- Visit monasteries and palaces in the scenic region around Leh
- See the massive Buddha statues at Alchi Monastery
- Enjoy a cooking class with a local family at Hemis Shukpachen
- Admire the opulent interiors of Themisgam Monastery
|Day 1||Arrive in Delhi & Free Time||Delhi|
|Day 2||Fly to Leh, Acclimatization & Orientation Walk||Leh|
|Day 3||Visit the Monasteries & Palaces Around Leh||Leh|
|Day 4||Transfer to Alchi Village, Visit the Monastery||Alchi|
|Day 5||Transfer to Rizong, Trek to Yangthang Village||Yangthang|
|Day 6||Transfer to Hemis Shukpachan, Cooking Class with Local Family||Hemis Shukpachan|
|Day 7||Trek from Hemis Shukpachen to Themisgam via Ang||Themisgam|
|Day 8||Visit the Monastery in Themisgam, Transfer to Leh||Leh|
|Day 9||Fly to Delhi & Depart|
Day 1: Arrive in Delhi & Free Time
Welcome to India! A representative will meet you at the airport for a traditional swagat (welcome) and private transfer to your hotel in Delhi. After checking in, spend the rest of the day exploring the city at your leisure. Delhi is the historic capital of India and is a huge and densely populated metropolitan area where ancient culture meets modern life. Some key sites to check out here include the India Gate, Lotus Temple, and Humayun's Tomb.
If you'd like, you could also opt for a two-hour city tour, starting with a visit to one of Delhi's main Sikh pilgrimage centers, Gurudwara Bangla Sahib. Discover the healing properties of this Sikh house of worship as you stroll through its grounds, admiring the white-marble structure with its golden domes and sacred pond. As in all gurudwaras, a langar (communal meal) is served here—visit the kitchen to witness this mass meal being prepared. Next, peruse Delhi's popular shopping area, Connaught Place, before returning to your hotel.
Day 2: Fly to Leh, Acclimatization & Orientation WalkEarly in the morning, you'll fly over the peaks of the Himalaya and land in Leh, where a driver will pick you up and take you to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day exploring the city, including its markets and its monastery. Leh has an altitude of 11,500 feet (3,500 m), so it's best to take it gently on the first day to give your body time to acclimate. If you're feeling up for it, your guide will also take you to Leh Palace, which overlooks Leh from the top of Namgyal Hill. The palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century but was abandoned later when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century.
Day 3: Visit the Monasteries & Palaces Around Leh
Today, take a tour of three of the major gompas (monasteries) around Leh. In the early morning, drive to Thiksey Monastery to experience the morning prayer of the Gelukpa order (Yellow Hat) Buddhist sect. The monastery is perched on top of a hill, and its red-and-white buildings can be seen from miles away. A newly-built temple there contains a beautiful two-story image of the Future Buddha. Following the prayer, return to your hotel for breakfast.
Continue your excursion with a visit to Matho, situated right across from Thiksey on the other side of the Indus River. This monastery, founded in the 16th century CE, is the only Tibetan monastery belonging to the Sakya order. Then, drive down a road bordered with white-painted chortens, or stupas, for a visit to the Shey Palace, which was erected in the 16th century CE. Afterward, return to Leh.
Day 4: Transfer to Alchi Village, Visit the Monastery
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.
Day 5: Transfer to Rizong, Trek to Yangthang Village
Take a short transfer after breakfast and arrive at the site of Rizong, where a gompa stretches in a circular arc at the bottom of a canyon. Founded by Lama Tsultim Nima in 1831, Rizong is a gompa of the Yellow Hat sect, and is spectacularly situated on a cliffside overlooking the Indus Valley. The monastery holds a special significance for Tibetan Buddhists, as it belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
After visiting the monastery, start your first day of trekking to the village of Yangthang. The route will take you about four hours, and upon arrival, lunch awaits in your comfortable homestay. The rest of your day is free—enjoy walking around and observing the lifestyle of the local inhabitants, before returning to the homestay for the night.
Day 6: Transfer to Hemis Shukpachan, Cooking Class with Local Family
Take a relatively short walk to the village of Hemis Shukpachen today, surrounded by very ancient chortens (stupas). From here you'll begin a four-to-five-hour trek on a gentle slope, crossing a stream before climbing up to Tsermangchan La, an elevation of 12,300 feet (3,750 m). After a short rest at the pass, descend to Hemis Shukpachen and check in at the camp/homestay.
Later, take a walk around the village before attending a cooking demonstration and dinner, where you'll experience the unique mountain hospitality of the locals. Observe the cooking process and admire the interior decoration of the houses before tasting the delicious dishes prepared here.
Day 7: Trek from Hemis Shukpachen to Themisgam via Ang
Today's five-hour trek starts from Hemis to reach Rongtil La this morning—an almost flat walk to the chorten marking the pass. From here, you can see the multicolored mountain face of the second pass of Meptik La, at 12,730 feet (3,880 m). After a short steep descent to the base, climb Meptik La, which looks like a steep wall but can be climbed in just half an hour by a slow, leisurely walk. Your hard work will pay off, as you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views over the surrounding mountain range from the top.
A two-hour gradual descent through the village of Ang and a short transfer will bring you to the prosperous village of Themisgam, at an elevation of 10,500 feet (3,200 m). There, you'll visit the town's historic palace before transferring to your hotel or camp for the night.
Day 8: Visit the Monastery in Themisgam, Transfer to Leh
In the morning, walk uphill (or drive, if the road allows) to a local nunnery overlooking the fertile valley. Continue until you reach Themisgam Monastery, and admire its opulent and ornate interiors. The monastery was built in the 15th century, but this once-thriving foundation is now run by a single monk on duty. Each year, the monk is changed, and the duties are shared between the Yellow Hat and the Red Hat order of Tibetan Buddhism. After the visit, you'll be transferred to Leh in a private vehicle. On the way, make a stop to visit Lamayuru Monastery, before checking into your hotel.