India: Ladakh: A Village Walk
Designed to offer an authentic “underfoot” experience, this Himalayan village walk provides a snapshot of rural life in Ladakh.
Upon your arrival in Delhi, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Rest up after dinner this evening: Your first full day in India awaits!
Today will be spent at your leisure in Delhi, wandering the wide tree-lined boulevards and exploring the various temples and tombs of one of the world’s fastest growing cosmopolitan cities. While New Delhi was established by the British as the imperial capital of India, Old Delhi served as the capital of Islamic India; you can spend the day dipping back and forth between the two, visiting ancient monuments, museums, and colorful bazaars.
Wake up to meet your early morning flight to Leh, from where you will be driven 30 minutes to a charming house in a small village overlooking Ladakh’s most beautiful mountains. Due to its close proximity to Tibet, Ladakh displays a rich culture that is much more similar to that of Tibet than of India.
Upon arrival, you will settle into your first accommodation, a Tibetan-style house situated at the edge of the village. After a delicious lunch prepared by your hosts, we recommend that you do little else today, as you will be adjusting to the altitude. Spend the afternoon reading on the roof terrace, soaking up the surrounding rural Ladakhi scenery.
Today, we again advise a fairly leisurely-paced day, as you will still be acclimating to the altitude change. A private guide will take you on a gentle walk in the surrounding region, stopping for a picnic lunch en route.
We will arrange for a village head to meet with you this evening to explain a bit of the area’s history and about how Ladakh’s isolation has preserved an almost medieval way of life.
There is an early morning rise for those interested in visiting the Thikse Monastery, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, and one of Ladakh’s finest (and largest) examples of religious architecture. Located on a hill slope, the monastery’s buildings are arranged in ascending order of importance. During your visit, we have arranged for a private meeting with the Rinpoche (head priest) of Thikse.
Enjoy a picnic breakfast in a nearby local village before continuing on to Hemis Monastery, Ladakh’s largest monastery positioned within a gorge. The monastery dates back to the 1600’s and houses a rich collection of ancient relics.
Break for a picnic lunch before driving back to the village, with an optional visit to the bazaar in Leh, which is perfect for finding small souvenirs.
After breakfast this morning, a two-hour rafting trip along the Indus River brings you to the impressive Phyang Monastery, located atop a hill with smaller houses clinging to its steep sides. The monastery was built in the 16th century, and includes a 900-year old museum, home to an extensive collection of idols.
Continue by car to the picturesque village of Taru, where you’ll settle into your next home, situated at the edge of the village with stunning views of the surrounding mountains, fields, and orchards. The remainder of the afternoon will be spent at your leisure, exploring the village with a member of the family or simply relaxing at the house before a traditional Ladakhi dinner.
After breakfast, you’ll descend to the final village along your route, which lies at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus Rivers. The village is characterized by impressive mountain scenery, and is considered exceptionally fertile in Ladakhi terms, surrounded by lush green fields and apricot, apple, and walnut orchards.
After settling into your village house, you’ll spend the rest of the day however you wish–enjoying lunch served in one of the surrounding orchards or walking up the valley to the village’s monastery, accompanied by your guide and a picnic hamper.
After breakfast you will be collected from the village early this morning and transferred to Leh Airport to meet your return flight to Delhi.
Upon arrival at Delhi airport you will be transferred to The Claridges before your final departure this evening. Later, you will be transferred back to the airport in time to meet your international flight home, or to continue on to the next leg of your Willing Foot journey.
This is just the beginning.
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