Assistance on arrival at Delhi airport and transfer to the pre-booked hotel. Morning free. Afternoon, sightseeing to Old Delhi - visiting the Red Fort and the Jama Masjid, built in the 17th century by the Great Mughals. Overnight in the hotel.
Day 2 : Delhi - Leh:
Early morning transfer to domestic airport for flight to Leh. The spectacular, one-hour, mountain flight over the mighty Himalayas brings you to Leh, the capital of the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Ladakh. Transfer to Ladakhi style hotel. A day of complete rest to acclimatize to the arid high altitude of Leh (3100 mts). Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 3 : Leh:
After breakfast, set off on a half-day sightseeing trip to the 200 years old Shankar monastery, which contains a plethora of impressive ../images, wall paintings and a huge statue of Aloketesvara - with 1000 arm & heads. Next stop is the Japanese built peace Pagoda (Shanti Stupa); crowned with a massive dome, this stupa is a reminiscent of Nalanda and Rajgir stupas. Our last stop is the ruined Leh Palace, a replica of the Patola Palace of Lhasa. The palace was strategically built on the hilltop in the 18th century and offers fabulous views of the Indus valley below. Afternoon, visit a Ladakhi Buddhist family and share a cup of butter tea, tsampa (roasted barley) and tschang (fermented barley beer), and see their way of living. Evening free. Dinner and overnight in the hotel.
Day 4 : Leh-Hemis (45 kms.):
Full day of sightseeing, visiting the three most important monasteries of Ladakh - Hemis Gompa, Thiksey Gompa and Shey Palace. Hemis is one of the largest and wealthiest monasteries in Ladakh and houses about 150 monks; it also stages the annual Hemis festival. The Gompa, nestled in a gorge and surrounded by dramatic mountain scenery, was built in the 18th century and houses a wide range of beautiful frescoes, thankas, Buddha statues and an excellent library. On the way back to Leh, we visit the superbly situated, 16th century, Thiksey Gompa, which is perched on a hill top. The Gompa houses an important collection of Tibetan-style books, a huge Buddha statue and some excellent works of art. Last stop is the ruined Shey Palace, once the summer palace of the pre-Tibetan kings. The palace monastery houses a large, bronze, blue haired Buddha statue. Back to Leh hotel for dinner and overnight.
Day 5 : Leh-Nubra (6 hrs. drive):
After breakfast, drive to the mystical Nubra Valley over the exhilarating Khardungla Pass (5600m.), the highest point of our journey. The views from the top are spectacular; extending, to the south, across the Indus Valley to the seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range. To the north, the views of the mighty peaks of the Saser Massif are amazing. We continue driving over the fairly rough road to Tirith, where we will spend the next three nights in comfortable camp. Evening free.
Day 6 : Tirith-Diskit-Hunder:
After breakfast drive to Diskit, the starting point of our 5 hour camel trek to Hunder. Diskit is home to a small population of Bactrain camels; these shaggy, double humped animals, were once used as pack animals on the central Asian trade routes. On camel back, we pass through this dramatic high altitude desert, with its rolling sand dune and barren landscape, dotted with lush, green, river valleys. From Hunder, we drive back to our camp at Tirith.
Day 7 : Tirith - Samur - Samstaling Panamik:
After breakfast, we set off on a full day of sightseeing to Samstaling monastery and the village of Samur. This is part of the old silk route and was used by trade caravans on their way to Panamik, the last village on this circuit. Panamik, now a sleepy village, was once a major trade centre for merchants. Here we will visit hot springs and the tiny Ensa Gompa before driving back to our camp at Tirith.
Day 8 : Nubra - Leh (6 hrs. drive):
Drive back to Leh, over the Khardungla Pass. Overnight in hotel. Evening free.
Day 9 : Leh.
A free day. Rest, visit a Ladakhi family, explore the colourful bazaar, or wander around the dusty back streets of Leh. Overnight in hotel.
Day 10 : Leh - Delhi Agra:
Say farewell to this magical land. Transfer to Leh airport for another breathtaking mountain flight back to Delhi. Arrive in Delhi and drive to Agra (5hrs), to visit the magnificent Taj Mahal, set within the 'paradise gardens', and the Red Fort. Overnight in hotel.
Day 11 : Agra - Delhi.
Morning free. Afternoon drive back to Delhi. Enroute visit to Mathura, birth place of the famous Hindu god, Lord Krishna. Arrive in Delhi and check in to the hotel.
Early morning transfer to airport for return flight.