Beyond the Long Breaks | 8 nights
Today we would again advise a fairly leisurely pace as you will still be acclimatising. This morning go on a gentle 2-hour walk to explore Stok village, the Stok Palace & Museum, and stop for a picnic lunch. After lunch, a ten minute walk takes you to the Heritage House which you will visit before walking for forty-five minutes back to the village house. Cars will be on stand-by if you are still acclimatising.
Start pre-dawn to Thiksey monastery to experience the early morning Buddhist prayers. Built around 600 years ago, Thiksey monastery is one of the finest examples of Ladakhi religious architecture. As part of the visit, you will have a private audience with the Rinpoche (head priest) of Thiksey. After the monastery visit, drive to Sakti, a local village, for a picnic breakfast. After breakfast, continue on to Hemis which is forty five minutes away. Belonging to the Red Hat sect, Hemis was built in 1630 and is Ladakh’s largest monastery is an impressive and intriguing experience. After you have visited the monastery and the museum, you will drive to Matho for a picnic lunch. After lunch drive back to Stok with the option to visit Leh Bazaar en route.
Places: Leh, Stok, Phyang & Villages | Activities: Visit the Stok Palace; go rafting on the Indus; stay in simple but tastefully converted village houses; walks in the countryside and villages. Wander among monasteries & have one-on-ones with high priests.
Get off the moderately beaten track to relive an authentic way of life in Ladakh. This trip was conceptualised to facilitate an authentic ‘underfoot’ experience and provide a ‘snapshot’ of rural life in the Himalaya. Core to the program is a ‘village house’ experience that avoids the over commercialisation of Leh and takes you out, off the beaten track to three unspoilt villages in the Indus valley. Three village houses have been renovated to a slightly higher level of sophistication but without compromising on the authenticity and charm. Staying in these houses offers you a rare chance to experience an unchanged rural lifestyle in the homes of the Ladakhi people. Journeys between the villages here will be on foot, by river raft and by vehicles with stops at un-spoilt Buddhist monasteries en route.
Depart Chennai by an evening flight to New Delhi. Transfer to a B&B and stay overnight in Delhi.
Fly early morning from Delhi to Leh. You will then be transferred to your village house in Stok, around thirty minutes from the airport. Your accommodation is an impressive Tibetan style house on the edge of the village. Do very little on your first day whilst you get used to the altitude. After lunch, spend the afternoon reading on the roof terrace whilst soaking up the gorgeous rural Ladakhi scenery. Dinner will be served in the traditional Ladakhi kitchen downstairs.
Families & Couples | Visit 15th May to15th Sep | Fly to Leh
With this itinerary you are free, if you prefer, to arrange your own domestic flights. Milesworth can tailor make your journey to suit you, as our tours are based on a minimum of 2 persons travelling together by air and chauffeur driven car. Throughout your tour experienced representatives and knowledgeable local English or foreign-language guides, where appropriate, will assist you.
Early this morning, you will be collected from Nimoo and transferred to Leh Airport in time to check-in for your return flight to Delhi and Chennai.
Drive to the rafting point on the Indus river at Karu for a two hour Grade 1 & 2 rafting trip to Choglamsar. On arrival at Phey, drive to Phyang monastery. The monastery belonging to the Dingung order sits in the middle of the valley floor with the village surrounding it, with many of the houses clinging to the steep sides of the valley. Continue by road to the picturesque village of Taru which is at an altitude of 3770m (12,366ft) situated at the top of a narrow valley. Your village house in Taru is another traditional Tibetan style building, though it is a little more modern than the one at Stok. The house sits at the edge of the village with stunning views over the mountains, traditional buildings, fields and orchards. You will have the rest of the afternoon at leisure to explore the village with a member of the family and your guide or to simply relax at the house.
After breakfast, you will drive to the start point of your walk on the Umla road around twenty-five minutes away. The walk is through quite a barren valley which the guide will bring to life for you. Around two and a half hours after you start, you will descend into the village of Nimoo (3700m/12,136ft). Nimoo is a large village situated 36km west of Leh along the Indus valley at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. The village is characterised by impressive mountain scenery, and is considered exceptionally fertile in Ladakhi terms - lush green fields and apricot, apple, and walnut orchards abound.
Your village house has a large ground floor with a first floor built in a ‘ C ’ shape around a courtyard. The courtyard has been paved and the roof terrace is tiled with local grey slate – a perfect place to soak up the ever present sun whilst reading a book or enjoying a meal or drink on ‘the rooftop of the world.’
Spend the rest of the day at leisure enjoying lunch served in one of the orchards that surround the house or for the more active, you may like to take a walk up the valley to Nimoo monastery accompanied by your guide and a picnic hamper.
This morning before breakfast you will be taken on a two hour walk of the village of Nimoo by the owner of your village house who is also the village Goba (head of the village), Chinglo, (villager in charge of water distribution) and Ladakhi medicine man. You will get a fascinating insight into rural Ladakhi life and will also get the chance to try your hand at archery whilst on this walk.
After breakfast, you will drive up to the entrance of the Zanskar canyon. Then drive up to the village of Chilling, around one and a half hours from Nimoo. Chilling is a settlement that is traditionally home to metal smiths and is the only village in Ladakh that has provided copper, bronze, tin, silver and iron work to Leh through the centuries. You will get the chance to see the local metal smith at work before enjoying a picnic lunch.
After lunch you will have the option of rafting (or driving) back through the Zanskar canyon to Nimoo or to return by car. This afternoon, there is the opportunity to have a Ladakhi cooking lesson and this evening we have arranged for you to have a talk on Buddhism by a Khempo (Buddhist preacher).
Either spend a day at leisure at Nimoo house or go on a walk in the surrounding area with a picnic hamper. For those who are feeling more active, we can arrange a day trip to the famous monasteries at Alchi and/or Lekir, rafting one way (directly from Nimoo to Alchi) and returning by car.
Situated 69kms from Leh and around one and a half hours drive from Nimoo, Alchi is the only monastery in Ladakh to be built on flat ground. The temple was founded in the 11th century and is particularly interesting for its Indian and Kashmiri influences.
Founded in 14th century by Lama Dhwang Chosje, a great champion of meditation, Lekir monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat sect. After visiting the monastery you will drive back to Nimoo, one and half hours away.