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LADAKH AND TREKKING ACROSS TO THE NUBRA VALLEY

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DAY 1 ARRIVE DELHI

On arrival at Indira Gandhi International Airport Terminal II you will be taken to your hotel. Spend rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight in Delhi.
Overnight in a hotel.

DAY 02 DELHI - LEH (3,500 M / 11,550 FT) - BY FLIGHT 9W 609 – DEP AT 0630HRS / ARR AT 0745 HRS

Morning in time transfer to Delhi domestic airport to board flight for Leh.
Upon arrival you will be met and 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!
Overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 03 IN LEH – VISIT TO SANKAR GOMPA & LEH PALACE

Qutab MinarThe morning is at leisure to acclimatize to the rarefied air. 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. For lunch, one can step into any of the several restaurants; some of them located in gardens or on the sidewalks and serve local Tibetan, Indian and Continental cuisine.

Also walk to the Leh Palace & Sankar 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).
Overnight stay at hotel.

DAY 04 IN LEH – VISIT TO THIKSE (3,230 M / 10,659 FT) – HEMIS GOMPA (3,450 M / 11,385 FT) - STOK PALACE (3,650 M / 12,045 FT)

Qutab MinarYou begin the 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.

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.

On the return journey to Leh, 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.
Overnight stay at the hotel.

DAY 05 LEH (3,500 M) – ACROSS WARI LA (4,595 M / 15,164 FT) - BY SURFACE / 86 KM / APPROX 3 ½ HRS –TANGYAR – MOUNTAIN WALK /APPROX 4 HRS

You start early heading out on the Leh – Upshi road driving upstream along the Indus River. From Karu you turn left to ascend through the Shakti valley. As you drive up the amazing sight of Chemrey Gompa rising majestically on a hill to the left with the residences of the lamas spilling along its contours greets you. The cultivated fields of Karu merge with that of the village of Shakti forming a green carpet dotted with Ladakhi village houses encompassed by rugged mountains on either side. At Shakti the road bifurcates: the right road going to Chang La (5320 m / 17,800 ft) and the left one to Wari La (4,595 m / 15,164 ft). Driving along the road to Wari La you cross the Pass & drive 10 km further to Degar Phu. From here you commence your mountain walk. It is an easy downhill walk for approx 4 hrs up to Tangyar. You pass by clear mountain streams & the ruggedness of the Ladakhi mountains is quite awe-inspiring. By early evening you would reach your campsite.
Overnight stay in a tented camp.

DAY 06 TANGYAR - AGYAM (3,200 M / 10,560 FT) – MOUNTAIN WALK / APPROX 2 HRS - TIGGUR - BY SURFACE / APPROX 1 ½ HRS - optional 2 hrs rafting on the Shayok River from a little ahead of Agyam till its confluence with Saichen River and then proceed by road to Tiggur – VILLAGE STAY

Qutab MinarFrom your campsite at Tangyar you take another downhill mountain walk for approx 2 hrs to reach Agyam. Your vehicle will be waiting for you to drive you to Tiggur. The road goes past Khalsar & you cross the Shayok River near its confluence with the Saichen. Your drive to Tiggur across the Shayok River is along a broad well-cultivated valley having plenty of fruit trees.

From a little ahead of Agyam you also have the option to enjoy a few chills, thrill & spills by rafting down the Shayok River till its confluence with Saichen River from where you board your vehicle to drive to Tiggur.

At Agyam you will check into a rural hotel. In the evening take a walk around the village to have a peep into the life of these hardy village folk. During this village experience a visit to their homes will be a heartening exposure as you enjoy their simple & warm hospitality. In a Ladakhi home you will be hosted in their kitchen. A Ladakhi kitchen is very different from what one might imagine. It is the pride of place in the house, besides the prayer room. It has a unique fireplace next to which lot of trouble is taken to neatly arrange & display the kitchenware. A low seating arrangement is made against the wall. You get to sip some butter tea pr you may even try ‘chang’, the local brew.
Overnight stay at Tiggur.

DAY 07 IN TIGGUR – EXCURSION TO HUNDER & DISKET

Qutab MinarThe Nubra valley has two arms – one along the Saichen River & the other along the Shayok River. Today you drive to explore the valley a long the Shayok River. Crossing the river at its confluence you drive to Hunder. Just before reaching Hunder you will comes across sand dunes on the right of the road. 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 Ladakh landscape and in the distance can be seen snow-capped mountains. At Hunder 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.
On your return, 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.
The evening is free for village walks.
Overnight stay at Tiggur.

DAY 08 TIGGUR – OVER KHARDUNG LA (5602 M / 18,390 FT) - LEH - BY SURFACE / APPROX 5 HRS

Qutab MinarIn the morning you visit Panamik. Panamik has a number of hot springs on the right of the road just before entering the village. In the past Panamik was a major stopover on the ancient Silk Route caravan before crossing the mountains of Karakoram and Ka-lu, as there were no villages for the rest of the journey for 12 days. It served as the last major village where caravans stopped before undertaking their arduous journey over high mountain passes. The famous hot springs of Panamik also served them as a source of bath, drinking water and for medicinal purposes.

After the visit you return to Leh. The road journey from Nubra Valley to Leh passes over Khardung La (the highest motorable 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. It is situated in the north of Ladakh between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas.
Overnight at the hotel.

DAY 09 LEH - DELHI – BY FLIGHT 9W 610 DEP AT 0735 / ARR AT 0850 HRS

In time transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi. Assistance on arrival and transfer to your hotel. In the afternoon proceed for a city tour, drive to visit Humayun’s Tomb built in the Indo Persian style and a predecessor to The Taj Mahal in Agra; India Gate - A War Memorial Arch. Also drive past the President's House called Rashtrapati Bhavan, Parliament House, Government Secretariat buildings and Connaught Place - the heart of New Delhi and a busy shopping center.
Later in time transfer to the Delhi International airport for your flight back home.


 

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