This tour follows the old trade route in and out of Ladakh. It covers Pangong Lake &Nubra Valley & Indus Valley and then follows the present highway along the Indus, across various mountain passes to enter Kashmir Valley via Lamayuru, Kargil & Drass.
Day-1 Arrival Leh (Alt: 11500 / 3505 M) - Acclimatization / Orientation
Arrive Leh and transfer to the hotel. After welcome drinks / breakfast, take complete rest for acclimatization to the high altitude. In the late afternoon, visit the city centre and take leisurely walk through the main market for general orientation. Wind up the tour with a visit to the Shanti Stupa , a prominent landmark perched upon a hillock commanding panoramic views of the valley. Overnight at Leh.
Day-2 In Leh: Visit Monasteries & Palaces / 110 kms / 4 hours
After breakfast, proceed to explore the Indus Valley attractions starting from the dramatically located Thiksey M onastery a major Gelukpa foundation dating from the 16 th century. Thereafter drive on to visit the 17 th century HemisMonastery, biggest monastery and principal seat of the Drukpa-Kargyut monastic order in the Ladakh region. On the way back from Hemis, you may walk up the hill at Shey to visit the Shey Palace where the main attractions are the two gigantic copper-gilt Buddha statues installed during the mid - 17 th century. Thereafter, visit the Druk Padma School (Rancho School) at Shey, if interested.
Before returning to Leh, drive across the Indus to visit the Stok Palace (Circa 1825 AD), present residence of former royal family of Ladakh. The main attraction here is the museum displaying the priceless collections of art & artefacts of the royal family. Overnight at Leh.
Day-3 In Leh: Excursion to Pangong Lake /145 kms / one way / 5-6 hours
After early breakfast leave for Pangong Lake via Chang -la pass (alt: 17370 ft. / 5486 meters, 3 rd highest motorable pass in the world). Pangong Lake (alt: 14,500 ft.), largest brackish water lake of Asia, is4-5 kms wide and about 135 kms long of which about two-third portion lies on the other side of the Indo-Chinaborder . After sightseeing at the lake, return to Leh , reaching in the evening. O vernight at Leh.
Day-4 Leh- Khardongla - Nubra Valley / 125 kms / 4-5 hours
After breakfast leave for Nubra Valley , driving across Khardong-la (alt: 18,380 ft.), highest motorable pass in the world. Nubra Valley lies between the Karakoram & Ladakh ranges at an average altitude of 10,000 ft. Till closure of the Trans -Karakoram trade route by the Chinese in 1949, Nubra Valley was a busy trade corridor on the Central Asian trade route.
Reach Deskit / Hunder in the afternoon and explore the area and the white Sand Dunes where you can also take a short camel Safari on the double-humped Bactrian camel found here (optional service). Overnight at a deluxe camp or hotel.
Day-5 Nubra Valley – Khardongla - Leh / 125 kms / 4 - 5 hours
After breakfast, explore Deskit (headquarters of Nubra valley) and then drive up the hillside to visit the 15 th century DeskitMonastery dramatically located on a rock promontory overlooking the valley. Nearby Deskit, you can visit w the gigantic image of Maitreya Buddha (32 mtrs) seated out on a hillock, installed in 2010. Later return to Leh via Khardongla, reaching in the afternoon. Overnight at Leh.
Day-6 Leh- Alchi / Lamayuru-Kargil / 235 kms. / 6-7 hours
After breakfast proceed towards Kargil en-route visiting Hall of Fame (museum of military heritage), GurudwaraPathar Sahib and Magnetic Point, and then drive on to visit the 11 th century AlchiChoskor , oldest surviving monastic heritage complex of Ladakh, famous for its wall frescoes and architecture - a UNESCO listed heritage site. Thereafter proceed towards Kargil, en-route stopping to visit / view the dramatically located Lamayuru monastery , and the adjoining Moonland Hills . Driving further on crossing the Fotula&Namika La passes, reach Mulbek where you may stop briefly to view the 9-Mtrs. tall rock sculpture of Maitreya Buddha (7 th - 8 th century AD). Kargil is at an hour's drive from here. Overnight in the hotel at Kargil.
Day-7 Kargil- Zojila- Sonamarg-Srinagar / 205 kms / 5-6 hours
Early departure for Srinagar via Drass , Zojila pass & Sonamarg . Drass is famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world. Zoji-la Pass (11,500-ft. /3,505 m) is the watershed between the rugged landscape of Ladakh and the lushness of Kashmir . After crossing the pass, the road descends to Sonamarg from where it's just over a couple of hours' drive to Srinagar through the beautiful Kashmir countryside.
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