HIMALAYA -- GODS ABODE -- 10 DAYS & 4 DAYS EXTENSION
Delhi - Leh - Stok - Pharka - Hemis - Shey - Tikse - Demtschog - Trag Thog - Chemre - Delhi
Flight to Delhi
THROUGH THE SKIES
Reception at delhi around midnight and rest at the hotel.
New delhi , the imperial city created as capital of india by
the british , is a spacious , open city and a major travel gateway . Here we
will pass grand government buildings , the luxurious villas of the rich behind
huge walls and locked gates , and the india gate , a memorial to the past world
wars . Although in new delhi , the complex of qutb minar belongs to the oldest
buildings still erect in delhi . The qutb minar itself is a soaring tower of
victory which was started in 1193 , immeadiately after the defeat of the last
hindu kingdom in delhi .
FASCINATION A LA CARTE
The old walled city of shahjahanabad stands to the west of
the red fort and was at one time surrounded by a sturdy defence wall . It was
the scene for desperate fighting when the british retook delhi during the mutiny
. The main street of old delhi is the colourful shopping bazaar known as chandni
chowk . The red fort dates from the very peak of mughal power . When the emperor
rode out on elephant from the fort to the mosque it was a display of pomp and
power at its most magnificent . When we walk the same way today , chandni chowk
is hopelessly congested and frantic , a real indian experience .
Delhi - Leh
TO THE MOONLAND
The morning flight to leh is an experience in itself . The
snowcovered , rugged and magnificent mountains , the highest in the world ,
are an amazing feast for the eye during clear weather . Shall we say something
out of this world ? When we land at leh , the capital of ladakh , at an altitude
of 3500 mtrs , one seems to be enveloped by an overwhelming feeling of unreality
can it be true we are at the top of the world ? Due to the rarified air at leh
the rest of the day will be for rest .
CITY OF MODEST , ALMOST ASCETIC MEANS
Awakening in the fresh , cold and pure mountain air of one
of the highest human settlements in the world we take a slow start to experience
this land of stark Ascetic beauty . Our first outing will be a short climb to
the king's palace of leh , a replica of the potala at lhasa. For centuries it
remained closed to the prying eyes of civilisation and is in urgent need of
repair , but let that not colour your appreciation of it - because to the eyes
of the native beholder , the palace has never ceased to be an aweinspiring ,
sacred monument . A fantastic , wonderful view down to the rooftops of leh's
stocky houses , throbing with life , clothes fluttering in the wind , and to
indus valley a little further away ! It's an easy stroll to the sankar gompa
in the late afternoon . Here is an impressive representation of avalokitesvara
complete with 1000 arms and heads .
Leh - Stok - Pharka - Leh
ON THE WEST BANK OF THE RIVER INDUS
The stok palace stands a short drive away from leh across the
indus valley . The last king of ladakh died in 1974 but his widow , the rani
of stok , still lives in this 200 year old palace . It is expected that her
eldest son will become king when he reaches an auspicious age . Thereafter we
drive along the westbank of the river pharka . It is a small cave gompa , a
visit cherished more as the last kilometers can only be covered on foot . An
afternoon visit to a typical ladakhi family at leh gives us a glance of a place
without any signs of modern achievements , an insight into the hardships endured
by the locals during the frozen wintermonths and the overspreading warmth of
its people .
Leh - Hemis - Leh
THE GOMPA OF THE HEAD LAMA
An excursion to hemis is a step into mystique , into magic
and into a world full of demons . At hemis gompa , one of the largest and the
most important gompas in ladakh , live about 500 monks , all dressed in the
long , maroon robes , specific for all monks of the lamaistic buddhism . The
continuous murmur of the words om mani padme hum the sound of the turning prayer
wheels , the unknown smell of rancid butter , all do their bit to put us in
a kind of trance . The hemis gompa is famouus for its hemis festival at the
end of june , which features elaborate mask dances and crowds of eager spectators
Leh - Shey - Tikse - Demtschoog - Trag - Thoog - Leh
The old summer palace of the kings of ladakh was built 560 years ago and now stands in ruins . However , the palace gompa has a 12mtrs high seated buddha image . The tikse monastery is the most picturesque , superbly sited on a hill top overlooking the village and the indus . The religious ceremonies at noon are preceded by long mournful sounds from the horns on the roof . Tikses new - found tourist wealth is being put to good use in extensive restoration of excellent artwork . A visit to demtschog gompa shows us a good selection of thankas . Trag - thog gompa lies at a high altitude of 4000 mtrs taking our breath away , not only because of the even thinner air than leh , but also by the beauty of its location and paintings .
Leh - Chemre - Tibetan Refugee Camp- Leh
EASY WALK ALONG THE INDUS
Our walk in the valley along the river summons up the unique geographic location of tibet - few clouds creep across the awesome height of the himalayas and as a result ladakh , a part of tibet , is barren beyond belief . Only where rivers , running from far away glaciers carry water to habitation do you find plant life - hence this moonland label , since ladakh is as dry as the sahara . We visit the monastery of chemre and the tibetan refugee camp , which has become an important centre for the study of tibetan literature , history and buddhist philosophy . the afternoon at leh is free for your own exploration .
Leh - Delhi
RETURN TO CIVILISATION
At the airport we can follow the landing procedures of the indian airlines plane which will take us to delhi . It is a strange look back to an other - worldly place . At delhi we have the rest of the day for leisure , to get accustomed to the normal air and climate . We recommend an extension of your himalayan adventure with our tours 8 days rajasthan or culture and wildlife of southindia , but you might extend with any of our tours . If your time is limited , let this out of the world trip be followed by the Golden triangle tour.
Delhi - Agra
A DREAM IN WHITE MARBLE
A comfortable train journey brings us early in the morning to agra , the city of taj mahal . The absolute harmony delhi - agra a dream in white marble in architecture and craftsmanship of india's most famous monument , the taj mahal , is certainly fascinating . Yet - there is also the imposing red fort and the tomb of itmad - ud - daulah to cherish .
Agra - Jaipur
EMPEROR AKBAR'S PASSION
Enroute to jaipur rise the impressive buildings of fatehpur-sikri , capital of the great mughal dynasty for only 13 years , deserted for reasons not fully understood today . It's a palace complex and a religious part with mosque and triumphal arch built out of red sandstone , well conserved and maintained . Touring by cycle - rikshaw through the bharatpur bird sanctuary we might spot some rare varieties of exotic and migratory birds .
THE PINK CITY
Morning excursion to the amber , tne ancient capital of jaipur state . The fort is a superb example of rajput architecture , stuuningly situated on a hillside and overlooking a lake which reflects its terraces and ramparts. At jaipur we visit the city palace , the observatory and hawa mahal ( palace of the winds ).
Jaipur - Delhi - Flight back home
THE FINAL DAY
Before we leave by train from jaipur to delhi in the afternoon you have time to collect more impressions of the pink city on your own . At delhi we have a farewell dinner while waiting for your home bound flight .
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