Amid the dry and bald mountains of the Pir-Panjal Himalayan ranges, the green potato fields of Lahul and the relative affluence of the Pattan valley along the Chenab river are too stark a contradiction to miss. The narrow gorges of Paangi Valley, the so called land of milk and honey, will send a shiver down your spine. Khajjiar, “the mini Switzerland”, on the foothills of the mighty Dauladhar Himalayan ranges and town of Dharamshala, the official residence of HH Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in exile, are our attractions en route.
The treacherous ascent of Sach Pass (4,414m) is definitely not for the faint hearted. But for a purist, this is an adventure story fit to keep your audiences mesmerised for hours during those rainy Sunday afternoons back home.
This route is regarded as the “mother of all Himalayan off-roads”. The tour is conducted in the remote areas of the Pir-Panjal Himalayas. Accommodation and eating options are basic and minimal. We carry our own camping equipment, food and cooks. All riders must be in good health – both physically and mentally.
Day 1 : Arrive at Bhuntar Airport (50km, 1 Hour)
Landing at this airport is an experience on its own. We'll be waiting for you at the arrival gate. Transfer to Manali by cab or bus. Enjoy a quick breakfast and then settle into the hotel. After the hectic schedule of the past few days, you might like to rest a while. In the afternoon, join us for a test ride of the town and get used to your machine.
Day 2: Manali to Tandi (120km, 5-6 Hours)
Immediately after leaving Manali, you start the ascent of the famed Manali-Leh highway. As Lady Panelop Chetwode in 1972 said, " if they can build this road, the day won't be far when we have roads to Mt Everest". We leave it up to you to discover her point of view. Pose for a photo opportunity at Rohtang Pass (3,979m), have your first glimpse of the vast Himalayas and then follow the Chandra river to reach our picturesque camp-site at Tandi. Admire the location and feel awed.
Day 3: Tandi to Sach Khas Village (120km, 5-6 Hours)
Follow the Chenab river along the affluent Pattan Valley of Lahul and enter the rugged gorges of the Paangi valley. The river runs deep, the valley gets narrower and the road gets rough. Camp at our chosen campsite and enjoy hot meals cooked by our chefs. Feel amazed at the sight of dust on your shoes. Unrecognisable!
Day 4:Sach Khas to Sural Bhatori (60km, 4-5 Hours)
Continue along the narrow gorges and heart-stopping bends. The sound of the engine, dust and gravel are your constant companions. Reach the most beautiful camp-site in the world.
Day 5: Sural Bhatori to Bairagarh (90km, 6-8 Hours)
Pop your head out of the tent and wake up to the amazing views. Feel lucky to be alive and have all the good things in life. After a brief introspection, rush to our "dining" tent and relish in a nutritious breakfast. Today you have a long and *HARD* ride. After crossing the Chenab river, the ascent of Sach Pass starts. Road conditions change quickly from OK to bad to worse to unmentionable. The climb continues for almost the whole day. With your eyes focused 10-meters ahead of you, first gear-second gear, is all you have in mind. Back home, when someone asks "why do you ride?", you fumble for the right answer. Today, at the end of the day, you smile, because you know the answer.
Day 6: Bairagarh to Khajjiar (110km, 4-5 Hours)
It feels good to be back in civilisation. Be careful of those blind curves as traffic is unpredictable. You'll remember two things about today's ride. First, the sheer joy of riding on tarmac and second, the bliss of a hot water shower. The knowledge that your bike actually has a fifth gear, may come a close third!
Day 7: Khajjiar to Dharamshala (120km, 4-5 Hours)
Come face to face with notorious Indian traffic. Keep calm and keep your middle finger pointed towards the ground. Dharamshala is the residence of Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness Dalai Lama. Who knows, he might be in town.
Day 8: Dharamshala Rest Day
Day 9: Onward journey
Way back home.