Home Special Interest Trail Spiritual tours Buddhist Himalayan Pilgrimage

On our amazing Buddhist Himalayan Pilgrimage we will visit ancient Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in the rooftop of the world--the mystical, enchanting Himalayan mountains. As we trek through the Himalayas on our summer adventure, we will enjoy crisp mountain air, hear the echos of spinning Tibetan prayer wheels and the chanting of monks, sink into carpets of emerald green meadows, smell the wondrous fragrance of wildflowers, and experience the beauty of pristine glacial lakes. In the most heavenly setting on earth, we will discover an amazing view of the Tibetan culture that was imported to India when the Chinese invaded Tibet in the mid-twentieth century. The Tibetans are a soulful and spiritual people whose lives have been steeped in mysticism since time immemorial.

In the high Himalayan Mountains, we will explore an adventure of spiritual awakening and unbounded awareness. On our visit to the mysteries of our Lost Horizon of Shangri-La, we will discover what heaven is and dream of timeless eternity. This experience will transform us. We will never be the same.

Day 01: Welcome to Delhi
Fly overnight to India, arriving in the late evening. Your tour leader will accompany you to your hotel in the heart of Delhi, followed by the Traditional Indian Welcome at the hotel. Overnight at hotel
Day 02: Explore Old Delhi & New Delhi
Meet your group over the late breakfast, then enjoy a walking tour of Old Delhi, featuring Raj Ghat, where Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. Next, a cycle rickshaw carries us through the crowded Chandni Chowk Bazaar to Jama Masjid, India's largest mosque. In the afternoon, drive through New Delhi to visit the India Gate and the old residences of British Viceroys.
Day 03: Delhi/ Nalagarh
After breakfast, leave for Nalagarh by surface. Reach Nalagarh in the evening and transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Day 04: Nalagarh/ Manali
After breakfast, leave for Manali (2050 meters) by surface viewing the scenic beauty of Himachal Pradesh. Reach Manali in the evening and transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.

Day 05: Explore Manali
After breakfast, full day sightseeing of Manali including Hadimba Temple, Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa, Hot Water Spring & Old Manali. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
buddhist pilgrimage travel

according to legend, was born when the waters of The Great Deluge receded and the seventh Manu's ark came to rest on a hillside in this valley. As the earth dried up there came up a place of breathtaking beauty which was named after the great sage. Over the last decade Manali has grown from a back of the beyond Himachali town to a busy tourist destination bustling with as many as 400 hotels. It is the centre of a flourishing orchard industry, a popular honeymoon destination and trailhead for numerous treks.

Hadimba Temple:
Hadimba or Dhungiri temple in Manali is one of the most important temples in the region. This four story wooden temple is located in the middle of a forest called the Dhungiri Van Vihar. From the name of the forest parkland this temple derives its name. This temple was erected in 1553 and is dedicated to Goddess Hadimba.
Gadhan Thekchoking Gompa:
This Gompa dominates the Tibetan area around the bottom of the Mall in Manali. The Tibetan refugees built the Gompa in the late 1960's. The Gompa is covered with brightly coloured frescoes and a mid size Buddhist statute. It also carries a list of the martyrs killed in occupation of Tibet of 1987 to 1989.
Day 06: Manali/ Keylong
After breakfast, leave for Keylong (115 Km/3350 meters). Reach Keylong in the evening & transfer to tented accommodation. Dinner & overnight at Camp.

Day 07: Visit Monasteries around Keylong
After breakfast, trek towards Guru Ghantal Monastery (03 Km) and transfer to tented accommodation. Dinner & overnight at camp.
Keylong (3350 M)
Keylong, at an elevation of 3350m, is situated on the Manali-Leh road, is the headquarters of Lahaul and Spiti. It is the only place in Lahaul, which has a regular bazar. It is ideally situated in the heart of the Himalayas in the lonely corner with high cliffs in front covered with snow. This place is lush green. The climate on this place is dry and bracing, but winters are very severe.
Guru Ghantal Monastery
Located on the confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers, may be the oldest centre of Buddhist pilgrimage. Downstream, on the left bank of the Chandrabhaga is Tunde village, site of another ancient Buddhist shrine.Found about 800 years ago but repaired extensively about 30 years ago, the gompa is linked to the one at Stakna, near Leh in Ladakh, and belongs to the Drukpa order. Guru Ghantal is made from wood and renowned for its carvings and idols of Padmasambhava.This shrine is popularly known as Trilokinath and enshrines an image of 'Boddhisatva Avalokiteshwara'. The archaeological evidence found at this site indicates that it had been a significant Buddhist as well as Hindu pilgrimage site in the distant past.Further below at the confluence of the Chandrabagha River and the Miyar stream, is an ancient temple of "Marichi Vajravarahi" at Udaipur, the earliest surviving relic of Indian Buddhism in the valley. It now enshrines a brass image of 'Mahishasurmardani'. The Buddhists continue to regard this site as a temple of "Marichi Vajravarahi".
Day 08: Keylong/ Chota Dhara
After breakfast, leave for Chota Dhara (74 Km) en route visiting Khardong Monastery. Reach Chota Dhara and transfer to tented accommodation. Dinner & overnight at camp.

Day 09: Chota Dhara/ Kunzum Pass/ Chandertal
After breakfast, leave for Chandertal (30 Km drive till Kunzum Pass & 12 Km Trek/4270 meters). Reach Chandertal and transfer to tented accommodation. Dinner & overnight at Rest House.
Kunzum Pass (4551 m)
76 kms from Kaza, Kunzum provides chief access to Lahaul valley by the great Kunzum range. The lofty Shigri Glacier is seen in front in all its grandeur. The crest of the pass has been marked by a chorten of stones erected ages ago. The Panorama as viewed from the top of the Pass is enthralling and inspiring. There is a temple dedicated to Kali, known as Kunzum Devi. Rahul was the son of Buddha and the name Lahaul is drived from Rahul.
buddhist monasteries tour in indiaThis is a beautiful glacial lake located at the source of the Chandra River in the Lahaul Valley of Himachal Pradesh. The towering main Himalaya hems the northern periphery of the Chandratal Lake. This lake is fed by melt-waters from the Chandra glacier. The lake is situated at an altitude of 15,500 ft above sea level. The Chandra Tal Lake lies in a large depression formed by the glacier. The Chandra Tal -- "the lake of the moon" -- is an apt name as it lies in a broad turquoise crescent along the flank of the Great Himalayan range. The high peaks of the Chandrabhaga and Mulkila massifs surround it. The Legend of Chandra Tal Lake: This glacial lake was probably formed at the end of the last ice age. When the glaciers retreated, they left behind large "dead" ice masses, which on melting, formed the lake.
According to some believers, this is the spot from where the god Indra's Chariot took the eldest 'Pandava' brother, 'Yudhistra' to 'Swarga', heaven in his mortal form. Alpine vegetation grows on the surrounding moraines in summer. This lake freezes during the winter season. Its waters are crystal clear. A number of temples stand along the periphery of the lake. To the north lies a plain of fairly good grass. This little "oasis", sheltered from the bitter winds, is a favorite halting place for shepherds, who bring up large herds from Kangra and Kullu.

Day 10: Chandertal/ Kaza
After breakfast, leave for Kaza (12 Km Trek & 76 Km drive/3600 Meters). Reach Kaza and transfer to hotel/tented accommodation. Dinner & overnight at Rest House.

Lahaul Valley
Lahaul, on the other side of the Rohtang pass is at once stark and forbidding and yet, its arid, almost lunar-like land has a strange haunting beauty. Everything about the place is high - the passes, the mountains, the sapphire-like lakes, the fast flowing rivers. Scattered over this ethereal landscape are Buddhist monasteries whose antiquity seems lost in the shadows of long centuries. Along with the fascination that the terrain holds, these monasteries are its main attraction - and Lahaul has eighteen of them.Lahaul with its curious mix of Buddhism and Hinduism has fine gompas (monasteries) and temples. The gompas, repositaries of Lahaul's rich store of Buddhist art and culture, are the focus of the entire social activity and festivity in the region.
While the route from Manali to Leh through Lahaul has been declared an 'International Tourist Circuit' and along one of the highest highways in the world is fairly traversed, other parts remain - to put it mildly - off beat. Little villages with their patchwork of green fields, located near gushing streams, provide colour and relief to this rather forbidding landscape.

Spiti Valley
Spiti, locally pronounced 'Piti' or the 'middle country', has its sub divisional headquarters at Kaza. The river Spiti originates at the base of the Kunzam range and flows eastward to join the Sutlej at Khab in Kinnaur. In practical isolation for centuries, Spiti has an intensely introvertive culture centred around its several monasteries, there are thirty monastries spread over Spiti's rugged terrain. Most are affiliated to the Geluk-pa sect. Spiti was loosely ruled for many centuries by a hereditary wazir, styled Nono. The majority of the people are Buddhists, followers of the Geluk-pa sect. The repetition of the mantra "Om mani padme hum", literally, 'Behold, the jewel is in the lotus', is constant; it is believed to bring good fortune and wash away all sins. For all the seeming bleakness, Spiti possesses a haunting beauty. The wildlife in the region includes the elusive snow leopard and ibex, found in the Pin Valley. The seven gompas in the Pin valley belong to the Nying-pa order, while those at Kaza and Hikim are of the Sakya-pa sect. In Spiti's introvertive culture, for centuries, life has revolved around these monasteries.
Day 11: Explore Kaza
After breakfast, visit Ki Monastery (07 Km/4116 meters) & Kibber Village(11 Km/4205 meters). Dinner & overnight at Rest House.

Ki (Kye) Monastery
pilgrimage tour in himalayaServes the western part of Spiti and the most prominent feature of the valley. It lies about 07-km of Kaza and holds the honor of being the oldest and biggest monastery of Spiti. It is a well-known religious training centre for the Lamas, whom one will find dancing, singing and playing on their pipes and horns. One will also find murals, books, scriptures and paintings of Buddha and other Goddesses. This monastery is an outstanding example of the monastic architecture, which developed during the 14th century in the wake of the Chinese influence. The Mongols plundered the monastery in the middle of the 17th century. In the 19th century, it again suffered three brutal attacks.
The successive trails of destruction and patch-up jobs have resulted in a haphazard growth of box-like structures, and the complex now resembles a defensive fort. Among the other important monasteries in the Spiti valley are an ancient temple at Lha-Lun, and another temple complex at Dhankar. The temples at Dhankar seem to be precariously dangling between heaven and earth.
Kaza (3600 M) 32o 13'N, 78o 05'E
Kaza is the sub-divisional headquarters of Spiti sub-division, which was sometime back the head quarters of the Nono, Chief of Spiti. It is known for its asbestos mines, which owing to lack of transport facilities, has since been abandoned. A traditional fair is celebrated here every year in the month of August. Situated at the foot of steep ridges, on the left bank of river Spiti on National Highway is Tehsil of Spiti valley. Ki-monastery is visible right from the road. It is really fantastic view.
Kibber Village
Surrounded in summer by lush green fields, Kibber stands at the head of a trail that picks its way north across the mountains, via the high Parang-La pass (5,557m) to Ladakh. The village of Kibber locally known as Khyipur, is perched on a vast rocky-stretch of land.In Kibber, all houses have been built by stone, instead of mud or unburned brick so commonly used in the houses of the Spiti valley. Even at this height, the village has plenty of cultivable land and Barley and peas are cultivated once in a year. There is also a Buddhist Gompa known as Yaktin Gompa located over here.
Day 12: Kaza/ Dhankar Monastery/ Tabo
After breakfast, leave for Tabo (47 Km/3050 meters). En route visit Dhankar Monastery. Reach Tabo and transfer to Rest House. Afterwards, visit Tabo Monastery & Tabo Village. Dinner & overnight at Rest House.

Dhankar Monastery
One can get to the Spiti valley across Kunzamla, if one follows the up-stream course of the Chandra river. Located in the trans-Himalayan arid and arctic zone, this region is characterised by a stark and barren landscape. One of the oldest Buddhist establishments in the Spiti valley, is the Monastery at Gungri located deep in the Pin valley. It is the only monastery which belongs to the red-headed sect - the Nyingmapa - founded by Padmasambhava.
Tabo (3050 m) - 32005'N, 78023'E
At the right of Spiti river, is an ancient village on this route (33 km from Sumdo) flanked on either side by lofty hills, brown and sun burnt. It is the seat of one of the most famous Buddhist monasteries - Sherlangh, Duang, Chamba Chobbo, Domlang Gompas, regarded by many as only next to the Tholong Gompa in Tibet. The 10th Century Tabo Monastery, built around the 996 A.D. by Rinchen Jangpo, houses more than 60 Lamas, large number of scriptures and pieces of art, wall paintings, tankhas and stucco.

Tabo Monastery:
The rough-hewn hills around Tabo house a tiny hamlet that is home to some 350 people. The Tabo monastery (also referred to as Tabo Chos-hKhor - 'doctrinal circle' or 'doctrinal enclave') is a complex that holds nine temples, 23 chortens, a monks' chamber and an extension that houses the nuns' chamber. On the sheer cliff-face above the enclave are a series of caves which were used as dwellings by the monks and includes an 'assembly hall'. Faint traces of the paintings that once embellished the rock face can be seen. Even today, Tabo holds the distinction of being the largest monastic complex in Spiti. Constructed in 996 AD, Tabo was the brainchild of the great translator and teacher, Rinchensang Po.
Day 13: Tabo/ Chango Monastery/ Kalpa
After breakfast, leave for Kalpa (approx 150 Km/2960 meters). En route visit Chango Monastery. Reach Kalpa in the evening and transfer to tented accommodation/Rest House. Dinner & overnight at camp.
Kalpa (2960 m) - 31032'N, 78015'E:
Kalpa, the district headquarters is situated at a distance of 260 km from Shimla and 51 km from Sangla. Kalpa was once the favourite haunt of Lord Dalhousie, the then Governor General of India. Kalpa is surrounded by vineyards. It offers a rare chance to buy Kinnauri shawls and caps from Handicrafts Emporium.
Day 14: Kalpa/ Recong Peo Monastery/ Sangla
After breakfast, visit Kalpa Village & Recong Peo Monastery. Afterwards, leave for Sangla (51 Km/2680 meters). Reach Sangla in the evening and transfer to tented accommodation. Dinner & overnight at camp.

Day 15: Explore Sangla & Chitkul Village
After breakfast, full day at Sangla. Visit Kamru Fort & Chitkul Village (3450 meters). Dinner & overnight at camp.

Sangla (2680 m):
The Central village in the valley, scenic Sangla is 18 km from Karchham. A link road that goes off the N.H. No.22 into the Baspa valley offers an enchanting visit at every curve.There are saffron fields, orchards and vineyards. The Kinner Kailash peak dominates the view from Sangla. It is worth a visit to the Kamru Fort, an impressive fortress-style temple dedicated to the Goddess Kali, where all the Maharajas of Kinnaur were crowned.

Chitkul (3450 m):
Chitkul, the last and the highest village in this valley, 28 km from Sangla, is noted for its alpine meadows and snow scapes.

Day 16      Sangla/ Sarahan
After breakfast, leave for Sarahan (57 km/2165 meters). Reach Sarahan and transfer to Rest House. Afterwards, visit to Bhimakali Temple, Lanka Vir Temple and view of Shrikhand Manadev Peak. Dinner & overnight at Rest House.

Sarahan (2165 m):
The Gods were generous when they gave Sarahan its setting. Located halfway up a high mountain side, the road to Sarahan winds past flowering jacaranda trees that give way to stately pines. Above Sarahan , a mane of doedar trees ride the slopes and higher still, encircling the Bashal peak, are trees of smooth birch and a variety of wild flowers and rare medicinal herbs. Here is the famous Bhimakali temple - regarded as one of the fifty-one sacred Shaktipeeths'. The temple's unusual architecture and wealth of carvings have made it a resplendent example of what is generally called the `Indo Tibetan Style'.
Bhimakali Temple
is built in Indo-Tibetan architectural style, it is one of the finest examples of Himachali architecture and is dedicated to Lord Narsingha and Lord Raghunath. This temple is the main attraction of the region and is decorated silver. Apart from the main deities, this temple has images of various Hindu and Buddhist Gods. It is also one of the last few surviving temples made entirely of timber.
Lanka Vir Temple: Situated next door to the Bhimakali temple, this was where human sacrifices were made long ago to please Goddess Bhimakali. The bodies were apparently thrown into the well nearby.
Shrikhand Manadev Peak:
Once in Sarahan, one beholds a range of the snow-capped Himalayan peaks and one of them is the Shrikhand Peak. The rather peculiar thing about this peak is that it is only one whose tip remains uncovered with snow. In the evening, sunrays adorn the peaks and the sight is simply stupendous.
Day 17: Sarahan/ Shimla
After breakfast, leave for Shimla (175 Km/2205 meters). Reach Shimla in the evening & transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.
Day 18: Explore Shimla
After breakfast, full day sightseeing of Shimla. Dinner & overnight at hotel.Shimla, situated in the north-west Himalayas, Shimla, the summer capital of India during the pre-independence era, is now the capital of Himachal Pradesh. Shimla town is spread over the ridge measuring about 12 km. On the off shoots of the central crescent shaped ridge, are located its suburbs. Shimla is perhaps the biggest hill station or hill town of the world at its height 2206 metres. At one time its base ridge had the thickest forests of the area, now its green slopes, covered with firs, pines, rhododendron, the Himalayan oak and the foliage are dotted with houses and buildings.
Day 19: Shimla/ Kalka/ Delhi
Early morning, transfer to Railway station to catch Toy Train for Kalka. Reach Kalka and catch Himalayan Queen Express for Delhi. Reach Delhi and transfer to hotel. Dinner & overnight at hotel.

Day 20 Delhi
Early morning, transfer to IGI Airport and tour terminates

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