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India Holidays- Ladakh Landscape

Exploring the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh

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This is an extraordinary experience where guests stay in village houses which have been specially adapted to western standards. Each house is taken on a private basis and sleeps up to a maximum of six people in three double / twin bedrooms. Each house is fully staffed including a wonderful chef. Transport throughout the itinerary is by vehicle, on foot, by bicycle or white water raft - it is very much down to individual choice.

Day 1 - Arrive Delhi
Today arrive Delhi and transfer to the family run hotel Tikli Bottom. This is a small boutique hotel within easy reach of Delhi's international airport (in the village of Tikli). It is run by an English couple who have lived and worked in India for decades, and pride themselves on their work with the local community - most notably opening and running Martin's School - providing education for children in the local community.

Overnight: Tikli Bottom - All meals included

Day 2 - Delhi - Nimoo
Early this morning you will be collected from your hotel in Delhi and driven to the airport in time to check-in for your flight to Leh (0540/0645hrs). On arrival at Leh Airport (3332m/10928ft), you will be met and driven your first village house in Nimoo, around 1 hour from the airport. 

Nimoo (3190m/10463ft) is a large village situated 36km west of Leh along the Indus valley at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. The village is characterised by impressive mountain scenery, and is considered exceptionally fertile in Ladakhi terms - lush green fields and apricot, apple, and walnut orchards abound. 

The house has a large ground floor with a first floor built in a 'C' shape around a courtyard. The courtyard and the roof terrace above is paved with local grey slate - a perfect place to soak up the ever present sun whilst reading a book or enjoying a meal or drink on 'the rooftop of the world.' As you will be acclimatizing, spend the day taking it very easy relaxing at the house. 

Overnight: Nimoo Village House - Fully inclusive

Day 3 - Nimoo
A fairly leisurely pace today as you will still be acclimatising. This morning before breakfast you will be taken on a two hour walk of the village of Nimoo by the owner of the village house who is also the village Goba (head of the village), Chinglo, (villager in charge of water distribution) and Ladakhi medicine man. You will get a fascinating insight into rural Ladakhi life and possibly the opportunity to try your hand at archery. Enjoy a picnic lunch in the pretty village of Saspol, then visit Likhir village, its monastery and school, where approximately 40 monks study per year.

Later visit the Basgo fort where there are three 'Future Buddha' monasteries which were completed in the 16th century and the ruins of a fort that is interesting for its Islamic architecture.

Return to your village house in Nimoo for drinks followed by dinner.

Overnight: Nimoo Village House - Fully inclusive

Day 4 - Nimoo
Today you will be driven three and half hours to the Dahanu valley. The Dards of Dah Hanu are nominally Buddhist but also worship their own Pantheon of gods. They have an Indo-European appearance in contrast to the predominant Tibeto-Mongol inhabitants of Ladakh. They are believed to have migrated to this area via Gilgit around 1000 years ago from Central Asia. They live in very primitive conditions even when judged by the standards of Ladakh. After lunch, you will visit the monastery and a local school nearby.

Later you will be driven to Alchi (3120m/10233ft), the only monastery in Ladakh to be built on flat ground. The temple was founded in the 11th century and is particularly interesting for its Indian and Kashmiri influences. You will spend some time with the head monk here.

You will then return to your village house in Nimoo for the evening.

Overnight: Nimoo Village House - Fully inclusive

Day 5 - Nimoo to Eego
After a leisurely breakfast, you will drive up to the village of Chilling (3236m/10614ft), a settlement that is traditionally home to metalsmiths and is the only village in Ladakh that has provided copper, bronze, tin, silver and iron work to Leh through the centuries. You will get the chance to see the local metal smith at work before enjoying a picnic lunch.

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Later this afternoon raft for about two hours down river to the shores of the village of Nimoo (or drive if you are not keen to raft) where you will be served a delicious picnic lunch. After lunch you will be driven to your next village house in Eego. You will visit the Hemis monastery (3500m/11480ft) en route. Belonging to the Red Hat sect, Hemis was built in 1630 and is Ladakh's largest monastery. It is an impressive and intriguing experience. Your guide will show you around providing you with an insight into Buddhism and a glimpse into the monks' way of life.

Eego is situated at a height of 3900m/12795 ft. Eego literally means 'nine bends' in Ladakhi.

Overnight: Eego Village House - Fully inclusive

Day 6 - Eego - Shey
This morning after a leisurely breakfast you will take a short walk around the village of Eego. You will then enjoy lunch by a stream and later continue to your next village house in Shey. The historic village of Shey is situated on the banks of Indus River and is approximately 15 kilometres away from the main town of Leh. Shey was once the capital of Upper Ladakh under the Namgyal rulers. With a magnificent palace, a spectacular Gompa (with the second largest Buddha statue in Ladakh) and a relatively large inhabitation, Shey (3505 m/11499 ft) will be your home for next three nights.

The village house at Shey is over 100 years old and enjoys views of the nearby Shey Palace, Thiksey monastery and the mountains from its roof terrace. It is perfectly located for walking to nearby places and avoiding car use. The house is substantial by Ladakhi standards and some of the rooms are painted in a traditional style with motifs and styles that are decades old.

You will drive to the main town of Leh to do a bit of shopping, especially if you want to pick up any souvenirs.

This evening we will arrange for a Buddhist monk to come visit you to share stories of his way of life.

Overnight: Shey Village House - Fully inclusive

Day 7 - Shey
For those who are prepared to get up very early, we recommend starting early and driving for one hour to Thiksey monastery (3400m/11152ft) to experience the early morning Buddhist prayers (you would need to leave at five thirty). Built around 600 years ago, Thiksey monastery is one of the finest examples of Ladakhi religious architecture. The monastery consists of twelve levels ascending the hillside crowned by the current lama's private residence. Below the monastery proper are chapels and houses stretching down the hillside where one hundred monks of the Yellow Hat Buddhist sect reside.

Today you will visit the SECMOL campus. The Students' Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded in 1988 by a group of young Ladakhis to reform the educational system of Ladakh. They welcome volunteers, their work and the inter-cultural exchange and understanding they bring. We will also arrange for an interview with the founding member, Rebecca Norman if she is available. You could also participate in volunteering work.

This evening you will have a cooking class with your private chef in the kitchen downstairs.

Overnight: Shey Village House - Fully inclusive

Day 8 - Shey
Today your guide will take you for a walk around the interesting village of Shey. The walk can be extended to the ancient Shey Palace and its Gompa with a 39 feet tall copper statue of Shakyamuni Buddha. Your guide will bring the past glory of this 'town' into life with interesting facts and stories. You can then return (walk or cycle or drive as cars will be on stand-by) to the house for a delicious lunch prepared by your in-house chef.

We will then arrange a meeting with an oracle after which you will visit a nunnery close by to attend evening prayers. Spend some time with the shy nuns before proceeding to your village house for dinner.    

Overnight: Shey Village House - Fully inclusive

Day 9 - Shey - Leh - Delhi
Today you will be transferred to the airport for your flight to Delhi. On arrival you will be met and transferred to your hotel, Tikli Bottom. 

Overnight: Tikli Bottom - All meals included

Day 10 - Delhi departure
This morning you will be transferred to the airport for your onward flight.

 

 

PRICING

From £4,193 / $6,619 per person for land arrangements and domestic flights between Delhi and Ladakh only, based on two people sharing a room.  Typical group size is up to six guests.

All of our itineraries are tailor-made according to the interests of our clients and the above itinerary is an example only. Please contact our India holidays specialist, Rachel Cooper, for your own tailor-made holiday to Ladakh on +44 (0)1242 787814.

 

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