Sandwiched between the
towering peaks of the western Himalayas and vast Tibetan plateau,
Ladakh is the highest, least populated and most inaccessible
region in India. The name derives from Ladags meaning 'high
passes' and its arid, corrugated landscape of chaotic ridges,
twisted and exposed geological strata, snow-capped peaks,
dark gorges and wide valleys offer some of the most spectacular
views in the whole country.
At various times in the past, Ladakh has been politically
part of Tibet and its influence is still prominent today.
The Ladakhi people are principally of Tibetan origin and Buddhism
is still practiced here with active Gompas, or monasteries,
overlooking the valleys from their solitary positions on top
of many a craggy cliff.
To sit on the roof terrace of our hotel in Leh, enjoying
the sweeping 360 degree views of the Indus Valley, the snowcapped
Karakoram peaks and the gorgeous mountain sunshine, while
listening to the most beautiful incantation of bells, chimes,
flutes and choral voices drifting up from the hillside monastery,
is truly n uplifting experience. To sit sipping warm butter-chai(Ladakhi
Tea), with a kind, craggy-faced Lama inside the monastery
while he proudly describes his residences' remarkable 700-year
history is a privilege indeed.
Our trip starts with a spectacular flight over the Himalayas
to Leh, and exploration of the town and some of the most important
monasteries along the Indus Valley. We then drive westwards,
following the Indus river . The journey takes us from village
to village through a spectacular multi-coloured landscape.
We have opportunities for gentle walking with plenty of time
to enjoy the views.
We also reach the exquisite Nubra Valley that lies north
of Leh, and leads to the peaks of the eastern Karakoram. An
'Inner Line' area until very recently, we can testify to its
reputation of being the most beautiful region in Ladakh. Double
humped camel caravans historically used to trade between Yarkand
(Central Asia) and Leh and would have passed this way. Many
famous explorers also passed through including the Bullock-Workmans,
Francis Younghusband, and Dr John Longstaff. This is that
part of the world where sand dunes and snow capped mountains
exist simultaneously. We have opportunities to explore the
dessert on top of our double humped camels.
Namaste! - We welcome you with folded hands
Day 01: Arrival / Leh
Meeting and assistance upon arrival as our representatives welcome you and escort you to your car.
Welcome to India, or as we say ‘atithi devo bhava’ (the guest is an incarnation of God). Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you!
After rest & relaxation, you may gently stroll out to visit Leh's wide street bazaar that runs east-west. Together with the labyrinth of adjoining side streets and alleys, the bazaar is the center of business and shopping -- particularly for visitors who find the plethora of antiques (and not-antiques) shops worth checking out. The bazaar is an incredible example of traditional Ladakhi lifestyles. Watch out for the pavement vegetable sellers and the traditional homes that exist on top of the stores which sell only the very basic provisions
Overnight at Hotel Royal Ladakh
Day 02: Leh / Shey / Thiksey / Hemis / Leh
This morning we proceed on a guided tour of Shey, which is
a small town in comparison to Leh. Shey Palace was built in
early 17th century AD by Deldan Namgyal as a memorial for
his father, Singay Namgyal. The palace houses a three storey
copper statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Overlooking the Shey palace
are the ruins of the fort built by the first king of Ladakh,
Lhachen Spalgigon. Shey also has a very large scattering of
stupas all across its landscape
From here we drive to Thiksey Gompa (monastery), it is located
17 km on the main highway from Leh in the direction of Manali.
The present day monastery founded by Paldan Sherab, overlooking
the village below, was not the original location. It was originally
built at Stakmo. This monastery hosts the festival of Thiksey
Later we drive to Hemis Gompa (monastery) which is the most
important and the richest Gompa in the whole of Ladakh and
is dedicated to Guru Padama Sambhava the great Indian teacher
& philosopher. This monastery located among the beautiful
landscape of the Hemis National Park was founded in 1630 AD.
It is located at a distance of 45km from Leh and is one of
the most popular monasteries visited by travelers. It is also
famous across the world for the Hemis Festival hosted by it.
Evening we drive back to our hotel in Leh
Overnight at Hotel Royal Ladakh.
Day 03: Leh / Likir / Uletokpo
Following a leisurely breakfast we drive to Uletokpo Visiting
the Likir Monastery on the way. The journey itself through
spell bounding scenes of natural beauty is worth the effort.
Snow capped Himalayas dot the background while craggy dusty
mountain ranges and the swiftly flowing Indus river as well
as patches of farm make up for the fascinating foreground.
At Nimu we witness the magical confluence of the two main
rivers of the region - Indus & Zanskar.
Another interesting aspect of our journey would be the opportunity
to travel past several Ladakhi Villages where time has stood
still. We will walk into these villages and experience traditional
Ladakhi Villages, lifestyles and occupations.
We make a brief stop at the Likir Monastery that houses many
gigantic clay statue of Buddha in various forms. The primary
attraction is, however, their 1000-year old wall painting
which make a visit more than worthwhile.
Upon arrival at lunch time we check into tented accommodation
at Uleytokpo. This place is heaven on earth ! the accommodation
here are lovely fixed camps run by a Ladakhi family. The tents
have attached toilets and beds, and are set amidst apricot
orchards. The place is right in the lap of nature and you
would very much enjoy the feel of the breeze, the scent of
flowers, delightful nature walks, views of the snow capped
Himalayas and the gentling rolling sound of the Indus river.
If you are a bird lover there are great possibilities of viewing
a variety of birds.
Just 4 kms away is Ridzong, the most isolated monastery of
all the monastery of Ladakh. One can still find the small
caves where Lamas used to meditate for years cutting themselves
from the rest of the world except for an one feet square outlet
window from where they accept the one time meal of the day.
Also close by is a nunnery. Food and clothing besides shelter
is provided to the Nuns. There are a few very old retired
Nuns. A visit here shows us the day to day living of the Nuns,
as well as the trainings they receive here and also an opportunity
to witness the performance of the evening prayers
Overnight at Uley Ethnic Resort (Standard Hut).
Day 04: Uletokpo / Lamayuru / Uletokpo
A half day excursion through paradise as we visit Lamayuru.
Every twist and turn brings to you new vistas of natural beauty.
But, wait till you get to the 'Lamayuru Moonland'. We look
down on this landscape which appears to be a dusty surface
of the Moon itself with craters & hills . The snow rising
in the backdrop of this sandy script reminds you that you
are in Ladakh.
The landscape around Lamayuru monastery is one of most spectacular
things one could see on earth.
Lamayuru monastery popularly known as, "Yangdrung Gomp"
is situated 126 km west of Leh, on the Leh - Srinagar highway.
In ancient times there was a huge lake in this place. The
great saint Nyimagung, made a prophesy saying: " May
a monastery be founded in this place" and he then offered
a votive water offering to all the naga serpent spirits who
were the guardians of that place. The grains of that corn
that formed part of this offering were carried by the waves
of different places along the cliff side by the edge of the
lake and when they had become mixed with the earth they sprouted
forth as corn in the shape of a swastika. At the time when
a monastery was later founded there it was called Yangdrung
"swastika". In the 11th century the mahasiddha Naropa
came to this place and the cave where he resided and meditated
is still to be seen today. Then Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator
came and built many temples and stupas and so the teachings
of the Kadampa School came to flourish greatly there. Thereafter,
for many years the monastery was administered by the Red Hats
order of the Tibetan Buddhism., but later it was taken over
by Digungpa order. Then the rituals and observances of the
Digung Kargud School were introduced and the monastery received
the name of Yangdrung Tharpaling.
We return to Uletokpo by lunch time.
Afternoon is at leisure for nature walks . Alternatively,
your 24x7 guide would be happy to walk you to the neighbouring
Mangyu village (3hrs). This would be another opportunity to
witness traditional Ladakhi country life unchanged from time
immemorial. We will interact with locals and also learn more
about Ladakhi living.
Overnight at Uley Ethnic Resort (Standard Hut)
Day 05: Uletokpo / Alchi / Leh
After breakfast we drive back to Leh Visiting Alchi on the
The village of Alchi in lower Ladakh is to be considered
one of the most important cultural sites throughout the Himalayas.
Consisting of four separate hamlets, the village contains
numerous historic monuments of different ages and in various
states of repair, the oldest and most famous of which is a
monastic complex. The 1,000-year-old three-storied Himalayan
temple, with its unique murals and iconography, is a fragile
wooden structure. Confirmed a World Heritage site by UNESCO,
this is one of only four surviving monasteries of the 108
founded by the Great Translator, Lotsava Rinchen bZangpo in
the later 10 th and early 11 th century. The temple preserves
some of the finest examples of Kashmiri art of the period
Following the tour of Alchi, we continue drive to Leh and
get there by lunch time. Upon arrival, transfer to your Hotel
Spic n Span. The afternoon is at leisure and you may wish
to walk into the bustling bazaar or catch up with your reading
This evening we are invited to a typical Ladakhi home for
high tea and interaction with different members of the Ladakhi
family. The kitchen is the heart of the Ladakhi house. These
are people for whom food is so central it forms the basis
of their all-purpose greeting, "Julay", an economical
word used for hello, goodbye, please and thank you. Its literal
translation is "good digestion"; it reflects their
philosophy that if you have good digestion, you have everything.
Overnight at Hotel Royal Ladakh.
Day 06: Leh / Khardung La / Deskit / Hunder
Today we travel north from Leh over the highest motorable road and the Khardungla Pass (5570m), to the Nubra Valley which is little visited, as it is inaccessible for all but a couple of months in the year, its high passes closed by the winter snows. In comparison to the Indus valley which is cooler the Nubra is a comparatively warm valley where walnut, apricot, apple and mulberry trees grow and yak, sheep and goats graze in small forests and along the river Shyok. The journey brings us excellent view of great Karakoram Range.
In the ancient times the fertile Nubra Valley formed a part of the overland route between Tibet and Turkestan. Once dotted with garlands of camel and yak caravans, this Silk Route glen is also known as the ‘Valley of Flowers’ of Ladakh, and is amongst the greenest valleys in the region. During early summer, Nubra is clad in endless bushes of yellow and pink wild roses, and once the valley is through with the season of roses around August, a carpet of wild lavender lies gently on it.
On our way we visit the Diskit Village which is amongst the larger villages in the region, and home to the 350 year-old Diskit Gompa – the oldest, and the largest monastery in the Nubra Valley . We will also find time to walk along the Nubra village. The people are amazingly friendly inspite of their lack of material disposition. Their traditional lifestyles and homes give you the feel of a Living Museum.
We reach Hunder Village through a gorgeous stretch of sand dunes. This is where we will camp tonight. The main attractions in this area are the Bactarian Double Humped Camels. This is the ancient Silk route and these animals were abandoned by the traders. Successive generations have procreated over centuries. This evening we enjoy camel ride over the Sand Dunes. This is a high mountain desert country with fertile dots of land in between. Sand dunes eclipse the mountains; rock and snow capped mountains rising majestically against a pastel landscape. Truly a soul stirring experience where you experience communion with nature.
We end the day in absolute peace with ourselves. It is so simple to celebrate the mountains, sun the moon, water, stars and sky – this feeling of presence of a creator that has managed to create such beauty and wonder.
Overnight at Tented Accommodations
Day 07: Hunder / Panamik / Hunder
This morning we will spend some time exploring the village.
Hunder is a quaint and beautiful village, maze-like in its
formation, winding paths bathed in dappled sunlight, branches
forming tunnels. The Ladakhi people are creative in the way
they devise for water to enter homes and fields in turn, with
tenderly cared for gardens and fruit orchards. The houses
are thatched, built with mud-dried.
The people are so hospitable and look on curiously, smiling.
They radiate joy, with their rosy sun burnt cheeks, wide smiles
and eyes speaking volumes about the depth of character and
humane goodness they exude. They are humble, joyous and childlike,
with a palpable dignity. It would hit you to realize how material
culture and luxury do not provide happiness.
Today we continue to explore the Nubra Valley and the quaint
villages that dot the landscape. Sumur is one such village
where we interact with the people and also visit the citadel
of their faith - The Samtanling Gompa which is definitely
worth a visit, and houses a fine collection of idols, frescos
and tangkhas (painted and embroidered scrolls).
Continue a short way away to Panamik which used to be a busy
centre being the last major settlement before the caravans
entered into the mountains of Karakoram. Today, Panamik is
a sleepy village, its inhabitants quietly going about their
work in the fields. On the mountainside above the village,
hot water bubbles out of the earth in thermal springs, reputed
to have therapeutic qualities. Across the river, clinging
to the mountains, are a few trees rooted among the rocks surrounding
the tiny Ensa gompa.
Late afternoon, drive back to Hunder
Overnight at Tented Accommodations.
Day 08: Hunder / Leh
Morning we retreat back to Leh.
Upon arrival transfer to your Hotel Royal Ladakh.
Rest of the day is at leisure for your independent activities. This is the day to catch up on your shopping. Think about people who are in your thoughts and who ‘deserve’ souvenirs from this magical destination.
Overnight at Hotel Royal Ladakh.
Day 09: Leh / Departure
Morning, transfer to the airport to board your flight
END OF SERVICES…
Tour Cost Based On 02 People Traveling Together Sharing 01 Room
• Cost valid for period 01st May till 30th September, 2014 : - INR 62,000* Per Person
*T & C Apply
Includes : Accommodation on twin share basis ; daily American breakfast ; air-conditioned private car for all journeys and tours ; local guides ; All taxes, entrances, permission and ladakh environmental fee, All meals during the tour.