Classic Himalaya

Description

Where: Western Himalaya

How Long: 2 Weeks

Classic Himalaya is the perfect combination of holiday and adventure. A mix of lively sightseeing and exciting driving through jaw dropping scenery. It is your choice whether you drive one of our modern SUVs or ride one of our Enfield motorcycles.

Tour Operator: Classic Car Journeys
Available: July 1st- July 15th 2017

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We start in Amritsar for two days of sightseeing before catching a train south to collect our vehicles. We then head to the Spiti Valley, one of the remotest inhabited regions in the world.

Described by Rudyard Kipling as “a world within a world” the Spiti Valley is one of the world’s great road trips. Once there, you really will feel you’re in another world.

Cut off for much of the year due to heavy snow, the valley road has only been open to foreigners since 1992. No words can prepare you for the beauty of Spiti and the Himalayas. It’s like driving through a living museum. Thousands of years of wind erosion have created the most fascinating landscape, often referred to as ‘moonlike’. The terrain varies from lush vegetation through to mountain desert. The roads themselves have to be seen to be believed and are a quite staggering feat of engineering.

The route takes us just a few miles from the Tibet border and the influence of this close neighbour is clearly evident in the people, houses and monastries. The whole area has a peaceful and calming feel.

Classic Himalaya is much more than a holiday. It really is a Motoring Adventure of a Lifetime.

Day 1 Sat July 1st – Leave Heathrow for an overnight flight to Delhi and a connection to Amritsar.

Day 2 Sun July 2nd – Arrive Amritsar and transfer to the hotel enjoying possibly your first glimpse of Indian driving. After spending an afternoon relaxing we will be taking a sunset visit to the Golden Temple, one of the most beautiful temples in India.

Day 3 Mon July 3rd – Today is a day off to explore Amritsar until mid afternoon when we head to the India/Pakistan border at Wagah to watch one of the most amusing displays of patriotism, made famous by Michael Palin in his Himalaya programme.

Day 4 Tue July 4th – Up early to catch a train south to Ambala where we have lunch and then collect our vehicles for the drive to Shimla, former capital of the British Raj. The temperature drop as you enter the hills of Shimla is a welcome relief after the heat of the plains. You’ll no doubt be tired by the time you arrive in Shimla, where we will be staying in a wonderful colonial hotel.

Day 5 Wed July 5th – Shimla, with it’s wealth of history and the magnificent Viceroy’s Lodge is too good to miss so today is a completely free day giving you plenty of time to explore the sights.

Day 6 Thu July 6th – Shimla to Sarahan. Today the adventure begins as we leave Shimla and head into the mountains. The route is twisty and an ideal learning curve for what lies ahead. We pass through beautiful verdant valleys climbing towards Narkanda before a long descent to the Sutlej river valley. We follow this raging river before finally ascending for the overnight stop at Sarahan.

Day 7 Fri July 7th – Sarahan to Kalpa. Descending from Sarahan we continue following the Sutlej towards our nights stop at Kalpa passing some of the largest hydro-electric engineering projects I have ever seen. Our hotel in Kalpa lies in the shadow of the 21,500ft Kinnaur Kailash mountain, a perfect place to enjoy a drink as the sun goes down.

Day 8 Sat July 8th – Kalpa to Nako. Today we’ll see big changes in the landscape. Travelling above the tree line we enter the Himalayan desert. Thousands of years of wind erosion has created fascinating rock formations which are unlike anything you will have seen elsewhere. On the way to Nako we’ll pass within 5 miles of the Tibetan border hence the need for our Inner Line Permits.

Day 9 Sun July 9th – Nako to Kazza. A beautiful drive along the Spiti Valley, past more outstanding scenery. We’ll pass glaciers and stop at Tabo to look around the 1000 year old Tibetan monastery. We should arrive at the busy little trading town of Kazza by early afternoon. After filling up with fuel at the world’s highest retail petrol station you might like to take a short drive to Kibber, one of the highest villages in the world.

Day 10 Mon July 10th – Kazza to Tandi – Today is the biggest drive of the trip as we head further up the valley crossing the Kun Zum pass at 14930ft. Descending the other side of the pass we stop in a dhaba for hot noodles before tackling several water crossings on the way to Tandi, our overnight stop.

Day 11 Tue July 11th – Tandi to Manali. First thing in the morning it is only a short drive to the bottom of the infamous Rhotang Pass. At 13,000 it’ll be cold and snowy at the top but, weather permitting, it has some spectacular views. After a tea stop on the mountain we’ll descend to the hustle and bustle of Manali.

Day 12 Wed July 12th – Manali is a lively, vibrant town full of backpackers, shops and happy locals. We have a day off and get together in the evening for a beautiful meal in a local speciality restaurant.

Day 13 Thu July 13th – Manali to Nalagarh – We now leave the hills and return to the plains. The morning is a lovely drive following numerous green valleys before eventually reaching the busy main roads further south. In the evening we reach our overnight stop in an old hilltop fort.

Day 14 Fri July 14th – Nalagarh to Delhi – Driving down India’s Highway 1 we reach Delhi where we’ll drop the vehicles off. We should arrive shortly after lunchtime giving you a free afternoon for last minute shopping.

Day 15 Sat July 15th – Depart for Delhi Airport and a mid morning flight back to the UK arriving at Heathrow later the same day.