Ladakh Cultural Tour

Ladakh Cultural Tour

Duration : 21 Nights / 22 Days
Places to see : Delhi - Leh - Kargil - Rangdum - Padum - Alchi - Leh - Likir Gompa - Dha Hanu - Basg - Leh - Hemis - Chumtahng - Karzok - Tsomoriri - Tsokar - Sarchu - Jispa - Manali - Amritsar - Delhi

Day 01 : Arrive at Delhi
On arrival in Delhi, you will be welcomed by our executive and transferred to your hotel (Rooms will be booked from 1200 hrs to facilitate immediate check in).
New Delhi, the capital and the third largest city of India is a fusion of the ancient and the modern. Standing along the West End of Gangetic Plain, the capital city, Delhi, unwinds a picture rich with culture, architecture and human diversity, deep in history, monuments, museums, galleries, gardens and exotic shows. Comprising of two contrasting yet harmonious parts, the Old Delhi and New Delhi, the city is a travel hub of Northern India. Narrating the city's Mughal past, Old Delhi, takes you through the labyrinthine streets passing through formidable mosques, monuments and forts. The imperial city of New Delhi displays the finely curved architecture of British Raj.

Overnight at Hotel

Day 02 : Delhi - Leh
Early morning after breakfast drive to domestic airport to board the flight for Leh. Our local agents assist you at Leh airport & transfer to hotel.

Free for the day.

Overnight will be at hotel.

Day 03 : Leh
After having breakfast, you will be visiting the various places of tourist interests in Leh.

Sankar Gompa
This is small but more interesting place to visit than the Leh Gompa and can easily be visited on foot. The Sankar Gompa is an under Gompa of Spitok Gompa. At the most only 20 monks live here and few are permanently in residence although the monastery itself is fairly active. Thus the Gompa is only open to the public from 7.00 am to 10.00 am and from 5.00 to 7.00 pm. It is, however, well lit, so an evening visit is worthwhile. At these times the monks will welcome the visitors and may offer one yak butter tea, 'Tsampa' and boiled and spiced mustard plant.

Jami Masjid
When one had enough of the bazaar, head past the new green and white painted Jami Masjid at the top of the street, and follow one of the lanes that lead into the old town. Apart from the odd electric cable, nothing much has changed here since the warren of flat roofed houses, crumbling 'Chortens', 'Mani' Walls and narrow sandy streets was laid down late in the 16th century - least of all the plumbing.

Chamba Temple
One place definitely worth walking through the putrid smelling puddles to visit, however, is the Chamba temple. It's not easy to find on your own; ask at the second row of shops on the left after the big arch for the key keeper (gonyer), who will show you the way. Hemmed in by dilapidated medieval mansions, the one roomed shrine houses a colossal image of Maitreya, the Buddha to come, and some wonderful old wall paintings.

Leh Palace
The old palace of the kings of Ladakh overlooks the town from the southwest slope of the Tsemo hill. It has eight storeys and was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 16th century, at much the same time as the famed Potala of Lhasa - which it resembles. The damage to the palace, one side is gaping open, stems from the Kashmiri invasions of the last century. Like the Shey palace the Leh palace still belongs to the Ladakhi royal family, who now live in their palace in Stok.

Leh Gompa
The Leh Gompa stands high above the palace and also overlooks the ruins of the older palace of the King of Tagpebums. The Red Gompa also known as Namgyal Tsemo Gompa was built in 1430 by King Gvags-Pa-Bum-Ide and has a fine three-storey high seated Buddha figure flanked by Avalokitesvara on the right and Manjushri on the left. In all there are three Gompas at the top of the hill, the topmost one is in a very ruined condition but offers extremely fine views over Leh and the surrounding countryside. To the right of the palace one can see a Buddha painted on the rocks, a remnant of an earlier monastery.

Shanti Stupa
A relatively new addition to the rocky skyline around Leh is the toothpaste white Shanti Stupa above Changspa village, 3-km west of the bazaar. Inaugurated in 1983 by the Dalai Lama, the "Peace Pagoda", whose sides are decorated with gilt panels depicting episodes from the life of the Buddha, is one of several such monuments erected around India by a "Peace Sect" of Japanese Buddhists.

Return to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 04 : Leh - Kargil
Early morning after breakfast drive to Kargil enroute visiting Likir gompa situated atop a windy cliff top overlooking the beautiful village of Likir. Basgo is certainly the most impressive of Ladakhi citadels despite its ruined state. Then we drive and cross the River Indus and reach Alchi, Ladakh's most loved monastery and drive straight to Kargil over Fatu-la [13,489 ft] which is the highest pass on Srinagar - Leh road. Upon arrival in Kargil check in at our prearranged hotel for overnight stay.

Day 05: Kargil - Rangdum - Padum
Morning after breakfast we commence drive 10 - 11 hrs through the Suru valley passing through numerous villages, The days drive gives excellent view of the Twin peak s of Nun & Kun. After reach at Rangdum is an elliptical expanded plateau surrounded by colourful hills on the one side and glacier encrusted Rocky Mountains on the other.Visitors to Zanskar generally prefer to break the gruelling, 240 Km-long rough road journey for an overnight halt here. Set amidst spectacular surroundings, Rangdum serves as the ideal area for camping in the Himalayan wilderness while being sufficiently near a road head. Due to its remoteness from the inhabited parts either of Suru or Zanskar, the area's wild beauty is almost haunting, while its isolation is near perfect even as the unpaved Zanskar road traverses its length in the afternoon to visit Monastery. Dinner & Overnight will be at camp.

Day 06 : Padum
After breakfast we leave for full day sightseeing tour of Padum or Padam, the capital of Zanskar region, opens up several outlying villages and monasteries, which form the nucleus of the region. This hard but very rewarding trek takes one from Padum to Zangla. As on the Padum- Lamayuru Trek and is only recommended for the second half of August because from Zangla to Markha many crossings have to be made over large rivers. Padum (3505 m) is the present day administrative headquarters of the region later we drive back to Padum by Evening. Overnight will be at camp

Day 07 : Padum - Kargil
Early morning after breakfast at camp we drive to Kargil 10 hrs over the PENSILA PASS. En route visit Maitriya Buddha near the Sanku village Maitreya is typically pictured seated, with either both feet on the ground or crossed at the ankles, on a throne, waiting for his time. He is dressed in the clothes of either a Bhiksu or Indian royalty. As a bodhisattva, he would usually be standing and dressed in jewels. Usually he wears a small stupa in his headdress that represents the stupa of the Buddha Sakyamuni's relics to help him identify it when his turn comes to lay claim to his succession, and can be holding a dharmachakra resting on a lotus. A khata is always tied around his waist as a girdle.

Overnight will be at hotel

Day 08 : Kargil - Leh (Via Lamayuru)
Early morning after breakfast we drive to Leh enroute visiting Lamayuru, Belongs to Dripung Kagyu (Red Hat) like Phyang. The oldest structure in Lamayuru is the Singey Lhakhang built by the founder of Alchi Lotsava Rinchen bzangpo in 11th century. After visiting Lamayuru we proceed further to Leh enrote visiting Ridzong Gompa, known as the paradise for Meditation. In evening we reach at Leh and check in at our hotel for overnight stay

Day 09 : Leh - Likir Gompa - Dha Hanu
Early Morning after breakfast we drive to Dha hanu enroute visit at Likir Gompa, Located at a distance of approximately 62 km to the west of Leh, the Likir Monastery dates back to the year 1065. It was during the reign of the fifth king of Ladakh, Lhachen Gyalpo, that Lama Duwang Chosje was offered land for building a monastery. A great champion of meditation, the Lama blessed the site and the monastery was built. The name Likir means "The Naga - Encircled". The Likir Gompa at Ladakh was so named, as it stands encircled by the bodies of the two great serpent spirits, the Naga-rajas, Nanda and Taksako.. later drive to continue to Dha hanu. Overnight will be at the Camp.

Day 10 : Dha Hanu
Dhahanu is situated to the south west of Leh, around 163 kms, passing through the beautiful villages of Kaltsey, Domkhar, Skurbuchan and Achinathang. Dha and Hanu are open for tourist. Being on lower altitude Dhahanu is warmer than Leh. Attraction is coming across the Drokpa Community considered to be the last race of Aryans confined to the valley. Their feature is pure Indo Aryan and they have preserved their racial purity down the centuries. Their culture and religious practices are very similar to ancient pre- Buddhist religion known as Bon-Chos. Overnight will be at camp.

Day 11 : Dha Hanu - Basg - Leh
Early morning after breakfast drive back to Leh enroute visit at Basgo, Basgo is situated about 40 km west of Leh. The complex of buildings includes a ruined fortress dating from before the 15th century, two large temples and a small shrine. Presently,. Listed as one of the top 100 endangered world heritage sites in 2000, the 400 - year old mud- brick gompa is up winding, steep tracks. The prayer room in the Set zung Temple has great frescoes; another temple has an enoromus gold & copper statue of the Maitreya Buddha (Future Buddha). After visit continue to Leh. Overnight will be at the hotel.

Day 12 : Leh - Hemis - Chumtahng - Karzok - Tsomoriri
Morning after breakfast drive to Hemis Gompa is 40 km southeast of Leh, well known for the Hemis monastery that was established in 1672 AD by king Senge Nampar Gyalva. Hemis is best known to tourists for the colorful festival held in July. Hemis also could be associated with the Hemis National Park, an area that is home to the endangered snow leopard. The national park was created in 198, Hemis Monastery existed already before the 11th cent. Naropa, the pupil of the yogi Tilopa, and teacher of the translator Marpa is connected with this monastery late evening return the camp for overnight.

Day 13 : Karzok
Morning after breakfast at the camp. Enjoy the KARZOK GUSTOR FESTIVAL during the day. This is a very colorful and famous festival of Ladakh. Festival is famous for its Black Hat Dance. The Korzok Monastery belongs to the Yellow Sect and it is situated in Korzok Village which is located around the splendid Tsomoriri Lake. It is also known as Mountain Lake. It is approximately 350 years old and consists of 33 residential monks. Overnight will be at camp.

Day 14 : Karzok
Morning after breakfast at the camp. Free for the day at Leisure for Enjoy the Festival
Overnight will be at camp.

Day 15 : Karzok - Tsokar
After a leisurely breakfast drive to Tsokar. Tsokar Lake is situated in Salt Lake Valley of Leh District. It is a salt water lake which covers an area of about ten square kilometers. Tsokar Lake is rich in huge deposits of impure salt, mostly found on its northern shore. This salt is collected by the Changpas and used as barter to obtain goods from other parts of Ladakh. Tsokar Lake can be approached from Rupshu and Mahe. Overnight will be at the TSOKAR CAMP.

Day 16 : Tsokar - Sarchu
Early Morning after breakfast drive to Pang. This will be 60 km down hill drive first and then you will need to cross PANG. Sarchu over the over Lachung-la (5150M) and Nakee-la (5050m),Overnight will be at the tent.

Day 17 : Sarchu - Jispa
Early Morning after breakfast at the camp and drive to Jispa. The drive is very beautiful as the vegetation and the mountains slowly change colours,there one path is leading to Chandra Tal (Moon Lake), just beneath one lake called Suraj Tal Overnight will be at Jispa.

Day 18 : Jispa - Manali
Early Morning after breakfast drive to Keylong after breakfast and visit the KHARDUNG MONASTERY - the most celebrated monastery of Lahaul and Rohatang Pass (3980m),Late afternoon reach at Manali spend time at the local market. Overnight will be at Manali.

Day 19 : Manali
Early Morning after breakfast proceed for a Full Day excursion of the hill queen

Hadimba Temple: The Goddess Hadimba is revered in this area. She was the sister of the demon Hadimb who ruled the mountains and was feared by all. When Bhima, the Pandava brother met her, he fell instantly in love and wanted to marry her. But he had to kill her brother first. After the death of her brother, Hadimba proved to be a good queen. She was fair and loved by all. She finally went to the woods called Dhungri Van Vihar to spend her last years in mediation and it is at this spot that the Hadimba temple was built. Also known as the Dhungri temple, it is a wooden four-storey structure and is built in the pagoda style. It looks almost like something out of a Japanese painting. You won't find an idol in the temple, just a foot print on a stone. The temple was built in 1553 and is an important one in this area. An interesting but macabre story surrounds this temple. Apparently the king who commissioned this temple was so awestruck by its beauty that he ordered the artist's right hand cut so he wouldn't be able to repeat his masterpiece. The artist determined not to sacrifice his craft, trained his left hand to carve and built a bigger and more beautiful temple in Chamba. The people in Chamba were so happy with his new creation that they beheaded him, lest he build another temple. Over the years Hadimba became the patron Goddess of the Rajas and the goddess's blessings had to be taken before every coronation and a buffalo sacrificed after each one. Today, the Dussehra celebrations commence with the blessing of the ceremonial horse by the goddess in a ceremony called 'ghor pooja.'A huge fair is also held at the temple on 14th May to celebrate her birthday. Rice beer or 'longri' flows like water and both men and women drink, dance and celebrate all night.

Rahalla Falls: Beyond which is the Rohtang Pass, 51 kms from Manali. Located at a height of 3980 m, the Pass once served as a crucial trade route, and still remains the gateway to the districts of Lahaul and Spiti.The Pass is open from June to November each year, and provides wonderful views of the entire surroundings. Just beyond the Pass is the Sonapani Glacier and the twin peak of Gaypan. The Beas Kund, the source of the Beas river, a holy site for Hindus, as the sage Vyas is said to have meditated at this spot, is also accessible from the Rohtang Pass. Rani Nullah, below Rohtang Pass. Height 3700m. Rani Nullah is shortly before the Rohtang Pass into Lahaul, at about 55km from Manali. The take-off area itself is not great as there are sharp stones to snag your lines on, but even if there is no lift it offers great 'sled-ride' flying, especially for beginners. There is a vast landing field at the truckstop at Marhi about 400m below take-off, though be warned that at over 10,000ft a HUGE flare is needed on landing - you come in like an express train! If you have reasonable height above Marhi it is a 10km sled-ride down to other landing fields at Kothi at the foot of the pass.

Monasteries: Manali also houses three Tibetan monasteries that have been built recently. There are three recently built Tibetan monasteries at Manali.

Vashisht (3 kms): Three kms from Manali is the village of Vashisht, which is renowned for its hot sulphur springs. The village is also the site of some old temples, dedicated to the great sage Vashisht, and to Lord Rama. The Himachal Tourism sulphur baths are just beyond these shrines

Return back to hotel. Overnight will be at Manali.

Day 20 : Manali - Amritsar
Early Morning after breakfast at the hotel drive to Amritsar. Later proceed for Golden temple of Amritsar Golden Temple began in 1574 on land donated by the Mughal emperor Akbar. The building project was overseen by the fourth and fifth Sikh Gurus. The temple was completed in 1601, but restoration and embellishment continued over the years. The temple had to be substantially rebuilt after it was sacked in the 1760s. In the early 19th century, 100 kg of gold were applied to the inverted lotus-shaped dome and decorative marble was added. All this gold and marble work took place under the patronage of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. The legendary warrior king was a major donor of money and materials for the shrine and is remembered with much affection by the Sikh community and Punjabi people. Overnight will be in Amritsar.

Day 21 : Amritsar - Delhi
Early Morning after breakfast at the hotel. Visit the INDIA PAKISTAN BORDER ( Waga Border) for a dress parade. In the late afternoon we drive for railway station to take SHATABDI deluxe train for Delhi. Reach and stay overnight at Delhi.

Day 22 : Delhi - Home
Breakfast will be at hotel. In the evening return to the hotel and proceed for FAREWELL DINNER. Proceed to the airport in time for flight home.


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