Kailash Mountain Range and offers a panoramic view of the Kinner Kailash Peak (6050 metres) – which is crowned with the sacred Shiva Ling – as well as the Jorkandan Peaks and Raldang (5499 metres). Kinner Kailash is the winter abode of Shiva and the Shiva Ling changes colours as the day passes. Kalpa has all the characteristics of a heritage village, and came into prominence in the wake of the British Governor General Lord Dalhousie's visit in 19th Century.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Afternoon at leisure.

Later in the evening, stroll along the narrow lanes of Kalpa Village, which is adorned with old wooden houses, and visit Hu-Bu-Lan-Kar Monastery, founded in 950 AD by Rinchensang-Po. Also visit the ancient Narayan Nagini Temple situated in the heart of the village. The outer walls and front door of the temple are finely carved. The intricate work on the sculptures is a perfect example of Kinnauri craftsmanship. It’s indeed a confluence of Hinduism and Buddhism, with a colourful Buddhist temple and an intricate Hindu temple within the same complex.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 9 Kalpa – Tabo (163km/6hrs)

In the early morning, witness the spectacular sunrise over the Kinnaur Kailash Peaks, when the golden rays of the rising sun set the snow-clad peaks ablaze with brilliant light.

Post breakfast, check-out and depart to Tabo, visiting Nako Village and Lake on the way.

Nako is a heritage village known for its location in Hangrang Valley on the Tibetan border. It is home to the beautiful Nako Lake, Nako Monastery and other Buddhist temples.

Nako Monastery, located in the middle of the village, was founded by Ringchen Zangpo in 996. It’s famous for its sculptures, murals, art works and scriptures. Lotsawa Lhakhang (Translator’s Temple) is the largest part of the monastery. The Chortens, Jhunkhang (community kitchen) and temples are other important attractions here. The small temple complex, which is a recent addition to the monastery, is used for educational purposes.

Nako Lake is a high altitude lake situated about 3,662 metres above sea level. The oval-shaped lake is surrounded by willow and poplar trees; the village and mountains round out the picturesque location. Near the lake are four Buddhist temples, and a foot-like impression that is ascribed to the saint Padmasambhava. People come from distant places to boat on the lake, while in the winter, the frozen lake becomes a hub for ice skating.

Afterwards, resume journey to Tabo and enjoy the scenic Spiti Valley, which has few signs of vegetation. The beauty of Spiti lies in its untainted raw landscape.

Rudyard Kipling describes Spiti, in "Kim", in these words: “At last they entered a world within a world - a valley of leagues where the high hills were fashioned of the mere rubble and refuse from off the knees of the mountains… surely the Gods live here”.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Tabo is an ancient village located on the left bank of River Spiti, at an altitude of 3050 metres. The village surrounds the thousand-year-old Tabo Monastery. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has expressed his desire to retire to Tabo, since he maintains that the Tabo Monastery is one of the holiest. It is also known as the 'Ajanta of the Himalayas'.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 10 Tabo - Kaza (47km/3hrs)

Post breakfast, witness morning prayers in Tabo Monastery, founded in 996 AD by Buddhist King Yeshe O'd.

Tabo Monastery or Tabo Chogs-Khor (“Doctrinal Circle” or “Doctrinal Enclave”) is a complex holding 9 Temples, 23 Chortens, a Monk’s Chamber and an extension that houses the Nun’s Chamber. On the sheer cliff-face above the enclave are a series of caves, used as dwellings by the monks. The monastery contains a large number of scriptures and pieces of art, including wall paintings and stucco. It’s noted for being the oldest continuously operating Buddhist monastery in both India and the Himalayas. There is also a Modern Gompa & Painting School founded by the Dalai Lama.

Later in the morning, check-out from the hotel and depart to Kaza, visiting Dhankar Monastery on the way.

Dhang, or Dang, means “cliff”, and kar/khar means “fort”. Thus dhangkar means “fort on a cliff”. Dhankar was built as a fort monastery on a 300-metres high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers. Dhyan Buddha, where four complete figures of Buddha sit back-to-back, is the main attraction of this more than 7 Century old monastery.

Afterwards, resume journey to Kaza.

Kaza, situated along Spiti River at 3,650 metres above sea level, is an important administrative and commercial centre. Kaza boasts high mountains with snowy crowns, crystal clear streams, and barren splendour interspersed with patches of green. It has strong geographical and cultural similarities with Tibet and Ladakh. Kaza can be divided into two: the old and the new. Kaza Soma is the new town while the older one is Kaza Khas. The government offices are located in Kaza Soma, while Kaza Khas holds the King’s palace, monasteries, gompas, and other historical buildings.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 11 In Kaza

Post breakfast, go for a half-day excursion to the Key Monastery.

The Key Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located at 4,166 metres above sea level, close to the Spiti River. It was founded by Dromton in the 11th Century. The three-storey structure consists largely of storage rooms at the bottom level; the middle floor houses the Assembly Hall, while the uppermost floor has a temple on one side and a Lama’s quarters on the other. The greatest wealth of Key Monastery lies in its collection of thangkas rescued from the devastating 19th Century raids of the Dogras and the Sikhs, as well as its ancient murals and books.

Afterwards, take a scenic drive to the pasture country of Kibber, one of the highest inhabited villages in the world.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 12 Kaza – Kumzum La Pass – Manali (188km/8hrs)

Post breakfast, check-out and depart for Manali via Kunzum Pass at an altitude of 4590 metres.

On arrival, check-in at the hotel.

Manali is named after Sage Manu. Legend has it that he stepped off his ark in Manali to recreate human life, after a great flood had deluged the world. Manali is often referred to as the "Valley of the Gods". The Old Manali village has an ancient temple dedicated to Sage Manu.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 13 In Manali

Post breakfast, morning at leisure.

Later in evening, take a walking excursion to Manali, visiting the historical temple dedicated to Hadimba Devi, a local market, and the town's handicraft centre.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 14 Manali – Naggar – Vashisht - Manali (25km /1hr - one way)

After an early breakfast, take a half-day excursion to Naggar, visiting Naggar Castle, Roerich Art Gallery and the 5000 year-old Krishna Temple.

Naggar, an ancient town on the left bank of the River Beas, sits at an altitude of 1851 metres. It was the former capital of Kullu, and was founded by Raja Visudhpal. The village has old temples with traditional stone and wood carvings. Naggar is renowned for its impressive cultural heritage, a rich architectural style using local materials and skills, and an extensive handicraft range.

Naggar Castle was built by Raja Sidh Singh in 1460, and has the flavours of authentic Himalayan architecture. This unique medieval stone and wood edifice has an art gallery exhibiting the paintings of the Russian artist Nicholas Roerich.

Roerich Art Gallery displays a rare collection of oil paintings, and the 1930’s Dodge car, of the famous artist Nicholas Roerick. The ground floor of the gallery is dedicated to his paintings of Spiti, Kullu and Lahaul. The upper floor consists of the artist’s private rooms.

The Krishna Temple near Thawa is an example of pyramidal carved stone temple architecture, with an intricately carved shikhara. The carvings on the base of the temple resemble those from the Late Gupta period. The top portion was rebuilt in 1905, after the temple suffered significant damage from an earthquake.

Later in the afternoon, return to Manali via Vashisht Village.

Vashisht Village is named after Sage Vashisht, one of the seven sages, or saptarishies. Legend has it that Sage Vashisht meditated here, and the temple dedicated to him here is believed to be more than 4000 years old. It’s built in a traditional style with many intricate wood carvings, and is a beautiful example of local architecture.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 15 Manali – Chandigarh

Post breakfast, check-out and transfer to Chandigarh Airport/Railway Station or any convenient point for your onward journey.

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