Saturday, December 15, 2007

Some new pic to the gallery

Walking through beautiful pine forest down into the valley
Great Himalayan range from Mashobra valley

Wilderness in Himalayas

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Kalpa, the land of Shiva.

This is an example of mix of Pahari (from mountains) and Buddhist architecture in the countryside temples in the villages more north from Shimla ito Kinnaur and Spiti valleys. This particular shot has been taken from Kalpa, the favourite retreat of Lord Curson, one of the Viceroy of British India. He wanted to make Kalpa the next summer capital of British India.
In the backdrops one can see the famous Kinner Kailash Range, according to Hindu legend it is believed to be the winter abode of Lord Shiva, the elevation of Kinner Kailashis 6050mts. With the better transport & lodging facilities, Kalpa has became a favourite destination of adventure lovers. The famous Kinner Kailash Parikrama, a strenuous trek starts from Kalpa only.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Shimla facts

Shimla Location
Located on the edge of foothills and middle ranges of the Himalayas, Shimla is a lovely hill station that is a favorite among travellers from around the globe. Shimla's geographical location is responsible for its pleasant climatic conditions. In India, the location of Shimla is just perfect to go on an ideal vacation. It has its own charm in summers as well as winters. Shimla is spread over an undulating altitude that averages at 2100 meters above sea level. This beautiful hill station lies between 31.06o North to 77.13o East. The high altitude has a fitting vegetation cover of evergreen pine trees. The city is spread over an area of 25 square kilometers. Though it seems small, the hills and undulating terrain surrounding it give it the look of a majestic hill station.
Shimla Facts
One of the most beautiful hill stations of India, Shimla was a small, unknown village before the British discovered it in the year 1819. Around the year 1864, the British declared it the summer capital of India. Even today, it is one of the most preferred hill stations for tourists.

Area: 25 square kilometers

Altitude: 2130 meters above sea level

Currency: Indian Rupee

Language spoken: Himachali, English and Hindi

Location: 31.06° North to 77.13° East

Population: 163,000 (according to 2001 census)

Religion: Domination of Hinduism

STD (Standard Trunk Dialing) Code: 0177

Summers: April to June (16o - 28o Celsius)

Monsoons: July to September (12o - 22o Celsius)

Winters: November to February (-7o - 10o Celsius)

Time: IST (Indian Standard Time) +5.5 hours

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bygone past of Shimla.

Shimla Architecture

The presence of cedar forests has played a major role in the evolution and development of various architectural forms. The wood extracted from the cidar tree is full of strength and can be used in multistoreys, can withstand long periods of weather corrosion, the wood is insect and termite resistant.

The 'Kathkuni' or 'Kathkundi' style of building is something unique to this part of the world. A mesh of interlocking horizontal cedar (locally, deodar) sleepers is created - and in this dressed or raw stone is packed. A singular characteristic is the absence of vertical members. With inherent elasticity, the design has an enormous seismic response - there have been instances when tremors have dislodged the stones from the frame, and later, have been hammered back into the intact mesh of wood houses and temples in the style are present in the districts of Shimla, Kullu & Kinnaur.

Walls of rammed earth are popular all over and in the treeless tracts of the Trans Himalaya, some stunning architecture has been created on seemingly insurmountable sites. The quality of dressed or carved stone has created remarkable temples, forts and residences. Fine slate or slabs of quartzite have provided roofing material.This came to be known as Hill Architecture. With the coming of the Europeans, Himachal added another dimension to its rich architectural heritage. It went on changing and the initial simple Swiss-type cottages/German country houses were outshone by architectural marvels in Elizabethan style of English renaissance or Gothic or the splendor of dressed stones and gray slate roof. All this assimilated well with the character of Shimla. It enhanced, not diminished the beauty of the hill station.

The state capital has some of the world's finest examples of British colonial architecture. Inspired by the Renaissance in England, is the greystone former Viceregal Lodge (now the Indian Institute of Advanced Study), the neo Gothic structures of the gaiety theatre and the former imperial Civil Secretariat (now the Accountant General's Office). There are the Tudor framed Barnes Court (now the Raj Bhawan), and the distinctive Vidhan Sabha and the secretariat of the government of Himachal Pradesh. Some of the heritage buildings are:-
Ellerslie: The Himachal Pradesh Secretariat (Ellerslie building) was designed by Lt. Col. H.E.S. Abbott 100 years back. This beautiful building was constructed after dismantling an old building of the same name that housed the Military Department of the Punjab Government till 1886.
Abbot sought permission for construction from the then Secretary of the Municipal Committee Major W.P. Larson and wrote " you are aware of the intensions of the Punjab Government to pull down the house 'Ellerslie' and build on the site a new set of offices to accommodate the whole of Punjab Secretariat." The permission was granted on 28th June, 1899. The inside of Ellerslie is made of stone quarried from Sanjauli and Barnes Court (Present Raj Bhawan) and stuck together using lime mortar. The brickwork too has lime mortar cementing. The Himachal Pradesh Secretariat occupied it in the summers of 1967. In July 1972 the "Summit Hall" where the cabinet meetings are held was spruced up and was given this name as initial summit meeting for Shimla Agreement between India and Pakistan. This building with sub-basement, basement and three floors, now has 143 rooms and 31 toilets. It covers and area of about 8663 meters.

The Vice Regal Lodge : On the Observatory Hills is located the Viceregal Lodge. Also known as Rashtrapati Niwas, it was formerly the residence of the British Viceroy Lord Dufferin, was the venue for many important decisions, which changed the fate of the sub-continent. It is quite befittingly the only building in Shimla that occupies a hill by itself. This rambling Scottish baronial edifice was designed by Henry Irvine, architect to the Public Works Department of the colonial government in India. The south facing entrance portico sees the visitor into the reception hall. The hall is marked by a grand staircase which springs from the right and spirals up three full floors. Facing the main entrance is the grand fireplace. A gallery with well-appointed teak panelling is the central space of the building around which the other rooms are arranged. The state drawing room, ballroom, and the wood-panelled dining room - decorated with coats of arms of former Governor-Generals and Viceroys - lead to the gallery at the lower level. Verandas and terraces surround the entire building at different levels. Those at the lower level link the lodge to the magnificent grounds while those on other floors provide superb views of mountains. Way back in 1888 this Lodge had electric light – when nobody else in Shimla did – and, would you believe it, an indoor tennis court! The lodge had extensive facilities including huge kitchens; separate rooms for storing table linen, plates, china and glass; laundry; an enormous wine cellar; a room for empty cases; boilers for central heating and running hot and cold water in the bathrooms. Pretty much as in Delhi’s Viceregal Palace, the Viceroy hosted lavish parties and entertained the royal princes and nawabs in style. Several momentous decisions were taken in this building. This was the venue of the Simla Conference in 1945. In 1947 , the decision to partition India and carve out the states of Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) , was also taken here.

After independence, the Lodge remained the summer retreat of the President of India. In the early 60s the President of India, Dr. S. Radhakrishnan, a leading philosopher and writer, and the Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru decided to make it a scholars’ den where the best minds would find an ideal retreat. That’s when the Indian Institute of Advanced Study moved into the Lodge in 1965.Obviously enough, some of the interiors had to be changed to accommodate the needs of the Institute. The state drawing room, ballroom, and dining room, for example, have been converted into a library; the Viceroy’s office is now the IIAS Director’s office; and the conference hall is now a seminar room for research scholars. Without the large contingent of vice regal attendants and the resources, the ambience of this large estate is very different from what it used to be in the days of the Raj. The institute seems like the perfect setting for lively intellectual debates and discussions. The list of Fellows of the Institute includes names the Burmese Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Sun Kyi, who was a fellow here in 1986.

Christ Church : The most prominent building on the Mall is the yellow Christ Church, reputed to be the second oldest church in northern India. The Christ Church is the most important landmark here and is photographed by tourists. The silhouette of this can be seen on the skyline for miles around. It was designed by Colonel JT Boileau in 1844, but consecrated only after 1857. The clock was donated by Colonel Dumbleton in 1860, and the porch added in 1873.It still has those lovely stained glass windows (five in all) for which it is so famed. Check out the one that represents the virtues of Faith, Hope, Charity, Fortitude, Patience and Humility. According to Mr. Bazel Dean, the pipe organ is one of the biggest in the country and was erected in September, 1899. Its tuning was completed on September 23, 1899, and the dedication and opening recital took place on September 28, 1899.The beautiful "king of instruments" was built by Messers Morgan and Smith of Brighten (England) at a cost of Rs 23,000. It was extensively repaired in 1932.The 155-year-old church first had an organ which was erected in 1855. The major portion of it cost £ 250 and was subscribed by Lady Gomm wife of the Commander-in-Chief.

In 1875, the organ was replaced by a new instrument which in 1899 was sold to the Rawalpindi Church to make room for the present organ. The two most expensive stops were presented by Air Mackworth Young and Sir James Walker, while the cost of decorating the pipes was defrayed by the Countess of Elgin to commemorate the marriage of her daughter Lady Elizabeth Bruce with H. Babington Smith in the church on September 22, 1898. In the winter of 1900 the six bells were hung in the tower. The actual cost of the church came out to be Rs 89,000.

Gorton Castle : One of the most striking buildings of the British empire, Gorton Castle is a new-Gothic structure that had the famous Sir Swinton Jacob as its architect - the Rajasthan jaali work on its balconies obviously came from his forty five years of experience as the executive engineer of the princely state of Jaipur, completed in 1904, this was the Civil Secretariat of the Imperial Government of India and housed the Legislative, Lands, Education, Home Health and Finance departments. Today, this houses the offices of the Accountant General of Himachal Pradesh. This three floored building with about 125 small and big rooms became the seat of the Accountant General in 1947. This finest house in Shimla, according to Sir Edward Buck also has one floor paved with rosewood like timber blocks which were brought from Andaman Islands by B.Ribbentrop head of forest department. The site belonged to one Mr. Gorton, ICS in 1840. After changing hands thrice, it was purchased by a banker, Sir James Walker for Rs. 80,000. He wished to gift it for construction of Hospital After much discussion and persuasion the building was acquired for its officers and Sir Walker was given alternate site where Walker Hospital was constructed.

The Railway Board Building : Built in 1896-97, this unusual cast iron and steel structure once held the offices of the Railway Board and the Department of Commerce. But at a time when safety was a core-consideration for important buildings throughout the British Empire, this was designed to be structurally fire fire-resistant, and a recent blaze has testified to this in Shimla. The building was originally designated as the 'Public Works Department Secretariat Offices' and was fabricated by the Bombay based firm of Rishardson and Cruddas. Above road level, the building has four levels and with one side exposed, climbing down the hill, it has three basements. On the 10 Feb,2001 a blaze broke out in the top floor and standing testimony to its construction and to the subsequent restoration, no trace of this huge fire remains today and its facade is as imposing as ever. Presently, it houses many of the Central Government Offices.

Gaiety Theatre: The Gaiety Theatre, and a tradition of amateur theatrical remains in the stump of the once colossal edifice that was the Town Hall. The architect Henry Irwin, who built the Viceregal Lodge, designed the theatre building. In 1911, the upper portions of the building were dismantled as the structure was found to be unsafe. It was opened on the 30th of May, 1887, Queen Victoria's Jubilee Year and its God- Father was lord Bill Beresford, who saved the Simla A.D.C.(Amateur Dramatic Club) , time and again from financial ruin. The formal inauguration of the Simla A.D.C. took place in the year 1888 and since then plays have been staged in the Gaiety with unfailing regularity. The history of ADC goes back to the times when theatre was looked upon as a major and serious source of entertainment and, therefore became a cultural necessity for the English elite. Hence, Shimla became the home of amateur theatre and the Gaiety Theatre produced the best of the plays performed in London.

Among the leading theatre personalities connected with the Shimla Amateur Dramatic Club are: Field Marshal Lord Roberts, who remained president of the Club from 1891-1892 during his tenure as Commander-in-Chief of India; Major P.H. Dnyer, a distinguished producer and actor who acted in Loyalties, Interference and Mary Rose; Lord Bill Beresford, V.C. who was the Military Secretary to Viceroy Lord Lytton, famous poet and author Rudyard Kipling, Lord Kitchner, Mrs. Deane, Major General Sir Godfrey Williams, the Chief of Scouts, Colonel Baden-Powell, and Sir Dennis Fitz Patrick, Lieut-Governor of Punjab during 1895 and many others. Notable film personalities like K.L. Saigal, Prithvi Raj Kapoor, Shashi Kapoor, Jennifer Kendall, Raj Babbar, Anupam Kher, Manohar Singh, Nasseerudin Shah, frequently performed on the stage of the Gaiety theatre.

Woodville: Woodville is one of the oldest and finest houses of Shimla east. It became the honoured residence of the Commander-in-Chief in the year 1865, and its first occupant was General Sir William Rose Mansfield. After the year 1881 the Commander-in-Chief deserted it for Snowdon, near Lakkar Bazaar, which was burnt down some year back and the site is now taken by Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital, also called Snowdon Hospital. In the year 1881 Woodville house was bought by Sir James Walker and afterwards passed on to the Alliance Bank of Simla, which used it as the manager's residence. The bank collapsed in the year 1923 and not long afterwards the house was bought over by Raja Rana Sir Bhagat Chand of Jubbal, who tastefully converted it into his summer Palace. After the Raja's death, the Palace has been turned into a hotel by one of his grandsons. The house has lovely surroundings, beautiful wooded walks, clusters of pine and deodars, and well-groomed lawns, reminiscent of a large German country-house. Woodville is an ideal refuge for people who really want peace and quietude, away from the madding crowd. The owner of the Woodville Palace Hotel lives within the estate.

Shimla File

Annandale Ground: No Other landmark in Simla can revive more pleasant memories than the famous playground and race-course by the name of Annadale, located in a deep wide valley in the suburban village of Kaithu, simla west. This playground rests on a small patch of table-land about a three-quarters of a mile in circumference. The spur on which it stood was a sort of valley-flat which was greatly extended and improved. Now misnamed Annandale, the original name of this place was Annadale and this name is derived from a small story about it. The story is that Captain charles pratt Kennedy, one of the first incomers to this place, was so struck by the beauty of the valley that he saw, that be named after a young lady to whom he was so deeply attached in his young boyhood days. Her name was Anna and he combined it with the word 'dale' meaning a valley, thus calling the valley as Annadale. This spelling appears in the early lithographs of Simla done about the year 1840. Annandale, since its inception in the 1830s was the haunt of Anglo-Indian playful activities, amusements and entertainments. It was the favorite place for picnic parties, fetes and fancy-fairs, birthday-balls, flower and dog shows, army tatoos, races and gymkhanas, polo matches and other tournaments in 1888 which became a regular annual feature and which still bears his name although the venue of this tournament is now shifted to Calcutta.

An ambitious improvement scheme was launched by Lord William Beresford, the Military Secretary to Lord Dufferin, and his keen interest in the expansion of Annandale ground gave the 'Cricketers a new pavilion and a polo field for the polo fans.' The cutting of a big piece of the hill cost nearly Rs 80,000 to which handsome amounts were contributed by the Indian Rajas. In the old regime there was a general committee for the maintenance of the ground and funds were derived from the rents paid by the gymkhana, polo and cricket clubs, race committee and other voluntary organizations. Presently there are no more races and the field is utilized as a helipad and for army exercise and parades, sports and occasionally for other kinds of assemblages like Dussehra festival celebrations. The very first fancy fair was held in Annandale in the year 1839.

Scandal Point: Scandal Point is the hub of the town's social life. Behind this, stand the wide timber-framed Post-Office in Spartan brick and the building of the Church of Scotland, St. Andrew's. Arguably the Scandal Point still echoes the sentiments expressed by Harrop,"The transmitters of gossip are ever at work and savory and unsavory secrets of our society are flashed to the uttermost limits of Simla with all the speed of wireless." There used to be a mechanical equestrian statue here. It was a clever piece of mechanism, which smiles, salutes and slaps its horse occasionally, when it shows signs of undue activity and restlessness.

The Road to Shimla: In the early days of Simla settlement the visitor to Simla required Herculean strength to cope with the hardship of uncomfortable, cumbersome and exhausting travel. By the 1860's the East India Railway had come only up to Ambala (Umbllah) from where one had to proceed by four wheeled 'Dak Garry' or Mail Wagon to Kalka, at the foot of Simla hills. These Carriages were mainly drawn by horse but at times bullocks or even elephants were utilised to pull them across the bridge-less River Ghaggar. From Kalka another eight hours of grueling journey by 'Tonga', a two wheeled horse carriage, brought the visitor to Simla.The tonga was a greater affliction than the Dak Garry. It was a crude, uncomfortable but strong two-wheeled cart drawn by one or two Kabul ponies, harnessed in curicle style passengers sitting back to back, and luggage strapped on to the sides over the wheels, with the pathan driver at the reins. It accommodated 4 to 6 passengers. The other modes of transport of earlier days were bullock-carts, mule-trains, camels and horses, 'dandy' (a sedan chair slung on poles and carried by bearers) and 'jampan' or 'doli' which was a covered type of curtailed tiny box-like compartment, carried like the dandy. The janpan was described by one sufferer as 'a jolting, back aching abomination'

The Combermere Bridge: The Combermere Bridge on the mall is the oldest British landmark of Shimla. In the words of Captain Mundy, A.D.C. to lord Combermere (1928),"Lord Combermere amused himself, and benefited the public by superintending the formation of a fine, broad, level road round the mount Jakhu, about three miles in length...worked entirely by Hill men...and skillfully done. And when finished, will be a great acquisition to the loungers of Shimla.This is the present Jakhu round, a favorite woody walk around Jakhu Hill." Across a deep ravine, a quarter of mile from the town, his lordship erected neat 'Sangah', or a mountain bridge of pines; and under it a capacious stone tank was constructed to obviate the great scarcity of water." The bridge still bears the name of Combermere and it was the first step towards the improvement of Simla. Present Day Bridge was built in 1971-72. Today Combermere Bridge is a busy spot surrounded by the lift to cart road, Indira Gandhi Khel Parisar, Fruit vendors and Pram Wallahas.

Seven Hills: Shimla is surrounded by Seven Hills; these hills offer a wide variety of trails to visitors to explore. The seven Hills are:
i) Prospect Hill in western Shimla, which has the Kamna Devi temple.
ii) Summer Hill in western Shimla, where the campus of Himachal Pradesh University is located.
iii) Observatory Hill in western Shimla, where the Indian Institute of Advanced Study is found.
iv) Inverarm in western Shimla, where the State Museum is located.
v) Bantony in central Shimla, which has the Grand Hotel.
vi) Jakhoo in central Shimla, which is crowned by the temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman.
vii) Elysium in north-western Shimla, which holds Auckland House and Longwood and reaches out towards the Bharari spur.

Bhalku and Kalka-Shimla Railway: The 95 kilometer long Kalka-Shimla Railway track, a unique feat of engineering, was laid under the guidance of Bhalku Sirmauri. He guided the engineers showing them the line, the track should take. A legend is that the track was revealed to him by the Devta. Railway line was laid exactly on the trace shown by him. It was built under the supervision of H.S. Harington, Chief Engineer. With the growth in the simla population, permanent and floating, the M.C.C. (Motor Car Co.) was not found capable enough to cope with the growth transport of passengers, luggage and the provisions of everyday consumption which had to be brought in from the markets in the plains and a necessity was felt to find a better alternative means of transport. So a Mountain Railway Project was planned in 1847. The narrow gauge track (2ft. 6 in. gauge) runs through picturesque mountain scenery ascending from 2800 feet to 7000 feet. From Kalka (at 640 m) the track rises to Simla Railway Station (2060 m) through 103 tunnels and passes through 800 bridges and 900 curves. Barog tunnel 2.8 Km long is the longest tunnel.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Trekking gear discussion

India summer trek gear discussion

Dress standard Cultural sensitivity is the hallmark of considerate travelers. Dress standards vary considerably around India—eye-popping halter tops and loincloth-clad saddhus to the Victorian ankle standard—but foreigners are judged differently. For trekking, dressing conservatively with covered shoulders and long pants earns the most respect, while skimpy tops and tight leggings invite unwarranted attention. Longer shorts, 3/4 pants are fine when hot. Skirts are not required for women.
Pre-trek Delhi is almost always scorchingly hot and humid, so bring light, loose and cool clothes. Spiti is dry and hot during the day, and cool in the evenings. We often throw on a fleece or a down-jacket for dinners in Spiti. Shimla is sunny and often pleasant during the day, so long shorts, 3/4 pants or light pants and a loose shirt are fine and a jacket for the evenings when it cools down. It also rains in the summertime in Shimla, so a rain jacket is useful, or an umbrella.
While trekking Trekking in Spiti requires some planning to be comfortable. You can expect a great variety of weather conditions, far more, say, than trekking in Nepal. In July-August-September you must be prepared for sleet, snow, dust storms AND dry heat with temperatures up to 30°C/80°F. River crossings can be easy but after rain they can be up to waist deep, and pass crossings can be under awesome blue skies or cloaked in freezing fog reminiscent of Scotland. Do not believe the "It never rains in Spiti". During the day all trekkers should carry a warm layer (fleece vest/jacket is ideal), a windproof/waterproof layer (Wind stopper fleece or the soft shells are good) and for river crossings, a walking pole, sandals with ankle straps, or old trainers. For walking the best upper layers are the 'wicking' t-shirts that many companies make। They come in a wide variety, long sleeve, and zip top, short sleeve। The long sleeves and collar versions are great to keep off the sun and are comfortable over a wide variety of conditions। Travel shirts also work well in the heat but are not as versatile, alternately a local cheap, 'hippy' cotton shirt. For trousers, all the outdoor companies make a wide range of travel and trekking pants, most of them amazing for the thought that has gone into their design। The ones featuring zip off lower legs to make shorts are handy। A good sun hat is vital, either wide brim or with a neck protector, or ordinary hat and light neck scarf.
In the evenings in India we have no lodges to retire to, instead our mess tent is cozy and well lighted but can still get chilly, thus a light down jacket, and a good one is the Himalayan trekkers best friend। It also doubles as pillow, extra layer, and is the envy if all on the bus journey to Spiti when the bus breaks down during a snowstorm in July!
Who carries what?
You carry a day pack with your camera, jacket, water, purifier, sometimes sandal and snacks. The horses and mules carry everything else. Duffel is easiest to pack and unpack in the tents, and fits well on the ponies. They are readily and cheaply available in Delhi, if you want to buy one there and store the backpack or roller-duffel until the end of the trek.
Expedition-style treks - what you are planning for
Basically you should plan with 5 specific climates/functions in mind:
+ traveling in the Indian summer heat
+ Fine weather trekking in the hot high country
+ Difficult conditions when pass crossing/high country trekking
+ River crossings - on certain treks
+ Cool high country evenings

Obviously, much of your gear will fulfill multiple roles.
September treks are far colder than the summer treks.

India gear discussion
Sleeping bag
Down-filled bags are better. Beg, borrow or steal a good one (i.e. 4 season) because high altitude nights will be cool. A muff (an extra section around the neck) makes a big difference to the overall warmth of a bag. Add a fleece sleeping bag liner to add warmth to a 3 season or tired 4 season bag.
Sleeping bag liner
Cotton, silk or fleece. Saves washing your sleeping bag and adds warmth.
Inflatable sleeping pad
Thermarest or similar padding is great for the Spiti treks as the ground is hard, and pads add warmth. We provide a sponge foam mattress for everyone, but if you have your own Thermarest, bring it along.
This should be comfortable and a good waist band that transfers some of the weight to the hips is most important. It needs to be big enough to take a jacket, fleece, water, camera and odds and ends. Erring a bit on the larger side is better, bags cinch down.
Lightweight trekking boots are ideal, or the lighter leather models if you are going for 6000m. They need to be broken in, so a few country walks are in order.
For a happy trek you need comfortable feet. Good boots have: good ankle support, plenty of toe room for long descents, a stiff sole to lessen twisting torsion, and are light because with every step you lift your boot up. Look at the inner lining - leather is good and Cambrelle is even better, a material that eats smelly feet bacteria. Good lightweight trekking boots or light all leather boots are perfect. Boots must be lightly worn in before trekking and this should include some steep hills to show up trouble spots. The longer the trek, the better the boots you need.
In the low country your feet will be warm or even hot while walking so quality cotton mix sports socks are best. Three to four pairs are enough. Thick trekking socks are better for higher up and cool evenings, four pairs. Mostly modern trekking boots fit snugly so wearing two pairs of socks at the same time is impractical.
Sandals/camp shoes
Good sandals such as Tevas are a necessity for river crossings in Spiti (unless you like wet boots), and a luxury for your feet at the end of the day. Running shoes double as an extra pair of day shoes, or for the evenings at camp. Flip-flops, available for cheap in India, are good for washing in the river, and dry faster then Tevas, which tend to stay wet and cold after a wash.
Camp booties
A luxury and unnecessary but are so comfortable for cool evenings in the dining tent. Down or synthetic work.
Fleece jacket/Vest
Most trekkers consider fleece essential, but alternatives are a thick thermal top or a light down jacket. Layering is essential as the weather can be changeable. A fleece vest or jacket is easy to carry in your daypack, and layers well over a T-shirt and long-sleeved mid-weight shirt.
Down jacket/vest
Almost essential for the cool evenings. If you don't already have a jacket, inquire about renting one. A down jacket is the best option, although a vest can also be brought along.
Wind/Rain jacket
Waterproof and breathable. Plastic ponchos or non-breathable raincoats are not suitable. Gore-tex (or similar) jackets are recommended for treks over passes or climbing trips. Lighter jackets should be a second jacket, easy to throw in the daypack for warmer days.
Thermal shirts/underwear
Good thermals, both tops and bottoms, are one of the secrets to cold weather trekking comfort. Expedition-weight thermals are the most versatile and can be worn as your high altitude trekking top or under pants on extremely cold days. Zip-up tops are great for changeable weather.
Nightwear thermals
Silk-weight is lightest and warm, mid-weight is perfect. Great for warm nights in the sleeping bag!
Essential; great for the chilly evenings in the dining tent, or after unpacking camp.
Day-wear shirt
T-shirts are popular but a cotton shirt or mixed yarn travel shirt is more versatile. The collar protects the back of your neck and the sleeves can be rolled up or down. Take two so you can swap damp for dry.
Trekking pants
You will live in these. Light material, loose and dark-coloured is best. Bring a couple of pairs of pants and a pair of shorts. Again, shorts should be longer (knee-length, or just above) to avoid attracting attention (and humoring) from the villagers.
Wind pants
If your trekking pants are reasonably windproof then special wind pants are not needed. If you do bring a pair, it is not necessary to have Gore-tex. Similar, non-waterproof is quite OK.
They're light, so bring enough.
Warm hat
Nice for the evenings, hats essential for cold trekking days.
Trekking poles
Definitely useful, especially on steep, rough terrain, but if you are not used to using them you can survive without.
Bring a good pair with UV protection, and an extra pair is good just in case.
A good pair of wind-proof gloves are essential and makes packing up camp on cold mornings much more bearable!
Water Bottle
Should be one liter or more in capacity, able to take boiling water and be leak-proof. Nalgene or a similar brand, or European aluminum bottles, are best. You need AT LEAST 2 water bottles, or at least 1 water bottle IN ADDITION to a Camelback or hydration system.
Pee bottle
Very useful on cold nights!
Torch / Flashlight
Petzl Tikka's and other similar torches with LED bulbs are absolutely essential. You should have one in your daypack every day. Headlamps are ideal for reading in the tent and also essential for night toilet trips.
Toiletries/odds & ends
Essentials for the month only. There are a surprising number of campsites where we can wash up, and warm washing bowl are provided in the mornings and in the evenings. We provide toilet paper, but you might bring tissues or soft rolls for the nose.
Bring only a small one trekking, or a camp towel. In the hotels in Delhi and Shimla provide towels.
Sunscreen/lip balm with SPF
The sun is strong at altitude, especially after snow. Bring at least sunscreen and lip balm with SPF 15, better still SPF 30+. And bring more than you think you will use!
A small tube for sensitive or well cared for skins. The air is dry and the sun harsh. Local apricot oil is also available in Shimla, and great for hydrating the skin.
Sun hat
A light baseball cap or similar is ideal. A wide-brim sun hat is also good.
Bandanas are perfect for keeping the harsh sun off the back of the neck, and scarves ideal for the Lawrence of Arabia look in the often desert-like conditions of Ladakh. Both locally available.
First aid kit
We carry one with aspirin, Paracetamol, ibuprofen, decongestants, lozenges, various antibiotics for Nepalese varieties of diarrhoea and chests infections, Diamox (an acclimatizing aid drug), antiseptic, antihistamine cream, rehydration, bandages and band-aids, tough blister tape (but not moleskin) and the book Medicine for Mountaineering.
You should bring any personal medicines that you need.
Water Purification/filters
A few bottles of iodine tablets such as Potable Aqua, Polar Pur or Couglans. Plain vitamin C tablets take away the iodine taste. We boil water for drinking in the evenings, which you can bring into your sleeping bag with you and then drink in the morning, but water purification tablets are ESSENTIAL during the day, as we advise drinking at least 3 liters of water daily! We carry purifying tablets with us, but it's best to have your own as well. Water filters are also good to have along, but not essential. If the water is excessively silty, you can borrow ours if you don't have one. BUT if you use one all the time, you'll need to bring your own (as the filter replacements are not available in India).
Bring a spare set of batteries or a small solar charger for rechargeable batteries. And LOTS of film, Shimla and northern Trans-Himalayas are extremely photogenic!
Video camera
Either bring extra batteries or a solar charger.
Bring a few of your favorites; we have a 'library' that we bring with us and keep in the dining tent as well. You can borrow books (please take care of them) and leave your old ones for other trekkers. There are good book shops in Shimla.
Money belt
Most people find wearing one while trekking is a hassle, and keep it buried in their daypack (safer than in your gear or duffel bag).
Snow gaiters
Not needed but if you have them, bring them.
Crampons and ice axe
Not needed on our treks. For additional climbing discuss with us.
Evening Camp wear
Around camp, you can wear camp shoes, sandals with or without socks (for non-winter treks) or leather boots. No matter what altitude and what season, it is cool to freezing in the evenings. By far the best clothing is:
+ a down jacket, light or heavy, and/or a down vest
+ fleece pants or sweatpants
+ fleece jacket
+ silk or mid-weight thermals
+ wool or fleece hat
+ thick socks
+ down booties
We have light blankets to throw around the dining tent for the evenings, but if you have a favorite fleece blanket, bring it along. Shimla is also famous for their wool shawls in great, geometric patterns, and their cheap, bright wool shawls.
Snacks and nutrition
You will feel your best with plenty of good food and by keeping hydrated. We provide good, nutritious food (plenty of it!) and the water. Chocolate bars, dried fruit bars and dried fruit are readily available in Shimla & Spiti, but Clif bars, Power bars and the like are not.
We bring a wide array of food, and cook delicious Indian, Tibetan and an assortment of other foods, but 'surprise' snacks to share with the group provide a welcome variety during the trek. More about this when booking...
What is available in Delhi, Shimla & Manali
If you have extra time in Delhi, you can find a variety of boots, running and hiking shoes and sandals in Connaught Place in Delhi, as well as some clothing and gear. But supply and sizes are limited. There is a bit of gear available in Shimla & Manali, but it is best to bring your own.
Renting equipment
We sometimes have down sleeping bags and down jackets or vests to rent. Inquire with Sanjay before leaving home.
Gear list
Duffel bag
One liter water bottles
Water purification/filter
Pee bottle
Lip balm
Camp towel/towel/sarong
Personal medicines
Money pouch/belt
Energy bars
Vitamin tablets
Extra passport photos
Sleeping bag
Sleeping bag liner
Camp shoes/sneakers
Tevas and/or sandals
Gore-tex jacket
Light wind jacket
Down jacket/vest
Fleece jacket/vest
Trekking pants
Thermal tops
Thermal bottom
Warm hat
Sun hat/baseball cap
Light gloves
Down/synthetic camp booties

What you DON'T need
You don't need a mosquito net; we stay in good hotels where there are no mosquitoes and there is very little chance that you will ever get bitten. Although India is a malarial area we recommend that you DON'T take malaria prophylaxis because Shimla, Manali and the trekking regions are NOT malarial areas. We can discuss this further if necessary.
What we provide
Our camping trips are full-service, with tents, sleeping pads, our Tibetan dining tent, cook tent, all supplies and food, ponies and a fantastic staff and guides provided. You just need to bring your personal gear, a good spirit, gear and hats to swap with Negi, and perhaps a few pounds of good cheese or a bottle of wine or two to keep Sanjay happy!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Trip into Kinnaur valley 17th to 23rd 2007.

At a traditional wodden guest house, in Raksham on the way to Chitkul.

Kamru village preserving ages old inremingled Buddhist & Hindu culture

Walking the villages and........bridge at Sangla river

At Kamru fort Sangla.

Dear reader,

Greetings from Himalayas.

This time I would like to share some pic. with my clients to Kinnaur valley from 17/08/2007 to 27/08/2007.
Kinnaur valley one of the most beautiful and secnic valley in Himachal, offers mountans, rivers, an age old tradition and culture and high Himalayan range having mountains more than 6000mts. For an adventure seeker or an avid photographer the forbidden valleys are full of thrilling experiences and nature at its best.


Thursday, September 6, 2007

Fair and festivals of Himachal

Villagers dancing with the idols of the dieties

Dear reader,

Greetings from the land of Gods.

In this month article I wil take you towards a small village of Shimla. Local fairs and festivals reflects the warmth and belief of the people for local Gods and Godessess here in the Himalayas.

Diwali is a festival which is not even famous in India but now abroad also. But in villages of Himachal it is celebrated specially. Diwali in Himachal also marks the starting of winters in these incredibally beautiful valley and mountains.
Here in this small village Deola, just 43km from Shimla it is celebrated for two days. So this year Shali Heights invite you all to be a part of this ages old traditional ceremony.


Thursday, August 2, 2007

A memorable drive and trek from Shimla to Kulu valley over Jalori pass.

Our clients and crew at the end of the trek to Serolasr lake (22nd to 24th July 2007)
Traveling from Shimla to kullu valley via Jalori pass is an uforgetable experience those who love to admire nature. Jalori pass (3223mt from mean sea level) holds a very nice panorama of The Great Himalayan range.
Activities on the way includes a gradual walk on the ridge having an old forest og brown Oak, after walking for 3 1/2 hours you are at Serolsar lake, having a small temple dedicated to a snake goddess. One can camp there for overnight or stay in small huts having basic eating facilities seasonally.
On the way to kullu one can visit Raghupura fort, a 4 day trek to Bashleo pass and visit the only Great Himalayan National park in Banjar valley.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Map showing the buddhist tribal circut into Kinnaur, Spiti & Manali.

Dear reader,

Please find a map description of the Buddhist tribal circuit into Kinnaur, Spiti & Manali.


Happy traveling.

Monday, July 16, 2007

A journy into little Tibet

Dear reader,

welcome to the wonderland once again.

This edition takes you on the journey of some of the of beaten routes in Himalayas, enjoy the beautiful and endless mountain ranges, admire the ages old intermingled Hinduism and Buddhist culture of these areas.
Hope you will enjoy it.

Safari into little Tibet
10 nights and 11 days

Shimla – Kinnaur – Spiti – Manali.

The Himalayas is one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world. Its revolution can be traced to the Jurassic Era (80 million years ago) when the world’s landmasses were split into two: Laurasia in the Northern hemisphere and Gondwanaland in the southern hemisphere. The landmass which is now India broke away from Gondwanaland and floated across the earth’s surface until it collided with Asia. The hard volcanic rocks of India were thrust against the soft sedimentary crust of Asia, creating the highest mountain range in the world.
Ranges: Main Himalayan Range, Pir Panjal Range, Dhaula Dhar Range, Siwalik Hills, Zanskar Range, Ladakh Range, & East Korakoram Range.

Detailed itinerary:

Shimla train station/car – Hotel – Jakhoo temple – Mall road – Hotel. (20km)
Day 01: reach Shimla by toy train or any other mode of transportation, transfer to hotel. After lunch, hike towards the highest hill of Shimla, Jakhoo temple, dedicated to Lord Hanuman. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Himalayas. Drive back to hotel and enjoy evening strolling on the shopping Mall.

Day 02: Shimla – Narkanda – Hattu Peak – Rampur – Jeori – Sarahan. (175 Km)
Drive from Shimla enroute visit Kufri, Theog, Matiana, Narkanda hike to Hattu Peak (3135 Meter Peak) walk back to the Jeep lunch either in Narkanda / Sainj, after lunch on to Rampur, drive through Jeori reach Sarahan for a over night stay.

Day 03: Sarahan – Jeori – Wangtu – Karcham – Sangla. (92 Km)
Early morning visit the Bird Park walk for 2 hours, visit the Bhima Kali temple one of the most important temples of Kali in India where there use to be human sacrifice before 18th Century, drive to Jeori past the Wangtu bridge then drive towards, Karcham reach Sangla walk the market place if time allows visit the Kamru Fort & the Temple of the village deity in Sangla village over night in a hotel in Sangla.

Day 04: Sangla – Chitkul – Raksham/ Sangla. (46 Km)
After breakfast drive to Chitkul (3460 Meters) last village on India & Chinese border walk for half a day around Chitkul Village, return back to Sangla or an option of sleeping in Camps in Batseri is also available depending on availability or stay overnight in guest house / Hotel.

Day 05: Raksham / Sangla – Kalpa (49 Km)
After breakfast drive back through Sangla to powari visit the monastery in Reckong – Peo with a 60 ft tall statue of Buddha drive to Kalpa for a over nite stay visit the monastery & the orphanage in Kalpa. The view of Kinner Kailash 6050 meters will be an enchanting site.

Day 06: Kalpa – Nako (110 Km)
After breakfast drive through Reckong – Peo through powari, the landscape changes to Desert Mountains pass through the desert terrain drive through Puh to reach Nako for overnight stay. Visit the Lake & the Monastery of Nako walk through the Village of Nako.

Day 07: Nako – Tabo (60 Km)
After breakfast drive through the desert mountain range with villages & Desert Mountains in the surroundings reach Tabo (3050) meters a more than 1000 year old monastery visit the Monastery over night in a guest house in Tabo.

Day 08: Tabo – Dhankar – Kungri-Mud (94 Km)
After breakfast drive to Dhankar the old capital of Spiti visit the museum, drive towards Kungri monastery and have lunch on the way in Gulling, then drive towards the village Mud and stay there for a night.

Day 09: Mud – Kaza (60Km)
After breakfast have nice walk around the village Mud and then go for a long walk towards Bhaba Pass or towards Parvati Pass which are two spectular treks in Pin valley, after coming back from walk have lunch in Mud and drive towards the headquarters of spiti Kaza,overnight stay in Kaza

Day 10: Kaza—Kee monestry—Kibber (40km)
After breakfast drive towards beautiful monestry Kee, then drive towards world, s highest motrable village Kibber (4205m) have lunch in Kibber, after lunch go for village walk in Kibber, overnight stay in Kibber or in Kaza

Day 11: Kaza—Loser—Kunzum la—Batal—Chatru— Gramphu – Manali (185 Km)
Early in the morning after having tea drive towards Loser, have breakfast there, drive again towards Kunzum pass (4551m) then drive towards Batal, have lunch in Chatru, again drive towards Gramphu and reach Manali for overnight.

Tour ends, drive or fly back home with memorable moments.

To book this tour please mail

Friday, July 13, 2007

Himalayas - the legendary majestic beauty.

Dear reader,

welcome to the adventure world.

This edition provides you an introduction to Himalayas.

Himalayan Mountain Range
Ranges: Main Himalayan Range, Pir Panjal Range, Dhaula Dhar Range, Siwalik Hills, Zanskar Range, Ladakh Range, & East Korakoram Range
The Himalayas is one of the youngest mountain ranges in the world. Its revolution can be traced to the Jurassic Era (80 million years ago) when the world’s landmasses were split into two: Laurasia in the Northern hemisphere, and Gondwanaland in the southern hemisphere. The landmass which is now India broke away from Gondwanaland and floated across the earth’s surface until it collided with asia. The hard volcanic rocks of India were thrust against the soft sedimentary crust of Asia, creating the highest mountain range in the world.

The River System
It was a collision that formed mountain ranges right across asia, including the karakoram, the pamirs, the Hindukush, the Tien Shan and the Kun Lun. The Himalayan Mountains, at the front of this continental collision, are still being formed, rising and assuming complex profiles. For the ancient geographer, the complexities of this vast mountain range were a constant source of speculation. From the earliest accounts, Mt. Kailash was believed to be the centre of the universe with the River systems of the Indus, the Brahmaputra, and the Sutlej all flowing from its snowy ridges and maintaining the courses which they had followed prior to the forming of the Himalaya.The Sutlej was able to maintain its course flowing directly from Tibet through the main Himalaya range to the Indian subcontinent, while the huge gorges on both flanks of the Himalaya reflect the ability of the Indus and the Brahmaputra to follow their original courses. The Indus flows west until it rounds the Himalaya by the Nanga Parbat Massif, while the Brahmaputra flows eastwards for nearly 1000-kms around the Assam Himalayas and descends to the Bay of Bengal. It was not surprising, therefore, that 19th century geographers experienced formidable difficulties n tracing the River systems, and defining the various mountain ranges that constitute the Himalaya. Even today, with the advent of satellite pictures and state-of-the-art ordnace maps, it is still difficult to appreciate the form and extent of some of the ranges that constitute the Himalaya.

Main Himalaya Range
This is the principal mountain range dividing the Indian subcontinent from Nanga Parbat in the west, the range stretches for over 2,000-km to the mountains bordering Sikkim and Bhutan in the east. The west Himalaya is the part of this range that divides Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh from Ladakh. The highest mountains here are Nun and Kun. In Kashmir the subsidiary ridges of the Himalaya include the North Sonarmarg, Kolahoi and Amarnath ranges. Further east, the Himalaya extends across to the Baralacha range in Himachal Pradesh before merging with the Parbati range to the east of the Kullu valley. It then extends across kinnaur Kailas to the swargarohini and Bandarpunch ranges in Uttaranchal. Further east it is defined by the snow capped range North of the Gangotri glacier and by the huge peaks in the vicinity of Nanda Devi, the highest mountain in the Indian Himalaya. In Western Nepal the range is equally prominent across the Annapurna and Dhaulagiri massifs, while in Eastern Nepal the main ridgeline frequently coincides with the political boundary between Nepal and Tibet.

Major Passes
The major passes over the main Himalaya range include the Zoji la, at the head of the Sindh valley; the Boktol pass, at the head of the Warvan valley; the Umasi la in the Kishtwar region; and Thekang la and the Shingo la between Lahaul and the Zanskar region of Ladakh. It also includes the Pin Parbati pass between Lahaul and the Zanskar region of Ladakh. It also includes the Pin Parbati pass between the Kullu valley and Spiti, while in Kinnaur it is traversed when crossing the charang la in the Kinnaur Kailash range.In Uttaranchal, roads are being constructed to the main places of pilgrimage in the heart of the Himalaya. These include Yamunotri and the source of the Yamuna River, Gangotri at the head of the Bhagirathi valley, Kedarnath at the head of the Mandakini valley, and Badrinath in the Alaknanda valley. There are, however, many trekking possibilities across the mountain ridges and glacial valleys including tose bordering the Nanda Devi sanctuary.The main Himalaya range extends east across central Sikkim from the huge Kangchenjunga massif, which includes Kangchenjunga I, the world’s third highest peak. The east Himalaya is breached by the headwaters of the Tista River, which forms the geographical divide between the verdant alpine valleys to the south and the more arid regions that extend North to Tibet. Trekking possibilities are at present confined to the vicinity of the Singali ridge, an impressive range that exxtends south from the main Himalaya and forms the border between India and Nepal.In Darjeeling the treks include the route along the southern extremity of the Singali range, while in Sikkim the trails out of Yuksom explore the ridges and valleys to the south to the Kangchenjunga massif.

Pir Panjal Range

The Pir Panjal Range lies south of the main Himalaya at an average elevation of 5,000m. From Gulmarg in the North west it follows the southern rim of the Kashmir valley to the Banihal pass. Here the Pir Panjal meets the ridgeline separating the Kashmir valley from the Warvan valley. From Banihal the Pir Panjal sweeps south-east to Kishtwar, where the combined waters of the Warvan and Chandra Rivers meet to form the Chenab River, one of the main tributaries of the Indus.Passes In Pir PanjalThe main passes over the Pir Panjal include the pir panjal pass due west of Srinagar, the Banihal pass which lies at the head of the Jhelum River at the southern end of the Kashmir valley, and the sythen pass linking Kashmir with Kishtwar. In Himachal Pradesh the main passes are the Sach which links the Ravi and the Chandra valleys, and the Rohtang, which links the Beas and Kullu valleys with the upper Chandra valley and Lahaul. Roads are constructed over all these passes. The Banihal is now tunnelled and another road has been made over the Sythen pass in Kashmir and the Sach pass in Himachal Pradesh. For trekkers there is still the attraction of the Kugti, Kalicho and Chobia passes between the Ravi valley and Lahaul, and the Hampta pass links the Kullu valley with Lahaul.

Dhaula Dhar Range
The Dhaula Dhar range lies to the south of the Pir Panjal. It is easily recognised as the snow-capped ridge behind Dharamsala where it forms the divide between the Ravi and the Beas valleys. To the west it provides the divide between the Chenab valley below Kishtwar and the Tawi valley which twists south to Jammu. This is the range crossed at Patnitop on the Jammu-Srinagar highway. To the east it extends across Himachal Pradesh forming the high ridges of the Largi gorge and extending south of the Pin Parvati valley before forming the impressive ridgeline east of the Sutlej River. Thereon it forms the snow capped divide between the Sangla valley and upper tons catchment area in Uttaranchal, including the Har Ki Dun Valley. Beyond the Bhagirathi River it forms the range between Gangotri and Kedarnath before merging with the main Himalaya at the head of the Gangotri glacier.There are many attractive trekking pases over the Dhaula Dhar. These include the Indrahar Pass North of Dharamsala: and in Kinnaur, the Borasu pass linking the Sangla valley to Har-ki-Dun in Uttaranchal.

Siwalik Hills
The Siwalik Hills, also known as Shiwalik Hills, lie to the south of the Dhaula Dhar, with an average elevation of 1,500 to 2,000m. They are the first range of hills encountered en route from the plains and are geologically separate from the Himalaya. They include the Jammu hills and Vaishno Devi, and extend to Kangra and further east to the range south of Mandi. In Uttaranchal , they extend from Dehra Dun to Almora before heading across the southern borders of Nepal. Most of the range is crossed by a network of roads, linking the Northern Indian plains with Kangra, the Kullu valley, Shimla and Dehradun.

Zanskar Range
The Zanskar range lies to the North of the main Himalaya. It forms the backbone of Ladakh south of the Indus River, stretching from the ridges beyond Lamayuru in the west across the Zanskar region, where it is divided from the main Himalaya by the Stod and Tsarap valleys, the populated districts of the Zanskar valley. The Zanskar range is breached where the Zanskar River flows North, creating awesome gorges until it reaches the Indus River just below Leh. To the east of the Zanskar region the range continues through Lahaul & Spiti, providing a complex buffer zone between the main Himalaya and the Tibetan plateau. It continues across the North of Kinnaur before extending west across Uttaranchal, where it again forms the intermediary range between the Himalaya and the Tibetan plateau, which includes Kamet, the second highest peak in India. The range finally peters out North east of the Kali River - close to the border between India and Nepal.On the Zanskar range, the Fatu La, on the Leh-Srinagar road, is considered the most easterly pass; while the Singge La, the Cha Cha La and the Rubrang La are the main trekking passes into the Zanskar valley. For the hardy Ladakh trader, the main route in winter between the Zanskar valley and Leh is down the icebound Zanskar River gorges. Further to the east, many of the Zanskar range passes to the North of Spiti and Kinnaur are close to the India-Tibet border, and are closed to Trekkers

Ladakh Range
The ladakh range lies to the North of Leh and is an integral part of the Trans-Himalayan range that merges with the Kailash range in Tibet. The passes include the famous Kardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world, while the Digar La to the North east of Leh is at present the only pass open to trekkers..

East Korakoram Range
The East Karakoram Range is the huge range that forms the geographical divide between India and Central Asia. It includes many high peaks including - Teram Kargri, Saltoro Kangri and Rimo, while the Karakoram Pass was the main trading link between the markets of Leh, Yarkand and Kashgar. At present this region is closed to trekkers, although a few foreign mountaineering groups were permitted to climb there in the last decade.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tarikhang peak on the way to Tabo

Know that, by which all this(universe) is prevaded, to be indestructible.
No one can destroy the undestructible(Atma).
Bhagavad Gita (Ch. 2-text 17)

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Incredible Himalayas....................

A window to heaven, The Oberoi Wildflower Hall, Mashobra hills, Shimla (H.P.) India.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Shali tibba ascent (3126mts from mean sea level)

Dear reader,

Greetings from Himalayas.

This time I would like to give you an introduction of Shali just an hour and half of drive from north of Shimla.

The Shali Tibba (3208m) is one of the highest peak in the vicinity of Shimla. It is a magnificent isolated pinnacle with a Kali temple on the top. The ascent up to Shali is an ancient trail through dense pine forest and rolling alpine pastures. It is a steep and steady climb to the often mist enveloped peak. The peak commands an unforgettable view of endless snow covered Great Himalayan ranges along with the Sutlej valley and the densely forested hills of Shimla, Fagu and Narkanda. For the avid photographer and nature lover, this trek offers the experience of a lifetime.

Detailed Itinerary:

Day 01: Shimla –Mashobra - Sipur - Thaila - Gulthani - Deola.
In the morning after breakfast depart Shimla at 9 A.M. by jeep. Reach Mashobra which is the starting point of the trek. Mashobra is a small village which holds a magnificent view of the valley.
From Mashobra descend into woods and after walking for 2 km you are in a thick pine forest and nearby to it is about 500 yrs old Shiva temple (Sipur). Continue descending down through villages to the river Thaila.
From Thaila the uphill journey through lush green pastures will take you to village Deola. Have lunch. In the evening visit the local deity temple in the village, walk through terraced fields. Overnight camp with bonfire.

Day 02: Around Deola.

After breakfast, in the morning walk down a small rivulet through small terraces to explore the rich flora of Himalayas. Walk back to guest house for lunch. For evening walk up to the to of a hill near the guest house which offers rewarding views of Sunsets. Walk back with bundle of woods for a bonfire. After dinner know about the bygone history from the elderly people.

Day 03: Deola - Khatnol - Shali.
Start early in the morning to Shali . Stop at Khatnol, a small hamlet, offering nice views of Shali. Walk for here takes a turn and we get into a very beautiful forest of Himalayan Cedar, Himalayan Spruce and endless wild flowers. Stop for lunch on the way. Walking more takes us towards the Shali peak and on can see the deep valleys down. Enjoy evening tea at Shali. Overnight camp Shali.

Day 04: Shali – Karyali Lake.

Start late after having breakfast to Karyali down through thick oak and pine forest. Reach Karyali late afternoon for lunch. Later explore the village. Overnight camp at lake.

Day 05: Karyali – Tattapani – Shimla.

Drive to Tattapani for lunch, enjoy hot sulphur bath. Later in the evening drive back to Shimla.

To book this tour please mail to or Call 0911 - 9816366111.
Dear reader,

Greetings from Himalayas.

This season we have planned a very special adventurous journy, in the Himalayas for you.

Check this:


One of the most scenic high altitude treks in Himachal Pradesh, it takes one to the crystal clear waters of Chandertal and then through the high passes of Baralacha-La. Culturally, it's the threshold to the mystical Buddhism practiced in Spiti, Lahaul, Ladakh and Tibet. The barren landscape in the upper regions and the green valleys below, make the trail awe-inspiring and one of the must-experience ones in this part of the Himalayas.
SEASON: July - Mid September
HIGH PASSES: Hampta Pass, Rohtang Pass and Baralacha La
TREK GRADIENT: Moderately challenging
Detailed itinerary:
Day 01: The participants arrive in Manali.
Day 02: Manali - Panduropa / Setan (2700m) via Chhalet & Hampta villages
Duration: 4 hoursThe steepest part of the trail takes about 2 hours to negotiate. It passes through apple orchards and forests of blue pine, cedar, oak, fir and chestnut. The villages that the trail passes through - Chhalet, Hampta and Ghoratbari - have an interesting legend. They lie on the way to heaven and when people die, their souls have to pass these villages. It is said that people here hear sounds of crying if the soul is condemned to hell and sounds of a trumpet if it is ascending to heaven.
Day 03: Panduropa / Setan - Juara (3530m)Duration: 5 hours The path to Juara is through Chhika. The trek passes through some spectacular landscape to just below the Hamta Pass, on a grassy bank sloping down from the cliffs. The impressive grandeur of immediate surroundings, the nearness of the Tokru-Shakru peaks, the wonderful coloring of the rocks and mountainside, all make this one of the best campsite on the route. Chikka also has the river, Alain Nullah, which has its snout in the Hamta Pass.
Day 04: Juara - Shea Gahru (3200m) via Hampta Pass (4270m)Duration: 6 hours The trail now begins to ascend towards Hamta Pass and one can have close views of Deo Tibba and Indrasan peaks. After that, it is a descent all the way right to the campsite at Shea Gahru. "Shea Gahru" means a very cold place in the Spiti dialect because it is adjacent to a glacier snout. During summer, it's a grazing pasture or halting place for the shepherds on the way to the Lahaul valley.
Day 05: Shea Gahru - Chhatru (3360m)Duration: 3 hours The fourth day's walk is quite easy, along the river up to a boulder field, which is hard to cross during the monsoons. The river has to be forded at one point from where one can see the valleys of Lahaul and Spiti. The massive mountains of the Pir Panjal and Spiti ranges dominate the entire landscape till the campsite at Chhatru. Chhatru is a confluence point of paths from Rohtang Pass, Hamta Pass and Spiti.
Day 06: Chhatru - Batal (3960m)Duration: 2 hours Take a local transport to go from Chhatru to Batal.
Day 07: Batal - Chandertal (4270m)Duration: 4 hours The trail starts off as a pleasant walk along the pastures bordering Chandra River. The path then leads over the rubble-strewn plateau, crosses a small stream and continues traversing the slope. The track is almost level, with a few ups and downs up to Chadertal. This high altitude lake is a majestic sight, surrounded as it is by the mighty Himalayan peaks. A vast flowerbed meadow is the camping site on the banks of the lake.
Day 08: Rest day at Chandertal (4270m)
Day 09: Chandertal - Tokpoyongma (4320m)Duration: 7 hours This is a gradual walk as the trail rises and falls several times, but mostly continues beside the river. Approaching Tokpoyongma, the trail ascends from the mountainside and crosses a stream. A little before the campsite, a river has to be negotiated.
Day 10: Tokpoyongma - Tokpogongma (4640m)Duration: 5 hours The next day starts early to facilitate crossing a two mountain streams before the water level rises during the day. Mules don't take this route, as they will find it difficult to negotiate the steep ascent that starts immediately after the streams. The track then ascends steeply across the rock face and up a hill to the campsite.
Day 11: Tokpogongma - Baralacha-La (4833m) - ManaliDuration: 6 hours The day starts off with a half-hour steep ascent to the top of the ridge. After that, the trail proceeds through a boulder field with great views of the Koa Range peaks to the Southwest. Before reaching Baralacha-La one has to cross a stream. In ancient times, Baralacha-La was an important part of the trade route as roads from Spiti, Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahaul meet here. On the Northwest lies the Bhaga River while the Chandra flows to the Southeast. Near Baralacha-La is the beautiful emerald lake, Suraj Tal, the source of the Bhaga River. From Baralacha-La, a jeep will take the team to Manali.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A journy into wilderness

Dear reader,

Greetings from Shali Heights.

I am here to share my personal attachments with my home town and state, full of glorious history, rich traditions and culture. Himachal Pradesh is also known as "Dev Bhomi" (land of Gods), it provides an opportunity for travellers to admire nature and to learn about the rich flora and fauna of Himalayas.

If you have travel information to share or any query about travelling to north Indian Himalayas, please feel free to mail me or contact at my handy no. 0091-9816366111.

I would be eagerly waiting for your suggestions and comments.


Sanjay Verma.