Embark on a captivating journey through the enchanting landscapes of northern India on this comprehensive tour. Begin your adventure in Delhi, where ancient history meets modern vibrancy, before soaring over the majestic Himalayas to reach Leh, an oasis of tranquility at high altitude. Explore Leh’s monasteries and immerse yourself in its serene ambiance. Journey to Likir and Alchi, discovering monastic treasures and hidden valleys.
Marvel at the remarkable Alchi Monastery’s unique artistry and take an excursion to Lamayuru, unveiling the geological wonders of Ladakh. Traverse the spectacular Leh-Manali Highway, ascending mountain passes and descending into fertile valleys. Experience the diverse charm of Manali and Dharamsala, where Tibetan culture and spirituality thrive. Conclude your odyssey in Amritsar, visiting the revered Golden Temple and reflecting on the rich history that has shaped this fascinating land.
This immersive journey through India’s northern gems offers a blend of cultural exploration, natural beauty, and spiritual discovery.
Duration: 16 Days / 15 Nights
Places: Delhi > Leh > Likir > Alchi > Leh > Tsokar > Jispa > Manali > McLeodganj > Amritsar > Delhi
Delhi: The tour commences in Delhi, a vibrant metropolis where historic monuments coexist with modern urban life. Its blend of ancient architecture, bustling markets, and government buildings presents a microcosm of India’s rich history and dynamic present.
Leh: The journey takes you to Leh, nestled in the Himalayas. At 3,500 meters above sea level, Leh offers stunning landscapes and a serene atmosphere. It serves as the gateway to Ladakh’s monastic treasures, where centuries-old monasteries such as Shey and Thiksey offer glimpses into the region’s spiritual heritage.
Likir and Alchi: Moving on to Likir, you’ll encounter the remarkable Likir Monastery, resembling Tibet’s iconic Potala Palace. The route leads to Alchi, a picturesque village surrounded by barley fields and apricot trees. The Alchi Monastery, a treasure trove of early Buddhist art, showcases a unique Kashmiri artistic style.
Tsokar Lake: Amidst breathtaking landscapes, Tsokar Lake shines like a gem. The lake is nestled amidst wind-eroded earth and rock formations, creating a mesmerizing setting for your camp. The ecological importance of the area is respected as camping is prohibited on the lake shore.
Jispa and Manali: Crossing high mountain passes, you reach Jispa with its captivating landscapes. From here, you descend into the lush Kulu Valley, arriving in Manali. The town offers a refreshing change with its pine forests, greenery, and opportunities for exploration.
Dharamsala and McLeodganj: The tour continues to Dharamsala, a town that gained prominence as the residence of the Dalai Lama. In the upper area known as McLeodganj, Tibetan culture flourishes, and you’ll explore its vibrant streets and tranquil corners.
Amritsar: The journey concludes in Amritsar, the spiritual heart of Sikhism. The Golden Temple, a glistening structure surrounded by a sacred pool, is a symbol of unity and devotion. A visit to the Jallianwala Bagh serves as a poignant reminder of India’s colonial history.
This tour unveils the diverse tapestry of northern India, encompassing ancient monasteries, tranquil lakes, stunning landscapes, and deeply rooted cultural traditions. Each destination offers a unique perspective on the region’s history, spirituality, and natural beauty, creating an unforgettable journey of exploration and discovery.
Detailed Tour Plan
Day-1. Arrive Delhi
Meet assistance at airport and transfer to hotel.
Day-2 Flight Delhi-Leh.
Transfer to the domestic terminal for the spectacular early morning flight over the Himalaya to Leh.
The rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatize to the altitude (3,500m). Overnight Hotel.
Day-3. In Leh
After breakfast full day sightseeing of famous monasteries Shey, & Thiksey. Afternoon visit Shankar monastery.
Drive to monastery at Likir, a beautiful building, reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. From here we drive to Yangtang village from where there is the option to walk to Rizong monastery, set hidden in a valley.
This solitary gompa is renowned for its strict monastic teachings. Just below in a grove of apricots is a small nunnery, which is inhabited by young nuns from the Nubra Valley who have come here to study Buddhism. After Rizong we rejoin the Indus again, which we follow to Saspol. Just after the village we cross this mighty river and drive to Alchi, a pretty village set in a grove of apricot trees. Barley fields surround the village and at harvest time the village is a buzz of activity.
Overnight in Traditional Guest House
Day-5. In Alchi
We visit the famous Alchi Monastery.
The main attraction in Alchi is the monastery, which is the most important cultural site in Ladakh. Built in the 11th century, it is a treasure trove of early Buddhist art in the Kashmiri tradition, a style quite different from the Tibetan art found in Ladakh’s other monasteries. It was founded by Rinchen Zangpo who was said to have built 108 temples in Ladakh and is responsible for reviving interest in Buddhism at that time.
Next we make an excursion to Lamayuru. The drive takes us through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ladakh. This part of Ladakh is where 50 million years ago the continents crashed together and the Himalaya were formed. There will be time to explore the monastery and the village before driving back to Alchi. Overnight in Traditional Guest House
Day-6. Drive to Leh
After breakfast we drive back to Leh visiting Basgo Fort en route.
The rest of the afternoon is free for individual exploration. The old town and the local bazaar are well worth a visit. Overnight Hotel
Day-7.Free day in Leh.
There are options to visit some of the monasteries in the Leh valley, or to take a jeep trip to the Khardung La Pass, the highest motorable road in the world at 5,602m.
These activities can be arranged and paid for locally and your leader will have details. Overnight Hotel
Day-8. Drive to Tsokar Lake 6 Hrs drive
An early start as we leave Leh and begin our journey along the legendary road from Leh to Manali across the Great Himalayan Range.
This journey rates as one of the classic road journeys of the world. From Leh we follow the Indus River for a short while before turning away to climb to the Taglang La. At 5,328 m., this pass is the second highest road pass in the world. The road winds its way up through a spectacular landscape to the prayer flags at the top. Descending from the pass we leave the main road for a while to visit Tsokar Lake. We camp about a mile from the lake (due to ecological reasons camping is not allowed on the lake shore). Overnight Fixed Camp
Day-9. Tsokar – Jispa 8-9 Hrs drive
A long drive today as we climb through a stunning wind eroded landscape of earth and rock pillars to the Nakli La and further on to the Lachalung La.
We then descend the Gata Loops, an amazing series of 22 hairpin bends. The highest point today is Baralacha Pass (4,845m, Continue driving to Jispa for the night. Overnight Guest House
Day-10. Drive to Manali
Crossing our last pass, the Rhotang La (3,985 m). This takes us over the Himalayas and from here the scenery changes dramatically – we leave the barren mountains behind and descend into the green and fertile Kulu Valley to Manali.
Day-11. In Manali
We have a full day to explore Manali. Manali is surrounded by beautiful fir and pine forests and there are lovely walks in and around the town. The ancient wooden Hadimba Devi Temple is the most important temple in Manali.
Day-12: Manali-Mandi 6 Hrs drive
Drive to Mandi. En-route we will visit Rewalsar where a charming hilltop lake is revered by Sikhs, Hindus and Buddhists, who have each built their temples on its banks.
Today we drive to the hill station of Dharamsala. This was a quiet unassuming town until 1959. This all changed when H.H Dalai Lama settled here after fleeing from Tibet at the time of the Chinese invasion.
McLeod Ganj is the upper part of the town and is the area with the greatest Tibetan influence and is where we are based for two nights. We have a full day to explore the town.
Day-15. McLeodganj- Amritsar
We drive to Amritsar, the Sikh’s holiest city and in the afternoon we visit the Golden Temple, their main shrine.
We can also visit the nearby Jalianwala Gardens, site of the notorious massacre under General Dyer in 1919, which led to 319 Sikhs being shot by British troops.
Day-16. Transfer to Airport. Depart Home
End of Tour
FAQs about the Tour
Q: What is the starting point of the tour?
A: The tour begins in Delhi, the capital city of India, known for its historical landmarks and modern vibrancy.
Q: What is the significance of Leh in this tour?
A: Leh, situated in the Himalayas, serves as a gateway to Ladakh’s monasteries and offers a serene atmosphere amidst stunning landscapes.
Q: What cultural sites can be explored in Leh?
A: You can explore monasteries like Shey, Thiksey, and Shankar while enjoying the spiritual and cultural richness of the region.
Q: What is the highlight of Likir and Alchi?
A: Likir Monastery, resembling the Potala Palace, and Alchi Monastery, with its unique Kashmiri artistic style, are the highlights of this part of the tour.
Q: What makes Tsokar Lake special?
A: Tsokar Lake captivates with its wind-eroded landscapes and is a unique camping spot, though camping is restricted on the lake shore for ecological reasons.
Q: How does the tour progress to Jispa and Manali?
A: The tour continues with a drive through high mountain passes, leading to Jispa and eventually to Manali, offering a contrast of landscapes from arid to lush.
Q: What is the significance of Dharamsala and McLeodganj?
A: Dharamsala is known for hosting the Dalai Lama and McLeodganj represents Tibetan culture, making them both culturally rich and spiritually significant destinations.
Q: What can be experienced in Amritsar?
A: Amritsar is the spiritual heart of Sikhism, featuring the iconic Golden Temple and the historically significant Jallianwala Bagh.
Q: What kind of landscapes are encountered on this tour?
A: The tour traverses diverse landscapes, from the barren beauty of Leh to the lush greenery of Manali, offering a visual treat throughout the journey.
Q: How does this tour capture the essence of northern India?
A: This tour captures the essence by showcasing historical monuments, monasteries, serene lakes, and vibrant cultures, offering a comprehensive exploration of the region.
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