Monastery Tour, like all our tours, can be tailored according to your wishes. The itinerary below is just en example.
Day 1: Kalpa
We start our tour with the village of Kalpa and its surroundings in order to familiarize ourselves with the region. Kalpa has a Buddhist monastery called Hu-Bu-Lan-Khar, established by the great scholar and translator, Ring-Chen-Tsang-Po, from 955 to 1058 A.D.
Day 2: Kalpa to Jangi via Ridang/Rarang/Lippa. (75 km)
Ridang, or Ribba village, is very famous for the quality of its apples and grapes. It is also reputed for its monastery belonging to the Gelukpa sect, and it is said that the footprint of Lotsava Rinpoche is engraved there.
Almost 3 km after Ridang, at Akpa on the national highway, foreigners must show their Inner Line Permit to enter the restricted area.
We proceed to Rarang monastery (10 km away), a newly made monument belonging to the Drukpa Kargyut lineage (Red Hat sect). There, we also visit to the cave of Ga Rinpoche, which is situated on the top of the village.
We leave for Jangi village, have lunch there, and rest for a while in a homestay.
In the evening time, we visit the Da’ Chompa, a sacred place where is it said that the back of Guru Rinpoche is printed on the rock in a meditation position. It is located in the outskirt of Lippa village where we will also visit Lippa monastery.
Overnight at Jangi village in a homestay where we may have the chance to attend a local fest or meet a Buddhist scholar.
Day 3: Jangi to Kanam via Kunnu - Charang (75 km)
After breakfast, we leave for Kunnu-Charang village (3400m). It is the last village along the Indo -China boarder. The Charang monastery is also known as 'Rangrik Tsungma’ monastery, it is more than 1000 years old, but surprisingly it doesn’t get the same popularity as Tabo monastery.
We reach this ancient monastery after a 2km easy, gradual walk from the village. After being immersed in the good energy of Rangrik Tsungma monastery, we proceed towards the national highway beneath Jangi village (28 km) and drive to Spillo along the right bank of Satluj River (8-9 km). We have lunch there.
On the way to Spillo, we visit the Moorang Fort, which was built by the Thakurs kings, about 500 years ago. After lunch we move to Kanam village, 9 km away.
Overnight at our KANUM HOMESTAY in Kanam.
Day 4: Kanam village monasteries visit
Altogether, there are seven monasteries in Kanam. The most famous is the Kha Che Lagang Monastery, which is one of the oldest in the area.
Kha Che Lagang Monastery was built in the time of the Great Scholar Ringchen Tsangpo, who established 108 monasteries within the western trans Himalaya from 955 to 1058 A.D.
The other monastery within Kanam village is called Kangyur. It has been there for centuries and holds the sacred texts called KANGYUR and TANGYUR, which are lord Buddha’s first teachings.
Lunch at our KANUM HOMESTAY in Kanam or at the monastery, according to our schedule.
After lunch, we go for a 1.5 hour trek to Surpu Gompa (3100m). The gompa offers a lovely view of the three surrounding villages: Spillo, Labrang and Kanam, and of course panoramic scenery of the majestic Kinner Kailash mountain range.
Locally, Surpu Gompa is called the gem of the three villages.
We walk back to our KANUM HOMESTAY in Kanam and while heading back, we may encounter villagers with whom we can share a chai-tea or have a short discussion with. Kinnauri people are always happy to welcome new visitors in their village.
On our way back, we visit the Lotsava monastery in the centre of the village.
Dinner will be served at the homestay where a local brew made out of apple and wild apricot awaits you.
NOTE: Kanam is a real monastic and historical village and follows the Geylupka (yellow hat sect). From 1829 to 1831, a Hungarian scholar named ALEXANDER SÀNDOR KÖRÖSI CSOMA DE-CHORUS lived there and translated the holy scripts of Kangyur and Tangyur.
Day 5: Nako via Labrang, Sunnam and Pooh monastery
Early in the morning, we leave for Nako via Labrang, Sunnam and Pooh monastery. Labrang is just 4 km away from Kanam village and it boasts an impressive fort built in the 16th century during the time of the Thakurs kings.
In Labrang, we will also be able to admire traditional wooden houses.
We have our breakfast at Spillo and we proceed to Sunnam village to visit Negi Rinpoche’s home and monastery. Sunnam village has its own dialect, which is one of the 8 dialects of Kinnaur.
After Sunnam, we drive to Pooh (2850m) and visit the monastery dedicated to Lord Buddha Shakyamuni and attributed to the translator Ringchen Tsangpo or Lotsava (955 -1058 A.D.). The monastery has murals and a painted door dated from the period of Ringchen Tsangpo, though they are in a poor state of preservation.
There we can also visit a local pre-Buddhist deity, named Dabla, who has no dwelling or altar.
We have our Lunch at Pooh in a restaurant and we leave for Nako and stay there overnight in a hotel.
Day 6: Nako and surroundings
We spend our full day in and around Nako (3660 m). We visit Nako monastery (Lob dpon zhabrjes), the Lake, and the footprint of Padmasambhava engraved on a rock.
The monastery dates back to 1025 A.D. and is similar to the style of Tabo monastery; it consists in four large halls, the oldest and largest is known as ‘Dukhang', or as the complex of the great translator Ringchen Tsangpo or Lotsava. The artwork of the monastery is related to the Vajrayana Buddhism. It also has a local shrine, which is dedicated to Purgyal, the Spirit of Mountain.
The lake of Nako is an integral part of the Nako village. There is a rock there that is believed to have the footprint of Padamasambhava, recording his visit to the area. One can go for an uphill walk of several hours towards the sacred land of Lamas called Tashigang, SOMANG (SOMANG/SOMANKH has been a sacred RETREAT for Yogis and Buddhist monks since centuries) and towards Leo Purgyal peak.
Day 7: Nako to Tabo via Geu (78 km)
After breakfast, we drive towards Tabo in Spiti region via Geu (or Giu) village. At the Sumdo International Check Post, foreigners must show their inner line permit while leaving the restricted area.
Geu village was recently brought to public attention when the body of a Buddhist monk (lama Sangya Tezin) was found in a condition of natural mummification. The mummy of this 45 years old monk was dated by carbon-14 to the year 1475 A.D., making it over 500 years old. The mummy was found in a sitting position with a rosary in one hand.
We proceed to Tabo, check into the Sonam Guest House, and have lunch.
Evening time is spent attending the regular pooja in the Tabo monastery.
Day 8: Tabo
We spend half the day in Tabo and its surrounding, after lunch we have free time for shopping and resting.
The Tabo Monastery (Gelugpa sect) is the Ajanta of the Himalayas and was founded more than a millennium ago (in 996 A.D.) by the great translator Lotsava Ringchen Tsangpo, on behalf of the king of the western Himalayan Kingdom of Guge. The monastery is located on flat ground and spread over an area of 6300 Sq. meters. The temples here house a priceless collection of manuscripts and thangkas, exquisite statues in stuccos, and murals depicting tales from the Mahayana Buddhist Pantheon.
Overnight at the Sonam guesthouse.
Day 9: Tabo to Mud village via Dankhar Monastery and Kugri Monastery in Pin Valley (80 km)
Early in the morning we drive 32 km and stop at the Dankhar monastery (Gelugpa sect), the only Gompa that stands on a cliff within the whole Himalayas. ‘Dang' means ‘cliff’ and Khar means ‘Fort', so Dang-Khar means fort on the cliff. We have breakfast there, either in a restaurant or in the monastery guesthouse.
After breakfast, we leave for the Kungri monastery 35 km away from Dankhar. We enter the Pin valley, the lush valley of Spiti region. Kungri monastery is Spiti’s second oldest monastery, built around 1330 A.D., and is the main centre of the Nyingma Pa, the oldest order of the Tibetan Bhuddhism sect in Spiti.
Lunch will be served at Kungri Gompa or in Mud village at Tara Guesthouse, depending on our timing when we reach Kungri.
Overnight at Tara guesthouse in Mud village or in Kungri monastery, according to availability.
Day 10: Mud village
This day is spent relaxing and enjoying the breathtaking view of Pin Valley.
Mud village is one of the biggest villages in the pin valley and the start of two famous treks: Bhaba Pin valley trek and Pin Parvati Trek, which consecutively ends at Kafnu village in Kinnaur District and Kheer Ganga in Kullu district. Fauna and flora are rich; we can observe the Himalayan Yak, Blue Sheep, endangered Snow Leopard and Siberian Ibex.
Day 11: Mud to Kaza (52 km)
In the morning after breakfast we leave for Kaza, the administrative headquarter of Spiti region. We check into a hotel and get some free time for shopping in the local market.
Evening time is spent in Rangrik village and its Monastery, and then we go back to our hotel in Kaza.
Day 12: Key Monastery and Kibber village
Early in the morning, we drive to Key monastery to attend the morning chant prayers and to spend time in and around the monastery. Key Gompa is located on the top of a hill at an altitude of 4160 meters. It was founded in the 11th century (1005-1064) by Brom Ston, a student of the famous teacher Atisha, who was the initiator of the Kadam School of Tibetan Buddhism.
Key Gompa belongs to the Gelugpa sects, along with Tabo Chos Khor Gompa and Dahkhar Gompa.
Next we proceed to Kibber village to get a larger panorama of the view. Kibber is known as the second highest motorable village in the world. We have our lunch at Kibber village and we spend time there until the late afternoon, then we go back to Key Gompa and stay in the guesthouse of the Gompa.
Day 13: Key Gompa to Langza valley (35 km)
Early in the morning, we attend the morning prayer at the Key Gompa and after breakfast, we move to Langza valley to visit the world’s highest village: Komik.
Komik means snow rooster. The altitude of this village is almost 4500m and the oxygen is very poor, which can make the trip to Komik tough for a new traveller in this area.
The Komik Gompa is situated at the entrance of the village and it is said that the monastery is more than 500 years old. Unfortunately, the monastery has a rule stating that women can’t go inside during the prayer time. This high altitude village has a 360-degree view; one can also walk within the village and to Hikkim village, 500m below.
Lunch will be served in Komik or Hikkim. After lunch, we walk back to Langza village, the biggest village in Lanza valley.
Overnight stay in Langza village. Local brew will be offered during dinner.
NB: this is the end of the monastery tour
Day 14: Langza to Chandratal Via Kunzum Pass La (90km)
After receiving the blessings of Lord Buddha, we leave for Chandratal Lake through Losar (the last village of the Spiti region towards Lahaul valley) and Kunzum Pass (4550m). Chandratal or Chandra Taal means the ‘Lake of the Moon’. The name originates from its crescent shape. There, at Chandratal, we have our own campsite, KABILA NATURE CAMP.
Overnight stay in our camp, we provide campfire with barbeque and relaxing music.
Day 15: Chandratal to Manali (137 km)
After breakfast, we head to Manali. It is a day’s drive from Kunzum La to Rohtang Pass, as the road condition is tough.
Late in the afternoon, we check into the hotel in Manali. Packed lunch from our campsite will be served on the way to Manali.
Day 16: Manali to Chandigarh/Delhi Drop.