Calling this venture an amazing trip, would be an understatement. The excursion, as the name suggests, is a complete cultural fiesta for travellers. Ladakh, Leh in particular, has a culture that has been immensely influenced by the beliefs of Buddhism. It has numerous monasteries, locally called gompas, at short distances from each other. And this is where this beautiful journey through the region will take you. A visit to monasteries like Spituk, Sankar, Rizong, Thiksey and Hemis is offered on this trip. Also, visit Shanti Stupa, a beautiful monument promoting world peace; and the ruins of Shey Palace while on this venture.
Experience the thrill of camping by staying in tents in the beautiful Nubra Valley, also known as the valley of the flowers. Pay respect to the martyrs of Indo-Pak wars at the Hall of Fame museum, and also visit Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and learn the interesting history of the place. From arrival to departure, a comfortable, convenient and joyful journey is assured to you. No aspect of Ladakh and its culture will be left untouched during this tour. Enough time is offered to you to stroll in the local Leh market to buy souvenirs and gifts for your friends and family.
Day 01: Arrival in Leh | Sightseeing
On arrival at Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport, meet our representative and transfer to the hotel. Post check-in and refreshments, relax and rejuvenate yourself for the evening sightseeing trip. During the tour, visit Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa.
Leh Palace, an architectural marvel that was the former royal residence of Ladakh, sits on Namgyal Hill overlooking most expanse of the city. Shanti Stupa, the wonderful white-domed two level structure, was constructed by Ladakhi and Japanese monks to promote world peace and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. Later, stroll in the nearby market to witness the incredible craftsmanship of local artists. Thereafter, return to the hotel for a refreshing overnight stay.
Day 02: Sightseeing in and around Leh
After breakfast, start your day with a visit to Spituk Monastery. The 11th century gompa holds the festival of Gustor every year, and it is home to around 150 monks. Next stop on the list is the Hall of Fame museum, consisting of various reminders of the Indo-Pak wars. Also called the memorial for war heroes, the institution has a 2-storey building with a souvenir shop on the first floor, and battle equipment on the second.
Post lunch we begin the second leg of the excursion with a visit to Sankar gompa. At a 4-km drive from the city of Leh, this is a relatively new monastery where about 20 monks reside. The primary attraction here is a magnificent statue of Avalokitesvara – the Bodhisattva of love – depicted as having 1000 heads and holding weapons in his 1000 hands. Thereafter, return to the hotel for a peaceful sleep.
Day 03: Leh to Sham Valley | En route Sightseeing
After a leisurely breakfast, drive downstream along the Indus River on National Highway 1D till you reach Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. Situated at an altitude of about 12000 feet, the establishment has an interesting story associated with it. Magnetic Hill, believed to defy the laws of gravity, is only a 4-km drive from here. The trip continues as you drive further towards Likir Monastery, which houses an approximately 75-feet tall statue of Maitreya Buddha.
When you are done paying respect to the deity, drive further to the villages of either Uleytokpo or Tingmosgang, en route visiting Rizong Monastery. Built in 1831 and upholding the teachings of the great Je Tsongkhapa, the gompa is home to around 40 monks. Idols of Mahakala, Lord Buddha, Avalokitesvara and Maitreya are worth a look here. On arrival at either village, check-in at your lodging for an overnight stay.
Day 04: Sham Valley to Leh | En route Sightseeing
Driving through the enchanting Moonland, also known as Moon Landscapes, reach Lamayuru Monastery. Consisting of a rich collection of Buddhist artefacts, thangkas, wall paintings and carpets, it is one of the oldest gompas in Ladakh. An 11-headed and 1000-eyed image of Avalokitesvara also resides inside the monastery. While driving to Leh, visit Alchi Gompa, the 11th century monastery built by King Yeshe Od of Guge to promote Buddhism in the region. On reaching Leh, transfer to the hotel for a comfortable overnight stay.
Day 05: Sightseeing around Leh
After breakfast, leave for an excursion to Chemrey and Takthok Monasteries near Sakti village. Chemrey Gompa has paintings of its founder lama, Buddhist deities, two mandalas, a huge idol of Padmasambhava and a large religious book featuring letters of pure silver and gold. Takthok Monastery houses statues of Avalokitesvara and Padmasambhava, wall paintings of guardian deities and books containing the teachings of Lord Buddha.
Hemis gompa, associated with the Drukpa Kagyu order of Himalayan Buddhism, is your next destination. The monastery is believed to have existed since the 11th century, and it holds the vivid Hemis Festival where dances, dedicated to Padmasambhava, are performed. En route visiting Shey Palace and Thiksey Monastery reach Leh and transfer to the hotel for overnight stay. In Shey Palace, remember to see the towering sculpture of Lord Buddha and ornate images of two of his disciples.
Associated with Gelug or the yellow-hat sect of Himalayan Buddhism, Thiksey Monastery features a giant idol of Maitreya, and paintings of Mahakala, Padmasambhava, Avalokitesvara, Manjusri and the Tibetan Calendar.
Day 06: Sightseeing around Leh
Post breakfast visit Matho Monastery, which belongs to the Sakya order of Tibetan or Himalayan Buddhism. The gompa is noted for its centuries-old thangkas, and the Nagrang Festival. Admire the beautiful paintings of Shakyamuni and Amchi at Stakna gompa, and later drive to Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre and Stok Monastery.
The meditation centre was built for the purpose of spiritual development of those in need. The 14th century Stok Monastery, founded by Lama Lhawang Lotus, is where the descendants of the erstwhile royal family of Ladakh live. Later, return to Leh for a relaxing overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 07: Departure from Leh
Post checking-out from the hotel, travel to the airport to board your onward flight.
Duration: 06 Nights / 07 Days
Region: Leh Ladakh
Places Covered: Leh, Sham Valley, Lamayuru
Best Time to go: April to October
1. Assistance upon arrival at Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport
2. Traditional welcome in the Hotel with Welcome Drink (Hot Tea / Coffee / Kahwa) on arrival
3. 05 Nights' Accommodation in Leh on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary with Breakfast and Dinner
4. 01 Night Accommodation in Sham Valley on twin sharing Basis as per the Itinerary With Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner
5. Morning Tea / Coffee with Biscuits on the day of departure
6. Return airport and round trip transfers along with all sightseeing tours by Non-Ac Vehicle (Scorpio | Tata Safari | Tavera | Tata Grande for Standard Category) and (Innova | Xylo for Delxe, Super Deluxe, Luxury and Premium) and (08 and Above Pax based on Maxi Cab or Tempo Traveler or Similar) as per the itinerary
7. Wild Life fees and Red Cross fee
1. Any Airfare or GST @ 5.0%
2. Any Kind of Personal Expenses or Optional Tours / Extra Meals Ordered
3. Anything not specifically mentioned under the head Inclusions
4. The Services of Vehicle is not included on leisure days and after finishing the sightseeing tour as per the Itinerary
5. Guide fee, Camera fee and any monument Entrances
6. Medical and Travel insurance
7. Any changes you may choose to make during your tour
8. Additional costs due to flight cancellation, road blocks etc