Fly over a stunning landscape of snow swathed mountains to reach Leh from Delhi. On the first day, rest in your hotel to allow for acclimatization. Once you are well rested, visit the spectacular monasteries of Shey, Thiksey and Hemis for a magical experience. The Summer Palace of the erstwhile King of Leh, the Shey Palace and Monastery, greets you with its 7.5 meter high sitting statue of the Buddha wrought in gold, the largest of its kind in the world. You then proceed to the Thiksey Monastery, the largest and most impressive Gompa in Ladakh, providing a panoramic view of the green Indus Valley from its vantage point atop a hill. The impressive Hemis Monastery, Ladakh’s biggest and wealthiest monastery, which plays host to the Annual Summer Festival in July, is your next destination.
For a thrilling and out of the world rafting experience in the clear gushing waters of the Indus, head out to the Uleytokpo Camp. Explore the Alchi Monastery considered to be a ‘jewel in Ladakh’s crown’ with its massive Buddha statues, lavish woodcarvings and beautiful art work.
Isn’t the best way to explore and experience a place to wander through it? So head out for an easy 4-day Sham Valley trek, designed to familiarize you with the Leh-Ladakh region. It is the perfect trek for families with children and first time trekkers. Watch as the gorgeous scenery of Ladakh with its quaint villages, ancient monasteries, apple and apricot orchards, the scenic Indus River, and the striking Shushut and Mebtak La Mountain passes unfold before your eyes.
The beautiful Pangong Tso reached via the Chang La Mountain Pass is your next destination. Mesmerizing vistas of the changing hues of the waters from a pale green to a dark blue to sometimes crystal clear, greet you here. The lake stretches across India and Tibet and is an important breeding ground for a variety of migratory birds. Mingle with the nomadic Chang-pa, a race endemic to South East Ladakh and Tibet, in Spangmik, a village close to the banks of the Pangong Tso.
Drive down to the incredible Nubra Valley via Khardungla – the highest motorable road in the world at 5602m. Ride the two-humped Bactrian camels in the desert between the Hundar and Diskit villages in the valley. Visit the charming Turtuk village, closed to tourists till as late as 2010. The people of the picturesque village of Baigdandu have startling blue eyes, auburn hair and rosy cheeks as against the typical mongoloid features of the Ladakhis. Local lore has it that they were a Greek tribe who came in search of Jesus Christ's tomb and eventually settled here. Head back to Leh from where you fly to Delhi, bidding adieu to ‘the land where snow never melts and only corn ripens’.