Srinagar is one of several places that has been called the “Venice of the East” or the “Kashmiri Venice”. It is known for its lakes, which include Dal Lake – noted for its houseboats – and Nagin Lake.
Ladakh is a region in India totally isolated from the modern world. An authentic land, it is faithful to ancestral customs where life is characterized by intense spirituality. Even an Indian traveler will probably find no similarities in the land and people between the ones he leaves behind and those he encounters in Ladakh. Rich traditions of Mahayana Buddhism still flourish in the purest form in this region, which has often been referred to as Little Tibet.
SRINAGAR: Sikara Ride on Dal Lake, Visit to the beautiful Gardens of Srinagar
KARGIL: Passing through Zozila Pass
ALCHI: Lamayuru and Alchi Monastery
LEH: World’s highest motor pass, Hemis Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, Shey Monastery
Welcome to India- a country where hospitality is a way of life; to a culture steeped in tradition, a land where history lives in music and dance. You will be received at the airport in a traditional manner and proceed to Hotel.
Morning after breakfast transfer to Domestic airport for a spectacular mountain flight to Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir situated at height of 5200 ft above sea level, which is located on the foot of Himalayan Mountains, where tourist enjoy living in houseboats which are anchored on famous Dal Lake.
A Kashmiri warm welcome greets you on arrival from airport and transfer to Deluxe Houseboats by Gondolas (shikara). After hot lunch at your houseboat enjoy Shikara ride on Dal Lake visiting the Floating garden, back waters of the lake, cruise will go through canals. Dinner and stay at Deluxe Houseboat. Overnight stay house boat.
Morning after breakfast, drive up to Shankeracharya Temple dedicated to Shiva 1000 ft above Srinagar City an magnificent view from the top overlooking various lakes of Kashmir and main city of Srinagar, followed by visit to the famous Mughal Gardens of Nishat (Garden of pleasure) overlooking the crystal clear Emerald green waters of the Dal lake then to Shalimar Garden (Garden of Love) built by Mughal Emperors During Spring until Autumn these gardens are full of flowers. Also pay a visit to Kashmir Famous Hand knotted Silk carpet weaving factory for good bargains. Afternoon, visit handicraft centers for papier machie and wood carving factor by shikaras. Overnight at Deluxe houseboat.
After Breakfast start driving for Kargil. Passing through Sonmarg, Zozila Pass (35280Mtrs). and Drass. Drass is the second coldest inhabited Place on earth. Here one can have spectacular view of Kargil War famous Peaks Tiger Hill and Tololing Peak. Pay a tribute to Vijay Smarak, dedicated to Indian Soldiers who laid their lives for us during Kargil War in 1999. On arrival at Kargil check-in at hotel for dinner and overnight.
About 15,000 sq. kms. in area, Kargil district has an agrarian population of approximately 120,000 people, who cultivate the land, along the course of the drainage system, wherever artificial irrigation from mountain streams is possible. About 85 % are Muslims, mainly of the Shia sect, Islam having been introduced to the original Buddhist population around the middle of the 16th century by missionaries from Kashmir and Central Asia.
Morning start driving for Lamayuro and Alchi. On the way visit The Monastery of Lamayuru (125 kms from Leh, Lamayuru is a pretty little village surrounded by the rocky Hindukush peaks.The Lamayuru Gompa is about halfway between the verdent valley of Kashmir and the upland desert plateau of Tibet. Dating back to the 10th century and belongs to Kargyu Pa sect (Red Hat Sect), Lamayuru is not only the most scenic of all Ladakh monastries, but also distinctly different from most others.
Later drive continue for Alchi. On arrival check-in the hotel / resort. Evening free to walk arround Alchi. Overnight at hotel / resort.
After breakfast check out the hotel and first visit The Alchi Monastery (Around 76 Kilometers west of Leh, south of the Indus River, is the little village of Alchi. It’s one of the most beautiful villages in Ladakh and an ideal place to get a feel for Ladakhi village life. Apart from its blissful tranquillity, Alchi has some of the subcontinent’s most impressive collections of Indo-Tibetan artworkThe village of Alchi is famous for existence of Alchi Gompa- one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh mainly known for its wall paintings which date back almost a thousand years.
Later drive to Leh. Enrout visit to Basgo and Nimo village.
Basgo Gompa is a famous Buddhist monastery in Basgo Villagein Leh District. It was once a seat of power of a branch of the Namgyal family. Built in the year 1680, it was the political and cultural center in the early days of Ladakh. Situated on top of the hill towering over the ruins, it holds a unique atmosphere of secrecy and calm. Basgo Monastery is famous for its Buddha statue and the 16th century murals and other art of the monastery which are beautiful. Nimo is the place where the Zanskar river make the confluence with Indus river and famouse for the rafting in Leh.
On arrival at leh check in the hotel for overnight.
After breakfast drive to Khardung La “La means Pass”( 5359 Mtrs.). The pass on the Ladakh Range lies north of Leh and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. The Siachen Glacier lies partway up the latter valley. Built in 1976, it was opened to motor vehicles in 1988 and has since seen many automobile, motorbike and mountain biking expeditions. Khardong La is historically important as it lies on the major caravan route from Leh to Kashgar in Chinese Central Asia. During World War II there was an attempt to transfer war material to China through this route. It is suppos to be world’s highst moterable pass.
Later drive back to Leh and visit to Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace. Shanti Stupa of Ladakh is located on the hilltop at Changspa. It can be reached quite easily from the Fort Road. The Stupa was constructed by a Japanese Buddhist organization, known as ‘The Japanese for World Peace’. The aim behind the construction of the stupa was to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and to promote World Peace. His Holiness, the Dalai Lama inaugurated the Shanti Stupa in the year 1985.
Leh Palace overlooks the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh, modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, but was later abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century. The royal family moved to Stok Palace. Leh Palace is nine storeys high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, the stables and store rooms were in the lower floors. The palace, a ruin, is currently being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India. The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding areas.
Evening free to visit Leh market. Overnight at hotel.
Morning a)fter breakfast, we will take you to a guided tour of the Monasteries of the Indus Valley. Your excursion would start with **Witness the Morning prayer ceremony at Shey Monastery.
SHEY (15 KMS SOUTH OF LEH)
On the East bank of the Indus river lies the beautiful Shey Monastery. Up to the 16th century it was the royal palace. There is a 17.5 m high blue haired Maitreya Buddha of copper, brass gilded and studded with precious gemstones.
HEMIS (45 KMS. SOUTH OF LEH)
Built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountains, Hemis is the biggest and the most important monastery in Ladakh. It was built in the 17th century by Chapgon Gyalshas and ever since has enjoyed the patronage of the royal family. Hemis is the headquarter of the Drukpa order and all the monasteries throughout Ladakh are administered by it. This wealthiest monastery contains gold statues and stupas decorated with precious stones and many priceless old Thankas.
THIKSEY (25 KMS SOUTH OF LEH)
Thiksey,one of the most imposing monasteries belonging to the 15th century, stands on a crag overlooking the flood plain on the east bank of the Indus. The monastery belongs to Elugpa order (Yellow sect) and is a 12- Storey Monastery painted deep red, ochre and white with typical tapering walls. There is a 15m high Buddha figure at the entrance of the new temple. The layout of the monastery complex resembles the Potala palace in Lhasa.
Return to your hotel by the later part of the afternoon. Evening you can walk down to the nearest market and spend some time at leisure.
After early breakfast our repersentative will assist for transfer to airport to board the flight for Delhi. After arriving at airport board the flight for Colombo for onward tour.