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Spiti Winter Homestay Trail

A magical intertwining of nature and culture

Moderate

Spiti Winter Homestay Trail

BRS 4
Max Altitude
Himachal
9 Days
30 Km
Max 15
34850 + 5% GST
Shimla to Shimla

Add ons



Available Batches

Available Batches

Brief Description

Grade:Moderate
Location: Himachal
Altitude:4587 m
Duration:9 Days
Winter Spiti is not for the faint-hearted. A geographical marvel and a photographer's delight, the cold desert of Spiti is a sight to behold. While this tiny patch of land houses all kinds of beauty that's rare, it remains so fresh to the eye because of how inaccessible it is all year round but especially during winters. Our Spiti Winter Homestay Trail is the first of its kind homestay trail in the heart of this winter land nestled deep in the remotest folds of the Himalayan ranges of Himachal Pradesh.

This cold desert where temperatures can drop to as low as -30 degrees makes for some of the harshest living conditions which people call home. The trail makes you experience the warmth and hospitality of the people who are the beauty of this desolate patch of land between India and Tibet as we experience, first hand, what kind of lifestyle one has to adopt to thrive in these conditions.

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Brief Itinerary

Detailed Itinerary


Day 1

Shimla (2,276M) to Chitkul (3,450M)

Distance: 235 kms 

Time Taken: 12-13 hour drive

Given how remote the district of Spiti is, to get there is a time-consuming endeavor. The first leg of trying to make our way into this virgin land involves a 220km road trip through the Kinnaur valley to Chitkul. Chitkul is a small mountain town built on the banks of the boisterous and refreshing Baspa River and is the last village on the Indian side of the border. This charming village which is manned by the army, remains covered in snow all through winters. The extreme winters in the region, make this an almost ghost when the locals move down to warmer altitudes. The wooden huts, the beauty of the village against the backdrop of the bright warm colors at dusk, sitting by the river, locals shepherding their sheep in hundreds and the overall way of life in this high-altitude village are some things you might not want to miss.

We assemble in Shimla early morning by 07:30 hours at a pre-decided location, and leave for this far away village latest by 8 AM. The first three hours of the drive is through cities and thickly habited areas which leads to a calmer road lined with forests that start to thin out as the journey along the Sutlej river progresses. The last two hours of the drive are a bit bumpy for the uneven road that leads us into Chitkul. Expect to reach by late evening.

Day 2

Chitkul (3,450M) to Tabo (3,280M) via Nako (3,660M) and Gue (3,050M)

We wake up to a beautiful morning in the beautiful village of Chitkul. Since Chitkul is a closed valley, surrounded by high mountains, the sun reaches its folds only close to 06:45 in the morning so we are in no rush to start the day. There is enough time in the morning to explore the surroundings of Chitkul, Baspa River, Baspa Valley and get a better feel of the place in the light of day.

After a late breakfast, we leave this winter ghost town by 10 AM. The second leg of making our way into the cold desert is continuing our long journey from yesterday towards Tabo which goes through Sangla. We pass through Sangla within an hour and a half of starting the drive. The drive to Tabo has a lot to offer – stone and wood houses adding life to  the most magnificent landscape, the lands uptil Sangla are full of apple orchards with apple trees lined neatly in rows far and wide into the distance on both sides of the road. The roads mirror the motion and curves of the river below with the high mountains towering over the path like we are driving straight into them. The mountains cut out for step farming gather snow in a particular pattern which is nothing short of mesmerizing. Driving through with overlapping mountains and snow covered peaks taking turns peeping out from the sides to investigate the visitors, we make it to Karcham Wangtoo Dam by 12 PM. From here on, the roads are smooth as butter. The mountains here change to be a bit more rocky and rugged. Twenty minutes from the dam and we reach the Shongtong Bridge laden with Buddhist prayer flags. You might want to keep your cameras handy every second of this drive!

 It shouldn’t take you too long to realize that the bright sun in the sky is not too effective when it comes to protecting you from the cold of this place in winters. As soon as you are in the shade and away from the sun, the temperature seems to drop enough to leave you shivering even with 4 layers of clothing. The sharp blades of icicles on the rocks next to the road are a constant reminder of the cold outside your window!

The landscape starts to shift, trees start to thin out getting replaced by shrubs which then completely disappear too, leaving huge walls of rocky mountains with deep gorges on all sides. If you look close enough, you will see deeply camouflaged mud houses on the sides of the mountain, not in groups but standing alone at far away distances in no particular pattern – all adding to the mystical vibe of the valley.

We cross the confluence of Sutlej and Spiti rivers on our way to Tabo, passing through the towns of Pooh and Nako. Every turn on this drive offers you a distinct view. A small detour will also take us to Gue Monastery, which has India's only known naturally preserved mummy of Sangha Tenzing – a Buddhist monk from Tibet – with his skin and hair intact from the extreme cold. The monastery also has the most beautiful Japanese style architecture embellished with bright Buddhist colours and carvings.

Further ahead, at Sumdo we cross the confluence of Spiti and Parechu rivers which leads us into our drive straight to Tabo, known for its 1000 year old monastery.

There will be a bukhari (a local chimney-like arrangement fed with wood, found in every house as a means to keep warm) waiting for you as soon as you reach the homestay in Tabo, along with some hot tea to warm your insides!

Day 3

Tabo (3,280M) to Kaza (3,800M) via Kungari Monastery (3,500M) in Pin Valley

 

Distance: 70kms drive

There is absolutely no rush to start the day. After struggling to get out from under our warm blankets, we have enough time to explore Tabo and its surroundings, including the 1000 year old Tabo Monastery. We start our drive out of Tabo by around 10:30 AM through Tabo Bridge. The Spiti River below has started to form chunks and slabs of thick ice floating around in the clean blue river. We also will pass small villages such as Kurith which has a population of 30 people. This is just one of many such hamlets we cross on our way today. As we start the drive, to our right are scree mountains with small rocks and to our left are the river below and snow mountains with fields and peculiar trees. We also hit a massive frozen waterfall on our way today which is nothing short of a visual marvel.

Within an hour of the drive, the valley opens up on one side. On the agenda for today is to visit the most gorgeous part of the cold desert – Pin Valley. Soaked in historical and current Buddhist culture, you will find traces and presence of the Tibetan-Buddhist influence in everything in the valley – from the stupas to the monasteries to the way of life, the colours, the social structure and the clothing of the locals – not to mention the colours of the prayer flags in every corner of the valley. The air of the valley, too, holds a strong taste of Buddhism. We will be visiting the Kungari Monastery which is recognized as the second oldest Gompa in all of Lahual and Spiti.  The monastery is known to belong to Nyingmapa order of Buddhism which is known as the oldest order of Tibetan Buddhism. Built around the 14th century, the Gompa houses the most exquisite craftsmanship in the form of a massive collection of silk painting, Tibetan texts and high statues. The monastery however is most famous for the ‘Devil Dance’ and the Sword dance which is reflective of the Nyingmapa culture. This, however, happens in the month of July.

On your drive through Pin Valley you will go through a series of hairpin bends. As you go higher, the changing view of the valley below is a sheer spectacle to watch. With camouflaged hamlets sitting on the smallest of plains on these crumbling mountains, and the vast expanse of land stamped with distinct patterns like fingerprints in the snow, the drive is a photographer’s paradise. The patterns of snow on this wide landscape are like frozen waves stuck in time.  It will take us close to 2.5 hours to get to the monastery. Although the distance is not very long, the roads during winters tend to form a layer of ice making the path slippery.

After spending some time at the monastery, we head down towards Kaza which is where we will spend the night. Kaza is the central point to all the villages in the vicinity and the place with all the facilities for it is the administrative headquarters. Local hospitality in all the villages of Spiti is a thing to cherish and the warmth of the people who welcome you into their homes, something to take back! We will reach Kaza by late afternoon and will have the rest of the day to explore this high-mountain city full of cafes and colourful, local markets.

Day 4

Kaza (3,800M) to Key Monastery to Kibber (4,270M) to Kaza (3,800M)

Today is a fairly relaxed day. After breakfast, we head out to Key Monastery which is 14 kms from Kaza and stands high on a pinnacle. With the colours, prayer flags and the warmth of the place, the monastery is a symbol of all that's good about our race. The overall vibe, the evening prayer and the view from this monastery is unparalleled. The place is also popular amongst photographers for getting great shots of the Milky Way for the altitude and the unobstructed view of the sky. By the day, too, the view is mesmerizing. The bird’s eye view of the valley, with the shadows and shapes of the fields, curvy roads, villages on the side of the river, the crisscrossing pattern of the river on the river bed, and the snow mountains with flocks of alpine choughs filling up the blue skies are only some of the elements that make the visual an absolute treat to witness.

We can also explore Kibber which is a small village with a total of close to 75 households. Twenty kilometers from Kaza, this village is a small cluster of flat-roofed and white-washed houses buried under heaps of snow but life underneath, still goes on. The houses in all of Spiti Valley don a distinct structure and colour scheme. The windows, too, are fashioned in a particular way – the overall design of the houses remains uniform. The way of life here is also something to experience.

We will be spending tonight at Kaza too. We head back late evening to the reach the warmth of our homestay before dark since dark here equals cold!

Day 5

Kaza (3,800M) to Chicham (4,500M)

Distance: 21 km drive

Duration: 1 hour

The route to Chicham introduces you to the true view of Spiti as you make your way to high mountains with the snow disrupting the monochrome of the landscape, the Spiti river crisscrossing on the floor down below and the bright blue of the river is slowly replaced by thicker and wider borders of white when the river starts to freeze up with every kilometer. You cross the Chicham Bridge to enter the village. This gorgeous wonder of engineering, at the height of 4,500M is the highest bridge in Asia.

We will spend the day trekking up the mysterious caves 4 hours up from Chicham. Chicham (4,500M) is a tiny hamlet nested high up on the naked mountains of Spiti and holds a lot of the secrets of bygone eras. Trekking to the mysterious caves 4 hours up from Chicham in the winters where temperatures fall to as low as -20 during daytime, is no small feat. This medium difficult trek which will take us to a cave rife with ancient paintings is a time machine to old times. A lot of folk tales are associated with the cave and locals go up there to pray for the spirits of their dead even today! The route to this cave gets steeper with every step and has you navigate snow and the scree-ridden slopes of this peculiar landscape. It is likely to take close to 4 hours to navigate your way up to the caves on this unmarked, virgin route which has no clear trail. The route needs to be figured out as you go along. It takes close to 2.5 hours to descend down. Expect it to be a long and tiring day made more difficult by the cold in the air. Please note that the trek up to the caves is subject to the route not being blocked by too much snow or bad weather. Since it is not a marked trail, it is important that the condition to climb is safe before we decide to take on this adventure.

Night stay is in the warmest houses with some delicious local delicacies. 

Day 6

Chicham (4,500M) to Langza (4,400M)

Distance: 35 kms

The expanse of Spiti is wide and desolate - long stretches of brown folds till your eye can see. But every once in a while, you will see a small group of white dots on top of mounds or resting at the foothills. These are the white-washed, flat-roofed houses of the smallest and remotest villages you would have ever seen! It is a wonder how the people here remain so warm and agreeable in a land with zero vegetation and temperatures that drop to -18 to -20 during daytime. We go to two such villages today.

Today we leave for hamlets nested higher up on the naked mountains of Spiti! We drive to Langza which is famous for its massive Buddha statue in the middle of the brown mountains striped with the white of the snow.

We then trek from here to a series of 'highest' places. Komic - the highest Village of the world and Hikkim which has the highest post office in the world. And guess what! It's functional! You can drop your postcards in the bright red post box of this winter post office. You can't miss it, because the red post box is the brightest thing in the village. The trek is fairly easy - you are likely to experience a little bit of breathlessness because of the cold and the altitude. Otherwise, it’s a leisurely walk between high villages with the snow spread across mountains like zebra stripes, in the backdrop!

Day 7

Langza (4,400M) to Dhankhar (3,895M) via Dhankar Lake (4,140M)

Distance: 50 km

Dhankar is an entire town resting on fragile mud pinnacles like massive termite mounds. It's an entire civilization of mud which looks like it could crumble at any point but is sturdy enough to hold a population of 300. It looks like a place from a distant planet with the peculiar geographical formations which secretly tell the history of the place. The drive from Langza to here should not take us more than two hours which leaves us with an entire day of exploring the many attractions and marvels of this strange town.

A small trek from the village takes you to a frozen lake as massive as a football field with wild horses chilling close by. It goes by the name of Dhankhar Lake but our trekkers christened it Chadar Lites. This high altitude lake which lies at 4,140M, freezes up completely in the winters and is a major source of water for agriculture and daily survival needs of the people inhabiting the high-altitude village of Dhankhar which lies at an altitude of 3,895M. The village itself has a lot of history to offer with its monastery and forts.

We spend the night high up on one of the mud pinnacles in Dhankhar in a warm house with an even warmer family hosting our stay.

Day 8

Dhankhar (3,895M) to Kalpa (2,960M)

Distance: 190 kms

Time: 7 hours

Today is when we leave the cold folds of Spiti and make our way to the warmth and sanctuary of Kalpa in the Kinnaur Valley. It's a 190km scenic drive which bids adieu to this one of a kind experience to greener and warmer lands.

Day 9

Kalpa (2,960M) to Shimla (2,275M)

Distance: 210 kms

Time: 8-9 hours

Warmer still we go further down to Shimla today. It is a long drive. Expect to reach late evening and book your travel ahead accordingly.

What's Included

  • Homestay/Guesthouse/Hotel accommodation during the trek (Days 1 to 8)
  • Meals (excluding lunch during road journey)
  • Trek Permissions Fee, if any (Upto the amount charged for Indian nationals)
  • First aid medical kit including oxygen cylinder
  • Experienced Guide and Support staff
  • Mountaineering course certified Trek Leader with First Aid certification

What's Not Included

  • Any kind of personal expenses
  • Any kind of Insurance
  • Mules or porter to carry personal luggage
  • Anything not specifically mentioned under the head Inclusions
  • A delay due to bad weather conditions will lead to buffer days and participants will have to bear the extra cost involved in the buffer days as it is not included in the trek price.
  • Entry fee for any Monastery or Monument

Are you Eligible for this Adventure?

Spiti Winter Homestay takes you through the high-altitude habitations in Spiti to a maximum altitude of 4,587M. The frigid temperatures of Spiti winters can drop down to -30 degrees making the already thinning air of the altitude a little bit harder to bear. This makes it a moderate level adventure.

Moderate
4587 m
30 km

BRS Level Required

BRS 4

Spiti Winter Homestay Trail is a level 4 adventure on the Bikat Rating Scale.

This makes it mandatory for you to have high-altitude experience of preferably multiple treks marked at level 3 on the BRS. It is not necessarily a challenging or a difficult trail, but the extreme weather conditions and the altitude the trail takes you to demand a certain level of endurance and a need for you to be aware of how your body reacts to the various features of the high-altitude environment.

If you do not know what level of BRS trek would suit you best, worry not! Fill out this Form:

we will send you a progression chart to help you comfortably get out of your comfort zone in order to level up and ultimately reach your highest potential in the big, bad world of outdoor adventure.

Packing List

This is a list of essential items for individuals doing the trek with Bikat Adventures. This list contains only those items which the participants are required to bring with them. The list excludes those items which are provided by Bikat Adventures on the trek. All the items in the list are essential except for those marked as optional.

Clothing & trek equipment

  • Synthetic Trek pants - 2
  • Windcheater - 1
  • Body Thermals (upper & lower) - 2 pair
  • Warm pants- 2
  • Full sleeves collar T-shirts - 3
  • Down jacket - 1
  • Fleece jacket- 1
  • Merino Trekking Socks - 2-3 pairs
  • Undergarments - 4 pairs
  • Rain coat or poncho
  • Hat with neck cover
  • Woolen Gloves + dual layer Synthetic Waterproof gloves (Both are necessary)
  • Woolen Cap that covers the ears
  • Woolen Socks for sleeping in the night
  • Woolen stole or balaclava to wrap around the neck
  • UV Protection Sunglasses to protect you from snow blindness
  • Rucksack (50-60 L) ( no trolley bag)
  • High ankle trekking shoes
  • Insulated water bottle or thermos flask

Toiletries

  • Personal toiletries kit (Small Towel, Toilet paper, paper soap, Bar soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, cold cream, etc.)
  • Sun screen lotion small pack. Qty -1 Here is your Sun Protection 101 to stay safe in the bright sunny outdoors.
  • Lip Balm small pack. Qty-1

Miscellaneous

  • Camera (Optional)
  • Carry your medicines in plenty in case you have any specific ailment. Consult your doctor before joining the trek.
  • Dry fruits, Nuts, Chocolate bars (Optional)


Frequently Asked Questions



It is not necessarily a difficult trail in terms of physical activity, however, the extremely low temperatures and the thin air of high-altitude on this trail are what make it challenging. Some prior experience in high-altitude is recommended.

If you can Jog/Run for 4 kms in 30-35 mins, you are ready to take on this trek. Once a week, you can practice running 8 kms in an hour or so to improve your endurance further. In addition to this, you can also add resistance workouts to your schedule like squats, lunges, push ups etc.

If you cannot do the above, there’s no need to worry. It is important to remember that it’s all about practice. Get on a training schedule and we can assure you that you will meet these standards in a matter of a few months.

Since it is a homestay trail, there isn’t much in terms of hiking skills you require in order to take this journey, However, be ready for temperatures to go down to -30 degrees. The ability to tolerate extreme cold is the only skill you need on this trail.

The minimum age limit is 13 years. However, minors between 13 to 17 years of age should be accompanied by their parents/ guardians. If you are above the age of 60, kindly carry a medical certificate from your doctor that deem you fit for adventure activities like trekking.


The Spiti Winter Homestay Trail runs through the Spiti Valley in the Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh.

A geographical marvel and a photographer's delight, the cold desert of Spiti is a sight to behold. From the highest post office in the world, to the highest village in the world, to a massive 35 feet statue of Buddha that adds color to this desolate land, Spiti is a cauldron of unparalleled experiences.

As harsh and extreme as the terrain seems, the people living there are just the opposite – warm and welcoming. Christened Chadar Lite by our first batch of trekkers, the Dhankar lake which is a major source of water for agriculture and daily survival needs of the people inhabiting the high-altitude village of Dhankar, freezes over completely in the winters. The sheet of ice so strong, you could walk on it or even skate alongside fascinating-looking equines from the region that happen to casually be hanging around this frozen marvel. Spiti, even though arid, is rich in wildlife. Many magnificent species call this dry land their home – including the ghost of the mountains – the snow leopard. For more information on the highlights of Spiti Winter Homestay Trail, Read: Highlights of Winter Spiti Homestay Trail

Winters in Spiti are extremely harsh. The extreme cold, along with being a challenge to adapt to, comes with a whole different set of challenges. Slippery roads, frozen motor vehicles which refuse to turn on, blocked water pipes meaning little to no availability of water – these are only some of the issues we are likely to encounter. Trekkers also need to be prepared for walking on scree and snow-ridden terrain. Trekkers should be physically fit and mentally prepared for extreme temperatures. For more details on the challenges of Spiti Winter Homestay Trail, Read: Who is this trail meant for?

The best time to go to the Spiti Winter Homestay Trail is from November to April.

On all trekking days, we stay at guesthouses/ homestays.

The Spiti Winter Homestay Trail is a high-altitude trek that is usually done between November to April, for a true winter experience. The temperature on the trail during this time can vary significantly, depending on the altitude and weather conditions.

The temperatures during the day can range from around 0°C to 10°C, while the nights can be extremely cold, with temperatures dropping to as low as -20°C or lower, especially at higher altitudes.

It is not necessarily a challenging or a difficult trail, but it certainly holds a lot of stories in its folds. The pull of this trek is people and the experience of culture and tradition - it is an immersive experience. You get to witness how the locals live their everyday life in such extreme and harsh conditions. It is also a chance to put yourself into their shoes, homes and lives, figuratively as well as literally. Spiti Winter Homestay Trail is more about cultural immersion than physical exertion.


The trail starts at Shimla which is at a distance of 340 kms from Delhi. It is accessible by road. You can either drive down here or take a luxury bus from ISBT Delhi which should get you to Shimla within 8-9 hours. Since Shimla is a popular tourist location, the frequency and quality of transport services are extremely good.

The network connectivity in Spiti can be limited and unreliable, especially in remote areas and during the winter season when the region is cut off from the rest of the world due to heavy snowfall. Most of the villages along the Spiti Winter Homestay Trail have limited or no network connectivity.

The last ATM on the trail can be found in Kaza, which is the largest town in Spiti.

We assemble in Shimla early in the morning by 07:30 am at a pre-decided location and leave for Chitkul latest by 8:00 am.

Expect to reach Shimla by late evening (7-8 pm).

The trek starts in Shimla which is a popular tourist location. From temples to architecture to local markets and of course the interesting-looking mall road which has a large array of local cafes and food bars to pick from. Shops that offer local handicrafts are also plentiful here.

Other nearby attractions are:

Chanshal: The resplendent crown of the snow-clad Chanshal range rises above the Pabbar valley. At 4220 m, the Chanshal pass which is open between May and October is the link to Dodra Kwar. The Chanshal area also has some excellent ski slopes.

Hanol Mahasu Temple: Hanol Mahasu temple is situated at an altitude of 1,429M in the village of Hanol, 55 km from Rohru on the eastern bank of the Taons. This temple constructed in Huna-style architecture is dedicated to Mahasu. The Hanol temple is said to be the originating place of all the deities of the area of Rohru and Jubbal. Tradition recounts that a demon lived here and killed the people, one by one each day. A devotee of Lord Shiva in Mandrath challenged the custom and prayed to Shiva for help. This ardent devotee of the lord- Deolari Devi, a resident of Hanol, was being directed by God. Accordingly, she sent her four sons to Mandrath, where from a field they obtained four Shivlings. The shivlings were given the names of the four young men. Meanwhile the demon was killed by the four sons and the villagers thereafter started worshipping Shiva as Mahasu.

Shikhru Devta Temple: This a beautiful temple located in the heart of the town, Shikhru Devta is held in high veneration and is the site of an annual fair which is celebrated during the month of April every year.

Khara Patthar: As the name says Khara Patthar has a huge freestanding egg shaped boulder. Worn smooth by aeons of erosion this is a wonder of this area. From here the steady descent of the Pabbar valley begins. Khara patthar is a place that gives expression to the phrase of 'time standing still', Kharapathar is a perfect leisure destination in the heart of nature's generous blessings to the area. Lush forests, wide views, excellent walk, hiking trails and the charm of apple orchards make this a perfect leisure destination that is easily accessible by a short drive (85 km) from Shimla.


Since it is a homestay trail, there isn’t much in terms of hiking skills or equipment you require in order to take this journey.

You can rent trekking shoes, trekking poles, a fleece jacket and a rucksack from us. In case you have any other requirements, you can talk to our representative and we will be happy to assist you in any way that we can.

You will receive your rented equipment in Shimla, on Day 1.

Our trek leaders will collect the rented equipment from you at the end of the trek on the last day.

For a detailed list, check the Packing List section on this page.

Shimla has a reasonably sized market. However, we will have to head to Janglik and there will be no time for shopping. Please do not leave anything for last minute buying.


Since it is a homestay trail, it does not involve carrying heavy loads on our backs. However, as a general rule on other trails, we do not recommend backpack offloading.

(Note: We don’t recommend offloading because the extra resources on a trail - ponies or porters depending on the trail - means extra load on the environment which can easily be avoided. It also goes against the spirit of trekking by eliminating a level of endurance and discomfort from the experience which are factors at the very heart of an outdoor adventure activity.)

For winter we don’t have cloakroom facilities for extra luggage. It is advised to carry what’s essential and required.

On all trek days, we provide 3 full meals (breakfast, lunch & dinner) in addition to evening snacks and tea. The meals are vegetarian and the menu is pre-decided for all days of the trek. We do provide eggs as well on certain days. If you have any specific food-related allergies or restrictions, you can let our local staff (during the trek) know, and your requests will get accommodated. We try to provide a variety of food across meals so as to avoid repetition as well as cover all nutritional needs.

In Shimla, Chitkul, and Kalpa you’ll get toilets with water facilities. Further from this on all other days in Spiti, you’ll get dry pits.

In case you get your period on the trail and don’t have sanitary napkins, our trek leaders can provide them to you. If you need any other kind of assistance, you can let our trek leaders know. Irrespective of gender, our leaders are gender sensitised and equipped to assist you in any way you need them to.

Our team carries a first aid kit and all the basic medicines required during the trek. They are equipped to be the first responders in case of any injury or health-related issues. For higher expeditions, we also carry a HAPO Bag and oxygen cylinders to tend to any altitude-related health conditions.

You are likely to find charging points in all homestays. However, the region, especially in winters, is prone to long hours of power cuts, sometimes extending to days. It is advisable to carry your own power back up.


A copy of your ID Proof and Medical Certificate are the mandatory documents required for this trek. (Soft copies for all of these are to be sent to us & originals should be on your person while on the trek.)

Yes, insurance for any high-altitude activity is highly recommended to cover for the cost of rescue, evacuation and any other emergency service required as well as to cover for medical cost in case of injury or illness during the trek. You can buy it on your own. Alternatively, if you want us to buy it on your behalf, you can mark it as an add-on during the booking of the trek.

Yes, there are multiple permits required for this. We obtain the permits on every trekkers’ behalf. All the permit costs are included in your trek cost.


Yes, you will receive e-certificates (of completion) after the trek. It will bear your name, the trek, and the maximum altitude you achieved on the trek. In case you were unable to finish the trek, you will get a certificate of participation.

On completion of the trek, the certificate will show up on your dashboard on our website. You can download it directly from there.


Spiti Winter Homestay Trail is in India. If you are coming from outside, you will need a visa to enter the country. You should be able to find the rules for obtaining a Visa based on your home country on the internet. This information is easily available.

This does not apply to you if you are an Indian citizen. In case you don’t hold an Indian passport, you will need to check online for Visa application rules based on your home country.

If you are not an Indian citizen, you will need Travel Medical Insurance to travel to the country. Please make sure that your insurance policy is valid for the altitude you are going to and the activity you are undertaking, to cover risks during the trek. The insurance policy provided by Bikat Adventures does not cover foreign nationals. So, please do not purchase it while making the booking from our website.

The Himalayas house the tallest mountains in the world and have long been a treasure trove for all adventure enthusiasts. The variety in terms of beauty, terrain, landscape, geography, culture and opportunity for adventure in the Himalayas, remains undisputedly unmatched.

You can make the booking any time depending on availability of slots in our fixed departure batches. You will get this information at the top of this page.


A Basic Mountaineering Course certification from one of the five recognized mountaineering institutes in India is a minimum requirement to join our team. Our field experts are also trained in basic medicine and first-aid response. We also conduct on-ground training for our staff once a year as a refresher for old skills and to learn some new ones. During this training that we call APW (Adventure Professional Workshop), our leaders learn close to 25 topics and techniques of rescue which are not covered in the BMC and AMC courses. For practical training, we simulate on-ground situations to prepare them for quick thinking and quick response during emergencies.

We follow a rigorous regime of hiring and training our experts on the field. Each trek leader is a certified mountaineer with years of experience in the field. The interview process to bring a trek leader on-board is close to 6 months long where we assess various skills as well as personality traits of an individual. They also go through an on-field assignment as part of the hiring process. Trek leaders also progress in time from leading easier treks before advancing to the more difficult ones where the stakes are higher. For detailed information on our selection process, please visit Forerunners - The Making Of A Trek Leader

It absolutely is. We recognize, value and embody the ideology that the world of outdoor adventure can benefit from diversity. We make it our mission to create outdoor spaces as equally accessible and safe for all genders as possible. We also encourage women leaders in the outdoors and all of our staff (irrespective of gender) is gender sensitised. As for accommodation, in case there are no other women on the trek, a solo female trekker is provided with a separate single-occupancy tent.

Our batch sizes for Spiti Winter Homestay Trail are capped at 15 with the trek leader to trekker ratio of 1:8.

In addition to their qualification, our trek leaders are trained to tackle any and all kinds of sudden conditions that may present themselves on ground. During our recce stage, we study the trail in great detail and map out rescue routes before opening it up for our trekkers. We also have local support staff stationed in each area to arrange for emergency services at the place of need as quickly as possible.

We mobilise road rescue efforts where our trek leaders bring the person to be rescued down to the trailhead of the trek from where a car can take them to the nearest healthcare facility. The cost of rescue is not covered in the trek fee that we charge. It must be borne by the participant. However, if you opt for the insurance the cost of rescue operations can be claimed from the Insurance company on production of valid proof e.g. doctor’s prescription & hospital bills etc. Please note that Bikat Adventures is only a facilitator & not a party in the Insurance policy. You need to raise the claim request directly with the Insurance company. Bikat Adventures is not responsible for any rejection of claim. You can call the insurance provider directly for any clarifications related to the Insurance policy. Although not mandatory, we recommend buying the insurance. You don’t necessarily have to get the insurance we provide, you can pick an Insurance company of your choice and get a policy directly from them. If you need more information on the terms and conditions of the insurance policy, get in touch with our customer support team.

All the gear used on our treks and expeditions is tried and tested, maintained for good quality and is overall top notch in quality and condition. We are continually looking to obtain the best of everything there is in the market so as to ensure optimum safety.

That will depend on the nature of your medical condition. Do give us a call, and one of our people will help you understand what is best for you. If not this, we are sure there would be plenty of other options you can choose from our vast portfolio to pick as your next adventure.


We have rolling camps on all our trails. To know why we are strictly against the concept of Fixed Camping, read Reasons to Ban Fixed Camping in Himalayas

This is a complex question and has a compound answer. The simple response is that because it is bad for the environment which we dearly love but if you are interested in a more detailed response to this question, please read Reasons to Ban Fixed Camping in Himalayas

There are a number of measures that we take to prevent overcrowding on some of the most popular trails. Some of them are capping our group size at 15, capping the number of trekkers on a trail to 250 per season, constantly looking for newer trails and routes to spread the crowd around and providing incentives to our trekkers to try unexplored territories with us. We put in place the system of dynamic pricing, which is the first of its kind in the trekking industry, which incentivises trekkers to choose less crowded trails by offering higher discounts. We have noticed, since we started this system, that this has helped in a big way to spread out the crowds between trekking routes. We are also going international so as to relieve some of the stress on the Himalayan landscape as well as explore newer ranges and design newer experiences for our community. If you want a more detailed description of all our measures in this regard, please read Simple solutions to overcrowding on Himalayan Treks

Some basic things to remember are: do not use water, do not dispose of anything non-biodegradable inside the pits, carry your own roll of toilet paper and remember to cover up after yourself to leave a clean toilet for your fellow trekkers. Everything else is much the same like using an Indian style home toilet!

Most wet wipes are not biodegradable which means it could take 100 years or more for them to decompose – not the best thing if you are trying to ‘Leave No Trace’, right?

This is quite a tricky situation but not a hopeless one. Since most of our sanitary waste is not biodegradable, we recommend that you pack your pads/tampons neatly, store it in a zip-lock bag and bring it back down with you where there are better options to dispose of them. In case you do not have zip-lock bags, ask our trek leaders for them and they should be able to provide them to you.

Each trekker is responsible for the use and hygiene of their own eating utensils. And as a measure to maintain proper hygiene, we do not provide plates and spoons. Also, dipping your hands in cold water to wash your own utensils adds something to the overall joy of high-altitude living, wouldn’t you think?


On making the payment, you will receive a booking confirmation along with the packing list and a copy of the undertaking form via email. You will subsequently receive emails detailing documents required, how to prepare physically and mentally for the trek, information on pick-up location on the first day etc. Please add info@bikatadventures.com in your trusted emails list to make sure our emails don't go to your spam folder.

A Whatsapp group will be formed a few weeks before departure. Members from our team are on those groups as well. Feel free to seek any clarifications you require in regards to the trek, on the group itself. Updates related to transportation/pickup point/pickup timing, accommodation etc. will be shared on the Whatsapp group as well.

Yes, we create a Whatsapp group a few weeks before the departure date so that the flow of information remains smooth and transparent.

Yes, it is one of the mandatory documents you will need to submit before the trek starts. The soft copy is to be sent to us & the original should be on your person while on the trek.

Yes, we will provide you an undertaking form through email which will need to be filled up by you and submitted to us post booking.

Why Bikat?

Small Group Size


Our batch sizes are capped at 15 for smaller treks with the trek leader and trekker ratio of 1:8. This ratio, in our years of experience, has proven to deliver the best trekking experience for individuals as well as groups. Capping the size of the group ensures individual attention to each trekker so that no signs of distress or need during the trek go unnoticed. It also helps to form a more cohesive cohort with better group energy which helps define the rhythm and pace of days on the trek.

As you go higher up on the BRS scale, since the stakes are higher, expeditions have an even smaller group size with the ratio of expedition leader to climber set at 1:2.


Qualified Trek Leaders


We follow a rigorous regime of hiring and training our experts in the field. Each trek leader is a certified mountaineer with years of experience in the field. In addition to their qualification, they also go through practical and situational training to tackle any and all kinds of sudden conditions that may present themselves on the ground. Being unpredictable is the core nature of the mountains but being ready for any circumstance as best as possible is a controllable asset that we try to nurture.

Our field experts are also trained in basic medicine and first-aid response.

Watch: Forerunners - The Making of A Trek Leader At Bikat Adventures


Guided Progression


Since Bikat Adventures is a learning-based organization, we help you climb up the ladder of difficulty within the sphere of outdoor adventure systematically. Our on-ground training modules are designed to handhold you through the upskilling process so that you are ready to take on bigger challenges.


Equipment Quality and Check


All the gear used on our treks and expeditions is tried and tested, maintained for good quality, and is overall top-notch in quality and condition. We are continually looking to obtain the best of everything there is in the market so as to ensure optimum safety.


Support Systems


Along with the staff you see on-ground, we have a team of superheroes working in the background to give you the best experience possible. Our background team also comprises local staff from each area who know the region best. Having local support helps with studying the area, pre-planning, execution, and in receiving timely support in case of emergencies in these remote locations.


Communication


Our on-field staff is in constant contact with our teams based in primary locations so as to eliminate any avoidable delay in reaching additional help and support when required. We try to use the best tools for communication available, including satellite phones, in regions where they are not restricted.


What our customers Say

Cancellation Policy


Cash refund

Cancellations up to 30 days prior to departure date

5% deduction

Cancellations between 30 days to 15 days prior to departure date

50% deduction

Cancellations within 15 days prior to departure date

No Refund

Voucher refund

Cancellations up to 5 days prior to departure date

No Deduction

Cancellations within 5 days prior to departure date

No Refund

Please Note:
  1. Cash refund is applicable only in case of bookings made without using any promotional offer code or vouchers
  2. This is only a brief of cancellation terms. For finer details please refer Detailed Cancellation Policy.

Blog Posts

Know How
HIGHLIGHTS OF SPITI WINTER HOMESTAY TRAIL
The dry desert of Spiti is a marvel through and through which offers you a host of experiences in the form of local and cultural indulgence, spiritual reconnaissance, getting acquainted to traditional ways and a bucket full of warmth from the local h...
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Experiential
A Mesh of Culture and Beauty: Photo Story of Spiti Winter Homestay Trail
There are places that you fall in love with and then there are some that leave a permanent imprint on your memory. Spiti Valley is one such place which holds the capacity to fill your heart with warmth despite day temperatures plummeting to -20 degre...
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Informative
Spiti Winter Homestay: Who is This Trail Meant For
A geographical marvel and a photographer's delight, the cold desert of Spiti is a sight to behold. While this tiny patch of land houses all kinds of beauty that's rare, it remains so fresh to the eye because of how inaccessible it is all year round b...
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