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The Forbidden Himalayas

Leh-Khardhung La-Nubra-Pangong Tso-Leh
Duration: 06 nights & 07 days
Best season: May-September
Tour Code: HIM08

ITINERARY
Day 01: Delhi to Leh
Day 02: Leh
Day 03: Leh
Day 04: Leh to Khardung La to Nubra
Day 05: Nubra
Day 06: Nubra to Leh
Day 07: Leh to Delhi

Highlights

Drive through highest mountain pass
See spectacular Himalayan scenery in the ancient kingdom of Ladakh
Explore the magical land of Buddhist monasteries and ancient mud palaces
Look for unique Trans-Himalayan wildlife and birdlife
Enjoy traditional Ladakhi cuisine, culture and hospitality
Buy exotic local artefacts and handicrafts
Great photo opportunities
Interaction with friendly Ladakhi people

Description
Ladakh, at the northern boundary of India, is an once-in-a-lifetime, must visit destination. The stark natural beauty is awe-inspiring. The best way to explore this rugged barren terrain is being on the road. This specially designed tour offers you just that -an opportunity to spend time driving and exploring the unique natural beauty of Ladakh.
We start this tour with one of the most sensational flights in the world. Flying from Delhi to Leh, in the distance you can see the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum and Nun Kun Massif. Situated at a height of 11,000 ft, you will need to rest for 24-36 hours when you get to Leh to acclimatize yourself to the high altitude.
The first days is at leisure to acclimatize to the rarefied air and explore Leh. You may choose to stroll along the main bazaar - observing the varied crowds. Looking into curio shops is an engaging experience. A particularly attractive sight is the line of women from nearby villages sitting along the edge of the footpath with baskets of fresh vegetables brought for sale. Behind the main bazaar, Chang Gali is less bustling but has interesting little shops selling curios and jewellery. Further on are the labyrinthine alleyways and piled-up houses of the old town, clustering around the foot of the Palace Hill. In the other direction, down the bazaar, are the Tibetan markets where one can bargain for pearls, turquoise, coral, lapis lazuli and many other kinds of semi-precious stones and jewellery, as well as carved yak-horn boxes, quaint brass locks, china or metal bowls, or any of a whole array of curios. When tired of strolling, one can step into any of the several restaurants; some of them located in rooftops, gardens or on the sidewalks and serve local Tibetan, Indian and Continental cuisine.
We begin the next day by visiting 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. Continuing our 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.
On the return journey to Leh, we drive to Stok Palace, which is the present residence of the former royal family of Ladakh. King Teswang Thondup Namgyal built the palace in 1825. The last king of Ladakh died here in 1974. The main palace is five storeys high. The palace museum displays the collections of the royal family. In the queen's chamber can be seen royal ornaments such as the beautifully crafted turquoise studded perak (head dress), the queen's crown as well as the necklace of the Balti Princess, Gyal Khatun. Within the king's room are displayed exquisite thangkas, most significant of which is the set of 35 thangkas depicting the stories relating to the former lives of Buddha. Other artifacts include silver chortens, the king's crown and a 7th century image of Avalokitesvara as well as jade cups, fine porcelain and ritual objects.
A Gompa is situated behind the museum and contains some ritual dance marks and frescoes. An annual archery contest is held here in July. Next day we take on a 5 hour road journey from Leh to Nubra Velley passing over Khardung La (the highest motorable road in the world) at 5602 m, 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. It is situated in the north of Ladakh between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas. The average altitude of the valley is 3000 m above sea level. The Shayok and Saichen Rivers drain Nubra. The flat part of the river is sandy and occupied by green farms and myricaria. The villages look pretty with greenery, willow and poplar trees. Till partition Nubra Valley was one of the trade centers, the ancient famous Silk Route passed through this area.
Before proceeding to our camp at Hunder, we stop to visit Diskit Monastery perched on a rock overhanging next to a stream, which provides the source of energy used by mills in the area. The monastery is rich, full of thangkas, magnificent giant statues, effigies of the Buddha and old mural paintings in which can be noted a multitude of influences. It was founded by Lama Sherab Zangpo of Stod around 1420 A.D. Diskit is the main village or headquarters of Nubra Valley, which has a small market consisting of a row of shops.
After our visit to the monastery and shortly after leaving Diskit we will comes across sand dunes on the right of the road. Seen in isolation we 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. We stay overnight at a comfortable camp at Hunder.
Next day, you will get the unique opportunity to ride on a Bacterian camel (double humped) amidst the sand dunes of this high altitude desert with snow capped mountains on the horizon. Thereafter, crossing over the Shayok River we will be driving upstream long the Saichen River to Panamik. The place has a number of hot springs on the right of the road just before entering the village. Panamik is literally the end of the road for this trip, as one has to return from this spot. On the return journey we stop by to visit Samstanling Gompa founded by Lama Tsultims Nima. The Gompa has some strict rules and regulations like not allowing women in the monastery after sunset and before sunrise, no smoking etc.
Leaving Hunder next morning, we drive to Leh over Khardung La. After spending the last evening in beautiful Leh again we fly to Delhi the next morning where the tour ends.

ITINERARY

Day 01: Delhi-Leh
Meals: Lunch, Dinner
Arrive at Leh airport by morning flight from Delhi. Upon arrival you will be transferred to your 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. Overnight in a hotel.

Day 02: Leh - visit to Shankar Gompa & Castle (Height 3730 M)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The morning is at leisure to acclimatize to the rarefied air. You can walk to the Leh Palace & Shankar Gompa, which belongs to Gelukspa school of Tibetan Buddhism. This small Gompa is a branch of Spituk Gompa, founded by the first incarnation of Skyabje Bakula (head monk of Spituk monastery). Return to your hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 03: Leh - Visit to Thikse (Height 3230 M) - Hemis Gompa (Height 3450 M) - Stok Palace (Height 3650 M)
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Begin the day by visiting Thikse monastery, which is one of the most vibrant and active monasteries in the region. Visit the most famous of Ladakh's monasteries, Hemis or Changchub Samstanling (The love palace of the compassionate person). On the return journey to Leh, drive to Stok Palace, which is the present residence of the former royal family of Ladakh. Return to your hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 04: Leh - Over Khardung La (5602 M) - Hunder (4350 M) in Nubra Valley - approx 5 hrs
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Journey from Leh to Nubra Velley (5 hrs) passing over Khardung La (the highest motorable road in the world) at 5602 m, around 39 km from Leh Nubra Valley is popularly known as Ldumra or the valley of flowers. It is situated in the north of Ladakh between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas. The average altitude of the valley is 10,000 Ft. above sea level. Before proceeding to your camp at Hunder, stop to visit the Monastery at Diskit, which is the main village or headquarters of Nubra Valley. Overnight in your camp at Hunder.

Day 05: Nubra Valley - Panamik - approx 1 ½ hrs - Samstanling Gompa in Sumoor - approx ½ hr - Hunder - approx 1 hrs
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast you will get the unique opportunity to ride on a Bacterian camel (double humped) amidst the sand dunes of this high altitude desert with snow capped mountains on the horizon. Thereafter, crossing over the Shayok River you will be driving upstream long the Saichen River to Panamik. The place has a number of hot springs on the right of the road just before entering the village. Panamik is literally the end of the road for this trip, as one has to return from this spot. On the return journey you stop by to visit Samstanling Gompa founded by Lama Tsultims Nima. From here you will drive back to Hunder for dinner and an overnight stay.

Day 06: Hunder - Leh - approx 3 hrs
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
After breakfast drive to Leh over Khardung La. Afternoon at leisure to rest and relax or take a walk to the local market. Overnight at your hotel.

Day 07: Leh - Delhi
Meals: Breakfast
Transfer to the airport to fly to Delhi. Tour ends.

Services included:
-Accommodation on twin sharing basis
-Meals as per the itinerary
-Guided tours
-All surface transfers by a private vehicle

Services not included:
-Optional tours/excursions, personal & incidental expenses.
-Tips, laundry, phone calls, bottled water, alcohol, camera fee etc.
-International and domestic air fare, visa, insurance.

Please ask for Terms and Conditions

Write to us: wildindiatours@vsnl.com  info@asianadventures.in



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