Trans-Himalaya

The Experience

This exciting Himalayan adventure begins in historic Srinagar, nestled in the Kashmir Valley, and known for its colourful houseboats and floating gardens. The ride begins with a long climb up out of the lush green scenery of Kashmir and into the barren landscapes of Ladakh. After a rest day in the small, friendly town of Leh, the cyclists will cross two 5000m passes and spend most nights sleeping at altitudes well above 4000m. On the first day out of Leh they will pedal past remote forts and Gompas (Buddhist Monasteries) perched dramatically above the Indus River. The riders will splash through icy, glacial streams and be captivated by some incredible rock and sand formations, climb over the Talang Pass (5328m) and descend 500m through the 22 hairpin turns of the famous Gata loops.

After recovering with a rest day in Manali, one of the Indian Himalaya’s most pleasant hill stations, the riders will return to the arid Himalayan plateau and climb over the Kunzum Pass (4590m) where they will marvel at the otherworldly Kunzum Stupas before descending to the Spiti River Valley. This area is known for its wildlife – wolves, snow leopards, golden eagles, ibex, marmots and blue sheep – so the riders should keep their eyes open. Cyclists can visit the small village of Tabo with its Gompa, one of the most significant in Tibetan Buddhism before pedalling through the scenic Kinnaur region whose old capital, Kapla, is said to be the winter home of the Hindu God, Shiva.

Two rest days in Shimla, the summer capital of British India will allow riders to experience the famous ‘toy train’ whose 100km route passes through 102 tunnels and over 845 bridges! Also close by is the planned city of Chandigarh, designed by the Swiss-French modernist architect, Le Corbusier. Leaving Shimla the riders will pedal through some of the Indian Himalaya’s most beautiful scenery – misty pine and oak forests and a wide variety of beautiful rhododendrons – before enjoying a long descent into the holy city of Rishikesh, perched on the banks of the Ganges River.

Cyclists now spin into India’s first National Park, the Corbett Tiger Reserve, beautifully situated in the Himalayan foothills. A rest day allows the riders a chance to explore the incredible variety of wildlife in the park – tigers, elephants, sloth bears, macaques, crocodiles and much more. The route returns to the gorgeous rolling hills, twisting past temples, lakes and small villages, an area locally known as the ‘Land of the Gods’. Descending from the Himalaya, the route crosses into Nepal, stopping for a rest day in Bardia National Park, home to endangered rhinos, elephants and tigers.

Riders spin eastward through the flat plains of Nepal’s Teri region to Lumbini, the reputed birthplace of the Buddha before turning north and climbing up into the stunning Mahabharat Ranges passing through the medieval town of Tansen with its charming cobblestone streets before arriving in Pokhara for a rest day. After some rest and relaxation, perhaps sitting by the lake and watching the rising sun illuminate the Himalayan peaks, the riders will face a challenging 800m climb to Bandipur, one of the country’s most charming locales and the epicentre of Newari culture. The last 3 riding days to Kathmandu will take the riders onto some isolated rural roads and tracks, giving them an opportunity to experience local life before descending into legendary Kathmandu and the end of this astonishing expedition.

The Experience

This stunning section begins in historic Srinagar, nestled in the Kashmir Valley, and known for its colourful houseboats and floating gardens sprinkled around Dal Lake. The route out of town heads northeast and the long climb up out of the lush green scenery of Kashmir and into the barren landscapes of the Ladakh and the High Himalaya begins. The road clings precariously to the sides of towering mountains as the riders climb 8000m over 6 days before pedalling into Leh to enjoy 2 well earned rest days.

In the small, friendly town of Leh, the cyclists will gradually acclimatize to the increased altitude before setting out on the next spectacular stretch to Manali. Over 6 days, the riders will cross two 5000m passes and spend most nights sleeping at altitudes well above 4000m. The route, especially on the first day, will take them past remote forts and Gompas (Buddhist Monasteries) perched dramatically above the Indus River.

At the small village of Upshi, the riders will leave the Indus and follow the incredible Leh-Manali Highway through the Pang Valley. The road itself is only open 4 ½ months of the year and has an average elevation of over 4,000m. The cyclists will splash through icy, glacial streams and be captivated by some incredible rock and sand formations, always with the snow-capped Himalaya looming in the background. They will climb over the Talang Pass (5328m) and descend 500m through the 22 hairpin turns of the famous Gata loops. On the last day, the weary but exhilarated riders will spin down into the verdant Manali Valley and the end of this challenging section.

The Experience

Surrounded by pine forests and apple orchards Manali, one of the Indian Himalaya’s most pleasant hill stations, marks the start of this delightful section. The riders will pedal back up into the arid Himalayan plateau and follow first the Chenab River before climbing over the Kunzum Pass (4590m) where they will marvel at the otherworldly Kunzum Stupas. The route then descends to the Spiti River and on into easygoing town of Kaza and the section’s first rest day.

This area is known for its wildlife – wolves, snow leopards, golden eagles, ibex, marmots and blue sheep – so the riders should keep their eyes open. A short cycling day will take the riders into Tabo and its Gompa, one of the most significant in Tibetan Buddhism. Constructed in 996AD, it is has been mentioned as the place where the current Dali Lama will retire. The route now takes the riders through the scenic Kinnaur region whose old capital, Kapla, is said to be the winter home of the Hindu God, Shiva. Finally, a long, steady climb will take the riders up to Shimla, perhaps the most famous of the Indian hill stations.

Shimla was the summer capital of British India and memories of the Raj can be found everywhere. The riders have 2 rest days here and one thing they should do is to take the famous ‘toy train’ down to the plains. It covers the 100km in about 5 hours and passes through 102 tunnels and over 845 bridges! The riders will now pedal through some of the Indian Himalaya’s most beautiful scenery. Unlike the arid, semi-desert conditions of the first section, this area is blessed with misty pine and oak forests and a wide variety of beautiful rhododendrons. Mussoorie, another colonial hill station marks the start of a long descent into the holy city of Rishikesh and the Ganges River. The section ends here but the riders are free to explore the numerous ashrams that the city is famous for.

The Experience

The starting point of this section, the holy city of Rishikesh, will allow the riders to practice their yoga and meditation skills before heading out towards Nepal and Kathmandu. The first 3 days of riding will take the cyclists into India’s first National Park, the Corbett Tiger Reserve, beautifully situated in the foothills of the Himalayas. They will get a chance to camp out in the Rathua Forest and possibly see one of the park’s 220 tigers. A rest day in Marchula on the north-eastern edge of the Reserve will allow the riders a chance to further explore the incredible variety of wildlife in the park – elephants, sloth bears, macaques, crocodiles and much more.

The route now takes the riders back up into gorgeous rolling hills along twisting roads, past temples, lakes and small villages. The locals think of the region as the ‘Land of the Gods’ and as the riders spin along they will likely agree. In the hill station town of Ranikhet, cyclists can visit the Jhula Devi Temple, dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga, and adorned by hundreds of bells. After 3 days of climbing the riders will enjoy a long downhill run to the Nepalese border before spinning across the lowlands to Bardia National Park.

A rest day at an eco-lodge gives everyone an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful setting on the banks of the Girwa River, surrounded by grasslands populated by rhinos, elephants and tigers. The route now continues eastward through the flat plains of Nepal’s Teri region, a fascinating jumble of cultures and traditions. In Lumbini, the reputed birthplace of the Buddha, riders can pedal through the tranquil grounds of numerous Buddhist temples and monasteries. Bicycles are now pointed north and the cyclists will put on their climbing shoes. The next 2 days take them up into the stunning Mahabharat Ranges on the Siddhartha Highway passing through the medieval town of Tansen with its charming cobblestone streets before arriving in Pokhara for a rest day.

Pokhara is famous as the starting point for the world famous Annapurna Trek but the riders will have to settle for some rest and relaxation, perhaps sitting by the lake and watching the rising sun illuminate the Himalayan peaks that provide the perfect backdrop for the town. Of course, the more energetic amongst them can enjoy some of the world’s best paragliding! Leaving Pokhara, the riders will face a challenging 800m climb to the top of a ridge, arriving in Bandipur, one of the country’s most charming locales and the epicentre of Newari culture. The next day brings forth Gorkha, an important Newari pilgrimage site, with its ancient palace and historic temples. The last 3 riding days to Kathmandu will take the riders onto some isolated rural roads and tracks, giving them an opportunity to experience local life before descending into legendary Kathmandu and the end of this astonishing section.

2019 Trans-Himalaya
Register Now
US$4,100
Srinagar
Manali
August 18
August 31
US$4,100
Manali
Rishikesh
September 2
September 15
US$6,100
Rishikesh
Kathmandu
September 17
October 7
US$11,900
Srinagar
Kathmandu
August 18
October 7

A registration fee of US$150 must first be paid to hold your place on the tour. This fee is in addition to the entry fee listed above. Full tour entry fees will receive an early payment discount of US$400 if full payment is received 6 months before the start of the tour. Those coming for multiple sections get 10% off for 2 or more sections on the same tour (multiple section discount does not apply to full tour price). TDA alumni get special alumni discounts. Please contact our office for further details. Full tour and section dates listed are for first and last day of cycling. Accommodation the night before first cycling day and the night of last cycling day are included in entry fee. We advise booking at least 1 additional night at tour accommodation before the tour, to be able to attend rider briefing and have assistance from tour bike mechanic in setting up your bike.