Hemis Festival - Ladakh
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Hemis Festival and Leh Tour ( 19 Nights / 20 Days )


Places Covered: Delhi - Leh - Uletokpo - Leh - Sarchu - Keylong - Manali - Shimla - Delhi

Day 01 Delhi

Flight to Delhi. Arrival in Delhi and transfer to the hotel.

Check in time is 1200 hrs.

Day 02 Delhi
In Delhi's 3000 years of existence, seven cities stood where the present capital of India stands. Here you'll encounter a fascinating blend of the ancient and the contemporary - where government buildings, medieval palaces and bazaars exist besides a modern metropolis. Delhi is a city waiting to be explored. After breakfast sightseeing of Old and New Delhi.

Visit the 7th city of Delhi, Shahjahanabad (Old Delhi) which was built by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan (1639-48 AD) after he shifted his capital from Agra to Delhi. Red Fort - the 17th century imposing fortress built in red sandstone is surrounded by a huge boundary wall 33m high. Inside are exquisite palaces and beautiful gardens.Opposite the Red Fort lies Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble, completed in 1656. It is India's largest mosque where more than 20.000 people can kneel in prayer. Visit Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna, Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. The memorial lies in the midst of landscaped gardens and made of a simple square platform of black marble inscribed with his last words "Hey Ram". An eternal flame burns 24 hours.

Afternoon visit New Delhi.
Visit the Humayun's Tomb, built by his wife Haji Begum in the 16th. Century. An early example of Mughal architecture considered the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. The Qutub Minar - the landmark of Delhi, a huge tower of victory started in 1199 and completed in 1368. The minar is 72.5m high with a diameter at the base 14.4m and 2.7m at the top. Proceed to the Rashtrapati Bhawan once the Viceroy's residence is now the official residence of the President of India. Designed by Lutyens, it combines western and eastern styles - the dome reflects the Buddhist stupa, the chattris Hindu and the graceful colonnades very British. It has 340 rooms. The Government Buildings designed by Baker, are topped by baroque domes and decorated with lotus motifs and elephants, while the north and south gateways are Mughal in design. The northern building has an inscription with "Liberty will not descend to a people; a people must raise themselves to liberty. It is a blessing which must be earned before it can be enjoyed". The Parliament House, designed by Baker is 173m in diameter. Inside is the library and chambers for the council of state, chamber of princes and legislative assembly. The India Gate (42m), commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in the 1st world war. 13516 names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Afghan War of 1919 are engraved on the arch and foundations. Under the arch, the Amar Jawan Jyoti commemorating Indian armed forces' losses in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1971.

Overnight stay at the hotel in Delhi.

Day 03 Delhi/Leh
After breakfast, in time transfer to the airport to connect flight to mysterious dust covered Leh the capital of Ladakh, also famous as "Small Tibet". Lying at an altitude of 3500m in a fertile valley of the Indus river, about 10 kms. The city, once the trading centre on the silk route to China , Tibet and Pakistan in the past. On arrival in Leh, transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day is free for acclimatization and relaxation. In the evening you can roam around the local market to feel the pulse of Leh. Overnight stay at the hotel in Leh.

Day 04 Leh

Although Buddhism was the main religion in India till 7th century A.D. it lost its value later mainly due to Muslim invasions during 11th-13th century A.D. But nevertheless it blossomed in the heart of Himalayas. Morning take an excursion to Shankar Monastery,which lies on the foot of the city a couple of km north of the town centre. The gompa has evening lighting. There is a library and great views from the roof. There is an impressive representation of Avalokitesvara complete with 1000 arms and 1000 heads. Finally climb the huge 9 storey Leh Palace. Sengge Namgyal the "Lion King" (1616-42) ruled here and made Leh his residence. The clay/wood construction with its impressive Lion portal is in ruins today. Further on the mountain peak the wall of an old castle and a decayed temple. The view is very unique from the 6000m high mountain with its snow peaks and green valley of Leh with vegetable and fruit plantations. Visit the ruins of the Leh Gompa an old temple above the Leh Palace houses a large golden Buddha, many painted scrolls, murals and old manuscripts.

Return to hotel.

Day 05-06 Leh-Hemis-Leh

Today as well as tomorrow excursion to Hemis Monastery (45 km) south of Leh on the west bank f the Indus river where you see the famous mysterious Mask Dance, which takes place annually. The Drukpa monastery is built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountains. It was founded in the 17the century, and is the biggest and wealthiest monastery. The gate leads into a courtyard where mass sacred dances were performed. Colourful prayer flags can be seen fluttering from the four posts. There are two assembly halls, the larger one in plain and used for ceremonies and the smaller contains some silver gift chortens and a Kashmiri lacquered wood throne.

Return to Leh. Overnight at the hotel in Leh.

Hemis Festival and Leh Tour Day 07 Leh-Lamyuru-Uletokpo
Start early for Lamayuru monastery, oldest in the region was founded in 11th century and it belongs to Tibetian Kagyupa sect. Though partly destroyed in 19th century it still has some beautiful murals, the 11 headed and 1000 armed Avalokiteshvara image, along with the decorated Dukhang (assembly Hall). There are caves carved out of the mountain wall and some of the rooms are richly furnished with carpets, Tibetian tables and butter lamps. Later drive back to Uletokpo.

Overnight in the camps in Uletokpo.

Day 08 Uletokpo/Leh

Drive to Leh. En-route visit Alchi. Alchi's large temple complex is regarded as one of the most important Bhuddhist centers in Ladakh and a jewel of monastic skill. Founded in the 11th Century by Rinchen Zangpo the "Great Translator", it was richly decorated by artists from Kashmir and Tibet.

Proceed to Leh. Overnight at the hotel in Leh.

Day 09 Leh
Morning at leisure. Afternoon excursion to the Phynag and Spituk monasteries. Phyang Monastery built in the 16th century by the founder of the Namgyal Dynasty. It houses hundreds of statues including some Kashmiri bronzes, thangkas and manuscript copies of old temples. The temple walls have colourful paintings of the 8 fold path of Buddha's teachings. Later visit the Spituk Monastery, 08 kms from Leh. It was founded in the 11th century with 3 chapels in a series of tiers with courtyards and steps dating from the 15th century. This is the seat of the head Lama. The 16-17th century Du-Khang is the largest building and has two rows of seats the length of the wall to the throne. It has sculptures and miniature chortens are displayed on the altar.

Overnight stay at the hotel in Leh.

Day 10 Leh/Sarchu

Today starts your four days drive to Manali. You cross many mountain passes. The first leg of today's drive goes through beautiful landscape, surrounded by huge mountains. Pass by village Gya (4100m), which is situated near the place where Upshi leads to Indus. Today you cross the Taglang la Pass (5370m) and the Lachalung la Pass (5065m).

On arrival in Sarchu. Overnight in Camps.

Day 11 Sarchu/Keylong

After breakfast drive on to Keylong. You go along with Bhaga River, up to the Baralacha Pass (4880m). On the way you can see breathtaking views of the nearby lying mountains.

Overnight stay in at the hotel in Keylong.

Day 12 Keylong
Keylong is set amidst fields of barley and buckwheat surrounded by brown hills and snowy peaks and was once the home of the Moravian missionaries. The whole day is spent in Keylong.

Visit to Khardong Monastery, 3.5 km across the Chandra river. Believed to have been founded 900 years ago, the monastery has four temples, contains a huge barrel drum, a valuable library and collections of thangkas, Buddhist statues, musical instruments, costumes and ancient weapons.

Return to Keylong. Overnight the hotel in Keylong.

Hemis Festival and Leh Tour Day 13 Keylong/Manali

Early morning drive to Manali. Set out after breakfast. We pass Tandi, 8 kms from Keylong, which is at the confluence of the Chandra and Bhaga rivers, forming the Chenab. As the road ascends towards Khoksar there is an excellent view of the Lumphu Nala coming down from the Tempo La glacier. The road crosses the Chandra river by a Bailey Bridge past fields of peas and potatoes. The ascent to Gramphoo offers superb views of the glaciated valley of the Chandra River, source of the Chenab. On the south side lies the Chandra Valley of Lahaul. Drive to Manali in the Lahul-Valley, famous for its potato plantations. Continue through a breathtaking mountain world the road leads downwards, from where you can have a marvelous and spectacular view of Himalayan-Chain with precipitous cliffs, deep ravines, large glaciers and moraines. We pass through the Rohtang Pass (3985m) from the Tibetan area through a series of tight hairpin bends to Marrhi, where the landscape becomes totally devoid of trees. Pass Kothi Kodi (2530m).Going along the righ t bank of the river Beas through small settlements we arrive Manali in the evening. It is located at a height of 1900m in the Kulu Valley.

Upon arrival check-in to the hotel.

Day 14 Manali
Whole day is free for relaxation.

Optional visit to the Tibetan Monastery and a Hindu temple the Hadimba Devi Temple (1553), in the middle of Pine forest a 27 m high pagoda temple, has 3-tier roof and fine naturalistic wood carvings of animals and plants, specially around the doorway.

Overnight in hotel.

Day 15 Manali

Morning at leisure to explore the city on your own. Afternoon excursion to Naggar, which was once the capital of Kullu valley. The 16th century castle is a fine example of timber bonded building. It was used as the Royal residence till the 17th century. It is built round a courtyard with verandahs having enchanting views over the valley. In the courtyard are several sati stones with primitive carvings. Around the palace there are more temples to see. On the foot of a small bazaar there is Gauri Shankar Temple (11/12 century) built of sandstone is dedicated to God Shiva. Chatar Bhuj Temple, which is dedicated to God Vishnu. Tripura Sundri Devi Temple in wood has a multi-level pagoda roof in the Himachal style is also nearby. Roerich Art Gallery - the home of Prof Nichola Roerich, in a peaceful garden with excellent views, has a collection of his paintings and of his son. Return to Manali.

Overnight stay at the hotel in Manali

Day 16 Manali/Shimla ( 120 Kms)

Early morning drive to Shimla through the breathtaking landscapes of the Himalayas. Pass by Kullu (1200 m) sprawling along the grassy west bank of the Beas. It hosts the dramatically colorful Dusshera festival. You will pass Mandi which was founded in 1520. Drive through Bilaspur. After arrival check-in to the hotel. Overnight stay at the hotel in Shimla.

Hemis Festival and Leh Tour Day 17 Shimla

Shimla a charming hill station, was the summer capital of the of British rulers from 1865, which they endowed with the mock Tudor houses, churches, clubs, parks with bandstands of English country towns, and a main street invariably called the Mall. Today Shimla is the capital of Himachal Pradesh state. Morning at leisure. Later in the afternoon, a short tour of the city. Walk through Shimla: a crescent shaped ridge connecting a number of hilltops. Pass by the Christ Church (1844) on the Jakhu Hill with the mok tudor library next door. The main street - The Mall joins Scandal Point, where people collect to gossip. Originally the name referred to the stir caused by the elopement of a British lady from the Vice regal Lodge and a dashing Patiala prince after they arranged a rendezvous here. The Gaiety Theatre (1887) and the Town Hall and the General Post Office are reminiscent of the Arts and Crafts style. Gorton Castle, once the Secretariat. The Vice regal Lodge (1888) built by Lord Dufferin in the Elizabethan style. Now the Rashtrapati Niwas, it houses the Indian Institute of Advanced Study. Reminders of its British origins include a gatehouse, a chapel and the meticulously polished brass fire hydrants imported from Manchester. Inside you may visit only the reception room and the library which are lined from floor to ceiling with impressive teak paneling. The local bazaar and houses with red tiled roofs lie below the Mall.

Overnight stay at the hotel in Shimla.

Day 18 Shimla/Delhi
Today drive through the breathtaking landscapes and surroundings of the Shivalik hills from Shimla to Delhi via Chandigarh. After arrival in the Delhi transfer to the hotel.
Overnight stay at the hotel in Delhi.

Day 19 Delhi
Day free at disposal

Day 20 Delhi/Home
Early morning transfer to the airport to connect flight back home.