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Ladakh with Hemis Festival
07th JULY’ 11 - Arrive Delhi
Arrive Delhi. Meeting and assistance on arrival at airport and transfer to Hotel (Check-in 1200 noon)

India’s capital and major gateway to the country, contemporary Delhi is bustling metropolis, which successfully combines in its fold the ancient and the modern. Its Strategic location was one of the prime reasons why successive dynasties chose it as their seat of power. The newer part was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is the ultimate testament to the British Raj.

Overnight hotel
08th JULY‘11 - Delhi - Leh

In time transfer to airport to connect the flight 9W 609

Leave Delhi 0540 Hrs.
Arrive Leh 0655 Hrs.

An hour’s exiting flight Over Himalayas with spectacular views of mountain ranges brings you to Leh the capital of Ladakh.

Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel

Ladakh has often changed names, all of which give a good description of the conditions prevailing in the region: Ladwags-land below the mountain passes; Bladwags: land of the lama; Maryul: the red country; Muah Ris bSsor Gsum: land to the west of Tibet. In the West it is sometimes referred to as Moon country and Little Tibet. Rather a long list of names for an area of 59,000 square kilometres having one of the lowest population densities in the world: 2 inhabitants per kilometre, 59,000 square kilometres of rocky desert, apparently inhospitable mountains, a world of bewitching silence, framed in a parallel fashion by two of the most imposing mountain ranges, the Karakorams to the North, the Himalayas to the South.

Rest day at leisure to acclimatize because you have suddenly landed at 3500 meters and the air is thin.

A short walk through the bazaar is suggested late afternoon.

Dinner and Overnight hotel
09th JULY’11 - Leh

After breakfast half day sightseeing tour of Leh visiting Leh Palace and Bazaar.

Afternoon excursion to Spituk and Phyang.

8 Kms from Leh, Spituk stands majestically atop a hillock overlooking the Indus valley for miles. Many icons and fine "Tankhyas" are to be found in this 15th century monastery. It also houses a collection of ancient masks, antique arms and an are inspiring image of "Mahakala". The face of the Kali image is kept covered and revealed only at the annual function in January every two years.

Visit to Phyang Monastery, which is 17 Kms from Leh, built by Tashi Namgyal in 16th century A.D. and belongs to the Red Cap Sect of Buddhists.

Afternoon climb Namgyal hill to visit Leh Palace which is built on the lines of Potala Palace of Lhasa. It was in 16th Century that the palace was abandoned by the then royal family after they were defeated in a battle with Dogra General Zoravar Singh. You get a commanding view of Leh town from the Palace roof. Also visit small temples within the palace.

Dinner and Overnight hotel
10th JULY’11 - Leh – Hemis- Leh

After an early breakfast depart Leh for a full day excursion to Hemis Gompa.

Hemis Gompa (Monastery) is one of the biggest and by far the best known Gompas of Tibetan Buddhism in Ladakh. Situated at a distance of 40 kms from Leh across the Indus, The monastery is not visible from the road as it is located in a side Valley. This monastery is dedicated to Guru Padmsambhava the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.

There are a number of gold statues decorated with precious stones in it. There are numerous tangkas on the walls and in these tangkas life of Buddha is described in a very beautiful manner. The biggest tangka is displayed once in eleven years.

The Hemis Gumpa is known far and wide for the annual fair which attracts tourists from different parts of the world; the main features are the mystery plays, interspersed with lama dances, enacted on the occasion. The 11th day (Tses - Chu) of the Tibetan lunar month is celebrated as the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche), the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. The Hemis Monastery celebrates this event in the form of a 2 day festival. Its resident Lamas perform sacred masked dances. The festival takes an auspicious turn every 12 years in the Tibetan year of the Monkey, when the two-story high "Thankga" depicting Guru Padmasambhava is displayed.

The festival begins with a procession of the Lamas( monks) with the Head lama the Rimpoche takeing the head seat in the court yard of the Monastery.

After the prayers the festivities begin.

Spend the day here enjoying the festivities. Lunch will be either carried from leh in the form of picnic or if possible a hot lunch will be arranged near Hemis.

Late afternoon return to Leh for overnight stay

Dinner and overnight at hotel.
11th JULY’11 - Leh – Hemis - Leh

After an early breakfast depart Leh for Hemis Monastery to witness the second day of festivities.

Second day is also dedicated to Monastic plays and mask dances in the main courtyard of the Gompa.

After lunch(either a picnic carried from Leh or a hot lunch) depart for return journey to LehEn route visiting to the massive Tibetan Buddhist Gompas (monastries) of Thiksey and Shey

Thiksey - is one of the largest and most impressive Gompas . There are several temples in this Gompa containing images , stupas and exquisite wall paintings . It also houses a two - storeyed statue of Buddha which has the main prayer hall around its shoulder.

Shey -it was the ancient capital of Ladakh and even after sengge Namgyal built the more imposing palace at Leh, the kings continued to regard Shey , as their real home. The importance which was attached to Shey - the seat of Ladakh's hertland - is attested by the enormous number of Chorten about the village , particularly around the palace complex and barren plain to the north of the road.

Return late afternoon to Leh

Dinner and Overnight hotel
12th JULY’ 11 - Leh – Traktrok - Chimrey - Leh

Morning full day excursion to Traktrok, Chimrey Gompa

Visit TRAKTOK GOMPA in the morning, which belongs to the Nymgmapa sect. It is built around a cave just above the village of Sakti. Some of the beautiful paintings have been destroyed but there still are some lonely frescoes and intricately woven rugs on display.

Later drive to CHEMREY GOMPA. Though most of the books, including the Ladakh Chronicle, tell us that the great lama Stag-tsang-ras-pa, under the patronage of Sengge Namgyal, founded it, but Professor Luciano Petech has shown that it was actually founded after Sengge's death as a funeral act of merit for him. The building was started in March 1644 and completed in 1645 or 1646. Overlooking fields and houses, the monastery is perched picturesquely atop a small hill, down one side of which spill the monks' dwellings. The main du-khang, a large rather bare temple, has images of Stag-tsang-ras-pa and other Drug-pa lamas, together with a fine silver chorten about fifty years old made at Chiling. The murals are mainly manifestations of Sakyamuni, as is common in Drug-pa temples; there are also fine mandalas of Kalchakra and Akshobya. Twenty-nine volumes of the scriptures have title pages whose lettering is in solid silver of exquisite craftsmanship, the text is pure gold. A smaller temple upstairs houses a nondescript collection of images of Drug-pa lamas.

Dinner and overnight at hotel .
13th JULY’11 - Leh – Uletopko 70 KMS 04 – 05 HRS

Morning depart Leh by jeep for Uletopko Camp en route visiting Likir.

The morning drive is along river Indus through the beautiful landscape. Likir is situated in a side valley about five Kms from main Srinagar - Leh highway. Likir belongs to Ge-lug-pa sect, the monastery also maintains and runs a school for young Lamas

Upon arrival at Uletokpo check- in at the deluxe tented camp.

Uletopko camp is situated on a unique site in an Apricot orchard high on the banks of river Indus. The original camp was established with small two man mountain tents way back in 1978 when Ladakh was opened to outside world, The idea of the camp was to give tourists a chance to travel between Kargil - Leh in a relaxed manner and see more Monasteries and local life. The camp has since grown to a deluxe camp with large tents fitted with cots, sheets, pillows, blankets and common toilets/ shower in a separate area. Recently a few cottages have been added in the camp.

After lunch drive 2 Kms to Rizong Gompa. It involves 3 Kms of walk to reach main Gompa. Rizong is among few monasteries in Ladakh which houses women monks called " Chomos". It's a small Gompa situated deep inside a narrow valley.

Dinner and Overnight at the Camp
14th JULY’11 - Uletopko – Lamayuru – Uletopko 116 KMS 06-07 HRS

Morning proceed for a day excursion to Lamayuru en route visit Thingmosgang.

TINGMOSGANG served as one of the capitals of Ladakh in the 15th century. Though most of the castle is in ruins, three temples remain and continue to be in use. Here you will also have a pleasant experience of warm Ladakhi hospitality in a picturesque Ladakhi Village of Tingmosgang. You will get a glimpse of the lifestyles of these simple hardy folk. Their homes are known for the way they layout the kitchen. After having interacted with locals and enjoyed their hospitality you will continue to drive to LAMAYURU.

Lamayuru is the oldest monastery of Ladakh perched on a hill top with it's village at the foot of the hill. Most of the monastery is now in ruins only the main hall exists today and houses numerous” Tangkhas”. It was partially resorted in 1975.

On return stop at Khaltsi a typical small Ladakhi village

Dinner and Overnight at Camp
15th JULY’11 - Uletopko – leh 70KMS 02 – 03 HRS

Morning depart Uletokpo by jeep for Leh en route visiting Alchi Gompa.

Visit the Alchi monastery situated on the banks of the river Indus, which is one of the most important cultural sites in Ladakh. The most beautiful Gompa of Ladakh also called Jewel among the Central Ladakh's religious sites. It's known as Chos-Kor, or religious enclave. It comprises five temples, which are noted for it's massive Buddha statues and lavish woodcarvings and art work. Its Murals dating from 11th and 12th centuries, pre-date the Tibetan style of painting that is present in all other Gompas. It is a treasure of the early Buddhist art in the Kashmiri tradition, a style quite different from the Tibetan art.

On return journey to Leh also stop at Nimo to see the confluence of River Zanskar and Indus.

On arrival in Leh check – in at Hotel

Afternoon visit a Ladakhi Home to interact with the family and have Ladakhi tea

Dinner and Overnight at hotel
16th JULY’11 - Leh - Del

In time transfer to airport to connect flight 9W611 for Delhi

Leave: Leh 0800 hrs
Arrive: Delhi 0900 hrs

Meeting and assistance on arrival and transfer to hotel

Afternooon sightseeing tour of Old Delhi. We begin with Red Fort, built by the great Mughal ShahJahan in the 17th century. Rising amid the chaotic huddle of streets is the Jama Masjid, India's most beautiful mosque, its black-striped marble cupolas etched against the skyline. We will visit the Red Fort and explore the bustling Chandni Chowk, the best of all Asian bazaars. Later visit Raj Ghat the cremation site of Mahatma Gandhi father of the nation.

Overnight hotel
17th JULY’11 - Delhi

Morning at leisure,

[Check-out at 12 noon]

Afternoon half day New Delhi sightseeing visiting,

The war memorial, India Gate built in memory of the 85,000 Indian soldiers who laid down their lives during World war1.

Drive past Government buildings, Parliament house, Central Secretariat buildings and Connaught place the center of the town.

Continue on to Humayun`s Tomb, built in the mid 16th Century by Haji Begum, wife of the Mughal Emperor Humayun. The architectural style is a precursor of the Taj Mahal.

Visit the Qutub Minar, the 75m high Victory Tower. See the Iron Pillar, which has never rusted in all these years. In fact legend has it that if one manages to put his arms around the pillar backwards ones`s wishes would be granted.

Evening transfer to city restaurant for dinner.

Late evening transfer to international airport to connect flight for onward destination departing early morning on 29th June 2011.
18th JULY’11 - Leave - delhi

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