Duration: 6 days
Best time: Follow the Tibetan Calendar
Inbetween the Himalayan ranges of the Karakorum and the Tibetan Plateau lies the high-altitude desert of Ladakh, or 'LittleTibet'. Previously a major stopping point on the caravan route through Asia, this Buddhist land is more culturally akin to Tibet than the lowlands further south. The beautiful, multi-colored desert landscapes are arid and dotted with small villages inhabited by rugged-looking people of Tibetan heritage. Located in a valley just north of the Indus River is Leh, the capital of Ladakh. The centuries-old culture of this picturesque capital city finds expression in its monuments, monasteries, oral literature, art forms, fairs, and festivals. Leh town is a fascinating city surrounded by high snow-capped peaks, lush valleys, verdant farmland, sprawling monasteries, ancient palaces and countless alluring attractions that appeal to visitors worldwide. Be part of the region's unique rituals - enjoy the ancient sport of polo, brought to Ladakh in the 17th century by the royal family. Try your hand at archery in this most dramatic and breath-taking landscape. Go rafting on the gentle Indus River, stop for a picnic lunch at one of many picturesque hamlets. Experience Ladakh, which is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. A land of varying landscapes, from white deserts to blue lakes, ice-capped mountains to lush valleys await you. Ladakh, like a dream captured in a snow globe, is a wildly beautiful milieu set between the Kunlun Mountains and the Himalayas.
DAY BY DAY ITINERARY
DAY 1: ARRIVAL ON THE TOP OF THE WORLD: “ LADAKH ” . On your arrival at this beautiful place, dotted with stupas and crumbling mud brick houses, you will see the Old Town dominated by a jagged rocky ridge. Leh is a place that’s all too easy to fall in love with – but take things easy on arrival as the altitude requires a few days acclimatization before you can safely start enjoying the adventure activities. Overnight in Leh (hotel).
DAY 2: INDUS VALLEY TOUR: STAKNA, MATHO AND STOK MONASTERIES.
STAKNA: Stakna means ‘tiger's nose’ and this picturesque monastery on the left bank of the Indus River lies about 25 km from Leh. The Monastery was founded around 1580 AD as one of the many religious estates offered by Jam Yang Namgyal to Chosje Jamyang Palkar, the great scholar saint of Bhutan. Stakna belongs to the Drukpa sect and has a number of monasteries attached to it.
MATHO: The monastery was founded by Lama Dugpa Dorje in the 16th century and is the only monastery in Ladakh belonging to the Saskya order of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located approximately 26 km to the southeast of Leh. The monastery houses a rich collection of 400 year old Thankas; has an interesting museum; and a number of sacred shrines nearly.
STOK: It is situated about 15 km south of Leh. Dating back to the 14th century, it was founded by Lama Lhawang Lotus. Stok's 19th century palace is the current residence of the former royal family of Ladakh. Within the palace, a museum contains the shrine, crown, ceremonial dress and jewelry of the Ladakhi king. Stok Kangri (6,153 metres 20,187 ft) sits at the head of the Stok Chu river valley and is the highest mountain near Leh. Overnight in Leh (hotel)./p>
DAY 3: ATTEND PHYANG TSESDUP. Phyang Tsesdup takes place in July/August. Like other monasteries, monks wearing colorful. brocade robes and masks in the form of different gods and goddesses perform mask dances. The huge thangka of Skyoba Giksten Gonbo is hung in the courtyard during the festival. Overnight in Leh (hotel).
DAY 4: EXPERIENCE THE TWO PATHS TO NIRVANA: VISIT THIKSEY AND HEMIS MONASTERIES. Today is an early morning start with tea/coffee followed by a visit to the Thiksey monastery. This beautiful monastery houses a two - story statue of the Maitreya Buddha seated on a lotus, and boasts a spectacular view of the Leh valley. At the monastery, you will have the privilege of participating in the Buddhist morning prayer ceremony at sunrise. Continue on a guided tour of the monastery, visiting the beautiful prayer room which has many handwritten and painted books, as well as the temple dedicated to the goddess Tara, with her 21 images placed in glass-covered case shelves. You will also see small shrines devoted to the guardian divinities, including Cham-Sing, the protector deity of Thiksey. The rest of the morning is free, allowing you time to relax and take in the pristine beauty around you. After lunch, proceed to the jewel in the crown of the Drukpa lineage: Hemis Monastery. This is the biggest monastic institution of Ladakh, situated about 23 kilometers (45 mins) from Thiksey. Built in a secluded valley, the monastery belongs to the Drukpa School, or the Dragon Order, of Tibetan Buddhism. Explore the many interesting facets of this institution, established under the patronage of King Senge Namygal in the 17th century, where young lamas are taught literature, history, philosophy, yoga and tantra. The monastery halls are adorned with beautiful statues and murals. Overnight in Leh (hotel).
DAY 5: EXPLORE THE CITY. Stroll through the main market pedestrian precinct. Explore some of the traditional shops in the lanes behind the Main Market. You can visit the Central Asian Museum. Walk through the Old Town and follow the path uphill to the Old Palace. If you have enough energy, continue up to Tsemo Gompa – the views of Leh are spectacular. Take a long walk down Fort Road and visit the Zorawar Fort and Museum. After that you can also visit the Peace Stupa on the hill northwest of Leh. And later to the Spitok Monastery and village. Overnight in Leh (hotel).
DAY 6: A FINAL GOODBYE TO “LADAKH” THE LAND OF LAMAS . You will have an early morning transfer to the airport to catch a flight for Delhi with sweet memories and love of Ladakh..
LAND COST: on request
- All accommodations with breakfast and dinner
- All monastery entrance fees, wild life fees.
- Hindi/English-speaking guide.
- All transportation.
- Innner line permit
- Oxygen cylinder in car
- 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.