The Land of High Passes & Hemis Tseschu Festival (7D6N)

 

Suitable Months:

June

 

Trip Type:

This is a festive trip Festival

 

 

View full album here

Ladakh, the land of high mountain passes, a piece of broken moonland – a perfect place to witness the unmatched beauty of nature. Ladakh is the highest plateau of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir with much of it being over 3,000m. It is also one of the highest and driest inhabited places on earth. The largest town in Ladakh is Leh. It is one of the few remaining abodes of Buddhism in South Asia, including the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bhutan and Sri Lanka; a majority of Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhists and the rest are mostly Shia Muslims. Leh Old Town is a rare example of an intact historic Tibeto-Himalayan urban settlement.

Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It spans the Great Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River Valley. It is sometimes called little Tibet due to strong cultural and geographical similarities with Tibet.

This is a trip made especially for those who would want to experience a completely different India. It is also a good opportunity for those who love festivals, to be able to participate and mingle with local people. Ladakh is still not an overly-touristy location but it is becoming. Why wait? It is the perfect time to still see Ladakh in her pristine state.

Itinerary

Day 1: Depart Singapore

We depart Singapore late tonight at 11pm for Leh, with a 3.5hrs transit at New Delhi International Airpot.

Meals provided: -

 

Day 2: Arrive in Leh

Early morning, we arrived in Leh at estimate 7am. After pick-up from airport, you will be driven to your guesthouse for check-in and some morning tea. You are advised to take complete rest in Leh today for proper acclimatization to adjust to the high altitude (Leh is locate 11,500 ft / 3500 metres above sea level).

The time is free in the afternoon for you to roam around in Leh town. In the evening, we will visit Shanti stupa, Leh Palace and Leh Market. Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist white-domed stupa built on a hilltop in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura . Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself. From its location, it provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and is also a good viewing point for sunset.

Leh Palace was built in the 17th century as a royal residence for King Singe Namgyal. After the royal family shifted to Stok Palace in the mid-19th century, it became desolated. The 9-storeys Leh Palace is now in ruins after suffering damages from cannon balls during wars. Still there is an old charm about it and is still an interesting place to visit.

Overnight in guesthouse in Leh.

Meals provided: Breakfast

 

Day 3: Leh – Lamayuru – Alchi – Likir – Leh

In the early morning after breakfast, drive down the Indus valley on a tour of the Lamayuru (approx. 130 kms.) circuit, famous for the dramatically located ancient Lamayuru monastery and the adjoining ‘Moonland’ features. Lamayuru or Yuru Gompa is a Tibetan Buddhist Gompa (monastery) at a height of 3,510 m and is one of the largest and oldest gompas in Ladakh. The terraced buildings of the monastery are on a hill overlooking an enchanted landscape (‘Moonland’). The gompa consisted originally of five buildings, in which at the moment, some remains of the four corner buildings can still be seen. At present, Lamayuru has a population of around 150 permanent monks resident.

After visiting Lamayuru Monastary, we drive back to Leh. En-route, let’s visit the 11th century Alchi Choskor (religious enclave), the oldest surviving monastic heritage of Ladakh and also a UNESCO listed heritage site. The Alchi choskor is believed to have been founded by the great translator Rinchen Zangpo in the early eleventh century and has an architecture very unlike other monasteries in the region. It was abandoned as a place of worship and remained unknown to rest of the world, till historians unearthed the treasured paintings in the choskor only a few decades ago. It is said Alchi choskor is a fantastic chance survival from the past, and as such, is truly one of the wonders of the Buddhist world.

Thereafter, visit Likir monastery. Likir monastery is among the best maintained monasteries in Ladakh. One of the special features of the monastery is the 3-storey high statue of Buddha. Likir monastery was founded during the reign of Lhachen Gyalpo (1100-1125 AD), the fifth king of Ladakh. It is said to be the first monastery to have established the lamasery system. The original structure was destroyed by a fire so the present structure is only about 200 years old. Originally a Kadampa foundation, it was taken over by the Gelugpa sect in the fifteenth century.

On way back to Leh, we will view the water confluence of Indus & Zanskar Rivers, stop at Magnetic Point and have a tour of Spituk monastery. Spituk Monastery, also known as Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa, is a Buddhist monastery positioned on the hill top. Founded as a Red Hat institution, the monastery was taken over by the Yellow Hat sect (Gelugpa) in the 15th century. Painted red from outside, Spituk Monastery houses a giant statue of Vajrabhairava which many non-local Indians (soldiers in particular) come to worship for they take it for an image of their goddess Kali. The statue carved out of black stones is unveiled once a year during the annual Spitok festival.

Overnight in guesthouse in Leh.

Meals provided: Breakfast

 

Day 4: Leh – Tsomoriri / Korzok

Early departure for Tsomoriri Lake (alt: 15,000 ft.), driving through Chumathang (hot springs), Mahe and Puga Sumdo. Tsomoriri or Lake Moriri (official name: Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve), is a lake in the Changthang area. The lake is at an altitude of 4,595 m (15,075 ft) and is the largest of the high altitude lakes in the Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region, entirely within India. The lake sits between Ladakh, India to the North, Tibet to the east, and Zanskar in the west. Tsomoriri Lake (28 km long & about 8 km wide) is the breeding ground of many migratory birds including the rare bare-headed geese.

This lake is like a mirror and is guaranteed to take your breath away.

Overnight in Tsomoriri Resort & Camp.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 5: Tsomoriri – Tso Kar – Taglang-la – Leh

After breakfast retrace the route down to Puga Sumdo and then follow the road across the Polokongka Pass (4,920 m) to visit Tso Kar Lake.  Tso Kar Lake is also called “White Lake” because of the salt deposited around it. Tso Kar is a brackish salt-water lake, much smaller lake compared to Tsomoriri but beautiful and pristine. The Tso Kar area is inhabited by the Khampas, a nomadic group that live in large tents in summers, and in solid stone huts to brave the winter. Known as Chinese cowboys, they are basically herdsmen and rear cattle such as yaks, cows and goats. There are abundance of wildlife in this area. Commonly seen are kiangs (wild asses), foxes and marmots, and an occasional Tibetan wolf.

After sightseeing of the area, take the Manali-Leh road to return to Leh, crossing Taglang-la (alt: 17,585ft) en-route.

Overnight in guesthouse in Leh.

Meals provided: Breakfast

 

Day 6: Hemis Festival (Himis TSE-CHU)

Today is the highlight of the entire trip – Hemis Festival!

After breakfast, drive to Hemis Monastery to witness the Hemis festival. The festival is held at Hemis Monastery. This is biggest and the most important monastery in Ladakh, 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. It also trains Lamas for the royal monasteries at Leh, Shey and Bazgo. The Monastery contains gold statues and stupas decorated with precious stones and many priceless old Thankas.

The most esoteric of festivities are the mystic mask dances. The Mask Dances of Ladakh are referred collectively as Chams Performance. Chams performance is essentially a part of Tantric tradition, performed only in those gompas which follow the Tantric Vajrayana teachings and the monks perform tantric worship. The Hemis festival is dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) venerated as the Dance Performance at Hemis Monastery representative reincarnate of Buddha. He is believed to have been born on the 10th day of the fifth month of the Monkey year as predicted by the Buddha Shakyamuni . It is also believed that his life mission was, and remains, to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings.

So on this day, which comes once in a cycle of 12 years, Hemis observes a major extravaganza in his memory. The two days Hemis Festival is one of the oldest religious carnivals of Ladakh. It commemorates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, who founded Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Each year the Hemis Festival attracts more than its share of pilgrims and tourists. Held during the full moon in June, is a series of colorful masked dances performed to the accompaniment of cymbals, drums & long horns.

We drive back to Leh after photo-taking of the Hemis Festival.

Overnight in guesthouse in Leh.

Meals provided: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

 

Day 7: Departure

We will depart for the airport around 5am in the morning for your return flight home.
Note: Numerous factors such as weather, road conditions, the physical ability of the participants, etc., may dictate itinerary changes either before departure or while on the tour. We reserve the right to change this schedule in the interest of the trip participants’ safety, comfort and general well-being by informing the principal agent and with their approval.

 

Tour Price

Please contact us for pricing.

** Prices quoted are for LAND TOUR only. Please refer to package exclusions for more details.

Highlights

  • Witness the oldest religious festivals in Ladakh - Hemis Festival
  • Experience the pristine and raw beauty of some of the most beautiful places in the world
  • See for yourself beautiful buddhist monasteries like Shanti Stupa, Spituk monastery and Hemis monastery
  • Centuries old Alchi Choskor and Likir monastery
  • Mirror lake of Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve

Package Inclusions

  • 4 nights accommodation based on Twin/Double sharing room with daily breakfast at upper-class guesthouse in Leh
  • 1 night accommodation at Tsomoriri Resort & Camp
  • Meals as mentioned in above itinerary
  • Transportation by independent vehicle taxi (Xylo /Scorpio /Innova / Tavera or similar vehicle) – 3 person in one vehicle
  • Restricted Area Permit for Tsomoriri Lake
  • Entrance Fees for Monument, Monasteries & Museums (if any)

Package Exclusions

  • International airfare (Singapore – Delhi – Leh – Delhi – Singapore) and airport tax
  • Visa fees (if applicable) (SGD 45 per pax (for Singaporeans) + 2 photos)
  • Travel insurance
  • Donations to Monument, Monasteries & Museums (if any)
  • Personal expenses (e.g. Drinks, laundry, shopping and etc.)
  • Additional meals not mentioned in above itinerary
  • Tipping or gratitudes for driver/guide
  • Optional tours

Flight Recommendations

Important Note: Please note that flight information is purely for information purposes. We do recommend our customers who signed up with us to take the same flight though.

 

Singapore to Delhi:

Jet Airways (9W17) 2300hrs – 0215hrs*

 

Delhi to Leh:

Jet Airways (9W2345): 0540hrs – 0700hrs

 

Leh to Delhi:

Jet Airways (9W2346): 0710hrs – 0825hrs

 

Delhi to Singapore:

Jet Airways (9W20): 2230hrs – 0650hrs*

* Denotes next day

 

 

contact_us

We will get in touch within 72 hours unless we are travelling (even so we will try our best to respond)

Name (required)

Email (required)

Contact Number (so that we can get in touch)

Your Message