Culture and soft trek

Location: LEH
Duration: 9Nights / 10Days

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.

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

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.

After covering these three monasteries we drive back to leh to our hotel for night stay

Day 04 : LEH– LIKIR

Enroute visiting: Phyang & 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.

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.

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.

Overnight stay at the camp

Day 05 : LIKIR – YANGTHANG

Breakfast at the camp. From the village the trekking path descends into a narrow gorge. Follow the trail along the bare hill down the village upto Sumda in the next valley. Before you enter Sumdo village the path forks at a stupa. Follow the path on the left side till you reach Yangthang village.

Visit to Ridzong Gonpa (a secluded and a peaceful monastery) and back to the village for the night.

Day 06: YANGTHANG – HEMIS SHUKPACHAN VIA RIDZONG (6-7 HRS)

Today our trek is pretty long. We walk alongside the river and trees amidst the gorge to the Ridzong monastery. It is worth visiting Ridzong Monastery, which is an isolated at the back of a natural amphitheatre and has three main rooms to visit, two with large Buddhas and third with a large stupa.

After visiting the gompa, we ascend gradually to the Shushut pass 4000 m. From the pass we have a view of Hemis Shukpachan as well as surrounding peaks. An easy descent towards our camp at Hemis Shukpachan takes a couple of hours. It is one of the major villages of Sham, and the name of the village is derived from the conifers (shukpa cedar or juniper).

Day 07: HEMIS SHUKPACHAN – TINGMOSGAM (4 hrs trek ) – LAMAYURU (SURFACE)

From Hemis Shukpachan we go onto a flat ground as far as ill-defined pass alongside the Chortens (stupas). A steep descent will lead us to the right side of the mountains and climb steadily on the slope towards the Mebtak La 3720 m.

After taking short rest and enjoying the view from the pass, we head down to the village of Ang. From Ang, we head towards the south on the dusty jeep road to the village of Tingmosgam. Tingmosgam is well famed for its monastery, and is perhaps the most affluent village in the sham valley for its apricots, apples, nuts and beautiful houses.

After finishing the trek we drive to Lamayuru lower ladakh it’s also called as sham. Lamayuru Gompa: The oldest holy site in Ladakh, it was a bon shrine prior to the advent of Buddhism. Also known as Yung Drung (Swastika) it is sited on a high promontory overlooking the village and valley. For sheer spectacle value no other Gompa can match Lamayuru. Overnight at Camp near Lamayuru.

Day 08: LAMAYURU – ALCHI – LEH

In the morning before breakfast you may again visit the Lamayuru monastery to be part of the morning prayer ceremony.

After breakfast we drive towards Alchi (55 km from Lamayuru). Just before Alchi we drive across the mighty River Indus over the bridge and reach Ladakh’s most loved Alchi 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. Later we drive to Leh (3521 m), capital of Ladakh and check-in the Hotel.

Evening at leisure & Overnight stay at the Hotel.

Day 09: LEH

Complete day at leisure for own activities and Last day Shopping. Overnight stay at the hotel

Day 10: 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