LADAKH – A WONDERLAND

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10 Days
Availability : June - September
Leh/ Srinagar
Leh
Min Age : Easy
Max People : 4
Tour Details

The drive to Nubra valley and further to Tutuk is yet another example of man’s achievements. The prominent Khardung ridge runs north of Leh. The traditional pass of Khardung La across the ridge is the world’s highest motorable pass in the whole world! This road is the lifeline of the people and the army here and often laid with heavy traffic, which caries supplies to the remote but fertile Nubra and Shyok valleys.

We also visit the Brokpas – Referred to as the ‘last Aryans’ or Alexander’s people; you can easily recognise the Brokpa’s by their elaborate floral headdress that includes the never drying flower called Shoklo (also Monthu Tho). There are many stories surrounding this unique race. Many call them the ‘last Aryans’ or Alexander’s people. They are nominally Buddhist but also worship their own animist pantheon of gods. They have an Indo-European appearance in contrast to the predominant Tibeto-Mongol inhabitants of most of Ladakh.

We shall also visit the Pangong Lake that was made popular by the Bollywood movie ‘The three idiots’. You may note that this lake is shared with China with only One –third being in India.

Fixed Departures

  • 02 June – 11 June 2018
  • 16 June – 25 June 2018
  • 30 June – 09 July 2018
  • 14 July – 23 July 2018
  • 28 July – 06 Aug 2018
  • 11 Aug – 20 Aug 2018
  • 25 Aug – 03 Sep 2018
  • 08 Sep – 17 Sep 2018
  • 22 Sep – 01 Oct 2018
Notes
  • If the minimum group size is not met, then we reserve the right to cancel the departure. We may offer to run the trip exclusively for you but the price will vary as costs shoot up. It is also possible to customize the trip as per your own requirements (departure dates, group size, additional facilities etc). Please send us a query for the same.
Itinerary

Day 01Fly to Leh 3446m – Drive to Nurla (Drive: 1½ hours)

Early morning, take the flight to Leh. Met upon arrival and drive to our guesthouse in Nurla. After breakfast, we will take complete rest in order to acclimatise to the altitude.

IMPORTANT: It is important to take complete rest today to acclimatise properly.

Alternately, you may also fly in to Srinagar and Drive to Sonmarg today. On the Second day, you can drive to Kargil via Dras.

Day 2Nurla – Kargil 2699m/ 8856ft (drive: 05 – 06 hours total)

After breakfast, drive to the Kargil. On the way, take a photobreak at the ‘moonland’ depressions – fantastically formed sediments.

Scientists believe that there was a lake here around 40 000 years ago formed due to tectonic activity damming the valley. It then disappeared around a thousand years ago also as a result of tectonic activity leaving the lunar landscape behind. You can view/visit the dramatically located Lamayuru monastery perched dramatically on a crag.

Cross the Fotu-la 4092m/ 13427ft & Namika-la La 3809m/ 12497ft (La – Pass) to reach Mulbek, where you can view the 9meter tall rock sculpture of the Maitreya Buddha (7th –8th century AD) carved into a limestone that may remind you of the now destroyed statue at Bamiyan, Afanisthan. Kargil is at an hour’s drive from here. Later we drive to Dras (an hour & half each way) to visit the War Memorial. Return to Kargil for the night.

Day 3Kargil – Leh via Dha 2989m/ 9808 ft (Drive: 06 - 07 hours)

Morningdrive to Dah, the land of the Brokpas (also called Dards or Drokpas).

Referred to as the ‘last Aryans’ or Alexander’s people; you can easily recognise the Brokpa’s by their elaborate floral headdress that includes the never drying flower called Shoklo (also Monthu Tho). The head-dress also includes rows of coins stitched together for orna-mentation, with some dating as far back as 1890, and bright ribbons. The women tie their hair in interlocked long multi-stranded braids similar to knotted dreadlocks.

They are nominally Buddhist but also worship their own animist pantheon of gods. They have an Indo-European appearance in contrast to the predominant Tibeto-Mongol inhabitants of most of Ladakh. The villages are rustic and construction is of mud and stone. The local deity abhors cows and chicken; hence both are con¬sidered taboo. Fraternal polyandry—with brothers sharing a wife—is also prevalent but instances of this phenom¬enon have gone down considerably now.

After spending some time here, drive to Leh. Stopping at Alchi enroute. The Alchi monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh and has unique sculptures.

Day 4Leh

Morning is free. Afternoon visit the monasteries of Shey and Thiksey.

Day 5Leh –Turtuk 2944m/9660ft (Drive: 07- 08 hours)

We start early for the long drive to Turtuk. It takes us an hour and a half to we reach the top of the world’s highest motorable pass, the Khardung La (5602m/ 18380ft). After a photo stop, we descend down to the Nubra valley that spreads out in a Y-shape expanse.

After a lunch stop at Diskit, we cross the pretty village of Hundar which was the last village permitted to visit till 2010. We carry on through the beautiful valleys to Turtuk as the road stays close to the River Shyok.

Beyond Hunder, you will notice that the people look different as we move from Ladakhi Buddhist to Balti Muslim culture. The mountains transform from mounds of loose rock & soil to the solid rock of Karakoram range with its forbidding, jagged peaks seemingly closing in from all sides. The placid Shyok river transforms into a roaring, jade-green torrent as it rushes to converge with the mighty Indus in Pakistan. We are now in Baltistan (region) and very close to the Pakistan border.

The actual village is located on a ridge above the road. We pick up our bags and walk to our guesthouse. After a short rest, we go for a walk around the village that is a picture of beauty and serenity. There are two parts: Turtuk Youl (Older part. Youl – village) and Turtuk Pharol (Newer part: Pharol – other side of the river). We follow the old bridge to crossover to Youl. Small water channels guide us as they gurgle through the winding village lanes. The houses, of stone and wood, stand in the shade of giant apricot, walnut and mulberry trees. We look at the old mosque, water mill and listen to the stories of the Yagbo dynasty that ruled here. There are some ‘chill caves’ in the village that probably have an underground glacial stream flowing beneath that keeps them so cool. Locals use these ‘natural fridge’ to store fruit, butter, meat and even pashminas.

Day 06Turtuk – Hundar 3084m/10118ft (Drive: 03 hours)

An easy day. IF the army permits, you may visit the border village after Tyakshi. Return drive to Hundar. Later we drive to the nearby sand dune to ride the double humped camels in a little desert that lies between Hundar and Diskit.

Hundar lies on the bank of Shyok River and was once the capital of former Nubra kingdom. There are several ruined buildings, including the ruins of the King’s palace, the Langchen Khar (“Elephant Palace”). There is a fort at the top of the hill, called Gula. Hundar also has two Buddhist temples: white temple (Lhakhang Karpo) and the red temple (Lhakhang Marpo).

Day 07Hundar – Pangong 4350m (Drive: 06 -07 hours)

After breakfast, we drive to Diskit. The Diskit monastery is located on a hilltop and retains the old world charm. From here, we follow the Shyok river to drive to the Pangong Lake (4350m/ 14270 ft). Afternoon explore the lake on your own.

Pangong is 134 km long and extends from India to China (Tibet). Two thirds of the length of this lake falls in China. It is 5 km wide at its broadest point. Even though it is a salt-water lake, in winter the lake surface freezes completely. The lake acts as an important breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. During summer, the Bar-headed goose and Brahmini ducks are commonly seen here. The region around the lake supports a number of species of wildlife including the Kiang and the Marmot. This lake has become more popular due to filming of various Bollywood films especially ‘the three idiots’.

Note: Sometimes this road along the Shyok gets blocked, in that case we shall return to Leh and do a same day trip to Pangong the next day.

Day 08Pangong – Leh (Drive: 05-06 hours)

After breakfast, we will visit the ‘photo’ spot made popular by several Bollywood movies. Later we drive back to Leh, passing through the third highest motorable pass in the world, the Chang La (5360m/ 17590ft). Visit the Hemis Monastery on the way.

Day 09Leh free day

Day is at leisure.

Day 10Departure Leh

Transfer to the airport/ check out of hotel. End of Services. If desired, you can also join our other trips.

Price Includes

  • Transportation.
  • Room on Twin sharing basis at Leh on Bed & Breakfast only.
  • Hotel with Breakfast & Dinner at other places.
  • Permit
  • Guide in Leh for monastery visit (Only once)
  • Airport pick up &drop in Leh.

Price Excludes

  • Camel ride at Hundar
  • Government tax.
  • Entry fees, Passport, Visa fee and fee for inoculations, health certificates.
  • Personal expenses.
  • Travel Insurance.
  • Cost incurred due to any kind of emergency.
  • In the eventually of the trip being cancelled due to unforeseen conditions like weather and closure of the passes, no refund shall be given.
  • Any services/ item not mentioned above.
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