On your arrival in Delhi, you will be met by our representative and transferred to hotel. Delhi was the capital of Indraprastha and capital of the Pandavas during the Mahabharata. This magnificent city has been inhabited from the 6th century BC and has been a capital of many kingdoms. It has been destroyed and rebuilt many times and is called the "city of cities". Delhi's culture has been influenced by its different rulers and the city is full of beautiful monuments. The Mughal rulers influenced the food habits of the residents and Mughlai cuisine originated here. Due to the proximity of different states, all festivals are celebrated here. Old Delhi is a maze of small lanes and old buildings and New Delhi has large road with huge buildings. Delhi is the capital of India and is the hub for politics.
Your morning tour starts with Old Delhi, built by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1639 AD. You will visit Raj Ghat where the father of our nation Mahatma Gandhi was cremated. You will be visiting the museum that was built to commemorate him. You will be driven past the iconic Red Fort and Chandni Chowk, a very popular and a busy market in Old Delhi to the next stop - Jama Masjid, one of the iconic, historic and largest mosques in India - built by Shah Jahan. A rickshaw ride in Chandni Chowk could be quite interesting as this part of the city is quite crowded as it is full of shops. These numerous shops sell delicious mouth-watering food, clothes, jewels, household goods, etc. and are virtually a shopper's paradise.
In the afternoon, you will visit Qutub Minar, touted as India’s largest Minaret. Qutub Minar, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1192 by Turk ruler Qutub-Ud-Din Aibak. You will then move forward to Humayun’s tomb, yet another UNESCO world heritage site. Your next stop is India Gate, built in memory of the Unknown Soldiers. You will be driven past the Parliament House, President’s House and other Government Secretarial Buildings, to your final destination that will be the Lakshminarayan Temple, a temple dedicated to Lakshmi and Lord Narayana. Overnight is in Delhi.
Transfer to airport in time for Leh flight. Arrive at Leh and transfer to hotel. As Leh is at an altitude of 3524 m, you will need this afternoon free for acclimatization. Ladakh was an important centre on the trade routes for centuries and the goods traded were salt, grain, cannabis, silk yarn etc and signifies an encampment of nomads. Ladakh which was earlier a part of the Kushana Empire lies between the Kunlun range and Himalayas and is inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. With most of it over 3000 m, Ladakh is the highest plateau in Kashmir. The Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram Range is called the "Third Pole" and is one of the longest in the world's non polar areas. Leh is the largest town in Ladakh is one of the main centers of Buddhism. The population is of Buddhists and Shia Muslims. Overnight is in Leh.
This morning the Leh sight-seeing will take you the Leh Palace, Mosque and the bazaar. Leh Palace or the Royal Palace is a nine storey high, built by King Sengge Namgyal. It was the former home of the of the royal family of Ladakh and was built on the same lines as Potala Palace of Lhasa. In the 19th century, the rulers moved out of this palace to the Stok Palace due to the attack by Kashmiri forces. The ruler of Kashmir had helped Delegs Namgyal (1660–1685) and as payment demanded to have a large mosque built. This mosque has a fusion of Islamic and Tibetan architecture.
The afternoon excursion will take you to Phyang & Spituk Monasteries. Spituk Monastery was founded by Od-de in the 11th century with 100 monks and has a giant statue of Kali. The Gustor Festival is held from the 27th to the 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar every year and this statue is unveiled during the Spituk festival. Phyang Monastery was built in 1515 and belongs to the Drigungpa school and has sacred shrines, frescoes and a museum with a good collection of idols, thankas, firearms and weapons. The Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival is held from the 17th day to the 19th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar every year. Overnight is in Leh.
Your full day excursion will take you to the different monasteries - Shey, Thiksey and Hemis. Shey was the summer capital of Ladakh and the Shey Monastery and the palace were built in 1655 AD. The monastery is famous for its giant gold gilded copper statue of a seated Buddha. Permission is needed to visit the monastery. Shey Doo Lhoo festival takes place on the 26th and 27th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar and Shey Rupla festival takes place to mark the harvesting season. Thikse Monastery a 12 storey complex is one of the largest monasteries, looks like the Potala Palace of Lhasa and houses stupas, statues, wall paintings, etc. It also has a 15 m high statue of the future Buddha "Maitreya". Gustor festival takes place from the 17th to 19th day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar every year. Hemis Monastery was build by Senge Nampar Gyalvain and is famous for its colorful festival which takes place in July. Overnight is in Leh.
You have a free day to enjoy the bazaars of Leh or to visit other nearby monasteries. If you wish for an adventure tour of Leh Ladakh, we would suggest you a soft trekking tour in this itinerary of Ladakh. Shanti Stupa on a hilltop in Changspa is a white-domed structure and was built by the Japanese to promote World Peace. Sankar Gompa of the Yellow Hat Sect is the residence of the Ladakh's head of Gelukpa Sect and has an image of the founder Tsong-kha-pa and also an image of Avalokitesvara with 1,000 arms and 11 heads. Soma Gompa is a large modern gompa. The War Museum shows the history related to the army operations in one of the most hostile terrain in the world. The Donkey Sanctuary is open throughout the day. Overnight is in Leh.
Today you will be transferred from Leh to Kargil by road. On the way, you will be visiting Alchi and Lamayuru monasteries. The Alchi Monastery Complex was said to have been built by Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055. Details of Buddhist and Hindu kings of that time are reflected in paintings which are some of the oldest surviving paintings in Ladakh. The major shrines from the 12th and early 13th centuries here are the Dukhang, the Sumtseg and Manjushri Temple. The complex has statues of Buddha and wood carvings. Lamayuru also known as Yuru Gompa is one of the largest and oldest Gompas and one of the oldest building is the temple Seng-ge-sgang. Lamayuru is famous for its two masked festivals in the second and fifth months of the Tibetan calendar. Overnight is in Kargil.
This morning you will be driven to Srinagar via Zozi Pass which is one of the highest passes in Kashmir. Srinagar is called the paradise on earth. Srinagar meaning the city of Lakshmi is on the banks of the Jhelum River and known for its lakes, gardens, traditional handicrafts, carpets, shawls, etc. Srinagar also called the Venice of the East is quite popular with tourists from all over the world and has nine bridges connecting the two parts of the city. Srinagar has beautiful gardens laid by the Mughal rulers some of which are Chashma Shahi, Pari Mahal, Nishat Bagh and Shalimar Bagh. The famous lakes around Srinagar are Dal Lake and Nagin Lake. The palace of the Maharajas has been converted into a very nice hotel. Overnight is in Srinagar.
This morning, you will be taken around the lake in a shikara (boat) observing the way life in this paradise. Rest of the day is at leisure. Or, you could take an optional tour to Pahalgam. Pahalgam is a popular world famous tourist destination at an altitude of 7200 ft. You could take a trek from Pahalgam. Chandanwari, 16 km from Pahalgam is the point from where Amarnath Yatra starts every year between July to August. Sheshnag Lake is 11 km from Chandanwari and 19 km from Sheshnag is the Amarnath Cave. At this time, an ice stalagmite forms a natural Shivling in this cave. Overnight is in Srinagar.
Your full day is dedicated to an excursion to Gulmarg. In the evening you will return back to Srinagar. Gulmarg meaning the "Meadow of Flowers" was known as Gaurimarg, after Lord Shiva's wife. Gulmarg receives a heavy snowfall in the winters and has one of the longest and highest ski slopes in Asia. Gulmarg also offers golfing, trekking, fishing, water skiing, horse riding and mountain biking. The Golf Club in Gulmarg is the highest in the world. Overnight is in Srinagar.
Today you will be transferred to the Srinagar airport in time for your Delhi flight. On your arrival in Delhi, you will be transferred to your hotel.
This morning you will be transferred to the airport on time for your return/onward flight.
END OF YOUR KASHMIR LEH LADAKH TRAVEL PACKAGE.