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Days 1-2 London to Kalka We fly from the London to Delhi, where we are transferred to the train station for our overnight train to Kalka. Day 3 Toy Train to Shimla Today we continue our journey, this time on a ‘Toy Train’, on what is known as one of the most beautiful railways in the world. The train (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) will take us over 7000 feet into the foothills of the Himalayas. Throughout the whole journey we will witness dramatic scenery stunning mountain views. The train stops in Shimla, the capital city of Himachal Pradesh. Days 4 Bike Familiarisation We will collect our bikes and equipment today, ahead of our mountain biking journey which begins tomorrow. We’ll get familiar with our bikes, and meet our mountain biking guides who will brief on the exciting adventure and challenge ahead. Days 5-15 Himalayan Mountain Bike Challenge Day 1: Shimla to Narkanda, 62km - 7 hours Our route starts on a good road through forests and along the ridge overlooking the valley below. We pass several small towns along the route. A nice gentle start to our adventure. Day 2: Narkanda to Sarahan, 145km- 5 hours Today we leave the main highway and bike on a small, rarely used jeep trail. We pass through pine forests and small villages before the valley opens up and the remainder of the day is downhill through contouring hillside. At the end of today’s mountain bike journey, we will drive to Sarahan to our guest house for the evening. We will be rewarded with views of the sacred Kinner Kailash Mountain. Day 3: Sarahan to Kalpa, 111km - 8 hours Led by our experienced Mountain Bike Guides, we are led to the busy district of Rekong Peo. The district is affectionately known as The Land of the Gods, owing to it being so beautiful that Gods would certainly dwell here. The road starts off cutting through the rocky canyon with the Sutlej river gushing below, before a steep climb into the town and to our accommodation. Day 4: Kalpa to Pooh, 82km – 7 hours A straight section of road today before we enter the restricted area of the mountains, the Shipkila Pass, which sits on the India-China border. We leave the highway and continue along a dirt track to reach the village of Pooh. Day 5: Pooh to Nako, 40km – 6 hours We have a dramatic change in scenery today as we enter the Spiti Valley. We leave the lush orchards and wide valleys behind and head into the harsher, barren landscape of Spiti. We’ll also see a cultural difference as the temples now become century-old monasteries perched atop hillsides. It’s the shortest of our biking days but we will be gaining altitude and cycling in the thinner air.
Day 6: Nako to Tabo, 61km – 6 hours A relaxing start on a straightforward road before descending to another checkpoint. We then gain more altitude and reach a small pass before descending into Tabo. We’ll pass many small settlements. In the evening, we will visit the 11th century monastery of Tabo, the oldest functioning Buddhist monastery in India. Day 7: Tabo to Kaza, 52km – 5.5hours A nice flat section today as we bike for approximately 2 hours to Sichilling. We will take a small detour to Dhankar monastery which is built on a 300m high spur. Dhankar translates to ‘fort on a cliff’ and it is one of the most spectacular settings for a gompa. We continue to the Kaza district, the headquarters of the Spiti Valley. Day 8: Rest day in Kaza We take a day to rest our legs and explore Kaza, including the active Kyi monastery which is home to around 300 monks. Day 9: Kaza to Losar, 70km – 8 hours We are heading towards the high mountain passes of Leh. We pass several villages and have a gentle climb to Losar, where we’ll camp tonight at 4090m. Day 10: Losar to Chattru (Bara Doni), 64km – 8 hours We zig zag for 11km, gaining an impressive 800m to reach Kunzumla; at 4440m, this is the highest point of our expedition so far. We’ll pass the iconic fluttering prayer flags and we’ll be able to see several snowcapped peaks towards Bara Shigri, the second largest glacier in the world. Day 11: Bara Doni to Manali, 48km – 6/7 hours After leaving camp, we bike downhill for about an hour and then climb gradually for another 30 mins till Gramphu where we meet the Leh – Manali highway. We then bike uphill all the way to Rohtang pass. From here it is a downhill blast to Manali.
Day 16 Manali Our magnificent challenge ends in Manali, situated at the northern end of the Kulu Valley. During our time here, we visit the stone built Naggar Fort, a famous landmark in the area, and enjoy its rural setting. We visit Manali Old Market where we walk through the cobbled pathways of this quaint town. There are a wide variety of market stall with beautiful local handicrafts, and the chance to experience local mountain life for ourselves. Day 17 Return to Delhi We start our journey home starting with a drive to Chandigarh to catch the train to Delhi. Day 18 Fly home This morning we are transferred to the airport for our flight to London, arriving back in the UK with memories to last us a lifetime and an amazing acheivement under our belts.
India is a destination you’ll never forget. Vibrant, colourful and overflowing with culture and history, India is a true assault on all the senses and is perhaps the most diverse country in the world, such are its many communities, languages, religions and landscapes. No expedition to India is ever the same, and this is the perfect destination for a truly unique experience. From the chaos of the capital to the soaring heights of the Himalayan ranges and their tranquil mountain villages, India has so much to offer the adventurous among us, and will continue to surprise you with its captivating energy and diversity.
Northern India is one of our favourite destinations and provides some of the world’s most spectacular and rewarding trekking. Our inspiring itineraries take budding explorers into the beautiful Ladakh region, through the Indus Valley, along Curzon’s Trail, or even on an exhilarating ascent of Stok Kangri! Our Indian expeditions incorporate worthwhile and fulfilling community projects, with opportunities to learn about local life, partake in cultural exchange, and broaden horizons in a unique environment, whilst contributing to a project that will really make a difference to the future of India and its people. Exploring India’s colonial cities or trekking the Himalayas one day, and watching the sunrise over the Taj Mahal the next: these rare and deeply enriching opportunities are what our expeditions are all about, and India is one not to be missed.
Fly UK to Delhi
Overnight train to Kalka, continue to Shimla
Days 4 - 15 Mountain bikechallenge- 1200km!
Day at Leisure Manali
Return to Delhi
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Christopher Short, Managing Director of Far Frontiers Expeditions
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