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Explore Ladakh

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Places covered : Delhi - Leh - Alchi - Lamayuru - Leh - Delhi

Highlights of Explore Ladakh
New Delhi : Old Delhi , Red Fort , Jama Masjid , Chandni Chowk , Rajghat , Humayun's Tomb , Qutab Minar, India gate , Connaught Place.
Leh : Shey monastery , Thiksey , Hemis monasteries , Sankar Gompa , Shanti Stupa , Shey Palace & Gompa Thiksey Gompa , Spituk monastery.
Alchi : Magnetic hill , Zanskar Rivers , Alchi Gompa , Sham valley , Gurdwara Shri Patthar Sahib , Nimu village , Likir Gompa , Thankas.
Lamayuru : Rizong monastery , Chulichan nunnery , Yung Drung , Rizong Gompa , Guru Padma Sambhava.

Red Fort Delhi

Arrive late evening in Delhi where our representative will meet you outside the customs area and escort you to your hotel. He will then assist you in checking in.

Stay overnight in Delhi.

Day 02. IN DELHI
After an early breakfast today we will take you for a tour of Old and New Delhi.

Old Delhi: A visit to the fortified old city of Delhi with its crumbling walls, 17th century havelis (mansions) and narrow galis (lanes) teeming with people and commerce is a journey to another world. We will drive past the majestic Red Fort built of red sandstone from 1639 - 1648 AD by Emperor Shah Jehan and then visit Jama Masjid - the biggest mosque of Asia built in 1650 AD by Shah Jehan. After the visit we will also enjoy a rickshaw ride through the busy streets of Chandni Chowk (the silver market of the bygone era). This will be followed by a visit to Rajghat - memorial site for Mahatma Gandhi.

New Delhi: India's capital city is a medley of history and culture juxtaposed with the new and the brash. Our tour today will include some of its major landmarks. We will visit the Humayun's Tomb - the mausoleum of Emperor Humayun, followed by a visit to Qutab Minar built by Qutab-ud-din Aibek. Drive past the secretarial offices and the Parliament house. Visit the India Gate - war memorial and Connaught Place, the city center of New Delhi.

Stay overnight in Delhi.

This morning you will proceed to the airport to connect to an early morning flight to Leh. Upon arrival in Leh, our representative will meet and escort you to your hotel.

Rest of the day is free for you to acclimatize to the high altitude of Ladakh.

Stay overnight in Leh.

Day 04. IN LEH
This morning after an early breakfast you will proceed to Shey monastery for morning prayers. Later visit Thiksey and Hemis monasteries. In the evening visit the Sankar Gompa and Shanti Stupa. Witness the stunning sunset from Shanti Stupa.

Shey Palace & Gompa - It is situated on a hillock 9 miles upstream from Leh. It was once the residence of the royal family. According to tradition, it was the seat of power of the pre-Tibetan period. A 7.5mt high gold-plated statue of Lord Buddha is installed here.

Thiksey Gompa -It is situated 12 miles from Leh. The architecture of this Gompa is very impressive and it houses many temples, which contain images, stupas and wall paintings of the Buddha.

Hemis Gompa Hemis Gompa - It is situated 25 miles from Leh and is the wealthiest, best-known and biggest Gompa of Ladakh. A major festival is held here every year in the summer, in honour of Guru Padma Sambhava's birth anniversary. It also has the largest Thanka in Ladakh, which is unfurled once every 12 years (Next in 2016). Singge Namgyal, the ruler of Ladakh built Hemis in 1630. It flourished under the Namgyal Dynasty as the royalty favored the Drugpa sect, which managed the monastery. The Hemis is divided in two parts; on the right is the assembly hall and the main temple on the left. The hall (Dukhang) is also used as a 'green room' by the dancers during the festival. The temple is known as Tshogkhang. The verandahs have a surfeit of frescoes, among them the Buddhist 'Wheel of life' (Kalchakra) and a beautiful depiction of the lords of the four quarters.

Sankar Gompa & Village - It is a relatively modern monastery and is closely associated with the Spituk monastery. It also served as the residence of the late head priest - Kaushak Bakula. You will get to see many gold icons here.

Shanti Stupa (A Japanese Peace Pagoda) -A Japanese religious organization headed by Head monk Nakamura built this Stupa with the help of the local citizens of the area. It is situated on a hilltop in Cahngspa village providing a bird's eye view of Leh town and the surrounding mountain peaks. The sunset view from here is spectacular.

Stay overnight in Leh.

Day 05. LEH - ALCHI
This morning after breakfast, you will drive on to Alchi enroute visiting Magnetic hill, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers and Alchi Gompa.

Magnetic Hill - Defying the law of gravity, this place is located close to the Gurdwara Shri Patthar Sahib. It has been noticed that when a vehicle is parked in neutral gear on this metallic road the vehicle slides up-hill. This is a famous 'believe-it-or-not' of Ladakh.

On the way to Sham valley before Nimu village one has a magnificent view of the confluence of two mighty rivers of the region, namely Indus and Zanskar.

Alchi Gompa - On the banks of river Indus, 44 miles from Leh is Alchi Gompa. It dates back a thousand years. One of its walls features thousands of miniature sized pictures of Buddha. Three large sized images made of clay and painted brightly are its focal attraction. Monks from Liker monastery take care of this Gompa, as it is no longer an active religious center. This is the only monastery amongst the 34 monasteries, which is not located on a hilltop.
Lamayuru Gompa
Stay overnight in Alchi.

This morning after breakfast, you will proceed to visit Lamayuru monastery. Later in the afternoon you will visit the Rizong monastery and Chulichan nunnery. .

Lamayuru Gompa - It is the oldest holy site in Ladakh and is also known as Yung Drung (Swastika). It was a bon shrine prior to the advent of Buddhism. It is located on a high promontory overlooking the village and the valley. For sheer spectacle value, no other Gompa can match Lamayuru.

Rizong Gompa - It is one of the most isolated monasteries in Ladakh. Rizong Gompa is also referred to as the paradise for meditation. Guru Padma Sambhava is believed to have meditated here for years. One can still see the small caves where Lamas use to meditate for years, cutting themselves off from the rest of the world except for a one square foot outlet window from where they used to accept their one meal of the day.

Chulichan nunnery - The nunnery is around a mile below the Rizong monastery. Around 20 nuns reside at Chulichan. They provide food and clothes to the monks and perform morning and evening prayers.

Stay overnight in Alchi.

likir Gompa Day 07. ALCHI - LEH
This morning after breakfast, proceed back to Leh, enroute visiting Likir and Spituk monastery. Later in the evening you will visit Stok Palace and museum.

Likir Gompa - This was founded in the 11th century and re-dedicated to a different monastic order in the 15th century. Its earlier Gompa was destroyed in fire. The present Gompa dates back to the 18th century. In the village are skilled craftsmen producing beautiful Thankas, earthen pots and carved wooden folding stools. A magnificent giant Jupiter tree, one of the few survivors of its species, stands in the courtyard.

Spituk Gompa - This is a 15th century Gompa and is located 5 miles from Leh. Its location above a hillock gives a panoramic view of the Indus valley for miles. The Gompa has many icons of the Buddha and a good collection of ancient masks, antique arms and awe-inspiring images of Mahakaal. The face of the Kali image is kept covered and is revealed only at the annual festival in the month of January every year.

Stok Palace & Museum - This is the palace of the banished royal family. It has a museum, which displays fabulous period costumes and jewellery of the royal family along with the exquisite Thankas representing the life style of Shakya Muni.

Stay overnight in Leh.

Leh Airport Day 08. LEH - DELHI BY FLIGHT
This day after an early breakfast you will drive back to the airport to connect to the flight to Delhi. You will be met on arrival in Delhi and escorted to your hotel. The room will be at your disposal till your final transfer to the international terminal to connect to the flight for the onward destination. You could also use this time to do some last minute shopping.

This day you take an early morning flight for onward destination.



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