Around 125 km, west of Leh, on a spectacularly beautiful road, lies the earliest surviving monastery of Ladakh, known as Yung-drung or the Swastika. The Gonpa is remarkably built on sand stone and dates to the 11th Century. The monastery has a remarkable history and the surrounding area presents an interesting topography that is spread with yellow loess formation. The Alchi monastery lies 69 km, west of Leh, the most famous and largest of all the Gonpa built by Rinchen Zangpo in 11th Century. The monastery houses are some of the best murals and frescoes representing the Kashmiri style of Buddhist iconography. Each monastery in Ladakh is distinct in itself and for those who wish to experience the uniqueness of Ladakhi monasteries this is an ideal opportunity.
Best Time to visit: May to October
Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights
Destinations Covered: Delhi - Leh – Lamayuru - Wanla – Base of Tarla - Tar - Mang Gyu - Alchi - Leh - Delhi
Day 01: Arrive Delhi -You arrive in Delhi by International flight. After a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our representative would assist you at the airport and to our hotel for check-in. After some rest, breakfast at coffee shop in the Hotel. After breakfast we will go on a guided tour of Delhi at 1100 hrs., beginning with a morning sightseeing trip to Old Delhi and followed by visits to the 1648 Red Fort, India's largest mosque - Jama Masjid and Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat. Afternoon tour includes visits to India Gate & President's House. Later on time we drive back to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 02: Delhi - Leh (BY 9W-609) Dep: 0645hrs / Arr: 0800hrs - Early morning transfer to Domestic Airport to connect the flight for Leh. Upon arrival at Leh Airport our representative would assist you at the Airport and transfer to Hotel. Check in to the hotel. Post breakfast rest of the day for rest for acclimatization. Later in the afternoon a walk around Leh town (3500m) includes a visit to Leh Market, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa & Leh Gompa - This walk shall help us in a getting acclimatized at this height. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 03: Leh -Lamayuru (3 ½ hrs drive) -We leave Leh in the morning for Lamayuru. Along the way, we come across some of the oldest and most famous monasteries in Ladakh, founded around 11th century by Lotsawa Rinchen Sangpo Lamayuru, Likir and Alchi offer truly memorable visits on account of their age and history. After reaching Lamayuru (3420m) we will spend the day exploring the ancient monastery and to prepare for the next day.
Day 04: Lamayuru - Wanla (3-4 hrs) - We pack our small backpacks, watch the horses get ready, and set off for this first day of our adventure. A gentle trail leads up to the small pass of Prinkti La (3750m) before heading down to the village of Shilla and the last 3 km to Wanla (3250m).Here we set up camp for the night and spend the afternoon relaxing in the sun or exploring the gompa in Wanla, before we gather around for a good dinner.
Day 05: Wanla -base of Tarla 4200 m (8 hrs) -Today we will follow the dusty road along the river's left bank and arrive at the small village of Phenjilla (3410 m). From Phenjilla, we will follow the left side of the valley along a small stream for around a hour and arrive at the scattered Ursi village .We will walk a little further to arrive at our campsite.
Day 06: Base of Tarla -Tar (6-7 hrs) - The trail from the camp is clear but challenging, as we will have to trek up and down a few times before reaching the Tarla (5250 m).Our hard labor will be rewarded with the splendid view of the mountains around. Climbing down is difficult due to a mass of fallen rocks strewn about. It takes 3-4 hrs for us to reach our campsite at the village of Tar.
Day 07: Tar -Mang Gyu (4-5 hrs) -From Tar, the path heads up along the mountainside to a small Pass. We will have a easy descent to Mang Gyu village ,where there are traditional Ladakhi houses and a Ancient monastery worth visiting. It is believed that the monasteries of the Mang Gyu and Alchi were built on the same day.
Day 08: Mang Gyu - Alchi (4/5 hrs trek) - Leh (3hrs drive) - We will end our last day by walking down a very beautiful arrow valley covered with rosebushes all along the path. We will reach the village of Gera, where we'll find our vehicle waiting to take us back to Leh. But before that we will visit the beautiful and famous monasteries of Alchi and Likir. Alchi, is Ladakh's most loved monastery. Over a century old, its wall paintings are very similar to those of the Tabo gompa in Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Unlike other monasteries which are usually on a cliff top or cling to a mountainside, Alchi is at ground level an is nestled in the shade of a garden. Later we drive to Likir and visit Likir gompa situated atop a windy cliff top overlooking the beautiful village of Likir. It was founded in the 12th Century although the preset construction dates back to the 18th century as the original one was destroyed by fire. In its courtyard is yellow-coloured 3-storey high mammoth statue of the Lord Buddha, which was constructed by a resident monk. The top floor has an impressive museum containing old thangkas and weapons used many centuries back. We reach Leh by evening. Upon arrival in Leh we check in at our pre-arranged hotel for an over night stay.
Day 09: In Leh - Today we proceed for Indus Valley monastery tour. We start with a visit to Shey - The ancient capital of Ladakh. The monastery here has a huge gold-gilded statue of Buddha Sakyamuni with a large silver lamp burning in front of the statue. Then we visit Thiksey Gompa, an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village. The monastery has a beautiful 30 m high gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future. Drive further to visit Stok Palace, the Royal residence of the King of Stok & the Museum that has a rich collection of Ancient Ladakhi artifacts including old Thangkas, precious stones, arms and armory, the Queen's necklace and the crown of the King of Ladakh among others. Overnight stay at the hotel in Leh.
Day 10: Leh - Delhi (By 9W610) Dep: 0840hrs / Arr: 0955hrs - Transfer to the Airport to catch the flight for Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi we assist you to check in at our Hotel. Later in the afternoon we depart for Delhi sightseeing that includes Humayun's Tomb, Lotus Temple and Qutub Minar. Later we drive back to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 11: Departure Delhi- Day is free for your personal activities. After lunch, just transfer to Airport / Railway station for Flight/Train onward journey.
It is a very interesting route to explore oldest Monasteries like Wanla, Mang gyu and Alchi dating back to the 11th century built by the great translator Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo. This trek is unique in that it offers an opportunity to see not only the many natural beauties of Ladakh, but also some of its most famous Monasteries.
You can ask for itinerary if you are thinking of doing just short trek around ladakh of 5 days.
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