A Shimla Manali tour packageis recommended for anybody who wants to explore the iconic towns of Manali and Shimla in North India. Nestled in the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, both towns are full of tourist attractions. Shimla is the state capital, and is known for its astonishing architecture, most of which dates back to the days of the British Raj. The city is also a commercial hub, and boasts of top-notch hotels, restaurants, and cafes, which make it the perfect place for honeymooners and casual tourists.
The Spiti Valley
On the other hand, Manali has seen rapid development over recent decades. Once a sleepy little village, today it is a bustling tourist hotspot, and offers a wide range of iconic landmarks and activities for tourists to indulge in. Manali’s spectacular natural beauty, combined with its adventure activities and hip cafes and restaurants, make it a favourite North Indian destination for backpackers and adventure enthusiasts.
Many people who book Shimla Manali tour packages make their way to Manali and Shimla not just for the townsthemselves, but to gain access to some of the most remote locations of Himachal Pradesh. One such location is the Spiti Valley. Situated in the extreme north of Himachal Pradesh, Spiti Valley is the land of the surreal. The valley is isolated from the rest of the world, and borders Tibet. As a result, the valley and its people have several cultural similarities with the Tibetans.
How to Reach the Spiti Valley
From Manali, hire a car that takes you directly to Kaza, the most prominent city of the Spiti Valley. The entire journey makes for one memorable road trip, as you pass by iconic destinations such as the Solan Valley and the Rohtang Pass to finally welcome the barren mountain desert landscape of Spiti. However, this route is seasonal, and does not stay open during monsoons and winters.
You can also travel to the Spiti Valley from the Shimla side via Kinnaur. Access to Spiti via the Hindustan – Tibet road is much more time consuming than the Manali route. However, many prefer this route due to the gradual altitude gain, which prevents Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) symptoms.
Trekking is also a possibility, thanks to the Hampta Pass, that connects the Kullu and Spiti Valleys. This 5-day trek is a moderate trek that can be attempted by beginners as well. Experience old-school trekking at its finest, as your camp your way through the entire trek to finally crossover from the lush green and mainly Hindu dominated Kullu Valley to the vast expanse of the predominantly Buddhist Spiti Valley.
Places to Visit in the Spiti Valley
Kaza : Kaza is the most important city in the Spiti Valley. But if you think it’s like a typical Indian big city, think again! Kaza is home to around 3,000 people only, and is devoid of any top-notch commercial establishments. Even hotels are a rarity here. Most tourists opt for homestays, where local people welcome you to their homes with open arms for a generally negotiable amount of money. Kaza acts as a base for trekkers in the region, and boasts of spectacular surroundings. The towering peaks on all sides and the waters of the Spiti River make it one of the most picturesque destinations in the valley. Kaza’s top tourist destination is the Ki Gompa, a monastery established in the 11th Century CE. This towering monastery stands tall atop the edge of a hill, and dominates the Kaza landscape, especially when one looks at it from a distance.
Tabo : The village of Tabo is mainly prominent because of its ancient monastery, the Tabo Monastery. The monastery complex has been in existence since 996 CE, and it is home to 9 temples and numerous stupas, many of which were made from mud. It’s incredible to witness how these stupas still stand in spite of their age. The assembly hall, housed within the main temple, is an absolute treat thanks to its paintings and sculptures, some of which are as old as the monastery itself.
Kunzum Pass : The Kunzum Pass is fondly referred to as the “Gateway to Spiti” from time to time. If you approach Spiti from Manali, you would witness the Kunzum Pass on the journey itself. Set at a height of over 15,000 ft., the Kunzum Pass might bring about AMS symptoms. But it’s worth it! Along with the astounding natural beauty, the pass is also home to a temple that is considered sacred by both Hindus and Buddhists. Most drivers make it a point to circumambulate vehicles around the temple before proceeding onwards.
Chandratal : The moon-shaped Chandratal is a bit tricky to access. But once you see its pristine waters, set amidst a backdrop of towering snow clad peaks, you would instantly forget how hard it was to reach in the first place. Make sure to spend some time here in the afternoon, and witness the waters change their colours. Many walk around the entire 4 km. circumference of the lake, as it is considered a holy practice.
To book your Shimla Manali Tour Package or any a tour package to any other scenic location in Himachal Pradesh, you may visit the link http://www.waytoindia.com/shimla-manali-tour-packages and send a query.