Tour Code : LC-BL-1011
Duration: 10 Nights / 11 Days
Day 01: Arrive at Leh airport by morning flight from Delhi. This flight is one of the most sensational flights in the world. On a clear day from one side of the aircraft can be seen in the distance the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum and on the other side of the aircraft, so close that you feel you could reach out and touch it, is the Nun Kun massif.
Upon arrival you will be transferred to your hotel. You would take a little time to settle in and acclimatize since you have gone from a relatively low elevation in New Delhi to over 11,000 feet! During the afternoon, you can walk through the old town, beneath the Leh Palace, to allow you to get oriented to this fascinating city. Overnight in a hotel.
Day 02: Leh – Witness Hemis Festival
You have a full day to witness the HEMIS FESTIVAL. You drive upstream along the Indus River on a broad well-mettled road to HEMIS GOMPA, crossing over the Indus River at the village of Karu. The most famous of Ladakh’s monasteries, Hemis or Changchub Samstanling (The love palace of the compassionate person), dates back to the 17th century and was built over a period of 40 years (1602 – 1642 A.D.). Today Hemis is well known for its festival or Hemis Tsechu commemorating the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava. In the year of the Monkey (every 12 years) a giant thangka depicting Guru Padmasambhava is unfurled from the terrace draping the five-storey facade. Delicately wrought in pearls and appliqué, it is one of the most famous art treasures of Ladakh. The central courtyard forms the focus for the masked dances held every year in summer. In the dukhang, remnants of the original 17th century murals can be seen. The gompa boasts of an excellent library, well preserved frescoes and murals, silver gilt chortens and a Kashmiri lacquered wood throne.
During the festival, the monastery is ablaze with light, in the courtyard the blare of long brass trumpets signals the beginning of the fight between good and evil. Dancing and prancing, leering and scowling, the demons – monks beneath grotesque masks – enter the arena. Between them two skeletons ease the tension with antics. The forces of good, representing legendry heroes and saints strive to overcome the demons as stately dance steps and graceful mystic gestures are pitted against frenzy and madness. Slowly the demons are driven back – only to surge forward again in swirling dance, flinging themselves against the Masters of Virtue – but their violence cannot overcome the superiority of virtue on wisdom. They are driven from the arena. In the evening you return to your hotel in Leh for an overnight stay.
Day 03: Leh – Rafting from Phey to Nimoo – Likir
After breakfast drive to the start point for RAFTING down the Indus River. Your rafting run will start at Phey (14 km from Leh) and culminate at Nimoo, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers. The rafting trip would provide a different perspective in your experience of the natural beauty of the spectacular landscape with deep gorges, towering snow capped peaks hilltop monasteries & hillside villages besides being an adrenalin boost. From Nimoo you drive to Likir. On arrival check in at your tented accommodation.
Later in the afternoon visit the LIKIR MONASTERY, which is situated at the head of the village by the same name. The name Likir derives from the word Lukhgil (coiled snake) as the site appears to be encircled by two great serpent spirits – Nanda and Taksako. The gompa is believed to date back to the 11th century. In the 15th century Lama Lhawag Lhotos established the Gelug-pa order here. Likir is one of the most active monasteries in the region. The gompa has a fine collection of thangkas some of which are now housed in its museum. As you drive up to the monastery a recently installed colossal gilded image of the Maitreya out in the open is one of the most impressive sights in Ladakh. Overnight in your tented camp.
Day 04: Likir – Approx 1 hr Drive – Hemis Shukpathan – Approx 2 hrs trek – Ang Tingsmogang Homestay
After breakfast an hour’s drive across three passes, ranging in altitude between 3580 M to 3750 M, will get you to Hemis Shukpathan. It is a major village, which gets its name from the cedars, found in the valley, and which also boasts a beautiful gompa. You commence your trek from here. Crossing the village, a short uphill climb brings you to an ill-defined pass. From here there is a steep descent across the mountainside. On reaching the bottom of this valley you will be climbing a rather steep slope to the summit of the Mebtek-La (3720 M). However, on reaching the top, your efforts are rewarded with a bird’s eye view of the next valley. The trek from here to the picturesque village of Ang is an easy half-hour descent. A short walk will bring you to Tingmosgang. This is considered to be the richest valley in Ladakh with apricots, apples, nuts and beautiful houses. At Tingmosgang you will experience warm traditional Ladakhi hospitality during your HOMESTAY for the night.
Day 05: Tingmosgang – Lamayuru – Approx 30 km/ Approx 1 hr
Tingmosgang served as one of the capitals of Ladakh in the 15th century. Though most of the castle is in ruins, three temples remain and continue to be in use. On the day marking the three important events in the life of Buddha i.e. birth, enlightenment and parinirvana, people from all over Ladakh including Zanskar gather here making offerings of butter for the lamps, incense and flowers. Your drive from Tingmosgang descends to Nurla from where you turn right for Lamayuru along the main highway.
After checking in to your accommodation you proceed to visit the 11th century LAMAYURU MONASTERY, which is spectacularly located along the valley plain and surrounded by mountains on all sides. According to legend, the arhat Madhyantika, a disciple of Buddha offered “torma’ (sacred food) and water to the spirits inhabiting the site to satisfy them. A handful of rain spilled on the soil which caused barley plants to sprout in the shape of Yung-drung (swastika), hence its name Yung-Drung. The great yogi Naropa meditated in a cave, which today forms part of the monastery. The monastery has gradually expanded over the years and newer structures have been built around a large courtyard. The antiquity of this site is evident from the large number of chortens, similar to those at Alchi. You spend the night at Lamayuru.
Day 06: Lamayuru – Leh – 126 Km / Approx 4 hrs
Finally, you drive back to Leh in time for lunch at the hotel. The afternoon is free to explore the town on your own. Leh is very Tibetan: the national dress, ‘stove-pipe’ hats and felt boots with turned-up toes are much in evidence. The 16th century Royal Palace, which dominates the town, is very reminiscent of the Potala in Lhasa and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries, large chortens, prayer flags and mud brick houses with flat roofs have a dramatic effect on the landscape.
Day 07: Leh – over Khardung la (HT 5602 M) – Hunder (HT 4350 M) (Nubra Valley) – Approx 5 hrs
The road journey from Leh to NUBRA VALLEY passes over KHARDUNG LA (the highest motorable road in the world) at 5602 M / 18,390 Ft, around 39 km from Leh. From the Pass, one can see all the way south over the Indus valley to seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range, and north to the giants of the Saser massif. Nubra Valley is popularly known as Ldumra or the valley of flowers. It is situated in the north of Ladakh between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas. The average altitude of the valley is 10,000 Ft. above sea level. The Shayok and Saichen Rivers drain Nubra. The flat part of the river is sandy & occupied by green farms & myricaria. The villages look pretty with greenery, willow & poplar trees. Till partition Nubra Valley was one of the trade centers, the ancient famous Silk Route passed through this area.
Before proceeding to your camp at Hunder, stop to visit DISKIT MONASTERY perched on a rock overhanging next to a stream, which provides the source of energy used by mills in the area. The monastery is rich, full of thangkas, magnificent giant statues, effigies of the Buddha and old mural paintings in which can be noted a multitude of influences. It was founded by Lama Sherab Zangpo of Stod around 1420 A.D. Diskit is the main village or headquarters of Nubra Valley, which has a small market consisting of a row of shops
After your visit to the monastery and shortly after leaving Diskit you will comes across sand dunes on the right of the road. Seen in isolation you could well be amongst the sand dunes of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. It is indeed a strange sight since immediately on the left of the road are rocky mountains that characterize the Ladakh landscape and in the distance can be seen snow-capped mountains. Overnight in your camp at Hunder.
Day 08: In Nubra Valley – Bacterian Camel Safari at Hunder – Panamik – Approx 1 ½ hrs – Samstanling Gompa in Sumoor – Approx ½ hr – Hunder – Approx 1 hrs
After breakfast you will get the unique opportunity to ride on a bacterian camel (double humped) amidst the sand dunes of this high altitude desert with snow capped mountains on the horizon. Thereafter, crossing over the Shayok River you will be driving upstream long the Saichen River to Panamik. The place has a number of hot springs on the right of the road just before entering the village. Panamik is literally the end of the road for this trip, as one has to return from this spot. On the return journey you stop by to visit SAMSTANLING GOMPA founded by Lama Tsultims Nima. The Gompa has some strict rules and regulations like not allowing women in the monastery after sunset and before sunrise, no smoking etc. From here you will drive back to Hunder for dinner and an overnight stay.
Day 09: Hunder – Leh – Approx 3 hrs
After breakfast drive to Leh over Khardung La. Afternoon rest and relax or take a walk to the local market. Overnight at your hotel.
Day 10: Leh – Across Changa La (5320 M / 17,800 Ft) – Pangong Tso – Leh – 160 km one way/ 9 hrs return trip
An all encompassing trip on the BEST OF LADAKH will not be considered complete without experiencing the majestic as well as serene ambience of at least one of its three high altitude lakes. Today’s drive takes you to Pangong Tso.
You start early heading out on the Leh – Upshi road driving upstream along the Indus River. From Karu you turn left to ascend through the Sakti valley. As you drive up the amazing sight of CHEMREY GOMPA rising majestically on a hill to the left with the residences of the lamas spilling along its contours greets you. As you negotiate a number of hairpin bends climbing higher towards the pass, green cultivated fields dotted with village houses in typical Ladakhi architecture continue along the base of the valley. Finally you cross over Chang La (5320 M / 17,800 Ft), a signboard proclaims it to be the third highest motorable pass in the world.
On reaching Pangong Tso, the largest brackish water lake in Asia, an absolutely amazing and captivating sight is laid out in front of you. One third of the lake is in India while the rest two thirds of the lake is in Tibet. Most of the streams feeding the lake are on the Tibetan side.
It seems never ending. The crystal clear water of the lake, the desert sand mountains in the background, some herons swimming around, and above all, its’ absolute virginity not being disturbed by any human settlements gives it an ambience of total serenity. The turquoise blue to dark blue colour of the water depending on the sky conditions, the hazy reflection of the mountains, and the glittering of sunlight in the water of the lake is a picture of a lifetime. One can drive up to some 300 meters from the beginning of the lake. After that, there is no proper road. One of the few types of the birds that may be seen here is the Black Necked Heron, a rare species. They are usually to be seen at around the beginning of the lake.
After having thoroughly enjoyed the beauty of the lake, you drive back to Leh for an overnight stay.
Day 11: Leh-Delhi
Transfer to the airport to fly to Delhi. Tour Ends.
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How to book
The booking of this itinerary is with Asian Adventures Asian Adventures B-9, Sector-27
Noida 201301 (UP) India
phone : +91 120 4222797, +91 9266519519
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tour Code : LC-BL-1011
Website : www.asianadventures.in