Have a little more than a week to spare? Then why not plan a trip to Ladakh to visit two of its most scenic and spiritually significant valleys? Reach Leh – the political and cultural centre of the region – by flight, and then visit Leh Palace and Shanti Stupa. Shop for locally produced handicrafts, and in the morning, head out for an amazing sightseeing venture. Explore Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, the monastery or gompa of Likir, Magnetic Hill, and see the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers. On the way to the Sham Valley, click photos of Moon landscape, and then visit Lamayuru gompa. Remember to see the richly carved wooden exterior of the Sumtseg of Alchi Monastery en route Leh from the valley.
In the morning, ascend the summit of Khardung La while on the way to the valley of the Nubra River. Once here, travel through sand dunes on the back of twin-humped camels. Take a tour of Diskit Monastery before heading back towards Leh, and after another night stay in the city, travel to Pangong Tso. Enjoy camping on the shores of this awe-inspiring lake, and then return to Leh with visits to Shey Palace and Thiksey goma on the way. Fly out from the cultural epicentre of Ladakh to end this wonderful venture.
Day 01: Arrival in Leh | City Sightseeing
On landing at Leh Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport, transfer to the hotel. Post check-in, rest for some time and in the evening, and explore the city. Visit Leh Palace – a 17th century complex of buildings – that features fine wall paintings. The on-site museum has numerous things on display like crowns, ceremonial dresses and jewellery of Ladakhi monarchs.
Also, feel peace reverberate in and around Shanti Stupa – inaugurated in 1991 by Buddhists from the region and from Japan. Its two circular platforms have statues of Lord Buddha and paintings of numerous Buddhist symbols. Later, stroll in the city market, take a closer look at local handicrafts and buy some souvenirs. After shopping, return to the hotel and get some sleep.
Day 02: Sightseeing around Leh | Leh to Sham Valley
Following breakfast, travel to the village of Lamayuru, and visit Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill and Likir gompa on the way. Gurdwara Pathar Sahib is a Sikh religious site, commemorating the arrival of Guru Nanak Dev in Ladakh. A large rock, believed to have been thrown at the spiritual leader by a demon, is kept here.
Magnetic Hill, as the name suggests, is a mountain which apparently pulls metallic objects uphill towards itself. The prospect of seeing vehicles climb up the sloping road without automation brings loads of tourists here. Likir Monastery has a large sculpture of Maitreya on the roof, and one of Avalokitesvara with 1000 heads and 1000 arms, inside. Apart from these, idols and painted images of Lord Buddha, Amitabha, Je Tsongkhapa and Goddess Tara are also worth your attention.
Post this spiritual tour, relish lunch and then move on towards the village of Lamayuru. On the way, stop at the Moon landscape or Moonland – a part of the plateau that supposedly bears close resemblance to the topography of the moon. On reaching Lamayuru, pay a visit to Lamayuru Monastery, which consists of a complex of white-washed buildings atop a high mountain. The site contains an assembly hall, a temple, and numerous small and large stupas. Later, make your way further towards the valley, and on reaching here, travel to your lodging for an overnight stay.
Day 03: Sham Valley to Leh | En route Visit to Alchi Monastery
Post breakfast, start driving to the city of Leh, visiting Alchi gompa en route. The main highlight of the monastery, which has sculptures of various Buddhist deities and paintings of mandalas, is a temple called Sumtseg. Its wooden exterior is richly and intricately carved with images, designs and texts. On arrival in Leh, transfer to the hotel and enjoy a peaceful overnight stay.
Day 04: Leh to Nubra Valley
Have breakfast at the hotel, and thereafter leave for Nubra Valley. The road journey will take you over the famous Khardung La. Relish lunch, and then embark on a Bactrian camel ride on the sand dunes of the valley between the Diskit town and Hunder village. Later, travel to your lodging to rest at night.
Day 05: Visit to Diskit Monastery | Nubra Valley to Leh
Following breakfast, visit Diskit gompa to see large ritualistic drums, a behemoth statue of Maitreya and paintings of several wrathful guardian deities. The body parts of a demon, slain near the gompa, are also believed to be housed here. Later, drive back over Khardung La, and on reaching Leh, enjoy an overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 06: Leh to Pangong Tso
Relish breakfast, and thereafter embark on yet another spellbinding road journey through the Ladakh desert. On reaching Pangong Tso, travel to the campsite and then spend the rest of the day at leisure. The approximately 134-km long waterbody stretches all the way into Tibet. Though only a few marine creatures live in its waters, the area around it becomes the migratory ground of numerous bird species every year. After exploring the site and taking photos of the scenery, enjoy an overnight stay in your camp.
Day 07: Pangong Tso to Leh | Visit to Thiksey Monastery and Shey Palace
If you are lucky, then you will get to witness a mesmerising dawn over the lake. Post looking at the sunrise, have a nourishing breakfast and later travel to Leh. On the way, stop at Thiksey gompa, and see an around 50-feet high Maitreya idol, and painted representations of several Buddhist deities like Avalokitesvara, Manjusri, Mahakala and Padmasambhava.
Also, explore Shey Palace, where a giant sculpture of Lord Buddha and paintings of learned beings capture the attention of visitors. The palace is essentially a monastery, and it was established in the 17th century. Later, resume the drive and reach Leh for an overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 08: Departure from Leh
Post checking-out from the hotel, transfer to the airport for your onward flight.
Duration: 07 Nights/ 08 Days
Region: Leh Ladakh
Places Covered: Leh, Khardung La, Pangong Tso, Shey Palace, Nubra Valley, Sham Valley
Best Time to go: April to October
1. Accommodation on sharing Basis as per Package Selected
2. All Meals (Breakfast + Lunch + Dinner)
3. To & Fro Leh Airport Transfers
4. Transportation by Non A/C Innova, Xylo, Mahindra XUV or Tata Arya as per mention tour plan (Point to Point)
5. With Tempo Traveller for 6 / 8 / 10 person complete journey
6. Ladakh Entry Fees & Wild Life Fees
7. Complimentary Reach Ladakh Guide Book on arrival in Leh
1. Any Kind of Personal Expenses or Optional Tours / Extra Meals Ordered
2. Monument Entrances, Rafting & Camel Safari Charges
3. Anything not specifically mentioned under the head Inclusions
4. Tips, Insurance, Laundry, Phone Calls
5. Any Kind of Drinks (Alcoholic, Mineral, Aerated)
6. Cost incidental to any change in the itinerary/ stay on account of flight cancellation due to bad weather, ill health, roadblocks and/or any factors beyond control
7. GST @ 5.0% will be applicable on total amount, If Payment by Bank Transfer / Cheque / Credit Card