|1||Delhi||Arrival in Delhi-The Capital city of India, rest of the day is free to relax from long flight.|
|2||Amritsar||Amritsar – the Sikh’s holiest city, Golden Temple & Jalianwala Gardens.|
|3 – 4||Dharamshala||McLeod Ganj, Dalai Lama’s temple, Tibet Museum & colourful bazaar.|
|5 – 6||Manali||Kangra Valley, Baijnath Temple, Mandi, Kullu, Hadimba Devi Temple, and Tibetan bazaar. Optional: Naggar castle|
|7||Sarchu||Rohtang Pass, Keylong, Jispa, Baralacha Pass (4,845m),|
|8 – 10||Leh||Pang, Taglang La (5,328m) – The second highest motorable pass, Upshi, Namgyal Hill, Old Royal Palace, Sankar, Japanese Peace Pagoda, Shey, Thiksey, Hemis Monastery. Stakna and Matho.|
|11||Nubra||Khardungla (5570 M) – The highest motorable road in the world, Samtaling Monastery, hot spring Panamik, and Diskit Monastery|
|12||Leh||Adventurous drive back to Leh.|
|13||Kargil||Spituk monastery, Phyang Gompa, Likir as Potala Palace, Alchi monastery, Lamayuru, Mulbek Chamba|
|14 -15||Srinagar||Drass – the second coldest inhabited place in the world, Zoji-la Pass, Sonamarg – Meadow of Gold, Shikara ride, floating vegetable & flower bazaar, Mughal Gardens, and Old city Jamia Masjid.|
|16 – 17||Delhi||Spectacular flight to Delhi. Departure|
When To Go
HIGHLIGHTS OF TOUR :
** Visit Dharamsala, home of the Dalai Lama and the Golden Temple at Amritsar.
** The stunning mountains of Lahoul, the ancient wooden Hadimba Temple and colorful hill
town bazaars of Manali.
** One of the world’s most spectacular road journeys from Manali to Leh, crossing the second
highest road pass in the world.
** Visits to ancient Tibetan Buddhist monasteries including the spectacularly situated Thikse
and Lamayuru. Visit Alchi, the oldest monastery in Ladakh with paintings from the 11th
** Breathtaking scenery of the Leh valley and its surroundings with snow capped peaks, barren
mountains and isolated villages.
** Visit to Nubra Valley via the world highest motor-able pass at Khardongla 5460m.
** Sightseeing tour of Mughal Gardens, Meadow of Flowers, Chandanwadi, & Aru Valley
** One of the world’s most spectacular road journeys from Leh to Srinagar along the northern
flank of the Great Himalaya, virtually untouched by the winds of change and modernization
This is a fascinating and exciting itinerary which starts by exploring the Mughal Kingdom and the capital of India Later take train to Amritsar with a visit to the Golden Temple before travelling on to the hill station of Dharamsala, home to the exiled Dalai Lama, and McLeod Ganj. Heading further into the hills we follow the Beas River to Manali, another popular hill station, bustling with colourful hill people. We travel north across the Indian Himalaya onto the Tibetan Plateau, which is home to the Changpa nomads, and into Ladakh. On our way to Leh we may well spot herds of the last remaining ‘kiang’ (wild asses), and cross many high passes including the Rohtang and Taglang La. Leh (3,500m), only opened to foreigners in 1974, was once a major trading town at the junction of the historic silk route, which ran from China and Central Asia to the plains of India. There is a timeless quality about life here – ancient Lamaist monasteries, built high on sheer rock faces, the barren, almost haunting landscape of this fascinating kingdom and a way of life and culture preserved for thousands of years. We have plenty of time in and around Leh visiting some of the monasteries, or ‘gompas’ and the Old Royal Palace plus there is time to wander round the fascinating bazaars. Finally we conclude our trip in Srinagar (Paradise on earth, the summer capital of Kashmir, magical beauty, breathtaking landscapes, crystal clear waters, the village of shepherds, the world famous Dal Lake.
Day 1 Arrive Delhi
On arrival in Delhi you will be met and assisted by our company representative at airport. After traditional welcome transfer to your hotel. Overnight at hotel
Day 2 Delhi – Amritsar (By Train)
Early morning transfer to railway station to catch your train SWARNA SHTBDI (ETD: 0720 Hrs/ETA: 1335 Hrs) to Amritsar. Upon arrival check in to your hotel. Amritsar is the Sikh’s holiest city and in the late afternoon we visit the Golden Temple, their main shrine. Shoes must be removed, feet washed and heads and arms covered before we can enter. Stunningly beautiful the Golden Temple is surrounded by tank of holy water. The atmosphere is incredibly calm as devotees stroll round the temple and sit and listen to the continuous recitals from the Granth Sahib. A visit to the huge community kitchens is a must to see the thousands of meals prepared by volunteers every day for the pilgrims. We can also visit the nearby Jalianwala Gardens, site of the notorious massacre under General Dyer in 1919, which led to 319 Sikhs being shot by British troops. Overnight at hotel
Day 3 Amritsar – Dharamsala (190 km/5-6 hours drive)
We leave the Punjab heading north into the foothills of the Himalaya. Today is quite a long but spectacular drive as the road winds its way into the hills. The barren plains make way for forests and as we gain height the heat of the plains gives way to the cooler fresher air of the hills. We enter the state of Himachal Pradesh and the Dhauladhar range makes a stunning backdrop to the hill station of Dharamsala, a quiet unassuming town until 1959. This all changed when the Dalai Lama settled here after fleeing from Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion. McLeod Ganj is the upper part of the town and is the area with the greatest Tibetan influence. Rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight at hotel
Day 4 In Dharamsala
After breakfast, we have a full day to explore the town and will visit the Dalai Lama’s temple and the Tibet Museum. There are many other monasteries and temples around the town and a colourful bazaar. Overnight at hotel
Day 5 Dharamsala – Manali (310 Kms/8-9 hours drive)
After an early breakfast, we head through picturesque countryside towards the little visited town of Mandi. We drive through the pretty Kangra Valley with its many tea plantations and there should be time to stop at a tea estate. En-route we visit Baijnath Temple and Mandi, situated on the Beas River at the foot of the beautiful Kulu Valley, was once a halting point on the salt route to Tibet. From Mandi we head east for a while until we join the mighty Beas River and the beautiful Kullu Valley. At Kullu we head north and follow the river all the way to Manali. As we ascend the valley we are surrounded by lush fir and pine forests and the scenery becomes more and more impressive. Finally we arrive in Manali, a bustling hill station now popular with Indian tourists escaping the heat of the plains. Overnight at hotel
Day 6 In Manali
We have a full day to explore Manali. Manali is surrounded by beautiful fir and pine forests and there are lovely walks in and around the town. The ancient wooden Hadimba Devi Temple is the most important temple in Manali. Set in the forest it is an easy walk from our hotel. Manali has a colourful Tibetan bazaar full of souvenirs. Or you may want to take a taxi to Naggar (12km from Manali), the old capital of the area. The ancient castle is now a hotel. Nicholas Roerich, the famous Russian artist and traveller lived in Naggar and his estate is preserved as an art gallery and museum and is well worth a visit. Overnight at hotel
Day 7 Manali – Sarchu (250 Kms/9-10 hours drive)
After breakfast, we start jeep safari to Sarchu (4320 m). We now leave the lush green forests behind and embark on the spectacular road journey to Ladakh across the Great Himalayan Range. This journey rates as one of the world’s classic road journeys. Today is a long drive and you need to be prepared for delays along this stretch of the road. Leaving Manali we pass several waterfalls as we climb towards the Rohtang Pass. A popular sightseeing destination for Indians the road can get very busy at times and due to the large amounts of snow in winter the road condition is not very good. It will be slow going to the top of the Rohtang Pass at 3,980m where we cross the Pir Pinjal Range of mountains. South of the Indian Himalaya, the Pir Pinjal are no less spectacular than their grand neighbour and from the top of the pass we can see immense jagged peaks ahead. The weather can be misty and cloudy to the south of the Rohtang but once we have crossed the pass into Lahoul the scenery changes dramatically – we leave the green fertile valleys of Himachal Pradesh and climb up onto the barren mountainous desert of the Tibetan Plateau. Passing through Keylong, the district headquarters we continue on to Jispa, Climbing from Jispa the road zig zags up to the Baralacha Pass (4,845m). We are now surrounded by huge mountains and it’s hard to imagine how a road was built through this landscape. We continue our drive to Sarchu the border of Himachal and Jammu & Kashmir. Upon arrival in Sarchu check in at your camp (tented accommodation). Overnight at Camp.
Day 8 Sarchu – Leh (350 Km/8–9 hours drive)
Another long but spectacular day as we cross the mighty Himalaya. From Sarchu we pass to Brandy Nallah and wind our way to the bottom of the Gata Loops. This is an amazing series of 21 hairpin bends which climbs onto the Tibetan Plateau. The scenery becomes even more dramatic as we climb to the Lachalung La and further on the Nakli La. Descending from the Nakli La we come to the spectacular wind eroded landscape of earth and rock pillars around Pang. There are lots of tea tents at Pang where we can stop for a well earned cup of tea. From Pang we continue north across the Morey Plains. These vast high altitude plains are home to the hardy Changpa nomads and we may well see their encampments in the distance and spot the huge herds of yaks. We continue on to our last pass, the Taglang La. The road seems to wind up forever to the top at 5,328m. The Taglang La reputed to be the second highest motorable road pass in the world (the highest is the Khardung La which we have a chance to drive up to in Leh) and the views from the top are superb. Hundreds of Buddhist prayer flags flutter in the winds which blow over the pass and we can look north towards Leh and the Karakorum and south back to the Himalaya. Descending steeply the road drops to a small river which we follow down a stunning gorge. Passing several small villages we finally join the mighty Indus River at Upshi. We follow the Indus now nearly all the way into Leh, the capital of Ladakh. We will arrive in the evening at our hotel for a welcome hot shower after the rigours of the last few days. Overnight at hotel
Day 9 In Leh
Today, in the morning we will have an acclimatization walk round the Leh Valley. Set above Leh on the Namgyal Hill, are the ruins of the Old Royal Palace. From here a winding path takes us to the Tsemo Monastery from where we are rewarded for our efforts by magnificent views of the whole of Leh and its surrounding villages. Descending round the back of the palace we walk via Sankar to the recently built Japanese Peace Pagoda. This huge Stupa overlooks Leh and we have stunning views of the town and the Stok range of mountains across the valley. Return to hotel and rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight at hotel
Day 10 In Leh
Today, we will visit three of the major Gompas (monasteries) in the area. We first drive to Shey, a former Royal Palace of the Ladakh kings. Inside is a small temple containing a 350 year old copper and gold statue of Buddha. From Shey we drive to Thiksey, where we visit the monastery – perched on top of a hill – its red and white buildings can be seen for miles and lastly visiting Hemis Monastery. Stakna and Matho lie about halfway between Leh and Hemis. In the afternoon return to Leh. Rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight at hotel
Day 11 Leh – Nubra (130 Km/5-6 hour drive)
After early breakfast drive from Leh to Nubra Valley, lies in the north of Leh and is accessible over the Khardungla (5570 M) – The highest motorable road in the world. The valley is on trade route from Leh to Kyagar via Saser and Karakoram passes. Apart from unparalleled trekking opportunities the valley houses several Monasteries such as Sumur (khagar) and 350 years old Diskit Gompa, famous for its Murals. From Khardungla we drive to village of Khardung and through starkly beautiful country side to the TCP at khalsar where permits have to be registered & checked. Arrive at Tegar Deluxe Camp, check in camp. Later we visit Samtaling Monastery in Sumur and natural hot spring at Panamik. Rest of the day is free at leisure. Overnight at Deluxe Camp.
Day 12 Nubra – Leh (130 Km/5-6 hour drive)
Today after early breakfast, we set out to visit the Diskit Monastery, Diskit Monastery, is the oldest in Nubra valley situated picturesque on a hillock. Diskit village is the largest village in Nubra valley is also the headquarters of the present administrative set up of Nubra valley. After visiting the monastery we drive back to Leh. Upon arrival in Leh, check-in to your hotel. Rest of the day is free to relax and last moment shopping in colorful bazaar of Leh. Overnight in Leh at hotel
Day 13 Leh – Kargil (210 Km/ 7-8 hours drive)
After early breakfast, we leave Leh this morning following the Indus River westwards. Just close to the airport we will visit Spituk monastery one of the oldest monasteries in the region. We turn off the road to visit Phyang Gompa which is 900 years old museum and its rich collection boasts of numerous idols, thankas, Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian firearms and weapons, etc. Later we again turn off the main road to visit the monastery at Likir, a beautiful building, reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. We rejoin the Indus again, which we follow to Saspol. Just after the village we cross this mighty river and drive to Alchi, a pretty village set in a grove of apricot trees. The main attraction in Alchi is the monastery, which is the most important cultural site in Ladakh. Built in the 11th century, it is a treasure trove of early Buddhist art in the Kashmiri tradition, a style quite different from the Tibetan art found in Ladakh’s other monasteries. We drive to Lamayuru takes us through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ladakh. The monastery is set on top of a beautifully eroded crag, complete with rock caves and pinnacles and has an almost fairytale quality as it stands over the village below. After the visits we continue our drive to Kargil. At Mulbek, Chamba 9 m high rock sculpture in deep relief of Maitreya, the Future Buddha, situated right on the highway. Upon arrival in Kargil check into your hotel. Overnight at hotel.
Day 14 Kargil – Srinagar (295 Km/7-8 hours drive)
Morning after breakfast, drive to Srinagar. Driving through Drass (famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world) and crossing the Zoji-la Pass (11,500-ft./3,505 m) to reach Sonamarg – The Gateway of Ladakh, also called Meadow of Gold is located at a height of 2690 meters. From here it’s a smooth 2-hour drive to Srinagar through the beautiful Kashmir countryside. Upon arrival in Srinagar check into your houseboat. Evening is free at leisure. Overnight at houseboat/Hotel.
Day 15 In Srinagar
Morning enjoy Shikara ride on Dal lake visiting interesting floating vegetable & flower bazaar and Char Chinari floating garden. Later in the morning proceed for half day Mughal Gardens tour visiting Nishat (The Garden of Pleasure) built by Asaf Jah in 1636 AD and Shamilar Bagh (Abode of Love) built by Jehangir for his beloved Nur Jahan in 1619 AD. In the afternoon visit Old city Jamia Masjid, Shah Hamdan mosque, Srinagar Museum and enjoy the walking through the narrow bazaar of the city. Overnight at Houseboat/Hotel
Day 16 Srinagar – Delhi (By Flight)
After a leisurely breakfast, check out at hotel and drive to airport to catch your flight to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi meet and transfer to Hotel. Room will be available for Day Use only for wash & change and refreshing.
Day 17 Delhi – Departure
We transfer you to Delhi International Airport for your flight back to home.