Ladakh Cultural Tour
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- Trip duration : 16 days
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Time less land’ and ‘the last Sangri- la’ are names which have been applied to Ladakh,both with a degree of truth. Ladakh is a high- altitude plateau North of the Himalayas situated geographically in Tibet. It’s a miniature version of Tibet, the people are Tibetan in their culture and religion, and there are many Tibetan refugees living there
The Himalayas are a very effective barrier to rain – few clouds creep across their awesome height and as a result Ladakh is barren beyond belief. Only where rivers, running from faraway glaciers or melting snow, carry water to habitation do you find plant life – hence the moonland label, Ladakh is as dry as the Sahara.
Ladakh could well be a last Shangri-la, in the mid-70s Ladakh was opened to outside visitors. Its strategic isolation is matched by its physical isolation – only from June to September are the roads into Ladakh from Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh not covered by snow although nowadays there are airline flights into Ladakh. The flight is one of the most spectacular in the world.
Ladakh is well worth the effort involved in getting there. It’s an otherworldly place – strange Gompas perched on soaring hilltops, ancient buildings clinging to sheer rock walls, and shattered – looking Landscapes splashed with small but brilliant patches of green. But most of all there are the delightful Ladakhis, friendly as only Tibetan people can be and immensely colorful.
At Kargil, on the Srinagar to Leh road, the Islamic influence diminishes and the region becomes predominantly Buddhist. The people follow Tibetan Tantric Buddhism which places much emphasis on magic and demons. All around Ladakh are Gompas, the Buddhist monasteries which are always fascinating to visit.
Permits: Three regions of Ladakh were opened to foreigners in 1994. They are: the Dahanu area, North of the Kargil to Leh road at Kahlsi; the Nubra Valley; and Pangong Tso ( Lake Pangong). For all of these places you have to be officially part of the group of four people with permits are issued at the police station in Leh.
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi
On arrival at Delhi airport, you will be met by our representative or me myself, who will help you to transfer to your hotel. Check into your hotel and relax. Stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 2: Fly Delhi - Leh (3445mtrs)
Early morning transfer to the airport to board the flight to Leh. You will be received on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Rest and acclimatize yourself to the altitude and thin air of Ladakh. In the evening, we gather for dinner and are introduced to the tour guide.
Day 3: Leh - Half day tour
After breakfast, leave for a tour of Leh and see its ancient monuments and Buddhist sites. After lunch at your hotel we leave for a tour of the Shanti Stupa, Built by Japanese Buddhists this Peace Pagoda is a beautiful structure with gilt panels on its sides that display episodes from the life of Buddha. It was inaugurated in 1983 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. We then drive to the Sankar Monastery that is surrounded by forests and barley fields that rise in terraces along the hillside. Within the monastery you can see beautiful Thanka paintings and statuettes of Buddha made of gold. Return to your hotel to stay overnight.
Day 4: Leh -Hemis - Thiksey - Shey
After breakfast we leave for a tour of the Hemis Gompa. This monastery is the best known in Ladakh. Around the monastery you will see Chortens or Buddhist reliquaries and ornate walls. After seeing the sights of the monastery we leave for the Thiksey Monastery. This is situated on a mountain from where you can see panoramic views of the Indus Valley. Within the monastery you can see many beautiful Buddhist artifacts. We then leave for the Shey Palace, which was the summer palace of the royal family of Ladakh. Return to your hotel to stay overnight.
Day 5: Leh - Alchi
India Ladhak Tour After breakfast, we leave for Alchi. Located 70 kms west of Leh, is the Uletokpo camp where we arrive rest, have lunch and then leave for a tour of Alchi monastery and the nearby village. Considered one of the most well preserved Buddhist centers of Ladakh, the Alchi monastery has beautiful paintings on its walls, which are examples of early Buddhist art. In Alchi village you can see the rural lifestyle of the villagers including activities such as grinding wheat etc. Stay overnight at the camp.
Day 6: Alchi - Lamayuru - Alchi
After breakfast we drive to Lamayuru, where we tour the Lamayuru monastery. Also called the Yung-drung (Swastika) monastery, Lamayuru is one of the oldest monasteries in Central Ladakh. Enjoy a picnic lunch at Lamayuru village and explore its surroundings in the afternoon. Return to the camp in the evening to stay overnight.
Day 7: Ridzong and Likir Monasteries
India Ladhak Tour After an early snack we leave for the Ridzong Monastery. The last kilometer of this journey is on foot, due to the steep hill. Ridzong is a nunnery, where Buddhist nuns reside. Tour the monastery and then return to the camp for breakfast. Later we leave for Leh. On the way we stop to the Likir Monastery built in the 15th century by monks of the Gelupa (Yellow Hat) Sect. Later we resume our drive along the Indus River. Arrive at the hotel in time for a late lunch. Relax in the afternoon and evening and stay overnight in the hotel Leh.
Day 8: Leh - Stok - Tibetan Handicraft
After breakfast we leave for the Stok Palace, where the royal family of Ladakh used to live. In the museum at the palace you can see family heirlooms and artifacts from royal times. We then tour the Ladakh Handicraft Center. Here you can buy beautiful handmade products and craft items. We than travel to Choglamsar, where you can see a Tibetan settlement. There are many Tibetans residing in Ladakh. Return to your hotel to stay overnight Leh.
Day 9: Leh - Keylong
India Ladhak Tour Early morning departure in Lahul. A trip to one of mountainous roads and krasivyshih the world through three pervala Taglang La (5328), Lachlung La (5060m) Baralacha La (4950). Overnight stay at hotel in Keylong.
DAY 10: Keylong - Kaza (200 kms / 10 -11 hrs)
After breakfast drive to Kaza (200 kms / 10 -11 hrs) over the Kunzam Pass (4558 m) enroute visiting villages like Losar, Hal and Rangrik. On arrival check in at hotel or guest house. Overnight at guest house.
DAY 11: In KAZA and visit KI & KIBBAR Monastery.
DAY 12: Kaza in KAZA and visit DANKAR & TABU Monastery.
Day for monasteries : Morning visit the Ki monastery, 12 kms from Kaza. This centuries – old gompa is a labyrinth of rooms and corridors – and at one time also acted as a fort. It houses valuable Thangkas and offers a panoramic view of the area. Also visit the small gompa at Kibber, 9 kms further ahead. Kibber at 4205 m altitude has the distinction of being one of the highest permanently inhabited village of the region. Overnight in tents at Kaza.
PM Kaza > Tabo > Kaza (48 kms one way)
The Ajanta of the Himalayas : After breakfast leave for an excursion to Tabo visiting Tabo Monastery. Founded in 996 AD by the great teacher Richensang-po, Tabo is known for its awesome murals and stucco images – and is thus called “The Ajanta of the Himalayas”. abo monastery is the largest monastic complex in Spiti embracing in its complex 9 temples, 23 chortens besides chambers for monks and nuns. There are several caves adorned with frescoes and contemporary structures too. In trans Himalayan Buddhism, Tabo’s sanctity is next only to Tibet’s Tholing gompa. Later drive back to Kaza enroute visiting Dhankar Monastery. Overnight at hotel in Kaza.
India Ladhak Tour DAY 13: Kaza - Manali Free day in Manali.
Day 14: Manali - SOLANSolan ( Menri Monastery, Solan )
After breakfast at hotel/guest house drive to Solan. On arrival transfer to Menri Monastery for an overnight stay or Hotel/Guest House. AM Yoga/ Meditation at Monastery. NIGHT IN SOLAN.
Day 15: SOLAN to Delhi
Take toy train to KALKA and change to fast train to Delhi - Arrive Delhi and transfer to hotel.
Day 16: Final departure to next destination