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BHUTAN
  Bhutan Cultural Tour
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  Festivals Dates 2005
 
SIKKIM
  Sikkim Tour
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Leh Ladak
19-Days Spadum to Lamayuru trek (Zanskar Valley)
19-Days Spadum to Darcha Trek (Zanskar Valley with Himachal Pradesh
12-Days Markha Valley Trek
19-Days Rupshu Kharnak Via Gya to Tsomoriri Trek
15-Days Nubra Valley Trek
16-Days Lamayuru / Hemis Via Markha Trek
28-Days Lamayuru to Darcha trek

LADAK

The flight into the Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is an unforgettable experience - over the Dramatic expanse of the Himalayas - for Ladakh straddles four main ranges - the Great Himalayan, Zanskar, Ladakh and the Karakoram. This is the highest inhabited region in India and the River Indus with its tributaries, slice their way through the ranges.

Remote though it is, Ladakh has never been totally isolated. Over the centuries the trade route from India to central Asia passed through this area undeterred by its high passes and desert landscape. Caravans carrying spices, brocades, pearls, carpets, and more mundane merchandise like salt and tea took just two months to cover the distance from Amritsar in Punjab to the Central Asian towns of Yarkand and Khotan ! Leh and Kargil on this ancient route developed then into centres of trade.

Around Leh in the upper Indus Valley is the cultural heartland of Ladakh, where the old capitals of the area are located and where many of the splendid palaces and gompas are also to be found. The people of Ladakh are predominantly Buddhist and practise Mahayana Buddhism tempered with the old Bon animistic faith and tantric Hinduism. It was the sage Padmasambhava who brought Buddhism to Tibet and Ladakh during his travel in the 7th century AD. In the 11th century, the Buddhist scholar Rinchen Tsangpo established 108 monasteries in the region. The gompas at Lamayuru and Alchi are said to date from that time. The living Buddhist heritage is manifest in the villages where 'mani' walls
are engraved with the mantra 'Om mani padme hum' and stones are piled into commemorative mounds known as 'chorten'. The gompas precariously perched on steep hill sides or rock faces seem an integral part of the rugged landscape.

In western Ladakh, in Drass, Kargil and the Suru valley where the Muslim Shia faith prevails there are mosques and imposing Imambaras in the Islamic style, surmounted with domes.

Travelling into Ladakh by road is exciting. It takes two days from Srinagar to Leh (434 Km) with a mid way halt at Kargil, which gives the visitor a marvellous introduction to this spectacular destination, while easing the acclimatization process to the high altitude low-oxygen atmosphere of
Ladakh.

The road leaves behind the verdant beauty of the Kashmir Valley at Zoji-La, the pass in the Great Himalayan wall that is the gateway into Ladakh. Densely forested slopes give way to bare mountains in shades of russets and brown as the road descends to the alpine meadows of Minamarg on to Drass, the first village after the pass. It is reputed to be the second coldest habitation in the world after Siberia! The people here are different. They are of Dard origin and believed to be an Aryan people who migrated from the Central Asia steppes.

Onward the road traverses a narrowing gorge on to the little trading town of Kargil, the mid point of the journey. Located on the River Suru, at 9000 feet, Kargil is the base for visits to the spectacular Suru and Zanskar valley and for a variety of adventure activities in the region. 40 km ahead
of Kargil is Mulbekh noted for its immense figure of Maitreya, the future Buddha, carved in deep relief into a rock face high above the village. The road climbs its breathless way to mor passes Namila-la (12,200 ft./3719m) and Fotu-La (13,479 ft./4094m) - a truly top of the feeling. It sweeps pas the amazing Lamayuru Monastery spilling spectacularly over a mountainside down The incredible Langroo Loops to meet the river Indus at Khalatse - a descent to 4000 ft./1219m in about 3 km! A panoramic view of the amazing russets, yellows and greys of the Ladakh ranges unfold as the road follows the river. Gompas and forts can be glimpsed in the distance. At the Sptituk Monastery the visitor gets a first dramatic glimpse of Leh, floating like a mirage in the distance.

LEH

Leh is breathtaking. Towering over the city is the tall nine storeyed palace built by Ladakh's ruler Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. It is said to have served as the model for the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Another palace built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century stands above it on the
Namgyal Tsemo peak. Down below, the town is a maze of little box like buildings bristling with brushwood stored on the roof for winter, set in an oasis of green fields.

Though Leh has been capital of this region since the 17th century, strewn around it along the Indus Valley are earlier capitals of the region. From Leh one can wander off on marvellous day expeditions to get a glimpse of some of the treasures of Ladakh.

Not far from Leh, shey is the oldest capital of Ladakh from where its earliest Tibetan kings ruled. Perched on top of a huge rock are the royal palace and temples adorned with brilliantly coloured murals and a 7.5 metre gold statue of the Buddha. Basgo (40 km) and Tingmosgang with their forts and palaxes were also capitals of Ladakh. Stok Palace across the river from Leh is the home of the erstwhile royal family. The palace museum here has collections of beautiful royal costumes and jewellery, exquisite thangkas (religious themes and icons painted and embroidered on cloth), porcelain, jade, weapons and armour.

Within easy reach of Leh is the Spituk Monastery (8 km) with its commanding view of the Indus. It has fine thangkas and a collection of ancient masks. Thikse Monastery (20 km) one of the most impressive in the area is spectacularly located and is noted for its beautiful murals. Hemis (43 km)
is of course the biggest gompa in Ladakh and the best known for its magnificent summer festival that celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. The largest thangka in Ladakh is to be found here. It is unfold only once every 12 years. Other magnificent gompa located in the
vicinity include the splendid Lamayuru, Likir, Phyang, Rizdong, Stakna, Matho and Chemrey gompas, all easily accessile from Leh. Alchi (70 km) no longer an active religious centre, is among Ladakh's most beautiful monasteries. Over a thousand years old, its wall paintings like those of tabo in Spiti are reminiscent of the Ajanta style of painting.

Within the town of Leh itself there is plenty to see and do. An easy walk away through the interesting coppersmith's quarter, past the Moravian Church, the Ladakh Ecological Centre and across the fields, is the Sankar gompa. Another interesting walk to the Ladakh Shanti Stupa goes through the picturesque village of Changspa. In the colourful bazaar are fascinating little shops with everything from semi-precious stones - lapiz, coral, turquoise and pearls to fine curios and artefacts. It is a marvellous shopping experience. Skara another pretty village and the ramparts of the old earthern fort of Zorawar Singh makes another little expedition. Eating out is fun at open air garden and sidewalk restaurants that offer Tibetan, Indian and even continental cuisine.

KARGIL

The second largest town in Ladakh marks the mid point of the journey from Srinagar to Leh. Kargil is also the take off point for excursions into the Suru Valley and the remote Zanskar Valley with their exciting opportunities for mountaineering, camping, river rafting and trekking trails into Himalchal Pradesh, Jammu and the Indus valley.

Kargil was once at the cross-roads of a network of trade routes that led to Kashmir, Baltistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Tibet and an air of romance still lingers around its narrow cobbled streets and bazaars spilling over with locally crafted curios. The town retains its conservative Balti Shia Muslim culture and has two fine mosques built in the Turkish style.

Nestling in the Suru Valley, Kargil is set amidst green, richly cultivated hill sides. The two tributaries of the River Suru the Drass and Wakha meet there. There are pretty walk around the town with breathtaking views of the mountains. As day long excursion into the Suru Valley goes past the
picturesque Imambara of Trespone (25 km).

SURU VALLEY

The Suru Valley one of the prettiest areas of Ladakh, runs for 140 km beyond Kargil to the Penzi La Pass, the point of entry into the Zanskar Valley. Its verdant hills are intensively cultivated. Enough snow and water during the year sustain two crops annually. The valleys are especially picturesque in
spring when the apple, apricot and mulberry trees are all in bloom and in autumn when they are laden with fruit. The view along the Sankoo-Panikhar tract is magnificent. The open valley adorned with undulationg alpine meadows strewn with wild flowers, groves of poplars and willows are set
against the majestic backdrop of the Himalayan peaks dusted with snow.

At Thangbu, a little village, the traveler gets a first glimpse of the spectacular Nun (7135 m) - Kun (7035 m) massif. Panikhar 12 km beyond this is the base for treks to Kashmir and Kishtwar. The road goes past the glaciers of the Nun - Kun massif to descend to Rangdum set in wild and
beautiful surroundings. It is located at the futhest end of the Suru Valley before the Penzi-La Pass. Set high on a central hillock the Rangdum gomba with a little stream forming a moat around it, looks like a ancient fort protecting the valley.

ZANSKAR

The Zanskar Valley is noted for its high ranges, fine gombas and gentle people. The most isolated of all Himalayan valleys, inaccessible for 8 months in a Year, it is snow a popular destination with trekkers.

Set in a wide pain where two swift flowing tributaries join to form the Zanskar River, is Padim the main habitantion and the sub divisional headquarters. Close to the town are a set of ancient rock carvings and two picturesque monasteries, the Stagrimo and Pibiting gompas. A two hour trek
from Padum takes one to Karsha with the largest and most wealthy gompa in the region. It dates back to the 16th century. Other interesting monasteries include the castle-like gompa at at Sani (6 km from Padum), the splendid Stongdey (18 km) perched on a rocky outcrop, Bardan (12 km) and the
spectacularly located Phugtal just off the Padum-Manali


For further information such as Itinerary, cost and other relevant information
on the above trekking peaks
CONTACT US.
E-mail: info@adventureplusnepal.com.np
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