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Trans Himalayan Jeep Safari To Ladakh

Ladakh the remote borderland at the end of the Western Himalayas and cut off for the road communication for seven months of the year is now accessible from Manali in Himachal Pradesh through the highest mountain passes in the world.

The safari takes off from the green, verdant valleys of Kullu-Manali, skirts the mysterious valleys of Lahoul and Spiti, climbs over the passes as high as Tanglang (5112 Mts.) and Baralacha (4891 Mts.) to the awesome vistas of the tableland of “ Little Tibet”. You drive across three major mountain ranges of-the Greater Himalayas, Zanskar and Ladakh-to the foothills of the highest mountain mass of the world. The Karakorams or Mustagh, embossing the world’s second highest peak, K2 (8611 Mts.). In between high passes and grotesque gorges you traverse extensive, stark moonscapes, the legendary Moore plains and the surrealistic steppes of Sarchu. The valley heights range between 1700 Mts. to 4600 Mts., where cold, wild, winds scrape the rubble and whistle past a lonesome Chorten or a Mani-stone wall. Atop high passes you are face-to face with a maze of snow-capped mountaintops and serrated craggy ridges, which hide some of the worlds largest glaciers outside the polar region.

Yet this daunting terrain did not deter the lone wayfarer or the caravans of yore who traveled back and forth on this route on foot, camel and yak, carrying spices brocades and jewels. These ancient travelers carried crosscurrents of culture and ethnic variations, transferring this Trans-Himalayan land into repository myriad cultural and religious influences from mainland India, Tibet and Central Asia.

Detailed itinerary

Day 01: DELHI-MANALI: Drive from Delhi to Manali about 12 hrs. On arrival check in hotel Benon’s Resort.

Day 02: MANALI: Full day sightseeing of Vishist Hot water spring, Manu temple, Tibetan temple etc. Overnight Benon’s Resort.

Day 03: MANALI - TANDI (107 KM / 05-06 Hrs):. Drive from Manali to Tandi (Tupchiling) over the high pass of Rohtang La pass (13398 fts). Overnight Drilbu Retreat Cottages.

Day 04: TANDI - SARCHU (112 KM / 05-06 HRS.): Drive from Tandi to Sarchu, enroute Keylong. Overnight at Rashpian Adventure Camp.

Day 05: SARCHU - TSOKAR( 130 KM / 05 HRS): Drive from Sarchu to Rupshu Valley the domain of the high altitude Lake Tso-Kar. Overnight Camp Pasture Land.

Day 06: TSOKAR - TSOMORIRI( 76 KM / 03 HRS): Drive from Tsokar Lake to Korzok village where Tsomoriri Lake is situated. The Puga valley on the way is famous for its hundreds of Hot Water Springs. Overnight Camp Tsomoriri.

Korzok, is situated at 15000 ft. (4572 M) with its dozen or so houses and its Gompa appearing like a mirage among the barren hills, is the only permanent settlement in Rupshu valley; otherwise the region is inhabited only by nomadic Chang-pa herds people. The Rupshu Cang-pa lives in tents all the year round, moving in accordance with an old-established annual routine between the pastures that exist wherever an occasional stream carrying snowmelt from the heights makes possible the reportedly highly nutritious. The few barley fields at Korzok must be among the highest cultivation in the world, but there is no guarantee that the crop will ripen every year.

Even Rupshu’s bare hills support a sparse population of wildlife, and the animal most likely to be spotted is the Kyang, the wild ass of the Ladakh and Tibet plateaux. More plentiful are marmots (ubiquitous on mountain slopes all over Ladakh), hares, and an unusual tail-less rat. The lakes are breeding-grounds for numerous species of birds. Chief among them are the bar-headed goose, found in great number on the Tso-moriri, the great crested grebe, the Brahmini duck (ruddy sheldrake) and the brown-headed gull.

Day 07: TSOMORIRI - LEH ( 240 KM / 07-08 HRS): Drive Korzok to Leh. Overnight hotel at Leh.

Day 08: LEH SIGHTSEEN: Full day sightseeing of Shey, Thiksey and Hemis. Overnight hotel at Leh.

SHEY PALACE AND GOMPA: Situated on a hillock 15 Kms 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 kinds. A 7.5 mts high copper statue of Buddha, plated with gold and the largest of its kind, is installed here.

THIKSEY GOMPA: 19 Kms from Leh, spectacularly sited, Thiksey is one of the largest and architecturally most impressive Gompas. There are several temples in this Gompas, containing images, stupas and wall paintings of Buddha, which are exquisite.

HEMIS GOMPA: 40 Kms from Leh, it is the wealthiest, best known and biggest Gompa of Ladakh. Its popularity stems from the major annual festival held here in summer. The festival is in honor of Guru Padma Sambhava’s birth anniversary. It also has the largest Thanka in Ladakh which is unfurled once in 12 years (nest in 2004) Hemis was built in 1630 during the reign of Singge Namgyal, an illustrious ruler of Ladakh. It flourished under the Namgyal Dynasty for the royalty favored the Drugpa sect, which is managed the monastery. It is divided into two, the assembly hall on the right and the main temple on the left. The hall (Dukhang) is also used as “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” (Kalachakra) and the lords of the four quarters, besides the prayer wheel.

Day 09: Full day sightseeing of Ladakh Hall of fame, Kali Ma shrine at Spituk, confluence of Indus and Zanskar, Magnetic Hill, and Gurudwara Shri Patthar Sahib. Overnight in hotel at Leh.

LADAKH HALL OF FAME: The Hall of Fame is a glorious museum constructed by the Indian Army. It is worth a visit for every citizen. You can see the memorabilia, eminent defense personalities with biographies, images and weapons used during the Kargil and other key strategic battles fought in Ladakh. And belongings of the enemy soldiers found at war site. All the martyr and the gallantry awards.“Here’s something that you will be proud of our defense personal who sacrificed themselves so that we could live in peace.”

SPITUK GOMPA: 8 Kms from Leh, it stands prominently on the top of hillock commanding a panoramic view of the Indus Valley for miles. Many icons of Buddha and fine Thankas are to be found in this 15th century Gompa. The Gompa also houses a collection of ancient masks, antique arms, and an awe-inspiring image of Mahakaal. The face of the Kali image is kept covered and is revealed only at the annual function at January every year.

GURDWARA SHRI PATTHAR SAHIB: The Shrine known as Gurdwara Patthar sahib is situated about 25 kms. Short of Leh town on the Leh-Srinagar road. Built in the everlasting memory of Shri Guru Nanak Deve Ji the great prophet who sanctified the place by his sacred visit during the year 1517 while on his second missionary tour (2nd Udassi 1515-1518). The Guru reached here via Nepal, Sikkim, Tibet Yarkand and Leh after having spiritual discourses with the sidhas at Mount Sumer (Central Himalayas). The boulder having imprint of the Guru’s back is lying in the Gurdwara to this day.

MAGNETIC HILL: Defying the Law of gravity. This place is close to the Gurdwara Shri Patthar Sahib. It has been noticed that when a vehicle is parked on neutral gear on this metallic road the vehicle slides up-hill that’s the Believe it or not of Ladakh!

CONFLUENCE OF THE ZANSKAR & INDUS: On way to Sham Valley before Nimu village one can have this magnificent view of two rivers in wed-lock! In seasons they have different colors and flow and wildness.

Day 10: Morning excursion to World’s Highest Road Khardungla. Afternoon at leisure, walk in Leh bazaar to buy souvenirs etc. Overnight hotel at Leh.

KHARDUNGLA PASS: The road journey to Nubra valley leads through Khardung La pass (The highest Motorable road in the world) 18,390 ft. around 39 Kms. Away from Leh. There are two checkpoints on the both sides of the pass. Khardong is the first village of Nubra valley at higher altitude than Deskit and other villages. SOUVENIRS & SHOPPING IN LEH: In Leh you can buy Pashmina Shawl, Handicraft Items such as Tibetan or Kahsmiri carpets, wall paintings, wooden masks, Ladakhi wooden table carved and painted, wooden dragons for wall hangings etc. You may also want to buy Tibetan and Ladakhi artifacts from the Tibetan market or antique shops. One can buy local apricot Jam or dry apricots. You can bargain in shopping up to 20% depending on the item and the shop. It is not advisable to buy electronic items as they are more cheaper in Delhi. Do not buy any old Thanka paintings or Statue as they might be fake and are not allowed to take out of Ladakh.

Day 11: On time departure transfer to Leh airport fly Leh-Delhi.