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Overview

Manali Winter Experience – Overview

Manali! The name itself excites one and all for a variety of reasons 🙂 But most of all for its chill climes and pristine Himalayan ranges. Nestled between the Pir Panjal Range and the Dhauladhar range is Kullu Valley, the gateway to Ladakh and the Karakoram. Manali, the most famous tourist hill town in Kullu Valley is at an altitude of 2000m and enjoys salubrious weather and a steady inflow of tourists and trekkers through the year. The side valleys around Manali offer some amazing trekking options from relaxed day hikes for amateurs to tough trails for the seasoned trekker. The only time the valley sort of goes into slumber would be during the winter when the inflow of travellers thins down.

Here’s a chance to experience Manali and around in the quiet winters and have a fab Christmas and New year. Sign off 2017 and welcome 2018 with an exhilarating experience in the mountains. Lovely pine scented forests, sprawling meadows, snow capped mountains, and a billion stars to gaze at in the dead of the nights.

After our arrival in Manali, we set up base at the buddhist village of Tsethan(2650m), an hour’s drive into the mountains above Manali. This is the last inhabited village after which we are totally in the mountains. This was the village which was proposed to become a ski village. A lot of heli skiing and ski touring happens around here in the peak of winters. At Tsethan, we stay at a lovely lodge and take day hikes everyday into a different valley ranging from 3-4 hrs. Have picnic lunches soaking in the Himalayan bliss or come back early for a hot lunch at base camp. Evenings are spent around the bonfire chatting away and star gazing. Its also a chance to interact with the very hospitable locals and learn a little of their simple yet rugged lifestyles. All in all a great way to say bye to this year and move on into the next with renewed hopes and dreams.

 

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

  • Spend a memorable Christmas and New year trekking in the mountains
  • Lovely, relaxed day hikes into DeoTibba and Hamta Valleys – verdant forests and expansive meadows
  • The Buddhist Village of Tsetan(2650m) – our base camp
  • Views of both Pir Panjal and Dhauladhar Himalayan ranges
  • Exciting chance to witness snowfall and walk around in snow

 

ITINERARY AT A GLANCE

Day 1: Board the overnight Volvo bus to Manali in the evening
Day 2: Arrive Manali. Local sightseeing and rest
Day 3: Drive to Hamta. Trek to Tsetan
Day 4: Day Trek to Shamaphu meadows and back
Day 5: Day Trek to Hamta Valley and back
Day 6: Free day in Tsetan. Rock Climbing and Rappelling activities
Day 7: Day Trek to Jogidug and back
Day 8: Drive to Manali. Evening Volvo to New Delhi
Day 9: Arrive New Delhi. Depart

Cost Inclusions

Manali Winter Experience – Cost Details

COST:

On Request

COST INCLUDES

  • Entire Accommodation during the trek
    • 2 nights at hotel in Manali
    • 4 nights camping on trek
  • Experienced Trek Crew: Qualified Trip Leader, Local Guide, Cook, Kitchen Helpers and Horsemen
  • Food:
    • All Meals on the trip except lunches at Manali
    • 3 meals per day – Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and beverages
  • Porterage – 15 Kg/person
  • Road Transportation: All Transfers as mentioned in the itinerary from Delhi to Delhi
  • Permits and Taxes: Includes service tax
 .

COST EXCLUDES

  • Personal equipment and sleeping bags
  • Airfares
  • Any additional transport or activities apart from the trip itinerary
  • Travel Insurance
  • Expenses rising through unforeseen conditions like bad weather, natural calamities, flight cancellations, etc
  • Rescue and evacuation services
  • Expenses of any personal nature like phone calls, drinks, cigarettes, souvenirs, laundry, etc
  • Tips
  • Anything not explicitly mentioned in the Cost inclusions

Itinerary

Manali Winter Experience – Itinerary

Day 01:Board the overnight Volvo bus to Manali in the evening
Board the Himachal Tourism Volvo bus from outside Himachal Bhavan in Mandi House in the evening. There are multiple Volvo buses that depart between 5:30pm and 7:00pm. The bus stops for dinner on the way. Most of the trekking group if not all would be booked on the same bus.
Driving Time: 16 hrs; Overnight Volvo Bus

Day 02:Arrive Manali. Local sightseeing and rest
The bus journey takes all night and you should be in Manali town before 10am in the morning. Our representative will pick you up from the bus stand and transfer you to our hotel near Prini. The drive takes hardly 15 mins. After breakfast, we cover some of the local attractions in Manali till late afternoon. Post-lunch, there will be a gear check and comprehensive briefing about the trek. You have the evening free to do some last minute shopping and checkout some of Manali’s restaurant experiences. It is important to hit the bed early and rest well for the impending trek.
Meals: B, Overnight Manali Hotel.

Day 03:Drive to Hamta. Trek to Tsetan
Our main adventure begins from today. We drive from our hotel in Prini a short distance towards Hamta Village which has about 4 houses- mostly uninhabited now. From here, we trek gradually to the small buddhist village of Tsetan at an altitude of 2650m. This is the last village in the surrounding mountains. The motorable road leads a little beyond to Jobri where there is a dam and a hydro electric project on Duhangan and Allain rivers that flow down from Hamta and Deo Tibba Valleys. Tsetan village got its road because of the hydro elcetric project that began here more than a decade ago. Before that the locals of Tsetan trekked all the way down to Manali town and back up.
Tsetan village is where the wandering Buddhist Khampas of Lahaul settled in when they first moved to Himachal. There are about 15 houses here. Its a tight knit community that has carved a niche for itself in the Hindu dominated Manali region. The Khampas are a hardy lot and are better trained to live at higher altitudes and endure inclement weather conditions.
Trek time: 2-3 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Tsetan Hotel.

Day 04:Day Trek to Shamaphu meadows and back
Today we trek on quite a steep path to the tree line at Gujjar Sarotu Thach. This is where the tree line ends and we enter the expansive meadows of Deo Tibba Valley. Shamaphu meadows is another 1 hr from here. It is a great view point to see the adjacent craggy mountain face of Hampta Valley and the meadows of Deo Tibba region. These meadows are where the Gujjars and Gaddi shepherds camp in the Summer and Monsoon season with their herds of buffaloes and flocks of sheep and goat. We have a picnic lunch on top of the mountain and return to Camp late noon. Bonfire and star gazing in the night.
Trek time: 3-4 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Tsetan Hotel.

Day 05:Day Trek to Hamta Valley and back
Today we go North towards Hamta Valley. First bit on the road till Jobri Dam. Then we enter the famed Hamta Valley at the head of which is Hampta Pass(4270m). This is the gateway to Lahaul and Spiti from Kullu Valley. Trekkers flock this area in the summers to trek from the lush green Kullu Valley into the arid land of Lahaul and Spiti. It is also a shepherd route in Summers. No where in the Himalaya does a trek route change so drastically over seasons. The Hampta Pass receives so much snow in the winters that it is almost impossible to cross it till early June. Even if we do, it is only with porters and not with horses. By Sep, there is not a bit of snow left near the pass and it is much easier to cross it.
As for us, we trek a little into the Valley which is widest at its mouth and awe at the imposing left mountain wall which is the home to Vultures and eagles. We return back to camp by late afternoon.
Trek time: 3-4 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Tsetan Hotel.

Day 06:Free day in Tsetan. Rock Climbing and Rappelling activities
Today is a free day to wake up at will and have a leisurely breakfast or rather brunch! We then head out with our climbing equipment to a nearby rock for a little bit of instruction and practise of rock climbing and rappelling. Back to camp after we sweat it out on the rock and pick up some skills.
Trek time: 2-3 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Tsetan Hotel.

Day 07: Day Trek to Jogidug and back
We trek to the holy grounds at Jogidug, which is a big clearing in the forest, where the local village deity is believed to reside. The Snake God (Nag Devta) is the local deity and is much revered by the villagers of Prini and the surrounding Villages. This is also the place where the a big holy gathering is held yearly when people from all surrounding villages gather for prayers and blessings. It is a good walk through forests to this area. We have lunch at this spot and return to Tsetan by late noon. We spend the evening and night making a huge bonfire, some barbeque grill and star gazing and singing into the new year. A mountain party with gala dinner from our side.
Trek time: 3-4 hrs
Meals: BLD, Overnight Tsetan Hotel.

Day 08: Drive to Manali. Evening Volvo to New Delhi
After a leisurely breakfast, we pack camp and drive down to Manali (40 mins) along the winding roads overlooking the Kullu Valley. Late afternoon, we descend to Prini and head to the bus station for our journey back to Delhi/Chandigarh.
People who wish to continue their stay in Manali can be accommodated at extras or can take care of direct bookings.
Meals: B, Overnight Volvo Bus

Day 09: Arrive New Delhi/Chandigarh. Depart
Arrive at destination – Chandigarh – 1 am or Delhi by 9 am. Onward departure. Trip Ends!

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