Land of Discovery - Ladakh and Kashmir
14 days from £3540 per person
Jammu and Kashmir is India's most northerly state. It is also a region characterised by its strong diversity - geological, cultural and religious. This itinerary joins Ladakh with the Kashmir valley and, in doing so, creates one of the finest journeys of the Indian subcontinent. Starting in Ladakh, time is spent exploring this remote and rugged land which is rich in Buddhist culture and home to numerous ancient monasteries. From Leh, a flight is then taken to Srinagar with the second part of the journey spent both on and around the lakes for which this beautiful region is rightly famed.
Delhi, India’s capital city, offers impressive, monumental civic buildings in New Delhi, whilst Old Delhi contains the substantial Red Fort and many teeming markets.
Dominated by surrounding mountains and the ruined 17th century Leh Palace, the city of Leh is at 3500m altitude and was an important stop on the Tibet to India trade route.
Cool, blue lakes, gardens, waterfronts and houseboats are the attractions of Srinagar, all complemented with a magnificent backdrop of high mountain peaks.
High Altitude: At all places in this Ladakh itinerary the altitude exceeds 3,000m above sea level. Please consult your doctor as to the suitability of this journey in relation to your health and the possible risks of altitude sickness.
Day 1 Depart the UK
Today depart the UK on the Virgin Atlantic flight to Delhi. (N)
Day 2 Arrive Delhi
Arrive into Delhi and stay overnight The Manor Hotel, noted for its acclaimed India Accent Restaurant, or the historic Maidens Hotel. Old Delhi – the heart of Muslim India between the 17th and 19th centuries – is an historic district of grand mosques, majestic forts and crumbling monuments. In contrast New Delhi, with its large government buildings, wide tree-lined avenues and pretty white-washed bungalows was purpose-built in the 1930s by the British as a colonial capital and remains the epicentre of Indian political power. (N)
Day 3 Delhi to Leh – by air
This morning transfer to Delhi Airport and fly to Leh. Only open to tourists since 1974 the area of Ladakh, and its capital Leh, is a magical and remote high Himalayan escape far from the hustle and bustle of modern India. A true frontier region, Ladakh borders China to the east whilst to the west lies Pakistan and the Kashmir valley. Stay for three nights at the heritage Nimmu House located in the village of Nimmoo, 30kms from Leh or stay in Leh at the Grand Dragon Hotel. (B/D)
Day 4 Leh
Leh, the capital of the Ladakh region, is nestled in a fertile valley of the Indus encircled by snow-capped mountains. Presided over by the old white-washed Leh Palace, which sits precariously on a hill to the north of the town, the town grew to become a historically important trading centre. Today visit the 16th century palace, similar in style but not size to Lhasa’s Potala Palace, Sankar Gompa, the 15th century Tsemo Gompa and the newer Shanti Stupa from where there are extensive views. (B/L/D)
Day 5 Leh – visit Hemis and Shey
Drive to Hemis, one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries of Ladakh and home to an important library of Tibetan books and collection of detailed thangkas. In the afternoon at Shey – a former royal residence of the Kings of Ladakh. A highlight here is the 17 metre high Maitreya Buddha made of copper, brass and precious stones. (B/L/D)
Day 6 Leh to Pangong Lake – 160kms (5 hours approx)
Early morning leave Leh with your driver and guide for the adventurous but scenic drive to Pangong Lake, a highlight of any visit to Ladakh. Most of the journey is through a rough and dramatically scenic mountain road. The road crosses the villages of Shey and Gya and traverses the Changla Pass at 5240m above sea level with spectacular views. The road down from Changla Pass leads through small villages before reaching Pangong Lake. Situated at about 4,300m above sea level Pangong is the world’s highest saltwater lake, the lake is almost 150kms long with just one third of it in India (the other side is in China). Stay overnight at the Whispering Waves Tented Camp. (B/L/D)
Day 7 Pangong Lake to Leh – 160kms
This morning enjoy the amazing lake again with sunrise, after your breakfast drive back to Leh, on your way stop to visit Thikse Monastery 25kms south of Leh and built on a rocky outcrop with a commanding position overlooking the flood plain of Indus River. This 15th century complex has ten temples, a nunnery and sixty resident Lamas making it one of the most populated monasteries in Ladakh. Once you have finished at Thikse travel the short distance to Leh for your overnight stay at Nimmu House at the Grand Dragon Hotel. (B/L/D)
Day 8 Leh to Srinagar – by air
Srinagar to Nagin Lake
This morning transfer to Leh Airport and fly to Srinagar. Once in Srinagar continue to the shores of Nagin Lake and board a premium Houseboat, your base for the next three nights. There is no better way to experience the enchanting beauty of Kashmir. The houseboats are comfortable, with traditional Kashmiri furnishings and a spacious veranda with wonderful views of the lake and snow-capped mountains. Later cruise in a shikara through the floating gardens that link Nagin and Dal Lakes. (B/L/D)
Day 9 Nagin Lake
After breakfast visit some of the superbly maintained Mughal gardens for which this area is rightly famed. Highlights include the Nishat Bagh, which is also known as the Garden of Gladness, and the Shalimar Bagh which was built by the Emperor Jahangir for his wife. Remainder of the day at your leisure relaxing and watching life go by on Nagin Lake. (B/L/D)
Day 10 Nagin Lake
Before sunrise leave the houseboat and travel by shikara to the colourful floating vegetable market that takes place each morning. Later return to the houseboat and spend the reminder of the day at leisure watching life on the lake pass by. (B/L/D)
Day 11 Nagin Lake to Srinagar
This morning transfer by car to either the Vivanta by Taj – Dal View Hotel or the Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar Hotel. Surrounded by snow-capped mountains and languid lakes, Srinagar’s Himalayan setting is dramatic and beautiful. The old city is a warren of narrow alleyways, temples, mosques and markets and much of the unique Kashmiri wooden architecture still remains. Srinagar is also home to some of the finest ornamental gardens not just in India, but also in the wider subcontinent. This afternoon explore Srinagar with your local guide starting at the northern edge of the old city to visit the Sufi shrine of Makhdoom Sahib which is located close to the Hari Parbat Fort. There are good views over Nagin Lake from this vibrant place of worship. Later return to the heart of the historic quarter and visit the unique Jama Masjid, the city’s largest mosque, the Shah Hamadan Mosque and Budshah Tomb. There will also be plenty of opportunity to wander through the many colourful bustling bazaars. (B)
Day 12 Srinagar
This morning take a shikara down the River Jhelum cruising under the seven bridges of Srinagar to Chatabal, stopping along the river to visit some interesting Hindu temples and mosques. From Chatabal return by car to your hotel passing through another interesting part of the city to visit the 14th Century Ali Masjid Mosque at Eidgah. Later this afternoon visit Shankaracheria Hill for an excellent sunset view of Dal Lake on one side and the River Jhelum together with the city of Srinagar on the other side. (B/L/D)
Day 13 Srinagar to Delhi – by air
Today leave the hotel and transfer to Leh Airport in good time to catch the flight to Delhi where you will stay for one night at Scarlette in New Delhi, alternatively stay at The Manor Hotel. (B)
Day 14 Delhi to the UK
Today transfer back to Delhi Airport to catch the Virgin Atlantic flight non-stop to the UK. (B)
KEY: N = No meals B = Breakfast L = Lunch D = Dinner
- International flights from the UK
- Domestic flights
- Private car with English speaking driver
- Sightseeing with local English speaking guides
- Hotel accommodation and taxes
What's not included
- Cost of visas
- Travel Insurance
- Expenses of a personal nature
Guide to Price
The price above is a guide and can vary according to selected airlines, hotels and season. If you wish to travel alone we will be very happy to assist you with your arrangements and will provide a proposal on request
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