Come June and Hemis Gompa, the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh, plays host to one of the most important festivals of Ladakh. For visitors seeking a rendezvous with the unique Ladakh’s culture, the two- day festival Hemis Fetsival, commemorating the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, makes for a great opportunity offering them a matchless spectacle of masked dances, traditional music, religious rituals and ceremonies and a lifetime opportunity to sample the delicious cuisines of Ladakh. The Hemis festival brings out the extroverted side of the famously friendly people of Ladakh.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Arrival at the International airport in Delhi where you will be received by our representative with traditional Namaste and garland. You will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel. Rest of time will be spent in leisure, overnight stay at hotel.
You will undertake early morning drive to board flight for Leh, the capital and main city of Ladakh. After reaching Leh you will be transferred to the hotel. You will spend the day in leisure and by getting yourself acclimatized. Proper acclimatization is necessary for a journey to Leh. Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) is a very real phenomenon. Ensure you are hydrated.
Very few places in the world are quite like Ladakh. Apart from the vibrancy of its cultural life, the awe-inspiring scenic grandeur of the rising mountains and pristine valleys makes Ladakh, sometimes called Little Tibet, an enchanted land waiting to be explored and rediscovered. Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is a beacon of comfort and hope in the landscape of desert mountains and rarified air.
Ladakh is also an exceptional destination for adventurous travelers. Mountain biking and rafting are popular too. Adventure activities that can be enjoyed in a trip to Ladakh are mountain jeep safari, mountain climbing and trekking in Leh. It is no surprise that a visit to the place remains a part of the wish lists of the visitors while travelling to India.
You will visit the local market in Leh in the evening.
Overnight stay in Leh
After breakfast leave for excursion to the monasteries of Shey and Thiksey.
15 km from Leh, Shey monastery is an important gompa in Ladakh. The masterpiece of the Shey monastery is a 7.5 meter statue of Champa or Maitreya Buddha in a seated position. Located on the way to Hemis, the Shey gompa is perched on a hilltop and features a large victory stupa topped with pure gold.
After visiting Shey monastery we will proceed towards the Thikse Gompa from where you can have wonderful views of the Indus Valley. Located 25km south of Leh on the top of a hill, Thikse Gompa is architecturally, artistically and visually spectacular. The 12 story edifice consists of several temples from where you can have a wonderful views of the valley dotted with white stupas. The wall paintings of Thikse Gompa are feast for the eyes.
After enjoying you lunch you will visit Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace.
Located on a hilltop to the west of Changspa, the brilliant white-domed stupa is one of the several world peace pagodas built by the Japanese Buddhists throughout the world. Built in 1991 the Shanti Stupa enshrines the relics of the Buddha. One can have unrivaled panoramic views of Leh and the rugged beauty of the surrounding landscape.
Leh Palace is a former royal palace overlooking the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh. Modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, the palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century in the grand tradition of Tibetan architecture.
Overnight stay in Leh
Morning drive from Leh to Lamayuru whih is located 110 km away. On the way at a short distance from Gurdwara Shri Patthar Sahib you will visit the Magnetic Hill where gravity appears to work in reverse. As can be gauged from the name the Magnetic Hill is known for its magnetic properties. Here a vehicle that stops at the bottom of a stretch of downhill starts to slide uphill whereas it’s a case of an optical illusion according to some.
125 km from Leh, Lamayaru Gompa can be reached after crossing Fotu La, the highest point on the Srinagar-Leh road, this is the oldest sacred site in Ladakh. Lamayaru gompa was a Bon Shrine before it was converted into a Buddhist monastery.
One of the largest Tibetan monasteries in Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir, Lamayuru monastery belongs to the Red-Hat Sect of Buddhists. Its major highlights are beautiful wall paintings, statues of the Buddha and other Buddhist deities. The beautifully sculpted halls of the monastery are adorned by thangkas, murals, beautiful frescoes and frightening masks.
In the afternoon we will drive to Alchi which is 60 km away from Lamayuru. After traversing the journey in 2 hours we will arrive at Alchi where you will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel.
Later we will visit the millennium old Alchi Gompa. One of the most extraordinary gompas in Ladakh, the Alchi Gompa is located along the left bank of the Indus and is enshrined with scared relics of the saints and Buddhist texts. Situated in a quiet village the interiors of this five-temple gompa complex are adorned with vibrant and colorful murals as well as beautiful wooden figures. The dukhang or assembly hall houses an image of Avalokiteshvara made of pure gold.
Administered by the Yellow-Hat Gelugpa monks of Likir Monastery, Alchi Gompa comes lauded as the Ladakh’s only monastery which is not located on a hilltop.
Overnight stay in Alchi
30 km drive from Alchi across the Indus will take you to Likir where we will visit the Likir Gompa.
61 km from Leh on the Srinagar – Leh road, Likir Gompa was established in 1065 by Lama Duwag Chosje. Here you will find 1000 year old wall paintings, centuries old bulletproof iron jacket and shield. A small museum in the monastery is an added advantage. From the courtyard one can have a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas.
After exploring the Likir Gompa we will take a drive to Leh. On the way we will visit Basgo where the remnants of former citadel perched on a hill will surely captivate you. The monastery, whose main highlight is the two-story-high golden statue of the Maitreya Buddha, is adorned with beautiful murals.
Overnight stay in Leh
Today you will visit Hemis Gompa, 40km from Leh and the centerpiece of any visit to Ladakh. You will participate in the annual Hemis festival which commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of the Vajrayana Buddhism in Ladakh. During the celebration of the festival the monastery comes alive with the spectacular mask dance by the lamas to the accompaniment of drums, cymbals and long horns.
Sitting on a hillock, Hemis Gompa is the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh.
After enjoying the festival we will return to Leh and spend the night in there.
Today we will again visit the Hemis monastery which is a 1 hour drive from Leh. We will be once a part of the sacred ceremonies of the Hemis festival.
You can also sample the rich cuisines of Ladakh in the stalls outside. Here you can also pick up gifts and souvenirs.
Overnight stay in Leh
Morning drive to Leh airport to board flight for Delhi where we will reach at 0920 hrs. After reaching Delhi we will take a road drive to Agra. After reaching Agra you will be transferred to the pre-booked hotel.
In the afternoon we will head for sightseeing of the much-acclaimed Agra Fort which consists of a wide array of fairytale halls, palaces, buildings, pavilions and serene gardens which were inhabited the Mughal rulers, their family, courtiers and staff in the bygone era. Commissioned by the greatest Mughal Akbar in 1565, the Agra fort was completed by 1573 and is also known as Red Fort thanks to the red sandstone fabric of its rampart walls
Overnight stay in Agra
In the morning we will head towards the world beating landmark Taj Mahal. Taj Mahal, synonymous with beauty and elegance, is one such site which is not to be missed even in the most perfunctory of tours. Built by the fifth Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in the 17th century, this mausoleum of his wife, Mumtaz Mahal, is the crowning glory of Mughal architecture.
Taj Mahal, world’s most famous symbol to royal love was built to immortalize the name of Mumtaz Mahal who Mumtaz died in 1631 in childbirth at the age of 39.
Poetically described as “a tender elegy in marble”, Taj Mahal, a blend of Indian, Persian and Turkish architectural designs, was the result of the labour of over 12, 000 workers, over a period of 22 years.
After having breakfast you will drive to Delhi where you will pay a visit to Rajghat, where the mortal remains of Mahatma Gandhi, the father of the Indian Nation, were cremated on the evening of January 31, 1948. Located on the west bank of the river Yamuna Rajghat has a open platform of black marble inscribed with the Mahatma’s final words, ‘Hey Ram’ (Oh God). It is now a national shrine.
Later we shall drive to India Gate, one of the principal attractions of Delhi. One of the most recognisable remnants of the British Raj, the monument was built as a memorial to commemorate the 70,000 India soldiers who died in World War I. Designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens India Gate was completed in 1931. You will also drive pass Rashtrapati Bhawan, the official residence of the president of India, and Parliament.
After dinner you will drive to the Delhi airport for your onward departure.