FACES OF LADAKH
starts with arrival into Delhi, India's sprawling capital
city. We spend a full day visiting old and New Delhi. Old
Delhi was the capital of Mughal India and New Delhi was built
much later as the imperial capital of India by the British.
The next day we fly into Ladakh also known as the last `Shangri
la'. Although a part of India there are no similarities between
the land and the people of Ladakh from the rest of India.
The facial features and physique of the Ladakhis and the clothes
they wear are more akin to those of Tibet and Central Asia.
The original population is from an Indo-Aryan race from down
the Indus, but immigration from Tibet and marriages between
Muslim traders and local Ladakhi women have resulted in inhabitants
being of mixed origin. Thereby allowing it to evolve and inherit
a rich mix of cultures which survives even today as a living
heritage of the Western Himalayas. Ladakh, a high-altitude
desert, lying in the rain shadow of the great Himalayas depends
on the winter snowfall for its water supply. Although nowadays
with changing climatic conditions they do have some rainfall
01: Arrive Delhi.
Arrive Delhi & transfer to your hotel.
After breakfast a full day tour of Old and New Delhi discovering
it's ancient rich past reflected in its many old forts and
monuments scattered all over this historic city. Drive through
the well planned newer quarters which house the presidential
palace, the parliament building and other rambling remnants
from the British Raaj.
Delhi - Leh Flight
Transfer to the domestic airport to connect early morning
flight for Leh. Upon arrival transfer to Hotel. Leh the capital
city of Ladakh since the 17th century was at one time a flourishing
market town on the silk route to China. As Leh(Ladakh) is
located at an altitude of 3500 metres the rest of the day
is free for rest and acclimatization.
Visit Shanti stupa and Leh palace. Lunch out in one of the
garden cafes in town. In the afternoon visit the Stok palace,
given to the deposed royal family as compensation for the
loss of its throne. The palace houses a museum of artifacts
associated with the dynasty. Later, if you are interested
you may visit a traditional Ladakhi home sharing tea in their
well appointed family kitchen.
Leh - Lamayuru - Alchi
Leave early morning for Lamayuru visiting Ladakh's oldest
monastery. After lunch drive back to Khalatse crossing the
bridge over the Indus river and make a detour to visit the
Drokpa village of Bema, home of the unique tribe of Indo-Aryan
origin that has preserved not only its racial purity, but
also its language, religious practices and cultural traditions.
Overnight in a lodge in Alchi
Alchi - Leh
Visit the 11th century Alchi monastery famed for its religious
wall frescoes. Continue along the Leh highway stopping en
route to visit the Likir monastery situated on a hilltop.
On the way also visit Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, revered both
by the Sikhs as well as by Buddhists alike. Further on visit
Phyang monastery before driving back to Leh(Ladakh).
Day 07: Leh
In the morning visit the Spituk Monastery located about 8kms
south west of Leh(Ladakh) perched on a small hillock and overlooking
the Indus river. The most interesting aspect of Spituk, unique
in all of Ladakh is the chapel of Tara with superbly crafted
images of her 21 manifestations. Return in time for lunch.
Afternoon is free. Overnight at hotel
Day 08: Leh - Nubra Valley
Early morning leave for Nubra valley crossing Khardong-la
pass (5605m), the highest motorable pass in the world. Enjoy
panoramic views of the Indus valley and Zanskar mountains
from the pass. Visit Sumur village and the picturesque Samstaling
monastery. Overnight in a camp near Tegar village.
Nubra Valley - Leh
After breakfast drive to Deskit, the main village of Nubra
valley. Visit the monastery that is located high up on the
mountain face. Optionally, you may take a camel safari on
the back of the double-humped Bactrian camels to Hundar (at
extra cost and subject to prior booking only). Drive back
to Leh (Ladakh). Overnight at your hotel
Day 10: Leh - Pangong Lake
Leave Leh(Ladakh) after breakfast and drive over the Chang-la
pass (5297m), visiting Tak-Thok the only Nyingmapa monastery
of Ladakh en route. Drive on to Pangong Tso lake. Stop by
this beautiful lake for a picnic lunch. Drive about 40kms
to Tangtse a small village with a few shops and lodges. There
is also an old gompa with inscriptions 1000 yrs old. Camp
here for the night or stay in a local lodge.
Day 11: Pangong Lake - Leh
Leave Tangtse after breakfast driving back over the Chang-la
pass, then take the diversion from Karu village to the well
known Hemis monastery. This monastery belongs to the Brokpa
order and is from the 17th century. The gompa has well preserved
frescoes sharing the Kashmiri influence, a three storey statue
of Padmasambhava and the largest thangka in Ladakh over 12m
long. En route to Leh visit Thiksey monastery which has excellent
artwork and great views of the valley and village. This Gelugpa
gompa houses the two storey Maitreya Buddha in a separate
temple. Visit also the Shey palace the former summer palace
of the kings of Ladakh. The 12m Sakyamuni Buddha's statue
made of gold plated copper is the largest in the region. Overnight
Fullday at leisure in Leh(Ladakh) exploring its bazaars, visiting
various handicraft showrooms, catching up on last-minute shopping
etc; Lunch in one of the town's garden cafes. Evening, farewell
dinner and overnight.
Day 13: Leh - Delhi flight
Transfer to Leh(Ladakh) airport in the morning to connect
flight to Delhi. Upon arrival transfer to your Hotel. Rest
of day free.
Day 14: Delhi
Full day at leisure in Delhi to explore or go on a shopping
Day 15: Departure Transfer Transfer to the
airport to connect outbound flight.