Glimpses of Ladakh Photography Tour

This tour is intended for amateur as well as serious photography enthusiasts with an interest to visit and photograph the beauty of Ladakh. No prior expertise or experience in photography is necessary, as our photographers will be there to assist you at every level. You may carry any camera – a simple aim-and-shoot or a DSLR. Travel enthusiasts who are not photographers but keen to experience the multiple facets of Ladakh can also benefit from the tour.

Ladakh, known as many names, such as “Little Tibet”, “The Land of High Passes” and “Mayul-The Land of Marpo” lies in the north of India, nestled between the Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges.

One of the most remote places on the earth it is shaped by high mountains, deep gorges and wide valleys. The landscape is almost surreal in its beauty, a land stark in its contrast between barren, brown hills and turquoise lakes surrounded by snow covered mountains. These mountains are home to a people of Tibetan heritage with a rich Buddhist culture evidenced by ancient Buddhist Gompas, whitewashed stupas, meditational mani walls and many cultural festival and events.

Duration : 10 nights / 11 days
Dates: 1st October 2018 – 15th October 2018
Destinations : Leh: 5 nights / Uleytokpo: 1 night / Pangong lake: 1 night / Nubra: 1 night / Tsomoriri : 1 night
Excursions : Leh market, Shanti Stupa, Phyang Gompa, Likir, Basgo, Alchi, Uleytokpo, Lamayuru, Pangong Lake, Thiksey, Shey, Khardung-La, Nubra and Tsomoriri

Day 1: arrive Leh

Fly from Delhi to Leh by early morning flight. Upon arriving in Leh received by our guide and transfer to hotel. Leh lies at the altitude of 3500 m, so it is very important that you get proper rest before doing any activity. In the afternoon visit Leh Bazar and old town.

Hotel/all meals

Day 2: spare rest day and visit Shey Palace in the afternoon

Shey, the former capital of Ladakh with a partially ruined palace, overlooking a small lake provides a beautiful picture of Stod region. It was built in 10th century under the first ruler of Western Tibet, Nyima-Gon. He laid the foundation of first Ladakh dynasty. On a large rock below the palace is an engraving in shallow relief of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, attributed to him. Later, a subsequent king made Shey a capital. In memory of the deceased father (Deldan Namgyal), the great king Sengge Namgyal, he commissioned the gigantic copper gilded image of Buddha Sakyamuni abode within the palace temple, It is considered to be the largest image of Buddha Shakyamuni in entire Ladakh. Also the cluster of many ancient stupas near the Palace enlivens the entire landscape around Shey.

Hotel/ all meals

Day 3: visit Shanti Stupa, Sankar monastery and Leh Palace

In the morning, we can climb the 540 steps to Shanti Stupa, peace pagoda built by a Japanese monk in 80s. Standing on the top of a mountain it provides beautiful views of the town and surrounding mountains. From here, we can continue to Sankar Monastery, one of the few monasteries built on a flat ground. The monastery is relatively new and home to about 30 monks.

In the late afternoon, we walk to Leh Palace, a former royal palace overlooking the town. Modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the palace was built by King Senge Namgyal in the 17th century. It is nine storeys high and the upper floors accommodated the royal family, while the lower floors held stables and store rooms. The now ruined palace is being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India.

Hotel / all meals

Day 4: Visit Thikse, Chemre and Hemis monasteries

We start our day by visiting Thikse monastery, standing majestically on a hill overlooking the upper parts of the Ladakh, it is one of the most elegant monasteries in the Ladakh region. From a far distance, the Gonpa seems like replica of the Potala Palace of Tibet. The foundation of the monastery was prophesied by Je-Tsongkhapa, founder of Gelugpa sect in Tibet in the 16th century.

From here, we continue to the very less visited monastery of Chemre, founded in the 17th century, during the reign of Stag-tsang Raspa and King Singge Namgyal. The Gonpa of Chemre is perched on a hill with the residences of the monks spilling below appearing as a heap of rice from far distance. After Chemre, we drive to the largest and most famous Hemis monastery. Hemis follows the same founder and order of the 17th century Drugpa Kagyu and has been a central attraction for visitors and locals for generations, especially during summer for its festival or Hemis Tsechu. People from far-flung villages’ flock here to watch the mask dance in the central courtyard and get the blessing of Rinpoche.

Hotel/ meals
Day 5: Leh – Alchi – Lamayuru

After breakfast, we drive to Alchi monastery, one of the very few monasteries set in a village on flat ground. Founded in the 11th century by Lodan Sherab and Tsultrim Od, disciples of Rinchen Zangpo, Alchi monastery is famous for its architecture, paintings and images, influenced by Central Asian Arts. Afer visiting Alchi, we continue to Lamyuru, the oldest known monastery in Ladakh. Spectacularly located along the valley plain and surrounded by mountains on all sides, according to legend, Lamayuru was once filled by a lake, which miraculously disappeared by the hand of Lotsava Naropa. The monastery of Lamayuru, built in the 10th century, is of the Kagyu sect of Tibetan Buddhism. After visiting Lamayuru, we drive to Rizong monastery, located at the deep end of the valley. The first view of the monastery is very impressive and gives an impression of being very ancient, but it is relatively new, built by Lama Tsultrim Nyima in the19th century. It adheres to the strict monastic discipline advocated by Je-Tsongkhapa of Gelugpa order.

Hotel/ all meals

Day 6: Lamayuru- Likir- Leh

On our way back to Leh we visit the village of Likir and its ancient and less visited monastery. The monastery can be dated back to 11th century when Lama Duwang Chosje was offered the site to establish a monastery by ruling King Lhachen Gyalpo. In the 15th century Lama Lhawang Lhotos, a disciple of Je Tsonkhapa, established the Gelugpa sect. The external 25m high statue of the Maitreya, is relatively new but nonetheless, demands the visitor’s attention. The Gompa has fine collection of Thangkas, Tibetan cultural, wartime and religious artifacts.

Hotel/ all meals

Day 7: rest day and feedback on images

Day 8-9: Pangong Lake excursion (5 hrs drive)

We leave Leh in the morning and drive along the Indus River for an hour, before taking the valley to the left and crossing Chang La 5250m, the gateway to Pangong Lake.

At 4300m Pangong Lake is one of the highest lakes in the world and is breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. During summer, the Bar-headed goose and

Brahmini ducks are commonly seen here. The region around the lake supports a number of species of wildlife including the kiang and the Marmot.

Camp / all meals

Day 10: return to Leh and farewell dinner

Day 11: depart Leh

Transfer to airport in the morning.

Extended trip

Day 11: Leh- Hunder via Diskit

We leave Leh in the morning hours, driving towards Khardung La, the highest motorable pass that stands at (5450 m). As we drive higher towards the pass, we can feel the thin air and sudden drop of temperature. The view from the pass is impressive, especially towards the north that provides views of the snowy peaks of Saser Kangris in the Karakoram Range. After enjoying the

view, we continue down into the valley and come across the first village of Nubra Valley, Khardong at 4000m, followed by the villages of Khalsar and Diskit, the official headquarter of the

Nubra Valley. Here, we visit the famous Diksit Monastery, built in 1420 by Lama Sherab Zangpo during reign of king Drakspa. This monastery belongs to the Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect and is a branch of Thikse monastery. It sits majestically on top of a windswept hill overlooking the village below. From Diskit it is only about 30 minutes’ drive to Hunder the green village of Hunder, surrounded by poplar trees.

Hunder has an ancient temple built on the mountainside, providing an aerial view of the valley. After getting a good rest, we can visit the temple in the afternoon or camel ride in the sand dunes.

Camp/ all meals

Day 12: Hunder- Turtuk- Hunder

Today we visit the areas that has recently been open for tourists, Turtuk is about as close as you can get to Pakistan in India, physically and literally. This green village is crunched into the narrowing Shayok River valley in the furthest corner of Karakoram. Only when the Indo-Pakistan war ended in 1971, Turtuk (together with 5 other Balti villages) was then included within the

Indian line of border control. After visiting Turtuk, we drive back to Hunder.

Camp/ all meals

Day 13: Hunder- Sumur

We retrace the road back for couple of hours, before crossing the Shayok River and arriving at the village of Sumur.

Sumur houses the monastery of Samstanling, situated on the hillside above the village. Recently H.H. The Dalai Lama gave a teaching here and re-inaugurated the monastery. This gompa has an impressive collection of gilded deities, murals and brightly colored thankas.

Hotel/all meals

Day 14: Sumur- Leh via Wari La

From Sumur, we retrace the road back until Khalsar and then drive along the Shayok River, following it until the village of Tangyar, a tiny isolated village rarely visited by tourists. After spending some time in the village, we ascend towards Wari La (5350m), before making a very long descend to reach the valley floor. Here, we visit the Chemre Monastery, founded in the 17th century, during the reign of Stag-tsang Raspa and King Singge Namgyal. The Gonpa of Chemre is perched on a hill with the residences of the monks spilling below appearing as a heap of rice from far distance.

Hotel/ farewell dinner

Day 15: depart Leh

Transfer to airport.

 

2 pax

3-4 pax

5-6 pax

Standard trip

INR 58,500 per pax

INR 54,500 per pax

INR 50,500 per pax

Extended trip

INR 71,800 per pax

INR 69,800 per pax

INR 63,800 per pax

Service Includes:

  • Airport pick and drop in Leh
  • All land transfers by private vehicle
  • Hotel/camp on full board
  • Inner Line Permits
  • monastery entry fee

Service Excludes:

  • Travel to Leh and return travel from Leh to your location
  • Insurance
  • Personal Expenses
  • Anything else that is not part of the includes list above
  • Who can join?
    Anyone can join this tour. This tour is open to both beginners as well as the experienced photographer. Even if you are not a photographer, you can still join as we visit many scenic places in Ladakh. You could even bring along your partner or family member but I would discourage from bringing any children under the age of 5 due to the high altitude.
  • What will I get out of this tour?
    This would be an opportunity to not only meet with new people but also photograph scenic landscapes and wildlife and also improve on your photography skills. What this tour is not, an instruction on how to use your camera or DSLR. Here we will focus on taking good pictures and having a good time.
  • Is there a lot of walking/trekking involved?
    There will be some walking involved but I would say that these would be short easy walks and not something to stress about. There are options for short day hikes for more adventurous however for most of the trip, we will be travelling by car/jeep. The places we shall be visiting are all well connected by road.
  • Why is there a rest day in Leh?
    Leh is at an altitude of around 3500m and here the level of oxygen is much less compared to sea-level. Therefore for this reason, we rest and acclimatize on the day of arrival mainly to avoid any complications during the tour. Some of the places we shall visit will be around 5300m above sea level so serious care needs to be taken of ones health.
  • How fit do I need to be to join this tour?
    If you are fit and active in everyday life, following a normal routine then you should not face any problems. However if you have asthma, heart conditions, any serious allergies, blood pressure or anything else you may suspect that could affect your health during this trip, please consult with your doctor.

 

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