This trip includes excursions to famous Buddhist shrines like Thiksey, Hemis, Shey, Alchi and Lamayuru. Nubra Valley, Khardung La and Leh Mosque are other wonderful places that you will visit. Take back memories for a lifetime with a visit to the mesmerising Pangong Lake, which marks a wonderful end to your sojourn.
Day 1 ARRIVE LEH (3500/ 1550FT) – BY FLIGHT
Once you arrive at Leh airport, you will get an assisted & transfer to hotel. You would take a little time to settle in and acclimatize since you have gone from a relatively low elevation in New Delhi to over 11,000 feet! During the afternoon, you can walk through the old town, beneath the Leh Palace, to allow you to get oriented to this fascinating city.
Evening visit to Shanti Stupa to witness the Sunset. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 2 IN LEH – THIKSEY (HT 3230 M) – HEMIS GOMPA (HT 3450 M) – EAST INDUS VALLEY SIGHTSEEING
In the morning after having breakfast, drive to THIKSE MONASTERY, which is one of the most vibrant and active monasteries in the region. It dates back to the 16th century and is part of the Gelug-pa Sect. It is headed by successive reincarnations of the Khanpo Rimpoche. The monastery is 12 storied and painted in deep shades of red, ochre and white. It has evolved around a central courtyard with buildings surrounding it from three sides. At one extreme lies the main dukhang, which houses numerous racks containing religious texts. Behind the main alter lies a small chamber that contains images of revered deities.
Continue your drive on a well mettled broad road traveling upstream along the Indus River to HEMIS GOMPA, crossing over the Indus at the village of Karu. The most famous of Ladakh’s monasteries, Hemis or Changchub Samstanling (The love palace of the compassionate person), dates back to the 17th century and was built over a period of 40 years (1602 – 1642 A.D.). Today Hemis is well known for its festival or Hemis Tsechu commemorating the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava. In the year of the Monkey (every 12 years) a giant thangka depicting Guru Padmasambhava is unfurled from the terrace draping the five-storey facade. Delicately wrought in pearls and appliqué, it is one of the most famous art treasures of Ladakh. The central courtyard forms the focus for the masked dances held every year in summer. In the dukhang, remnants of the original 17th century murals can be seen. The gompa boasts of an excellent library, well preserved frescoes and murals, silver gilt chortens and a Kashmiri lacquered wooden throne. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 3 LEH – LAMAYURU (3,460 M / 11,418 FT) - BY SURFACE / APPROX 4 HRS
Today you drive to Lamayuru, arriving there by mid-day. On arrival you check in to your hotel. In the afternoon you visit the 11th century Lamayuru Monastery, which is spectacularly located along the valley plain and surrounded by mountains on all sides. According to legend, the arhat Madhyantika, a disciple of Buddha offered “torma’ (sacred food) and water to the spirits inhabiting the site to satisfy them. A handful of rain spilled on the soil which caused barley plants to sprout in the shape of Yung-drung (swastika), hence its name Yung-Drung. The great yogi Naropa meditated in a cave, which today forms part of the monastery. The monastery has gradually expanded over the years and newer structures have been built around a large courtyard. The antiquity of this site is evident from the large number of chortens, similar to those at Alchi. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 4 LAMAYURU – TINGMOSGANG – BY SURFACE / APPROX 2 ½ HRS – ALCHI – BY SURFACE / APPROX 1 HR
From Lamayuru you drive to the picturesque village of Tingmosgang. Tingmosgang served as one of the capitals of Ladakh in the 15th century. Though most of the castle is in ruins, three temples remain and continue to be in use. This is considered to be the richest valley in Ladakh with apricots, apples, nuts and beautiful houses. Arriving there by lunchtime you will enjoy the hospitality of the locals in a typical Ladakhi home. After lunch take a walk around the village interacting with the locals & enjoy a village experience. From Tingmosgang you proceed to Alchi for your overnight stay in a hotel
Day 5 ALCHI – LEH – BY SURFACE / APPROX 70 KM / APPROX 2 HRS
In the morning you visit Alchi Monastery. The complex of temples located within the village is the most celebrated of Ladakh’s monasteries and dates back to the 11th century. The complex consists of a group of five temples as well as a number of chortens scattered around the complex. The Dukhang and the three-tiered Sumstek are the most significant. It is the seat of the Ngri Rimpoche, an incarnation at present embodied in the younger brother of the Dalai Lama. Alchi Gompa is the only monastery, built on flat ground. It is very famous for its paintings and architecture, which has an Indian and Kashmiri influence in them. After your visit you return to Leh.
Day 6 LEH - OVER KHARDUNG LA (HT 5602 M) - HUNDER (HT 4350 M) (NUBRA VALLEY) – BY SURFACE - 126 KMS / APPROX 5 HRS
The road journey from Leh to NUBRA VALLEY passes over KHARDUNG LA (the highest motor able road in the world) at 5602 M / 18,390 Ft, around 39 km from Leh. From the pass, one can see all the way south over the Indus valley to seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range, and north to the giants of the Saser massif. Nubra Valley is popularly known as Ldumra or the valley of flowers.
Seen in isolation you could well be amongst the sand dunes of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan. It is indeed a strange sight since immediately on the left of the road are Rocky Mountains that characterize the Ladakhi landscape and in the distance can be seen snow-capped mountains. Stay overnight in Camp.
Day 7 HUNDER – LEH - BY SURFACE - 210 KMS / APPROX 7 HRS)
In the morning after having breakfast, Afternoon rest and relax or take a walk to the local market. Stay overnight at Hotel.
Day 8 LEH - TSO MORIRI – KORZOK (15,075 Ft) – BY SURFACE – APPROX 7 – 8 HRS
Tso in the Ladakhi language means a Lake. Tso Moriri is one of the most exciting places in Ladakh; some rate it better than Pangong Tso. A visit to Ladakh is incomplete without visiting Tso Moriri. It is a brackish water lake about 28 km long and 8 km wide at an altitude of 15,000 Ft above sea level. The complete area is considered as a protected wildlife sanctuary and special permits are required for the visit.
Tso Moriri or “Mountain Lake” is situated in the middle of the elevated valley of Rupshu surrounded by snow-capped peaks. This valley is inhabited by a small-scattered population of “Changpas” who are nomadic shepherds who also engage in trade and work in Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti. The area is rich in wildlife including the “Kyang” (wild ass), red fox, black necked crane and geese. Stay overnight at Camp
Day 9 IN KORZOK
Today you spend the day exploring Korzok. The village of Korzok is besides the lake. It is the Nomad Headquarters. A large meditation centre has also come up besides the lake a little ahead of the village. One can visit the ancient Korzok Monastery or take the opportunity to catch hold of some nomadic tribesmen to get a glimpse of their lifestyle. The true beauty of the region lies in its vast untamed space, wildlife & nomadic inhabitants. Brackish Tsomoriri lake is surrounded by snow-topped barren mountains. This unique habitat attracts many migratory water birds including brahminy kite and black-neck cranes and the rare bar headed geese. Hike along the lake. Stay overnight at camp.
Day 10 TSO MORIRI – TSO KAR (4485 M) - 55 KM / APPROX 2 ½ HRS
Rise early in the morning to capture some unforgettable snaps of the deep blue waters of the lake against the backdrop of Rocky Mountains of unimaginable hues.
Afternoon you continue your journey to TSO KAR. You will be retracing your path till Puga Sumdoo from where you turn left. What catches your eye is that the large basin of the valley that you would be traveling through is absolutely white with salt deposits. About 4 km from Puga Sumdoo you suddenly start experiencing a very strong smell of sulphur. Immediately on the right of the road you will find large amounts of sulphur deposits with yellow rocks and the heat being generated by these sulphur springs is clearly discernable. An hours’ drive brings you to Polo Kongka Pass (4920 M). This is a long and wide pass and gives you the feeling of driving on a tabletop. The descent takes you through a deserted nomad village, whose houses now only have half-standing walls.
On getting to the bottom of this descent you get your first glimpse of Tso Kar also called “White Lake” because of the salt deposits around it. It is a small lake with the backdrop formed by a chain of snow peaked mountains. The waters are deep blue in colour and the mountains, like the rest of the Ladakhi landscape are of varying shades of brown and purple with snow-capped peaks. The banks are covered with salt deposits. The water of the lake is so salty that the salt that is deposited on its banks is sold all over Ladakh and Kashmir. A Nomad Headquarters (Samad Rockchen) is located next to the lake. Stay overnight at Camp.
Day 11 TSO KAR - LEH – BY SURFACE - 145 KM / APPROX 5 ½ HRS
In the morning, you commence your journey back to Leh. A 20 minutes’ drive gets you onto the Manali – Leh highway. On this route you cross over Taklang La (5260 M / 17, 582 Ft), a signboard proclaims it to be the second highest motorable road in the world. On crossing over the pass the full force of the awesome stark grandeur of the barren mountains greets you. The near distance mountains are greenish – brown in colour, the middle distance ones are purplish – grayish & snow-capped peaks are visible in the distant. Descending from the pass the road gets you back in to civilization passing through picturesque villages with well-cultivated fields and finally meets the Indus River at Upshi. From Upshi to Leh you are back on the road on which you started your journey. Stay overnight stay at hotel.
Day 12 LEH (DEPART)
In the morning after having breakfast, On time transfer you to Leh airport for you flight back home/ onward journey.