Culture and short hikes

This tour is specially tailored for people who are interested in meditation. Mahabodhi is the only centre in Ladakh to conduct Dhamma talks and meditation programs. Situated in the center of Leh city (which is away from the main bazaar and not too noisy) daily meditation courses are conducted for the benefit and happiness of the people those who come from within and outside India. At this centre, Mahabodhi conducts yoga and meditation classes (Monday through to Saturday) throughout the summer months.

Location: Culture and short hikes
Duration: 7Nights / 8Days

Day 01 : ARRIVAL IN LEH

Upon arrival at Leh Airport you will met by Mountain trails representative and Welcome in traditional Ladakhi style and transfer to our pre-arranged hotel, rest of the day at leisure to acclimatize. Overnight stay at hotel

Leh City: The capital of Ladakh, at one time was a major stop on the Asian “Silk Route”. A stroll along the main bazar, observing the varied crowd and peering into the curio shops, is an entrancing experience. Chang Gali, behind the main bazar is less bustling but has intriguing little shops selling curios and jewelry like pearls, turquoise, coral, malachite, lapis and many other kinds of semi-precious stones, as well as curiously carved Yak-horn boxes, quaint brass locks, china or metal bowls etc.

Evening we visit Shanti Stupa A magnificent white-domed structure, The Japanese for World Peace built the Shanti Stupa, at Changspa, on the hilltop, and was inaugurated by Dalai Lama in 1985. Its state of the art work attracts a lot of tourists to Ladakh and is spectacular to watch. From there one can see the nice spectacular view of Leh town. The stupa looks best at night, when it is beautifully illuminated with glittering lights. A large number of tourists come to Ladakh every year to visit this amazing stupa.

Day 02 : LEH

AM: Excursion Spituk & Hall of Fame
PM: Excursion to Sankar Gompa & Leh Palace

Post breakfast we depart for AM Sightseeing tour to Spituk

Spituk monastery was built in 15th century during the reign of Grags ‘bum-lde, these new Gelug-pa monastery was built like fortress on the summit of crags. Spituk lies some 5 kms south of Leh. Nesting at the foot of the crags are the flat-topped houses which go to form the village of Spituk.

Spituk or dpe-thub mean ‘effective as an Example’ and this is thus a suitable name for the first Gelug-pa monastery in Ladakh. Inside the monastery, which includes several courtyards and temples of various sizes, has been built at different levels, following the shape of the rock.

And also visit Hall of Fame near Leh is worth a visit for every citizen. It is a glorious museum constructed by Indian army. You can see the memorabilia, eminent defence personalities with biographies, images and weapons used during Kargil war and belongings of enemy soldiers found at war site. Another section of this building is entirely dedicated to Siachen and its heroes. On display are attires, multi layered shoes to keep their feet from frost bites, their daily instruments, their day to day food mainly frozen and packed, which is heated by lighting small balls of Hexamycin tablets, as fire is difficult to ignite at a temperature dipping -30 deg to -50 deg centigrade. It is mentioned on a board that 97% of the casualties in Siachen are due to cold and terrain.

Later we drive back to hotel on time for lunch

Later in the afternoon, guided sightseeing tour visiting Sankar Gompa, located at a distance of approximately 3 km from the town of Leh. A subsidiary of the Spituk Gompa, it belongs to the Gelukpa or the Yellow Hat Sect. The monastery also serves as the official residence of the Ladakh’s head of Gelukpa Sect, known as The Kushok Bakul. There are time restrictions for visiting the Sankar Monastery of Leh Ladakh. You can also go either between 7:00 am and 10:00 am, or between 5:00 pm and 7:00 pm. These restrictions have been placed because a few of the monks, of the yellow-hat sect, attached to the monastery reside here permanently.

Leh Palace is one of the most captivating architectural ruins that attract the attention of the tourists almost immediately with its majestic setting at the edge of the Namgyal hill and overlooking the town and at once looks like a reminiscent of Lhasa’s Potala Palace. The Palace was built in the middle of the 16th century by King Singe Namgyal and still belongs to the royal family that now lives in the Stok Palace. The nine-storeyed monument is now in ruins. The palace remains locked and may be opened at request by a monk

Leh Palace is also an excellent example of the medieval Tibetan architecture. It features colossal inclined buttressed walls and protruding wooden balconies.

Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 03 : LEH – ALCHI

Enroute visiting: Phyang, Likir, Basgo

After breakfast we drive to Phyang, located 6 kms away from the Srinagar-Leh highway and 17 km from Leh. It was built during the reign of King Jamyang Namgyal in late 15th century by lama Kunga Dragspa. Phiyang belongs to Dri-pung kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. The man Assembly Hall which is now under conservation contains as main image Vairocana accompanied by Shakyamuni and various Kagyu lamas, and the walls are painted pleasingly with murals of Vajradhara and Five Dhyani Buddhas.

And we drive further to Likir, Likir gompa situated atop a windy cliff top overlooking the beautiful village of Likir, This Monastery is headed by the younger brother of Dalai Lama. According to tradition the foundation of Likir monastery goes back 11th century when it was a Bon center. But the real foundation seem to be not earlier than 15th century. On the top on roof they have newly setup a museum which contains some very old thankas brought from Tibet and the armory, coins, seals etc.

Basgo is certainly the most impressive of Ladakhi citadels despite its ruined state. Amidst the ruines of the fort there are two large temples and adjoining one of there is a small shrine. They all contains images of Maitreya in due proportion to their size. The most beautiful one is the higer one, which is known as the Chamba Lha-khang (Maitreya Temple) and which was built by Tsewang Namgyal, son of Tashi Namgyal, about the middle of 16th century.

Then we drive and cross the River Indus and reach Alchi, Ladakh’s most loved monastery. Over a century old, its wall paintings are very similar to those of the Tabo gompa in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Unlike other monasteries, which are usually on a cliff top or cling to a mountainside, Alchi is at ground level and is nestled in the shade of a garden.

After visiting the Alchi Monastery we check in at our Camp / Guest House for Overnight stay.

Day 04 : ALCHI – LEH

Enroute visiting Lamayuru, Ridzong

After break fast start early morning drive to Lamayuru, and Ridzong back to Leh.

Lamayuru is around more further towards Kargil. Lamayuru monastery belongs to Dripung Kagyu (Red Hat) like Phiyang. The oldest structure in Lamayuru is the Singey Lhakhang built by the founder of Alchi Lotsava Rinchen bzangpo in 11th century. Lamayuru lower ladakh its also called as sham.

After visit at lamayuru Gonpa the drive to Ridzong Gompa: Rizong Gompa is known as the paradise for Meditation. Guru Padma Sambhava is believed to editated here for years. One can still find the small caves where Lamas used to meditate for years cutting themselves from the rest of the world except for a one feet square outlet window from where they accept the one time meal of the day.

Rid-zong is the most recent of the Gelug-pa foundation in Ladakh. The monastery has been built picturesquely at the head of a gorge reached by a side-valley running north from the Indus near a village Uletokpo. Rid-zong is best known as best disciplined monastery of the whole of Ladakh.

After Ridzong visit we drive back to Leh and check in at our hotel for overnight stay

Day 05 : LEH – STOK

Excursion to Stok Palace & Hike to Stok George

Stok lies south south of leh on the opposite side of the singe Tsangspo River. The castle was built on a hill at the end of village in about the year 1825 by king Tsespal Tondup Namgyal. In stok there is also the sacred monastery of Gurphug, a branch of Spituk Monastery. On the 9th and 10th days of the first tibeten month of the festival called the “Guru Tshechu” is held during which the monks of Spituk Monastery come to perform the sacred dances. At that time two gods make their appearance.

After visiting the stok palace we take a hike to beautiful Stok George. Later we walk back to stok and spend a night in kalden guest house.

Day 06: STOK – LEH

Enroute visiting: Matho & Stakna

Post breakfast we walk to Matho Gompa, Which is about 6 kms from Stok and houses some incredible statues and paintings. The monastery was founded by Lama Dugpa Dorjay in 16th century. Matho is the only Sakya-pa establishment in Ladakh.

Matho monastery is renowned mainly for its yearly festival, which takes place on the 14th and 15th of the first Tibetan month thus in late March or early April. It is known as Nag-hrang after the name of the local god (sa-bdag). Following drive to Stakna

After Visiting Matho we drive to Stakna Monastery, Stakna is a small monastery, comprising the private apartment, all newly decorated in good Tibetan style, a Du-khang and the roms of monks and attendants. The Du-khang contains a silver gilt stupa, some seven feet high, set up by the present Head Lama Stakna Rinpoche. Other items of interest were the images of three Drug-pa lamas, Padma Karpo, Ngag-dbang rNam-rgyal, the stone man of Bhutan in 17th century, and of Ngag-dbang rGyal-mtshan.

Later in the evening drive back to hotel. Evening at leisure to stroll in the bazaar and overnight at the hotel

Day 07: LEH

Excursion to Shey, Thiksey, Hemis

Today we proceed for Indus Valley monastery tour.

We start with a visit to Shey the ancient capital of Ladakh. The monastery here has a huge gold-gilded statue of Buddha Sakyamuni with a large silver lamp burning in front of the statue, built in the memory of King Singee Namgyal by his son lDeldan Namgyal in 1633 A.D. It is the only kind of statue made of Gold, Gilt and copper in entire Ladakh.

Then we visit Thiksey Gompa an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village. The monastery has a beautiful 30 m high gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future is one of the most beautiful monasteries of Ladakh,.

Drive further to visit the famous Hemis Gompa, This is the largest monastic foundation of Drukpa Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Most of the other Drukpa monasteries are the branch monasteries of Hemis. It was built during early 17th century with the blessing of Lama Stagtsang Raspa (Shambunatha), by famous Namgyal dynasty king Singee Namgyal.

The two-day festival of monastic dance in June-July has raised the reputation of Hemis particularly high. The festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as second Buddha and responsible for spreading Buddhism in the Tibetan world.

Day 08: DEPART LEH

Tour concludes. Mountain Trails thank you for your patronage and ensure a punctual transfer to Domestic Airport to catch the flight for your onward Destination