Sandwiched between the vast ranges of the Karakoram and the Himalaya in the far north of India, Ladakh is the highest, most remote and least populated region in the whole country. The name is derived from Ladags, which means ‘the land of high passes’. Its corrugated, arid landscape is often described as a mountain desert which does not do justice to the inherent beauty of its chaotic ridges, twisted and exposed geological strata, snow-shrouded peaks, dark gorges and wide valleys.
Ladakh lies in the far north of India although culturally and geographically it is closer to Tibet; it is one of the last remaining enclaves of Tibetan Buddhism. Shrouded in a mist of myth and mystery, this land of monks and monasteries rises gracefully from the upper half of the Indus basin.
Startling patches of greenery break the bleak landscape – wherever there is water at the base of a glacier or in a river valley. Here one is likely to find Ladakh’s famous apricot orchards or giant cabbage heads; as also radish, potatoes and turnips growing to giant sizes because of longer daylight and strong intensity of ultra violet rays.
Welcome to Delhi, a fascinating city amid the wonder of India. You’ll be met and assisted at the airport by our local representatives who will arrange the transfer and check in to your hotel for a good night’s rest. Rest of your day at leisure or afternoon half day guided sightseeing available on request/subject to flight arrival time today.
We take morning flight to Leh where you’ll be met on arrival for the transfer to your hotel. While the town has come a long way from the days when polo was played on its main street, Leh still retains a pleasant traditional quality. Rest of today is at leisure to rest and for high altitude acclimatization. Enjoy the natural beauty of Leh town and surrounds. Depending on how you feel this evening you may want to walk down to the local bazaar or take a gentle stroll through the main street which is more than enough exercise to begin with until you adjust to the altitude.
This is the day to explore the local region as well as for acclimatization. This morning you’ll be picked up for the drive to Thiksey village where you’ll visit Thiksey Gompa (monastery). 19 km from Leh, spectacularly sited, Thiksey is one of the largest and architecturally most impressive Gompas of the region. there are several temples in this Gompa, containing beautiful and ornate images, stupas and wall paintings of Lord Buddha. After time here we’ll continue the drive to Shey village to visit Shey Palace and Gompa. Situated on a hillock 15 km upstream from Leh, this was once the residence of the royal family. We’ll also visit Hemis Monastery, one of the most famous, wealthiest, best known and biggest Gompa (monastery) of Ladakh. Its popularity stems from the major annual festival held here each summer. there are a number of shrines and temples of considerable interest here and the gompa itself stands out from the mountainside in traditional Tibetan style. the library houses a rare collection of valuable manuscripts and thangkas (paintings on cloth) including the world’s largest created in 1630 which is unfurled every 12 years at the festival (next unfurling 2016).
This morning you will drive to Likir and visit Likir monastery before beginning your trek. the trail begins along a road suitable for motor traffic but unused before we cross the river and then gradually the path climbs towards two small mountain passes, the Pobe-La (pass). From the pass, we continue to the village of Sumdo around 2 to 3 hrs trek. Continue on through small, dry valleys for about 45 minutes until reaching the summit of the Charatse – la pass. From here it takes around 20 minutes to reach Yangtang.