Nubra and Tsomriri Trip 2

Day 01: Leh / Khardung La / Deskit / Hunder.

Today we travel north from Leh over the highest motorable road and the Khardungla Pass (5570m), to the Nubra Valley which is little visited, as it is inaccessible for all but a couple of months in the year, its high passes closed by the winter snows. In comparison to the Indus valley which is cooler the Nubra is a comparatively warm valley where walnut, apricot, apple and mulberry trees grow and yak, sheep and goats graze in small forests and along the river Shyok. The journey brings us excellent view of great Karakoram Range.
In the ancient times the fertile Nubra Valley formed a part of the overland route between Tibet and Turkestan. Once dotted with garlands of camel and yak caravans, this Silk Route glen is also known as the 'Valley of Flowers' of Ladakh, and is amongst the greenest valleys in the region.
On our way we visit the Diskit Village which is amongst the larger villages in the region, and home to the 350 year-old Diskit Gompa - the oldest, and the largest monastery in the Nubra Valley . We will also find time to walk along the Nubra village. The people are amazingly friendly inspite of their lack of material disposition. Their traditional lifestyles and homes give you the feel of a Living Museum.
We reach Hunder Village through a gorgeous stretch of sand dunes. This is where we will camp tonight. The main attractions in this area are the Bactarian Double Humped Camels. This is the ancient Silk route and these animals were abandoned by the traders. Successive generations have procreated over centuries. This evening we enjoy camel ride over the Sand Dunes. This is a high mountain desert country with fertile dots of land in between. Sand dunes eclipse the mountains; rock and snow capped mountains rising majestically against a pastel landscape. Truly a soul stirring experience where you experience communion with nature
We end the day in absolute peace with ourselves. It is so simple to celebrate the mountains, sun the moon, water, stars and sky - this feeling of presence of a creator that has managed to create such beauty and wonder.

Overnight at Tented Accommodations

Day 08: Hunder / Panamik / Hunder
This morning we will spend some time exploring the village. Hunder is a quaint and beautiful village, maze-like in its formation, winding paths bathed in dappled sunlight, branches forming tunnels. The Ladakhi people are creative in the way they devise for water to enter homes and fields in turn, with tenderly cared for gardens and fruit orchards. The houses are thatched, built with mud-dried.
The people are so hospitable and look on curiously, smiling. They radiate joy, with their rosy sun burnt cheeks, wide smiles and eyes speaking volumes about the depth of character and humane goodness they exude. They are humble, joyous and childlike, with a palpable dignity. It would hit you to realize how material culture and luxury do not provide happiness.
Today we continue to explore the Nubra Valley and the quaint villages that dot the landscape. Sumur is one such village where we interact with the people and also visit the citadel of their faith - The Samtanling Gompa which is definitely worth a visit, and houses a fine collection of idols, frescos and tangkhas (painted and embroidered scrolls).
Continue a short way away to Panamik which used to be a busy centre being the last major settlement before the caravans entered into the mountains of Karakoram. Today, Panamik is a sleepy village, its inhabitants quietly going about their work in the fields. On the mountainside above the village, hot water bubbles out of the earth in thermal springs, reputed to have therapeutic qualities..
Late afternoon, drive back to Hotel. Overnight at Rimo Hotel .

Day 09: Hunder / Leh
Morning we retreat back to Leh

Day 1: Delhi - Leh    (Flight):
Early morning transfer to domestic airport to board flight for Leh (3505 Mt). LEH is the capital of Ladakh and is situated on the bank of river Indus. Met upon arrival at the airport and transfer to hotel. Day rest for acclimatization. Overnight stay at hotel.

Day 2: Leh    (Drive):
Morning proceed for Indus Valley monastery tour. VISIT: SHEY PALACE -The ancient capital of Ladakh. The monastery has a huge copper-giltimage of Sakyamuni and the large silver lamp burning in front of the statue, THIKSAY GOMPA which is actually a complex of buildings on a crag rising in tire upon tier above the village. The temple was dedicated by His Holiness Dalai Lama in 1980 and houses an immense image of Maitreya Buddha in an unusual manifestation known as Chon-kor, most famous HEMIS GOMPA: Founded in 1630's by Stag-tsang-ras-pa under the royal patronage of Sengge Namgayl, Hemis is the is one of the largest and richest Gompa of Ladakh. The two day festival of dance-drama in June July has given Hemis a particular reputation. The festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava and STOK PALACE AND MUSEUM: The Royal residence of the King of Stok, the museum has a rich collection of Ancient Ladakhi artifacts which includes old Tankhas, precious stones, arms and armory, the Queens necklace and the crown of the King of Ladakh among others. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 5:    Leh – Tsomoriri Lake.    (Drive 240 km):
Enroute drive past beautiful villages of Nurnis, Kery, Kishar and Kadgam. These small villages which appear after every 5-10 kms turns the what looks like a lifeless planet into a colorful human life as you will find villagers working in fields, waiting for buses, children yelling at tourist and small schools assembling for morning prayer. Enroute stop at Mahe Bridge from where the road crosses to the south bank of the river by a bridge; it then follows the un-mettled road through Puga stream up to join Sumdo village. The jeep safari from Sumdo to Tso-moriri is one of the most interesting as it goes through sandy deserts & rocky paths. After slowly zigzagging up to the Namshang-La the drive follows a smooth descent and in distant drive past the isolated Thasang Tso - a small turquoise lake which appears like an emerald of a queens necklace. Little before Tso-Moriri Lake drive past a small green valley of wild Marmots locally known as Phya. From the tip of Tso-Moriri Lake drive along the right coast to reach Korzok village and check-in at the camps. Afternoon explore KORZOK: Situated at 15,000 ft (4,572 Mt.) it’s the only permanent settlement in Rupshu region with an approx. population of 500 people. The few barley-fields at Korzok must be among the highest cultivation in the world. Visit KORZOK MONASTERY with its dimly lit prayer halls. Overnight stay in tents.

Day 6:  Tsomoriri to Tsokar  75 Km.
Monring  explore the Lake area and the village. TSO-MORIRI LAKE: The clear blue lake is one of the most breathtaking fresh water Lakes in Ladakh. The locals consider the lake sacred. The Lake is surrounded by beautiful peaks like Mt. Mentok and Mt Kharlung on the right side and Mt Kurchu and Mt Lungser on the left side. The Lake is a breeding ground for numerous species of birds like Bar Headed Goose which is found in abundant, Great Crested Grebe, the Brahmini duck etc. Overnight stay at the camps.

Around 11 PM.  drive to reach Tsokar via Puga by covering 75 kms in 3-4 hours. Tsokar lake 4485 Mt is also called as white lake because of salt deposit around it. It is approx. 45 kms northwest of the Tso-moriri Lake. Tsokar Lake is so salty that salt extracted from its margins were still sold all over Ladakh. Overnight stay in tents.

Day 7: Tsokar - Leh    (Drive 130 km):
Morning drive to Leh via Thukje Gompa. Join Manali-Leh highway and drive down to Leh via Tanglang-la (5224 Mt.) the 2nd highest motorable road in Ladakh. Enroute drive passes beautiful villages of Rumtse, Gia, Meeru, which stands, like an oasis. Arrive Leh and check into hotel for overnight stay.

Day 8: Leh:
Day free at leisure for independent activities and to browse through the colorful market for the last minute shopping. Evening proceed to see Folkdances of Ladakh. Overnight stay in hotel.

Day 09: Leh - Delhi    (Flight):
Morning transfer to airport to board flight for Delhi. Met on arrival and transfer to hotel for overnight stay.