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The Grand Traverse

28 Days | Trekking 19 Days

One of our oldest and most popular treks in the western Himalayas, this is an epic four-week journey that crosses from the lush, green foothills of the Kullu valley to the high-altitude desert of Ladakh. The relatively tough and challenging route requires stamina, but provides unforgettable experiences and a wonderful array of cultural and natural splendour.

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Tour Highlights

  • Ascend from subtropical foothills to cold, high desert on one of the great challenges of the Indian
  • Zanskar valley, sandwiched between the Indus valley and the crest of the Indian Himalayas
  • Trek through the succession of isolated villages and see wonderful Buddhist monasteries
  • Climb up through the moraine, ice and snow to Shingo La (5091m) the highest point
  • Explore the fascinating regional centres at either end of the trek Manali and Leh.
  • The magnificent high-altitude landscape of Ladakh.
  • Flexible tailor-made booking options

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Tour Details

Before hitting the trail across the Himalayas, our trip begins with some cultural exploration. Heading north from Delhi to Manali, we’ll stop for the night in Chandigarh – a Punjabi city known for its modernist architecture and the fantasy sculptures at Nek Chand’s Rock Garden. In Manali, the vibrant hub of the Kullu valley and a major activity centre, we’ll visit a temple, fort and art gallery.

Then it’s onto the trek. Starting from Palamo, we ascend through a gorge, past grassy meadows and alongside a glacier to the mighty Shingo La (5091m): one of the highlights of the route, take the time to admire the vast panoramic vistas across the snowcapped peaks. The trail then descends past picturesque Buddhist monasteries and through the canyons of the Tsarap River to reach the deep, remote valleys of the ancient kingdom of Zanskar.

This stage of the trek, the Zanskar valley, is marked by ancient monasteries and remote villages with their hardy inhabitants practicing an ancient from of Tibetan Buddhism. Ascending the Parfi La we enter Ladakh. We will further trek across the region over winding shepherd’s trails and caravan routes over some high and low passes visiting remote villages and some of the region’s fascinating monasteries such as Phuktal and Lamayuru.

The end of the trail is reached at Kanji, from where we drive to Leh. There’s a full day before to explore – or to enjoy some well-earned rest – before flying back to Delhi.

View Itinerary

  • Flexibility Guaranteed

    Please note: You can use this itinerary as a guide to fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have.

  • DAY 01 - Delhi

    Arrive Delhi and transfer to hotel for check-in, afternoon and evening free

    Arrive at the international airport of Delhi. After a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our KVT’s representative would assist you at the airport and transfer you to the hotel for check-in. Rest of the day is free to relax at the hotel or can explore the nearby area.

    Overnight Hotel

  • DAY 02 - Chandigarh

    Drive to Chandigarh, reach and check-in to the hotel

    This morning after breakfast we load our luggage and board the vehicle to drive towards Chandigarh, Chandigarh is the capital of Indian states Punjab as well as Haryana; Chandigarh is also the Union Territory. It is a well-planned city and the master plan of the city was planned by Le Corbusier (Swiss-French architect). The drive is comfortable on an express highway, reach Chandigarh and evening is free to relax at the hotel. (Distance: 250km)

    Overnight Hotel

  • DAY 03 - Manali

    Drive to Manali

    This morning after breakfast we drive towards Manali from Chandigarh, it is a long journey and the drive is quite interesting one as we passes through the plains and then enter to the beautiful mountains. The road joins the mighty Beas River and the beautiful Kullu Valley. At Kullu we head north and follow the river all the way to Manali. As we ascend the valley we are surrounded by lush fir and pine forests and the scenery becomes more beautiful. Manali, at the northern end of the Kullu Valley in Himachal Pradesh, is a hill station situated at a height of 2050m in the Himalayas. It is equally popular among the Indians as well as Europeans especially among the hippies for its easy lifestyle. The valley is agriculturally rich, famed particularly for its apples and pears. We reach Manali in the evening and check-in to the hotel. (2050m | distance: 310km)

    Overnight Hotel

  • DAY 04 - Manali

    Local exploration of Manali

    Today we proceed for the sightseeing tour of Manali; we start with Hidimba Temple; it is an ancient cave temple which is surrounded by a beautiful cedar forest. It is a famous temple in Manali and visited by many tourists every year. Then we drive towards Naggar which used to be the capital of Kullu; we reach there and visit Naggar Castle which runs as a heritage hotel, it was built by Raja Sidh Singh of Kullu. Here we also visit Nicholas Roerich Art Gallery who was the reputed Russian artist and the gallery houses his rare paintings. Later after the visit we drive back towards Manali and stroll around the Mall road. (2050m | distance: 55km)

    Overnight Hotel

  • DAY 05 - Darcha

    Morning drive from Manali to Darcha en-route cross Rohtang La (3979m)

    This day we drive towards Darcha en-route we will be crossing a high mountain pass that is Rohtang La (‘La’ means Pass in Tibetan) (3979m); this pass remains closed for more than six months due to heavy snowfall. From the pass one can see an excellent view of the Pir Pinjal and the Great Himalayan mountain range (depends upon the weather). Dropping down steeply through the zigzag road to the Chandra River then follow the highway through Jispa and continue up to Darcha (3360m) where we camp for the night. (Distance: 150km)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 06 - Palamo

    Drive to Palamo

    Morning we have breakfast and continue our drive towards Palamo (the starting point of our trek). Later we reach Palamo and relax for the day. (3450m)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 07 - Zanskar Sumdo

    Trek to Zanskar Sumdo (Trek begins)

    In the morning we begin our trek towards Zanskar Sumdo (‘Sumdo’ means confluence) our next campsite for the night. The trail goes through small rivers and we pass a spectacular gorge then we keep on walking towards Zanskar Sumdo and reach there. (Trek begins | 3810m | 6-7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 08 - Chumik Napko

    Trek to Chumik Napko

    Today morning after having breakfast we follow the trail which leads us to Shingo La (5091m). We start with a gradual ascent towards a small pasture land which we cross and walk for some more hours and reach the base camp Chumik Napko our campsite for the night. (4570m | 6-7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 09 - Lakhang

    Trek to Lakhang en-route cross Shingo La (5091m)

    Early morning after breakfast we start ascending towards the pass of Shingo La (5091m). From our camps the trail is a steep ascent and at some section we walk over glaciers and boulders and finally reach to the pass from where we have breathtaking views of snow-capped peaks of the Great Himalayan range. From the pass the trail is a steep descent towards our next campsite Lakhang where we camp near the pasture land which is used by the shepherds for their flocks. (4270m | 8-9hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 10 - Kargyak

    Lakhang to Kargyak village trek

    Today the trail is gentle as we walk in the valley most of the time and will be crossing river beds frequently. We leave behind the big and impressive Gombo Rangjon peak. We walk further through grazing meadows full of herbs and we reach to the Kargyak village. It is the highest human settlement in Zanskar. We camp here for the night at Kargyak village which is a picturesque village. (4050m | 6-7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 11 - Purni

    Trek, Kargyak to Purni

    In the morning after breakfast we leave Kargyak village and follow the trail which leads us to our next campsite at Purni village. We follow the trail which passes through few villages afterwards we reach Purni village where we camp for the night. (3700m | 6-7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 12 - Galboh

    Trek to Galboh visit Phuktal Monastery

    Today we trek to the stunningly located Phuktal Monastery (3850m). The fantastic sight of this monastery perched on the mountainside; it will not fail to impress even the most hardened trekker. Literally carved into the limestone cliff, the monastery whose origins are obscure was built around a sacred spring and it was visited by the Hungarian, Csomo de Koros, one of the first Europeans to visit Zanskar in the 1820s. From our campsite we follow the Tsarap River through a stunning gorge before reaching the gompa. We will return to camp and after lunch we will continue on the left bank of Tsarap River. Arrive at Galboh and camp here for the night. (3890m | 6-7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 13 - Raru

    Trek from Galboh to Raru

    This morning we have breakfast and trek towards Raru, we follow the Tsarap River through beautiful canyon. The trail goes up and down many times as we pass through one of the fascinating village of Ichar before we reach Raru our campsite for the night. (3880m | 7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 14 - Shila (Padum)

    Trek to Shila

    This is an easy day as the trail goes through the canyon and we follow the Tsarap River throughout the day. After an hour of walking we arrive to a small village of Mune dominated by an ancient Gompa of Gelukpa Order. Walk further for two hours and on the way we visit Bardan Gompa situated right at the bank of Tsarap River. Later we leave the trail and cross a bridge and walk through the green fields up to the village of Shila (3650m | 5-6hrs trek). There is an option to stop the trek here and drive to Kargil and further drive to Leh, with an en-route visit to Lamayuru monastery.

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 15 - Karsha

    Shila to Karsha trek

    Today morning we begin our day by crossing the bridge and head towards Padum the former capital of the ancient Zanskar Kingdom and now the administrative centre of Zanskar. We continue on a dusty trail towards the Doda River then we cross the bridge to reach Karsha Monastery dating back to the 16th century. It is the largest and the wealthiest of all monasteries in Zanskar Valley. We reach and camp at Karsha village for the night. (3650m)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 16 - Pishu

    Trek from Karsha to Pishu

    This day trek starts with a fairly easy but hot walk along the dusty banks of the Zanskar River. Just before Pishu we make a short detour to take a look at the longest hanging bridge in the Zanskar region, boasting an impressive 55 metre span. Then we continue towards Pishu where we camp for the night just below the village. (3400m | 4-5hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 17 - Pishu

    Rest day at Pishu

    This day is a free day to relax at Pishu village or one can go for an optional hike to visit Zangla village. We follow the flat trail beside the Zanskar River and after reaching Zangla Village an ancient capital of Zanskar Kingdom, we will visit Zangla Monastery. After that we return back to the campsite at Pishu.

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 18 - Hanumil

    Trek from Pishu to Hanumil

    Morning we have breakfast and will continue our trek along the left bank of the Zanskar River. The trail leads us on a large moraine plateau along the Zanskar River and after crossing the plateau we reach at the bridge at Pidmo village. We cross the bridge and from here it is another two hours walk to reach our next campsite at Hanumil village. (3450m | 7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 19 - Snertse

    Trek to Snertse en-route cross Parfi La (3950m)

    This morning we have breakfast and walk for an hour, later we cross the stream and start a steep ascent towards the pass of Parfi La (3950m) away from the Zanskar River. The pass marks the boundary between Zanskar and Ladakh; after crossing the pass the trail is a steep descent towards the Oma Chu River on the other side (a tributary of Zanskar River). Then we cross the bridge and walk up to a sandy slope to enjoy the magnificent views of the surroundings and then continue our trek towards our next campsite Snertse. (3800m | 7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 20 - Lingshed

    Trek to Lingshed en-route cross Hanuma La (4700m)

    This day we have a long gradual ascent towards the summit of Hanuma La (4700m) through gorges. After hours of climbing we reach Hanuma La from where one will be blessed with the spectacular views of the surrounding mountains. Then we make a steep descent to the mountain and from here another climb to a small pass that marks the rim of the Lingshed Valley. We then begin an easy walk down to the village of Lingshed where we camp for the night near to the village monastery. (3950m | 7-8hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 21 - Singge la base

    Trek from Lingshed to Singge La base camp

    In the morning after breakfast we start a steep ascent towards the base camp of Singge La (5050m) after an hour we cross a pass and from the pass one can have a beautiful view of the Nierag Valley and the Zanskar River. Then we descend to the villages of Gongma and Skiumpata from where we follow a gradual path along the side of the mountain up to our campsite at the base of Singge La. (4300m | 6-7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 22 - Photoksar

    Trek to Photoksar en-route cross Singge La (5050m)

    We begin our day with a steep ascent for hours to reach the pass of Singge La (5050m | Singge La means Lion’s pass). From the pass we have some magnificent views of the glaciers, before we make the short descent into the wide expanse of the Photang Valley. From here the path is easy, with a gentle climb towards the Bumiktse La (4200m) followed by a descent into the village of Photoksar. The village lies enclosed between high mountain walls and lush pastureland, overlooked by an abandoned gompa in the hills above the village. (4200m | 7-8hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 23 - Shillakong base

    Trek to Shillakong base en-route cross Sirsir La (4850m) and Sniugutse La (5050m)

    This morning after breakfast we start climbing up towards Sirsir La (4850m) the trail gets steeper and harder. From here a remarkable views over the surrounding mountains range can be seen. An easy descent brings us to the valley and again we start ascending towards another pass Sniugutse La (5050m). An excellent view can be seen on a clear day from the pass and then we descend to our next campsite for the night. (4100m | 6-7hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 24 - Kanji

    Trek to Kanji en-route cross Shillakong (4700m | Trek ends)

    Today the trail goes ascending towards our final pass Shillakong La (4700m) also known as Yogma La. The pass offers breathtaking views over the surrounding range of mountains. An easy descent brings us to a small village of Kanji our campsite for the night; here our trek ends and we meet our vehicles and say final goodbye to our ponies and porters. (Trek ends | 3850m | 5-6hrs trek)

    Overnight Camp

  • DAY 25 - Leh

    Drive from Kanji to Leh

    Today morning after finishing breakfast we board the vehicles and drive towards Leh before that on the way we visit Lamayuru monastery (3510m) situated on the Srinagar-Leh road and founded in 11th century. One of the oldest and largest in Ladakh, the gompa at Lamayuru is home to around 150 monks. After the visit we drive to Leh, reach at Leh and check-in to the hotel. Rest of the day is to relax at the hotel.

    Overnight Hotel

  • DAY 26 - Leh

    Day free to explore around Leh

    Today we have a day free to relax at the hotel or can explore the local market and one can do individual shopping at Leh Local market.

    Overnight Hotel

  • DAY 27 - Delhi

    Early morning fly to Delhi, reach and transfer to hotel; afternoon and evening free

    Today early morning we will be transferred to the airport to catch the flight for Delhi; arrive Delhi airport and transfer to the hotel. Afternoon and evening will be free time for us to relax at the hotel or can go to market for last minute shopping of souvenirs etc.

    Overnight Hotel

  • DAY 28 - Delhi

    Proceed for the sightseeing tour of Delhi and later departure to the International airport

    Today we proceed for the sightseeing tour of Delhi. We visit Jama Masjid, is the largest mosque of Old Delhi and it was built between 1644 - 1658 by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal and Red Fort. Then visit Red Fort (Closed on every Monday) which was the residence of Mughal Emperors; it was built between 1639 - 1648 as Shah Jahan shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi in 1638 and founded the 7th city of Delhi, Shahjahanabad which is now known as ‘Old Delhi’. Afterwards we drive pass through Colonial buildings such as the President's House, the official residence of the President of India, built in the year 1931. In the evening you will be transferred to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi to board your onward destination flight.

Tour Map (Only key areas marked)

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Flexibility Guaranteed! Using the above itinerary as a guide you can fully customise this tour as per your budget and requirements. Flexible options include travel dates and duration, places, activities and experiences, hotel category (star/rating) and any specific requirements that you may have. On receiving your enquiry we will respond with prices and work with you to create a truly personalised holiday experience that is in your budget and personal style.

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