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Winter Wildlife Excursion (8 Days)

8 day winter fixed departure tracking wildlife in Spiti Valley. (ex. Chandigarh)

winter wildlife excursion

Spiti Winter Wildlife Excursions have been planned in such a way that you get explore Spiti like a local, live like a local and get a deeper understanding of the region during the harshest time of the year. You also get an insight into the winter wildlife of this high altitude region. Track rare birds and animals including the elusive Snow Leopard. Get to learn various tracking and spotting techniques from our local guides.  

Trip Dates

15th till 22nd February 2020 (Chapter 1)

7th till 14th March 2020 (Chapter 2)

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Trip Duration

7 Nights and 8 days

Trip Cost

INR 23,000 per person (exclusive of 5% GST)

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Detailed itinerary

Spiti valley, also known as the “Middle Land” is a Trans-Himalayan terrain bordering with Tibet at an average altitude of 4000 meters. Spiti valley is home to some of the oldest monasteries in the Himalayan region like Tabo monastery, Dhankar monastery, Sherkhang monastery and Kye monastery, strong hold of Buchen Lamas in Pin Valley, famous for Tibetan medicine system and Amchis, fossils of Langza village, highest motorable villages and passes, scenic lakes, a 1000 year old culture, tough life, beautiful villages and people and out of this world landscape. Come and explore with us as we travel to a civilisation frozen in time. Spiti Fixed Departures have been planned in a way that you explore Spiti like a local and at a pace that helps you acclimatise and enjoy at the same time.

In Spiti Valley the two most popular locations where you can spot wildlife is inside the Khibber Wildlife Sanctuary and the Pin Valley National Park. We will be tracking wildlife in the Khibber Wildlife Sanctuary.  Amongst all the wildlife in Spiti Valley, the Snow Leopard is the most elusive and its accurate population numbers are hard to come by. Although estimates range from 450 to 500 individuals for India making them even more unique. (Source: WWF – India)

While spotting a snow leopard is many a times a matter of sheer luck, while on the trail, you are sure to get a lot of insight into the life and habits of this marvellous creature. In the process you will also spot some great Himalayan treasures like the Blue Mountain Goat or Ibex, the Red Fox and some species of high altitude birds. A journey worth taking for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

– It gets very cold in winter i.e. December through February with temperatures hitting – 30C. You will need to be mentally and physically fit and must have done some high altitude travel in order to be able to handle travelling through this high altitude terrain.

– All hotels and guest houses will be shut at the time and you will only get homestays which have dry eco friendly squatting toilets. You will need to be okay with this as wet toilets are not available due to water lines freezing. 

– Because of the water lines freezing, the locals need to carry the water all the way in the freezing cold from a nearby water source and hence having a bath while you are in Spiti will not be possible.

– In peak winter i.e. January and early February all the places might not be open due to adverse weather conditions. We will keep you updated of the same in case any last minute changes need to be made to your plan. 

– Winter time is off season in Spiti, and you will not have many options in terms of activities, and because of the cold, you won’t be able to move around as much and will end up spending time in the homestay. We recommend travellers to make the most of the situation, and turn their time at the homestay as getting to know more about Spitian life, food and culture from the locals.

– Because of winter, there will not be many options in terms of food and in a homestay you will need to be understanding and eat the hearty but basic food that your hosts provide.

– Be prepared to be understanding and flexible, as we can make last minute plan changes due to bad weather for your safety and wellbeing.

Day 1: Saturday (15th February/ 7th March) – Chandigarh to Rampur

Land in Chandigarh in the morning and head towards Rampur. Your guide will see you in Rampur but before you leave Chandigarh You can stop at a pharmacy and pick up and essential medicines and snacks that you might have forgotten to pack. As you leave the hustle and bustle of the city behind, enjoy the beauty and take appropriate breaks on the way. Lose yourself amidst scenic valleys on either side of the road. Reach Rampur and take it easy in the evening. Meet your guide and get to know your fellow travellers over dinner that night. Your winter adventure begins before the crack of dawn the next day.

 

Day 2: Sunday (16th February/ 8th March) – Rampur to Tabo via Nako

This morning since it is a long journey to Tabo you will be leaving around 4 am. The journey will take about 9-10 hours if everything goes as planned. Enjoy a nice, warm, early morning breakfast with a view of the mountains at Tapri. On your way you will notice the terrain change and you will see the end of tree line. See the confluence of Spiti and Sutlej river at Khab. We shall have a lunch break at the scenic Nako village- you can walk to the frozen lake here, only if permitted by the guide. Tonight you will get your first experience in a local Spitian homestay. You can gather around the local style tandoor in the evening with the rest of the group and interact with your host family over dinner. Take enough rest in the night.

 

Day 3: Monday (17th February/ 9th March) – Tabo to Kaza via Dhankar

Take the morning easy, have your breakfast and visit the “Ajanta of Himalayas”- The Tabo Monastery which is close to a 1000 years old now. The murals, thankas and paintings are believed by the locals to have been made in a single night by the Gods themselves. On your way visit Dhankar Monastery, if the road is open – Dhankar used to be the Seat of the King in ancient times- the most beautiful setting for a monument which hangs on a cliff and overlooks the confluence of the Spiti and Pin rivers. Stay in Kaza for the night. Warm up by the tandoor and help out in the kitchen if you want to. A great way to bond with your host is by making and sharing a meal together. 🙂

Day 4: Thursday (18th February/ 10th March) – Snow drive to Langza, Hikkim, Komic and back

This morning we go on a snow drive towards Langza, Hikkim and Komic. On your way, we will make a couple of designated stops for you to take some pictures. Stay in Kaza for the night. Make the most of your homestay experience by learning about local life, festivals and traditions from your host family. Winters is a time when locals interact a lot with each other and many social activities take place

 

Day 5 and Day 6: Wednesday and Thursday (19th and 20th February/ 11th and 12th March) – Kaza to Khibber, Chicham via Key – Wildlife Excursion

Today we head to either Khiber/Chicham via Key depending on which area has seen the maximum amount of trails during the season. The snow leopard is a very shy animal and keeps changing its tracks basis where it’s prey is. We will know which village to visit before your trip commences and will keep you informed. Your stay will be arranged in any of these villages according to the sightings. For these two days, we will be tracking the snow leopard and other wildlife following their trail surrounding the villages. Tracking any wildlife, is all about patience, keeping as silent as possible so as to not spook the animal and a whole lot of luck! Be prepared to do a lot of waiting and sitting in the snow. On your way to Khibber/ Chicham, you will stop by Key monastery. Kye monastery is on top of a mountain overlooking the Spiti valley and the Spiti river. Key is also the centre of learning for monks belonging to the Gelug sect.

 

Day 7: Friday (21st February/ 13th March) – Kaza/ Khibber to Rampur

We leave early morning today for Rampur and as it is a long journey, breakfast and lunch will be done along the way. Say your goodbyes to your wonderful hosts this morning.

Day 8: Saturday (22nd February/ 14th March) – Rampur to Chandigarh

Leave early in the morning to catch your evening flight from Chandigarh back to your hometown and take back memories back of a isolated civilisation and trans Himalayan terrain. Trip ends here. 🙂

What is included:

All Transport in a Tempo Traveller from Day 1 to Day 8

Accommodation on a twin sharing basis in a hotel

 Accommodation on twin/ triple sharing basis in the homestay

3 meals every day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) from Day 2 to Day 7

Dinner on Day 1

Breakfast and Lunch on Day 8

All entry fees to monasteries in Spiti (if any)

Local Guide provided from Day 2 till day 7

What is not included: 

Snacks and Beverages (except the ones with meals) 

Any kind of insurance 

GST 

Cost of any emergency (snow, flooding, road closure) 

Bus/Flight/Train ticket cost to and from Chandigarh/ Delhi

Camera Fees 

In case you need to cancel your plans for the trip due to avoidable/unavoidable reasons, please do notify us in writing regarding the same. The cancellation charges levied will be as follows:

60 – 46 days prior to date of departure: 10% of the tour cost

45 – 16 days prior to date of departure: 20% of the tour cost

In case you need to cancel your plans for the trip due to avoidable/unavoidable reasons, please do notify us in writing regarding the same. The cancellation charges levied will be as follows:

60 – 46 days prior to date of departure: 10% of the tour cost

45 – 16 days prior to date of departure: 20% of the tour cost

15 – 8 days prior to date of departure: 25% of the tour cost

7 – 4 days prior to date of departure: 50% of the tour cost

Less than 72 hours prior to date of departure: No refund

winter customisable trips

Winter trips for friends and Families

Travel through the winter wonderland of Spiti Valley, experience homestays, local life, culture, adventurous winter drives and hikes, make new friends and take back memories that last a lifetime!

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