This 11-day private tour in India will take you to the country’s northernmost region, to the remote and beautiful Ladakh.
Discover breathtaking natural surrounds in these high mountain peaks – clear blue skies and rocky landscapes dotted with green valleys create a backdrop for impressive monasteries and palaces and age-old subsistence. Explore the rich history, culture and religion of the Tibetan plateau as preserved and practiced in these remote regions. This private tour of India begins in Delhi, with select sightseeing in India’s capital city, before your tour in Ladakh. The majority of this itinerary will have you based in Leh – with day trips to the various villages, monasteries and regions of interest in Ladakh. That means less unpacking and moving for you. The itinerary also includes a stay in the Nubra Valley.
Explore Delhi, with sightseeing in old and new Delhi; Tibetan architecture of Leh Palace; Ride the Bactrian double-humped camel in the Nubra Valley; Travel the high mountain road Khardung La; Visit the Nubra Valley – popularly known as the valley of flowers; Explore Tibetan Buddhism with visits to monasteries at Thiksey, Hemis, Alchi; Visit the impressive Lamayuru Monastery; Discover the picturesque township of Leh
Day 1 Delhi
Welcome to Delhi. You will be met on arrival and transferred to your hotel. Delhi is a fascinating city of two parts – the old and the new. Old Delhi still retains its medieval character to a great extent; while New Delhi – with the exception of the area around the parliament and presidential house – is like any other modern city with tall buildings and shopping malls.
Day 2 Delhi
Explore Delhi today with a private guided sightseeing tour.
Visit Humayun’s Tomb, Qutab Minar and the buildings designed by Lutyens including parliament and India Gate in New Delhi. In the old city you will walk through the main bazaars and markets and visit the medieval Jama Masjid. We can customise the day’s activities to suit your own particular interests or energy levels.
Day 3 Leh
Take an early morning flight to Leh. Situated at the western edge of the Tibetan plateau, Ladakh is bound by the mighty Kurakoram mountain range to the north and the great Himalayas to the south. You will be met on arrival at the airport and transferred to your hotel. Take the day to acclimatise and adjust to Leh’s altitude of 3,500 metres. Toward the evening, visit the gleaming white Peace Pagoda.
Day 4 Leh
This morning explore Leh – a remote high-altitude town lying in a fertile valley and surrounded by barren mountains and distant snow-capped peaks. Developed as a market for traders travelling the Silk Road, it is an interesting town – colourful and vibrant with people from throughout the region who come to buy and sell their wares. Visit the nine-story Leh Palace built in the grand tradition of Tibetan architecture, and see the local bazaars.
Day 5 Thiksey
Today you will visit the key villages and monasteries located in Hemis and Thiksey, as well as the 200-year old Stok Palace. Thiksey Monastery is one of the largest and architecturally most impressive monasteries in Ladakh. It is noted for its resemblance to Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. A 12-storey complex, it houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. Later visit Hemis monastery, perhaps the richest of the central Ladakh monasteries. Stok Palace is the residence of the Namgyals, the former rulers of Ladakh. Visit the museum and stop for a cup of tea along the palace walls with its impressive mountain views. A full day of sightseeing that will reveal to you some of the most impressive and best things to see in Ladakh.
Return to Leh and the evening is at leisure.
Day 6 Alchi
After breakfast, you will visit the small village of Alchi and the centuries old monastery there, and travel to Lamyuru, during another full day of sightseeing from your base in Leh. Journey through the most spectacular high narrow mountain roads to Alchi with stops en route to visit the monasteries of Likir, Basgo and Ridzong.
Likir (“circled by water spirits”) is picturesquely situated on a little hill in the valley near the Indus River and the village of Saspol. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and was established in 1065 by Lama Duwang Chosje. The monastery is a repository of old manuscripts and has a notable thangka collection. Sitting on the roof is a 23-metre-high gilded gold statue of Maitreya (the future) Buddha, which was completed in 1999.
Constructed in 1680, Basgo Monastery is situated on top of a hill towering over the ruins of the ancient town, which was once an important political and cultural centre. A two-story-high golden statue of the future Buddha is housed in the Maitreya Temple, which has fantastic murals of fierce divinities that were the guardian deities of the royal family once resident here. Ridzong Monastery, a Gelugpa or Yellow Hat Buddhist Monastery, was established in 1831 by Lama Tsultim Nima. Dramatically located at the top of a rocky side valley on the north side of the Indus, it is known as “the paradise for meditation”. Home to about forty monks, it is noted for its extremely strict rules and standards. Whilst here you can also visit the nearby Thardot Choeling Nunnery.
On arrival at Alchi, visit the Alchi Monastery. One of the oldest in the region – it dates from the 11th century – it is unique for the influence of Kashmiri art versus the pure Tibetan styles prevalent in most other monasteries in Ladakh. The interiors are covered with vibrant, colourful, detailed murals and elaborate wooden figures, whilst an assembly hall contains a golden statue of Avalokiteshvara. This gompa is no longer an active religious centre and is looked after by monks from the Likir Monastery.
Continue on to Lamayuru. Believed to date from the 11th century, Lamayuru monastery has a fine collection of thangkas. and is not only interesting as a hub of spirituality but enjoys a unique and dramatic cliff-side setting – below the monastery, the dusty village spills down the steep mountain.
Return to Leh and the evening is at leisure. Enjoy dinner in Leh town, where there are many options for dining and several restaurants offer impressive views of the town and nearby mountain ranges.
Day 7 Nubra Valley
After breakfast, begin the 5-hour drive to Nubra via what some regard to be the world’s highest motorable road, Khardung La (5,600 metres), the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. Khardung La is historically important as it lies on the major caravan trade route from Leh to Central Asia – a ‘feeder’ of the famous Silk Route. About 10,000 horses and camels used to take the route annually, and a small population of Bactrian camels can still be seen at Hunder, ‘Land of the Sand Dunes’, in the area north of the pass.
From Khardung La cross over to the other side for Nubra Valley; popularly known as ‘Ldumra’ or the ‘valley of flowers’, it is situated in the north of Ladakh between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas. The valley is best known for its double-humped camels. Check in to your accommodation on arrival and remainder of the day at leisure.
In Nubra, enjoy a special 2-night stay at a luxury-tented camp. Staying in tented accommodation – described best as high-end glamping – your unique accommodation here is a spacious tented room with all private and modern amenities, verandah and elegant furnishings. Expect superior service, a luxury stay in the Himalayan valleys, great meals and the chance to be surrounded by the beautiful natural landscapes.
Day 8 Nubra Valley
Spend today exploring two special monasteries – Diskit and Samstangling.
The strikingly photogenic Diskit Monastery was founded in the 14th century; it belongs to the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Approached via a flight of stone steps, the monastery houses a statue of Maitreya Buddha in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several thangkas and tantric drawings depicting fierce guardian deities.
Founded by Lama Tsultim Nima in 1841, the Samstangling Monastery with its distinct traditional hues of gold, red ochre and white is located just above the pretty village of Sumer. A red flight of steps lined with religious prayer flags overhead leads up to the entrance. Its assembly halls are lined with elaborate murals and paintings depicting Buddha, Dharamchakra, the Four Heavenly Kings/Celestial Guardians and other facets of Buddhism. Around a hundred monks reside in this monastery, including the recently discovered reincarnation of the great visionary Lama Bakula Rinpoche. Barely eight years old, he greets and blesses devotees with great solemnity, tying sacred threads around their wrists.
In the afternoon you will also have the opportunity to experience a ride on Nubra’s double-humped camels, across this unique high altitude landscape.
Afterwards, return to your accommodation and enjoy the facilities onsite.
Day 9 Leh
After a leisurely breakfast, you will return to Leh. The evening is at leisure.
Day 10 Leh
The day is yours to spend as you wish, with a full day at leisure to enjoy Leh, as your journey to Ladakh comes toward its conclusion. You may like to revisit the Leh main market, take a stroll along the pretty central promenade and visit the small handicraft and souvenir shops to purchase some small souvenirs to take home. In the late afternoon, you may like to visit one of Leh’s many cafes and restaurants that offer great views of the township, with the Leh monastery and mountain ranges as backdrops.
Day 11 Delhi
Your tour of Ladakh concludes today. You will be collected from your hotel and transferred to Leh airport for your flight to Delhi. In Delhi, continue with your India travel or connect to your international departing flight.
For those wishing to see more of India, ask us about adding a private tour of Rajasthan to this Ladakh itinerary.
- 1 2
- 3 4
- 9 10