Day 01: Arrive in Delhi.
On arrival in Delhi, you will be met upon your arrival and transferred to your hotel. Depending on your arrival time, you might have daylight left for a day tour of Delhi, the capital of India. The bustling city is the political and historical heart of South Asia. Visit sights like the India Gate, the Red Fort or spend time in the commercial district at Connaught Place. Overnight in Delhi.
Day 02: Delhi to Leh by Air.
Transfer to Delhi’s airport for your flight from Delhi to Leh. The 1 hour flight to Leh from Delhi is one of the most scenic flights in the world. The snow-covered peaks of the Himalayas and their inaccessible lakes and gorges all lie underneath you as you fly across them. On arrival you will be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Spend the day at leisure acclimatizing to the change in altitude.
Ladakh is home to a people who remained from the cradle of civilization that emerged from the Indus Valley Civilization. Tibetan influence has deeply taken root in this region and Tibetan Buddhism is strongly reflected in the local way of life. Some people in recent years believe that authentic Tibetan culture is stronger in Ladakh than in Tibet itself. Overnight in Leh.
Note : Please be aware that flight schedules between Delhi and Leh can be delayed and/or cancelled due to adverse weather conditions at Leh Airport. Le h’s high altitude restricts flight operations if weather conditions are not ideal.
Day 03: In Leh.
After breakfast, set off on a half-day sightseeing trip to the 200 years old Shankar monastery, which contains a plethora of impressive images, wall paintings and a huge statue of Aloketesvara with 1000 arms & heads. Next stop is the Japanese built peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa); crowned with a massive dome. Our last stop is the ruined Leh Palace, a replica of the Potala Palace of Lhasa. The palace was strategically built on the hilltop in the 18th century and offers fabulous views of the Indus valley below. Afternoon, visit a Ladhaki Buddhist family and share a cup of butter tea, tsampa (roasted barley) and tschang (fermented barley beer), and see their way of living. Overnight in Leh.
Day 04: Leh. Excursion to Hemis & Thiksey Monasteries including Shey Palace.
Full day of sightseeing, visiting the three most important monasteries of Ladhak – Hemis Gompa, Thiksey Gompa and Shey Palace. Hemis is one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in Ladhak and houses about 150 monks; it also stages the annual Hemis festival. The Gompa, nestled in a gorge and surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery, was built in the 18th century and houses a wide range of beautiful frescoes, thankas, Buddha statues and an excellent library.
On the way back to Leh, we visit the superbly situated, 16th century, Thiksey Gompa, which is perched on a hill top. The Gompa houses an important collection of Tibetan-style books, a huge Buddha statue and some excellent works of art. Last stop is the ruined Shey Palace, once the summer palace of the pre-Tibetan kings. The palace monastery houses a large, bronze, blue haired Buddha statue. Back to Leh hotel.
Day 05: Leh. Excursion to Lamayuru and Alchi.
Morning drive to Lamayuru. Visit Lamayuru Monastery. Later drive to Alchi. Also known as the Choes-kor or “religious enclave”, the Alchi monastery was built in the 11th Century by a famous scholar, Rinchen Zangpo. Alchi has murals which predate the Tibetan style of painting, along with Tabo (Spiti Valley) and Phugtol Gompa (Zanskar Valley). The murals are the sole survivors of a style of painting prevalent in the first millennium. Visit Gompa. Later drive down to Leh.
Day 06: Leh to Nubra Valley.
After breakfast, drive to the mystical Nubra Valley over the exhilarating Khardungla Pass (5600m.), the highest point of our journey. The views from the top are spectacular; extending, to the south, across the Indus Valley to the seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range. To the north, the views of the mighty peaks of the Saser Massif are amazing. We continue driving over the fairly rough road to Tirith, where we will spend the next two nights in comfortable camp/Guesthouse. Evening free.
Day 07: Tirith (Nubra Valley). Excursion to Samur, Samstaling & Panamik.
After breakfast, we set off on a full day of sightseeing to Samstaling monastery and the village of Samur. This is part of the old silk route and was used by trade caravans on their way to Panamik, the last village on this circuit. Panamik, now a sleepy village, was once a major trade centre for merchants. Here we will visit hot springs and the tiny Ensa Gompa before driving back to our camp/ Guesthouse at Tirith.
Day 08: Nubra to Leh via Khardungla Pass (6 hrs. drive).
Today we leave Nubra, a valley covered with dense thickets of sea buckthorn – a thorny shrub which the villagers use for fuel and fencing their fields. We cross over the highest motorable road in the world at Khardung-la. The view from the top is simply amazing. Overnight in Leh.
Day 09: Leh to Delhi. Depart Delhi.
Return to Delhi by domestic flight for your onward flight home.
Date and price to suit individual arrangements based on 2 people sharing. Breakfast included. Private air-conditioned car and driver with English speaking guides for sightseeing.