LEH LADAKH MONASTERY TOUR
Ladakh - land of high passes
ladakh is a region of Jammu and Kashmir, It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Kashmir.
Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys, the Indus Valley, the remote Zangskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, Aksai Chin and Ngari, including the Rudok region and Guge, in the east, and the Nubra valleys to the north.
Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti to the south, the Vale of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the trans–Kunlun territory of East Turkistan to the far north. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It is sometimes called "Little Tibet" as it has been strongly influenced by Tibetan culture.
Leh - The land of Mountains
Leh was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, now the Leh District in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Leh with an area of 45,110 sq km makes it largest district in the country in terms of area.
The town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former home of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace. Leh is at an altitude of 3,500 meters (11,483 ft).
The principal access roads include the 434 km Srinagar-Leh highway which connects Leh with Srinagar and the 473 km Leh-Manali Highway which connects Manali with Leh. Both roads are open only on a seasonal basis. Although the access roads from India are often blocked by snow in winter, the local roads in the Indus Valley usually remain open due to the low level of precipitation and snowfall.
ladakhi culture :
Ladakhi culture is similar to Tibetan culture. Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa (noodle soup) and tsampa, known in Ladakhi as ngampe (roasted barley flour). Eatable without cooking, tsampa makes useful trekking food. A dish that is strictly Ladakhi is skyu, a heavy pasta dish with root vegetables. As Ladakh moves toward a cash-based economy, foods from the plains of India are becoming more common. As in other parts of Central Asia, tea in Ladakh is traditionally made with strong green tea, butter, and salt. It is mixed in a large churn and known as gurgur cha, after the sound it makes when mixed. Sweet tea (cha ngarmo) is common now, made in the Indian style with milk and sugar. Most of the surplus barley that is produced is fermented into chang, an alcoholic beverage drunk especially on festive occasions.
The architecture of Ladakh contains Tibetan and Indian influences and monastic architecture reflects a deeply Buddhist approach. The Buddhist wheel, along with two dragons, is a common feature on every gompa, including the likes of Lamayuru, Likir, Thikse, Hemis, Alchi and Ridzong Gompas. Many houses and monasteries are built on elevated, sunny sites facing south, and in the past were made of rocks, earth and wood but are now more often concrete frames filled in with stones or adobes.
The music of Ladakhi Buddhist monastic festivals, like Tibetan music, often involves religious chanting in Tibetan or Sanskrit as an integral part of the religion. These chants are complex, often recitations of sacred texts or in celebration of various festivals. Yang chanting, performed without metrical timing, is accompanied by resonant drums and low, sustained syllables. Religious mask dances are an important part of Ladakh's cultural life. Hemis monastery, a leading centre of the Drukpa tradition of Buddhism, holds an annual masked dance festival, as do all major Ladakhi monasteries. The dances typically narrate a story of the fight between good and evil, ending with the eventual victory of the former.
Weaving is an important part of traditional life in eastern Ladakh. Both women and men weave, on different looms. Typical costumes include gonchas of velvet, elaborately embroidered waistcoats and boots and hats. The Ladakh Festival is held every year from September 1st to 15th. Performers adorned with gold and silver ornaments and turquoise headgear throng the streets. Monks wear colourful masks and dance to the rhythm of cymbals, flutes and trumpets. The yak, lion and Tashispa dances depict the many legends and fables of Ladakh. Buddhist monasteries sporting prayer flags, display of thankas, archery competitions, a mock marriage and horse-polo are the some highlights of this festival.
Day to day description:
Day 01:Arrive Leh (Acclimatisation)
Travel by air to Leh from Delhi. Meet & greet on arrival and transfer to hotel. Complete day for the acclimatization. In the evening free to make short walk around the Leh bazar Overnight at hotel.
Day 02: In Leh
An excursion to famous monasteries of Ladakh. It is interesting to visit early in the morning to enjoy the praying ceremony at Thiksey monastery. Continue drive to Hemis monastery which is one of the most famous monasteries of the Ladakh region. On the way back visit to Shey Palace. Evening free to explore Leh market on own. Overnight at hotel.
Day 03: In Leh
Morning half day tour visiting Spituk and Phyang monasteries. Afternoon a half day tour visiting Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Shankar Gompa and Leh Bazar. Overnight at hotel
Day 04: Leh - Uletokpo
After Breakfast drive to Uletokpo enroute visiting Basgo Palace, Liker and Alchi monasteries. Also walk around the village and drive to Uletokpo. Overnight in camp.
Day 05: Uletokpo - Lamayuru -Leh
After breakfast, checkout from the camp and drive to Lamayuru monastery. Lamayuru monastery is one of the oldest and spectacularly set founded in 10th century. Afternoon drive back to Leh. On arrival check in and overnight at hotel.
Day 06: In Leh
Morning half day visit to Stok Palace. The Palace was built by King Tsespal Tondup Namgyal in 1825. On the way back visit the Choglamsar village (The Tibetan refugee camp) which is famous for Tibetan Culture, History and Buddhism. Afternoon day for personal activities or a visit to the local Ladakhi family house can be organized on request at an extra cost. Overnight at hotel.
Day 06: Depart Leh
Morning in time transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. End of tour.