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Roof of the world: Kashmir and festival of Ladakh

September 10 to 28, 2017

It’s no wonder Ladakh is known as Little Tibet: there’s no mistaking the infinite landscape of the Himalaya or the colorful festival masks of the predominantly Tibetan Buddhist culture. The “roof of the world” holds an immense and rich treasure trove: colorful gompas in the rocky slopes, villages surrounded by snowcapped peaks and lush orchards, and bazaars whose mosaic of languages and cultures take on a melody all their own. On this unusual journey, you ramble through rural villages, getting well acquainted with this rugged region’s striking scenery and its inhabitants’ everyday lives.

The Ladakh Festival is held annually every September in Leh and its villages. The inauguration ceremony of the festival takes place in Leh on a large scale with a procession of several cultural troupes from different regions traversing through Leh Market to the Polo Grounds. There is dancing, singing, traditional music, people wearing colorful traditional Ladakhi dresses. The festival duration is six days with celebrations in various villages including archery, polo, and masked dances from the monasteries and dances by cultural troupes from the villages. There are musical concerts too.

Per person sharing in double occupancy (Air and land from NYC): $3,995.00
Single Supplement: $995.00   

Credit for not using our included airfare $550.00

Led by local guides

Price based on a group size minimum of 4 and maximum of 12 participants

Your tour does not include

  • Fuel surcharges, airport taxes, security charges (approx. $450.00/ subject to change until tickets are issued)
  • Round trip airfare between your hometown and NYC
  • Transfers if arriving on different dates or times
  • Visa for India (obtainable online)
  • Airfare Delhi/Srinigar - Leh/Delhi (Approx. $460-$600)
  • Expenses of a personal nature such as camera/video recorder fees, drinks, telephone, laundry bills, email, etc.
  • Meals not specified in the itinerary and any other service/s not specified above
  • Video camera fees.
  • Trip surcharge to operate below the required minimum of participants
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and hotel staff
  • Any additional expenses incurred due to flight delays/cancellations (dayrooms, hotel nights or transfers)
  • Travel Insurance (highly recommended)

Your tour includes

  • Round trip airfare New York City/Delhi
  • Accommodation in hotels as per the program in First Class (4*-5*) properties (or similar)
  • Meals as specified in the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)
  • Bottle of water on bus daily
  • Airport transfers (if arriving/departing on scheduled flights)
  • Travel by modern, air-conditioned motor coach
  • Services of local English speaking guide during the sightseeing in all major cities
  • All activities described in the tour and entrance fees to all sites mentioned


View Tour Itinerary

Sun-Mon, Sep 10-11

Depart from JFK in New York City arriving in Delhi the following day. You will be met and transferred to the Lalit hotel or similar for your overnight.

Tue, Sep 12

After breakfast, enjoy a free morning then afternoon, head to visit Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the most prominent Sikh gurdwara, or Sikh house of worship, known for its association with the eighth Sikh Guru, Guru Har Krishan, and the pond inside its complex, known as the "Sarovar", whose water is considered holy by Sikhs and is known as "Amrit", afterwards visit Lotus Temple; one of the remarkable architectures of Bahai faith, it looks like a Lotus Flower and is made of marble, cement, dolomite and sand. Lotus Temple is among the most visited monuments in India. Before returning to your hotel, enjoy the welcoming dinner at Chore Bizzare Restaurant. (B,D)

Wed, Sep 13
Delhi - Sringar

After breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Srinagar, upon arrival transfer to Houseboat for check in and having some rest, afternoon enjoy Shikara ride on Dal Lake passing through the small canals to see the local life, ancient houses, agricultural fields and paper maché handicraft-the specialty of this area. Afterwards return to your houseboat for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thu, Sep 14

After breakfast, a day excursion to oldest part of the Srinagar city visiting Jamia Masjid, Shahi Hamdan Mosque and walking through the decorated bazaar of the Srinagar city and visiting ancient wooden bridges of the Srinagar city, continue drive to world renown Mughal Gardens, built by the Mughals in the Islamic style of architecture which was greatly influenced by the Persian concept of the ‘char-bagh,’ where a garden is symmetrically divided into four smaller quadrilaterals by axial walkways, also visit Shalimar Bagh, the garden is arranged in four terraces lying one above another of nearly equal dimensions. The highest terrace also has a black pavilion etched with the famous inscription by Amir Khusrau. Then head to visit another architectural masterpiece of the Mughals, the splendid Pari Mahal. Once the royal observatory, Pari Mahal has a well laid out garden with spectacular views of the Dal Lake and its surroundings. Just before sunset, embark on a cruise in hand-paddled traditional shikara boats on the tranquil waters of the famous Dal Lake, cruising past canoes filled with souvenirs and patches of flowering lotus. Afterwards return to your houseboat for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Fri, Sep 15
Srinagar - Pahalgam-Srinagar

Full day excursion to Pahalgam (vale of Kashmir); the most utilized location for the Indian Film Industry. Enjoy the nature and charm of the valley. On the way visit Saffron fields, Avantipur ruins and Anantnag Sulphur Spring. Stop for a hot lunch in Pahalgam. In the evening return back to houseboat for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Sat, Sep 16

After early breakfast, depart the hotel to Kargil via Sonmarg, after lunch continues driving towards Drass (the second coldest inhibited place in the world). Stop there for tea and passport check. Another two and half hours driving to Kargil; the city gained importance after the opening of Ladakh for tourists in 1974. Upon arrival transfer to Highland Mountain Resort for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Sun, Sep 17
Kargil - Lamayuru

After early breakfast, drive to Lamayuru, ascending two passes: Fotula and Namika-la. The first stop is the Buddhist village Mulbek where you visit Mulbek Monastery. Then cross the highest pass (Fotula 13,749 ft.) on Srinagar-Leh route and Namika-la (12,129 ft) and Fatu-la (13,408 ft.), on arrival in Lamayuru, transfer to Moonland Hotel for check in, lunch and having some rest. Afternoon visit Lamayuru Monastery; the oldest monastery in Ladakh. This fascinating 10th century monastery is located in a spectacular setting overlooking verdant farming terraces and is home to some of the finest frescos, carpets and thangkhas. The complex includes one of the oldest libraries in the region, containing extensive books and other literature on the Tibetan Kagyupa Sect. Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Mon, Sep 18
Lamayuru - Uletokpo

Enjoy your full day at Biama & Dah tribal villages. Drive to Dahanu Valley. The route follows the Indus down from Khaltsi just 66 kms, passing the villages of Domkhar, Skurbuchan and Achinathang, along a fairly good road. The tribes who live in this valley, known as Drokhpa, belong to the Aryan race and appear to have preserved their racial purity through the centuries. Drokhpas are believed to have migrated to this area via Gilgit around 1000 year ago from Central Asia. Continue to Uletokpo and transfer to Ule Ethnic Resort for check in, dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Tue, Sep 19
Uletokpo - Leh

This morning drive to Leh en-route visit Alchi, Likir & Phyang gompas. A short drive to Alchi Monastry; the oldest and most famous, it is approximately 1000 years old and a temple called Dhu-Kang dates back to 11th century or 12th century. Some of the houses there are well preserved Indo-Himalayan style with magnificent wall paintings. The Alchi monastery is not only a worshipping place for Buddhist but a study center too. It is well-known as a monastic complex of temples that consists of three shrines: the Dukhang (an assembly hall), the Sumtseg and the temple of Manjushree. After early lunch continue to Likri Gompa. This gompa is one of the most well maintained monasteries in Ladakh. Likir gompa is not only large, it is pretty wealthy too. Around 100 monks reside here. Then continue driving to Phyang, a monastery, giving an appearance of a palace standing atop a hill. Mani walls lead to the little - visited gompa, which was built around the 16th century by king Tashi Namgyal and is today home to about 45 monks of the Kagyupa order. Afterwards drive to Leh, check in Hotel Royal Ladakh and enjoy the rest of the day free at leisure. (B,L,D)

Wed, Sep 20

Enjoy your full day at the festival, traditional music, dances, handicrafts, art exhibitions, archery contests, Polo games, and food from all valleys of Ladakh. Late afternoon visit the town of Leh, a fascinating labyrinth of winding streets and quaint bazaars. Marvel at the view of the spectacular eight-story Leh Palace, looming above and overlooking the town. Also stop at Sankar monastery (gompa) situated on a valley floor right in the town. Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Thu, Sep 21

Enjoy your second full day at the festival. Late afternoon visit Stok, for a tour of the palace and museum. Stok Palace is the only inhabited palace in Ladakh. This palace houses a fine private museum, open to the public when the royal family was in residence. There is a superb collection of thankas, said to be the best in the world. Some of them have been created out of pure gold and paints made of crushed semi-precious stones. Also of interest are antique robes and royal jewelry specially noted for the turquoise and red coral. Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Fri, Sep 22

Full day sightseeing to SHEY, THIKSEY and HEMIS monasteries. SHEY: it was once the residence of the royal family. According to tradition, it was the seat of power of the pre-Tibetan kings. A 7.5 meter high copper status of Buddha plated with gold and the largest of its kind is installed there. THIKSEY: one of the largest and architecturally most impressive gompas. There are several temples in this gompa, containing exquisite images, stupas and wall paintings of Buddhas. HEMIS: is the wealthiest, best known and biggest gompa in Ladakh. Its popularity stems from the major annual festival held there in summer. The festival is in honor of Guru Padma Sambhav's birth anniversary Afterwards return to your hotel for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Sat, Sep 23
Leh – Pangong Lake

After breakfast, drive through Kharu, Chemrey, Tagar Sakti to Changla Pass, while ascending Changla Pass; enjoy the beautiful panoramic view of the villages below the pass. After crossing the pass halt for picnic lunch at Tsoltak, the summer pastureland of the yaks. On arrival in Durbuk, visit the small monastery and later see the beautiful sunset at the lake. Pangong Lake is the largest brackish water lake in Asia. Overnight at Pangong Inn (B,L,D)

Sun, Sep 24
Pangong Lake – Leh

Have a free morning at leisure; enjoy the sunrise by the lake; walk beside the lake or a photography excursion in the village, Afternoon drive back to Leh and transfer to Hotel Royal Ladakh for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Mon, Sep 25
Leh - Sumur

After breakfast, head to Sumur, en route visit The Nubra Valley; lies in the north of Leh and is accessible over the Khardung-la, it was a trade route from Leh and Khasgar via Saser and Karakoram passes. From Khardung-la, drive to Khardung village through starkly beautiful country side to the Traffic Check Post (TCP) at Khalsar where permits have be registered and checked. Transfer to Silk Route Cottage for dinner and overnight. (B,L,D)

Tue, Sep 26
Sumur - Diskit - Sumur

Enjoy your full day excursion to Diskit & Hundar. After breakfast drive to Diskit and visit Diskit Monastery. Continue to Hundar village through sandy desert valley and visit old fort of Hundar village and small monastery. Return to Sumur for overnight at Silk Route Cottage. (B,L,D)

Wed, Sep 27
Sumur - Leh

After breakfast, drive to Leh, upon arrival transfer to Hotel Royal Ladakh, enjoy the rest of the day free at leisure. (B,L,D)

Thu, Sep 28
Leh - Delhi - USA

After early breakfast, transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi, upon arrival transfer to Pride Plaza hotel for check in and having some rest, afterwards transfer to the airport for your flight back to the US. (B)

We (STS) reserve the right to change hotels, restaurants or the order of activities if/as needed

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