Duration: 11 days
Best time: May - October
Join this exciting photography tour to Ladakh, India, what was once a kingdom in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. On this 11-day trip you will discover the very best that this remote Buddhist region can offer for the adventure travel photographer. Known as Little Tibet, Ladakh is one of the most remote areas of India. Lying to the north of the Himalayas on the Tibetan Plateau and south of K2 and the Karakorams, it has remained isolated from the outside world for centuries. Ladakh has a rich cultural and religious heritage that has changed very little.This wondrous place offers photographers stark but striking scenery, vast mountain ranges and remote valleys, centuries old monasteries perched atop rocky cliffs, ancient forts, high-altitude turquoise lakes on the Tibetan plateau, rare birdlife, nomadic settlements and traditional villages.This is a unique and special photographic journey, carefully planned so that you can explore the very best of this enchanting and memorable land. As well as photographing the scenery, you will have the chance to meet local people from all walks of life, including monks, farmers and shopkeepers. The hospitality of the local people whose homes we visit is unsurpassed, and you can also observe their annual harvest rituals, for a rare insight into an unchanged way of life and culture. This expedition is a full-on adventure! Beginning in Delhi, we will spend 11 nights in mostly family-run hotels in Ladakh, eating local produce and contributing to the local community. We will also spend three nights in tented accommodation (with an attached bathroom) by the stunning TsoMoriri Lake, home of the Changpa nomads. We will also cross two of the world’s highest road passes and spend one night in a local village homestay. We have a strong relationship with the Changpa Nomads, and we are involved in various projects that aim to enhance their health and well-being. Photographic subjects include the Changpa Nomads, Lamayuru and Thiksey monasteries, the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas, Basgo Fort, Bactrian camels, sand dune landscapes and the Nubra Valley, known as the valley of flowers. You will be accompanied at all times by a local and very knowledgeable Ladakhi Guide, as well as a professional photographic tutor and our guide/coordinator. All transport and all meals in Ladakh are included.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: ARRIVE LEH. Our representative will assist you at the Airport on arrival with a vehicle waiting to transfer you to your hotel and assist with the check-in at the hotel. Today the full day is for rest and leisure to acclimatize to the higher altitude. Over night at (hotel)
DAY 2: ALCHI, LIKIR AND LAMAYURU – LEH. After breakfast you will drive to Likir and visit Likir gompa situated atop a windy cliff overlooking the beautiful village of Likir. It was founded in the 12th century although the present construction dates back to the 18th century as the original one was destroyed by fire. In the monastery courtyard is a yellow-colored 3 storey high mammoth statue of the Lord Buddha, which was constructed by a resident monk. The top floor has an impressive museum containing old thangkas and weapons used centuries ago.Then you will drive further and cross the River Indus and reach Alchi, Ladakh's most beloved monastery. Around a thousand years old, the wall paintings are very similar to those of the Tabo gompa in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Unlike other monasteries which are usually on a cliff top or cling to a mountainside, Alchi is at ground level and is nestled in the shade of a garden. Afterwards you will travel to Lamayuru monastery, founded by Rinchen Zangpo in the 10th century. This gompa is located amidst the massive mountains. The spectacular setting of this gompa and its renowned collection of carpets, thangkas and frescoes has been attracting many people over a long time. It is believed to be the oldest monastery in central Ladakh. Overnight at (hotel)
DAY 3: LAMAYURU - RIZONG - LEH . Today, in the morning, you will drive to Rizong (or Rhizong) gompa, which is a Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Buddhist monastery, also called the Yuma Changchubling. It is situated at the top of a rocky side valley on the north side of the Indus, to the west of Alchi on the way to Lamayuru. It was established in 1831 by Lama Tsultim Nima under the Gelukpa order, at Ri-rdzong. There are currently 40 monks residing in the monastery. The monastery is also called "a paradise for meditation" and is noted for its extremely strict rules and standards. The nunnery, located about 2 km from the monastery, is called the "Jelichun Nunnery" or Chulichan (Chomoling), where, at present, 20 nuns reside. It is also believed that long ago Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the caves around Rizong years before the monasteries were built. It is also related that in the small caves in the vicinity, Lamas used to meditate for years in isolation from the rest of the villagers. They subsisted on one meal a day, which was provided to them by local people through a 1 foot (0.30 m) square window opening in the cave. Overnight at (hotel).
DAY 4-6 TSOMORIRI & KORZOK GUSTOR FESTIVAL. On Day four you set off for Tsomoriri Lake. On the way you will visit Thiksey Monastery to witness the monks doing morning Puja. You will then travel through the remote Rupshu valley well off the tourist trail. Here you will see the Korzok Gustor Festival where mystic dances are performed by the Lamas. You are allowed two whole days here to make sure you cover the best events of the festival. You also have the chance to explore a high altitude lake, our friends the Changpa nomads and the spectacular surrounding landscapes. You will stay at a lakeside (Camp).
DAY 7: RETURN TO LEH. Return to Leh through Mahe and the Indus Valley. Overnight at (hotel).
DAY 8: NUBRA VALLEY (HUNDER). Leaving Leh early in the morning you will set off for the Nubra Valley crossing the high mountain pass of Khardung La. The Nubra valley is often known as the valley of flowers. You will stay in the pretty village of Hunder close to Diskit Monastery. Photographic attractions include sand dunes, Bactrian Camels, fine landscapes, village and monastery life. Overnight at Nubra (hotel).
DAY 9: TURTUK. On this day you will visit Turtuk, a village in the Leh district of Jammu and Kashmir. It is located in the Nubra tehsil, 205 km from the Leh town. It was only recently opened to tourists in 2009. The village offers views of a beautiful valley, in part of the Shyok Valley. Though a Muslim village, there are a few gompas located on the plateau above the Shyok River. There is also an old royal house to see in the village. Turtuk is one of the few places in India where one can witness Balti culture. One can find a few homestays and guest houses in the village. It is the last major village where tourist activity is allowed before the Line of Control. Overnight at (hotel).
DAY 10: RETUN TO LEH. After sunrise and breakfast you will return to Leh for a relaxing day. In the evening you will have a final celebratory meal and a visual presentation by the guests and guides. Overnight at (hotel).
DAY 11: FLY BACK. Some places in the world are dream destinations. One such place is Ladakh. When you leave Ladakh you will bring many memories with you so that when you look back you will definitely cherish the moments you have spent here in Ladakh.
LAND COST: on request
- Hotel accommodation with breakfast and dinner
- All monastery entrance fees, wild life fees.
- English-speaking guide.
- All transportation.
- Innner line permit
- Medical and evacuation insurance
- Miscellaneous expenses and tips for the staff
- Alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and food.
- International/Domestic Air ticket to and from Delhi, and air ticket to Leh.
- Laundry and other services not mentioned in the package.
- Trip cancellation, travel delay or baggage loss insurance.
- Charges incurred as a result of delays, natural calamities beyond the control of Yama Adventures.
CANCELLATION: 20% cancellation fee will be applied if cancelled 60 days prior to departure. Cancellation in less than 60 days is non-refundable.
© Yama Adventures, 2019.