8 DAYS/7 NIGHTS JOURNEY THROUGH THE HIMALAYAS
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Day 1 – Delhi/Leh-Thiksey
Early in the morning you shall be transferred to the domestic airport for your trans-Himalayan flight to Leh; assistance on arrival and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the morning is free to get acclimatized and take in the mystical ambience of the place. Lie down in bed and rest so that your body can get accustomed to the altitude and thin oxygen in the air. Remember – Leh is at a height of 11,000 feet or 3505 metres! After a leisurely lunch, your guide will accompany you to explore the ancient town of Leh.
Day 2 – Thiksey-Shey-Hemis-Thiksey
Early breakfast precedes a full day’s sightseeing tour of the famous Buddhist monasteries – “Shey (Former summer palace of the king of Ladakh), Thiskey (Located on a hilltop with formidable views of the valley) & Hemis ” – known to be treasure houses of Buddhist art & culture. Initially we visit “Shey and Thiksey Monasteries and later proceed to Hemis. Hemis, is the biggest and the wealthiest monastery in Ladakh. Its popularity stems from the major annual festival held here in summer (month of June). The festival is in honour of Guru Padma Sambhava’s birth anniversary. It has the largest Thanka in Ladakh, which is unfurled every 12 years. Hemis was built in 1630 during the reign of King Sennge Namgyal, an illustrious ruler of Ladakh.It flourished under the Drugkpa sect, which managed the monastery. The monastery itself is divided into two sections with the assembly hall on the right and the main temple on the left. The hall or the Dukhang is also used as a green room by dancers during the Hemis festival. The verandas of the monastery have a surfeit of frescoes, among them the Buddhist wheel of life, The Lord of four quarters, are prominent. Packed lunch will be provided for the excursion. Dinner and Overnight at the hotel.
Day 3 – Thiksey-Lamayuru-Alchi-Thiksey
After breakfast, we start our drive to “Lamayuru”, 124 kms away, on the road that leads to Kargil. Arrive at Lamayuru and visit the spectacularly picturesque monastery, believed to be the oldest in Ladakh. It was a Bon shrine prior to the advent of Buddhism. Also known as Yung Drung (Swastika), it is sited on a high promontory overlooking the village and the valley. For sheer spectacle value no other Gompa can match Lamayuru. Also explore the Lamayuru Village. Packed Lunch will be provided for the excursion.
Afterwards drive back on the road and head towards – Alchi Monastery” – 70 Kms west of Leh, south of the village of Saspol. Alchi – The temple complex founded in the 11th century (thousand years back), is regarded as one of the most important Buddhist religious centres in Ladakh and a jewel of monastic skill. One its walls feature thousands of miniature-sized pictures of Lord Buddha. Three large sized images made of clay and painted brightly are its focal attraction. The flood plain in the village is very fertile and you see a lot of vegetation, unlike many other parts in Ladakh, which are barren. You shall have the opportunity to witness villagers using primitive methods to grind or winnow the wheat along the roadside.
Day 4 – Thiksey-Diskit (Nubra)
Today get ready to visit the spectacular Nubra valley
The name Nubra valley is applied to the district comprising the valley of the Nubra river, and that of the Syok river, both above and below their confluence, where they meander in many shifting channels over a broad sandy plain before flowing off to the north-west to join the Indus in Baltistan.The Shyok and Nubra River originate from the Siachen glacier, which is the largest glacier outside the Antarctic continent. The caravans of the famous “Silk Route”, used to pass through this valley towards Kasjgar, Yarkand and Sinkiang with trade items like Silk, wool, Pashmina, pearls etc.This valleys natural splendour, its picturesque beauty, the simplicity of its people, their lifestyle, provides an unforgettable experience to the travellers. This valley is a paradise for mountain lovers with the famous Saser Kangri (7,672 metres), Saser-I (7.415 metres), Saser-II (7513 metres), Saser-III (7495 metres) and many other peaks ranging from 5,486 metres to 7.924 metres. Here you also see the Bactrian camels, shaggy double-humped animals, which in the old days, were used as pack animals on the central Asian trade routes. Today they are bred for transport purposes and visitors can even take a camel ride or a safari from a place called Hundar.
In the morning drive from Thiksey to Nubra, via the “Khardung La Pass”, which at 5660 metres is the highest road in the world open to traffic. Snow remains throughout the year on top of the pass. The road then passes through a bridge laid on glaciers, which finds its place in the Guinness book of records for being the highest in the world, laid on glacier. The view from the pass is amazing. One can see all the way south over the Indus valley to the endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range and north to the giants of the Saser massif. From Khardung we descend to the village of Khardung and drive via the starkly beautiful countryside to Khalsar where the permits are checked. From here we turn left from the Shyok river and drive on a narrow steep road to Deskit. On arrival, check-in at camps with dinner and overnight at the camp.
Day 5 – Diskit (Nubra)
After early breakfast walk up to the “Deskit Monastery” to witness the Morning Prayer ceremony. It takes about 45 minutes to reach the monastery. The 515-year-old monastery, lies magnificently on the top of the hill, facing the valley. There is a breathtaking view available from the top. Return to the camps for Lunch. After Lunch, visit the “Hunder Gompa”, which belongs to the yellow hat sect. Set amidst a cluster of Chortens, this monastery houses a huge impressive statue of Chambha in the main prayer hall; dinner & overnight at the Camp.
Day 6 – Diskit-Kyagar/Panamic-Diskit
After an early breakfast drive towards Shyok river. Cross the river over a bridge and reach the village of Tirith. Although the road from here is quite tough all the way to Panamik, the scenery is spectacular, with the snow capped Karakoram ranges in the background. Visit the 150-year-old “Samstanling Monastery” – one of the largest monasteries of Nubra. It is a big complex of 7 temples including the Rimpoches room. Also walk half an hour from here to the Tegar Village, where there is another small Gompa. Walk through the village and explore the surroundings. A small lake also lies there.
Day 7 – Diksit-Leh
Drive back to Leh today via Khardungla Pass (172 kms) with packed lunch for enroute; on arrival check in at Hotel Shambha-La or similar; dinner & overnight.
Day 8 – Leh/Delhi
Transfer to the airport in time for flight to Delhi; assistance on arrival and transfer to your hotel. The rest of the day is free and room available till departure; late night transfer to the airport.