Day 1: Delhi, India
Welcome to India. Upon arrival in Delhi, once you have cleared clear immigration and customs, you are greeted by our airport facilitation staff in the arrivals hall, who will be carrying a placard with your last name on it. You will then be escorted hotel. Oberoi Gurgaon– Deluxe Room
Day 2: Delhi / Leh / Thiksey
Following an early breakfast, you are transferred to airport in time to connect your flight to Leh, the capital of the province of Ladakh. Here, you are welcomed and transferred to your mobile luxury camp at Thiksey. Soak in the serenity of the surroundings that recall the magic of old world charm. Thiksey Monastery brings luxury glamping to the region. This afternoon, you relax in individually designed tents, with en-suite bathrooms, private decks, crisp linen and include butler service. There are no scheduled activities on your day of arrival. The province is 3,500 meters/11,500 feet high so you will need the day to relax and acclimatize to the altitude. The excursion specialist at the camp will meet with you to discuss the itinerary suggested and help you plan your excursions and make changes if needed to suit your interests. All meals, mineral water, juices, soft beverages are provided during your stay. (Operates from May 15 to October 10). Chamba Camp, Thiksey (D)
Day 3: Thiksey
The morning is free for you to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and walk around the camp site, taking in the sights and the atmosphere, where each tent opens out on to alfalfa pastures. Enjoy the view of the willow trees as the wind gracefully brushes the branches and the rustling sound of the poplar trees create an atmosphere of beauty and serenity. If you are an early riser, you can take an optional bird watching sojourn with the camp naturalist, spotting birds of the Trans Himalayan region.
This afternoon following lunch, you enjoy a gentle orientation tour of Leh, located approximately 19 kilometers/8 miles from your camp. Visit popular landmarks, which include the magnificent Leh Palace. Built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, the palace has nine stories, some of which are in ruins while other sections reveal fine traces of Ladakhi architecture. From the palace, continue by foot to the Ladakh Arts & Media Organization Centre (LAMO), passing some enchanting old houses on the short walk. The center is housed in one of the area’s most important heritage houses, Munshi (Togoche) House at the foot of the Leh Palace. Explore the house and enjoy a short presentation by a Ladakhi scholar on the architectural heritage of the old city. View the old city from the terrace of the house as you sip the special Ladakhi tea served with light snacks. Continue on through the old city ending in the bazaar. You end at the Shanti Stupa perched above Leh, with spectacular views of the stone-strewn landscape, and savor a hot cup of traditional Ladakhi butter tea while watching the setting sun. Chamba Camp, Thiksey (B,L,D)
Day 4: Thiksey
Begin early this morning with tea and coffee before you discover the hidden relics of Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh, about a kilometer/.52 mi from your camp. This beautiful monastery houses a two-story statue of the Maitreya Buddha seated on a lotus and boasts of a spectacular view of the valley. At the monastery, you will have the unique privilege to participate in the morning prayer ceremony at sunrise. Continue on a guided tour of the monastery, visiting the stunning prayer room that has many handwritten and painted books as well as a temple dedicated to goddess Tara that includes her 21 images placed on glass-covered wooden shelves. You will also see small shrines devoted to the guardian divinities including Cham-Sing, the protector deity of Thiksey. Return to the camp for a leisurely breakfast. The rest of the morning is free, allowing you time to relax and take in the pristine beauty, or, you may prefer to go on an optional cycling trip to Thiksey village and its surroundings. For a more traditional experience, you could drive to the Saboo village for a séance session with the Oracle. [Note: This optional excursion will be confirmed a day prior subject to the oracle willing to give an audience]
This afternoon, proceed to explore the jewel in the crown of the Drukpa lineage, the Hemis Monastery, the oldest monastic institution of Ladakh about 20 kilometers/12.4 miles from Thiksey. Built in a secluded valley, the monastery belongs to the Drukpa School or the Dragon Order of Mahayana Buddhism. Explore the many interesting facets of this institution, established under the patronage of King Sengge Namgyal in the 13th century. Here, young lamas are taught literature, history, philosophy, yoga and tantra. The monastery halls are adorned with vintage statues and mural paintings.
Return to the camp later in the evening as the sun sets amid the rustic landscape with the Thiksey Monastery as a monumental backdrop. You will be enchanted by a cultural dance performance, called Zyabro. Chamba Camp, Thiksey (B,L,D)
Day 5: Thiksey / Nubra Valley
Following breakfast, your exciting journey continues through most awe-inspiring and dramatic landscapes, passing through the Khardung La Pass (5,580 meters/18,307 feet), considered to be the highest road that you can drive over in the world. From the pass, you see the ancient Indus Valley and the rich agricultural lands interspersed with poplar and willow trees, making the landscape a lush green. Following a packed lunch in the village of Khaltsar, continue driving past the famous sand dunes of Nubra, arrive at the village of Diskit. Check into your luxury camp.
Later in the afternoon, you visit the village of Hundar and walk along the narrow pathways of the village, viewing the old Ladakhi houses with their traditional architecture. Visit the Chamba Gompa and Monastery. Continue to the Diksit Gompa perched on a hill in the village of Diskit. Considered to be the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley, it belongs to the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is a sub-gompa of the Thiksey monastery and has a statue of the Maitreya Buddha in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several images of fierce guardian deities. An elevated cupola of the monastery depicts a fresco of the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. Return to the camp. Chamba Camp, Diskit (B,L,D)
Day 6: Nubra Valley
Today, following an early morning breakfast, embark on an adventurous journey driving through spectacular landscapes into the realm of the Balti Dynasty, the dynasty of Visigothic kings reigned from 395 to 531 CE. Travel to the quaint village of Turtuk, the only place in India where you can witness Balti culture. Predominantly a Muslim village, the residents speak Baltistani, Urdu and Ladakhi languages. This is also the northernmost village in India and one of the gateways to the Siachen Glacier. Although a Muslim village, there are few gompas on the plateau above Shyok River and an old royal house in village. Explore this frontier hamlet admiring the traditional houses called “nangchung’’, unique traditional kitchen implements and enjoy relishing the delicious apricots grown in the region. After enjoying a packed lunch, return to the comfort of your camp. Chamba Camp, Diskit (B,L,D)
Day 7: Nubra Valley / Leh
This morning, after breakfast, visit the famous sand dunes and take an adventurous ride on one of the double-hump Bactrian camels. Then drive back to Leh and Thiksey and check into the Chamba Camp, Thiksey. The remainder of the afternoon is at leisure to relax and unwind in the environs of the camp. (The sequence of the excursions may change depending on weather conditions.) Chamba Camp, Thiksey (B,L,D)
Day 8: Leh / Delhi / Dehradun / Narendra Nagar – Ananda
Today, you are transferred to Delhi airport in time to connect flight to Dehradun. Upon arrival, you will be welcomed by the airport facilitation staff and transferred to Narendra Nagar. Upon arrival, check in at your hotel. Later, enjoy an exciting zipline adventure (subject to operation) at Rishikesh, and experience unforgettable views as you soar above a river.
This evening, enter the spiritual center of India as enjoy then daily Aarti Cermony at Parmarth Ashram. The sunset Ganga Aarti at Parmarth Niketan draws between hundreds and thousands of Hindus each day. Regardless of one’s religion or ability to understand Hindi or Sanskrit, the power of the aarti is universal. The Ganga Aarti transcends the borders and boundaries of language and culture, diving straight into one's heart, carrying one to Heaven. The Ananda In The Himalayas – Valley View Room (B)
Day 9: Narendra Nagar – Ananda
This morning, you can enjoy yoga or a meditation session at hotel if you like. Then, visit the Rishikesh Ashrams. Most of the pilgrims who pass through Rishikesh pause here for a holy dip and puja at Triveni Ghat before traveling on to the Himalayan shrines of the Char Dham. There are a number of ashrams in and around Rishikesh, where rishis (saints) stay. Some of the ashrams are situated on the eastern bank of the Ganges River and the entire cluster is known as Swargashram. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's Ashram is famous the world over because the Beatles visited there. People come from far and wide to study yoga. The area also has some temples that have some mythological importance.
This afternoon, travel to Haridwar. Here, the sacred Har-Ki-Pauri Ghat was constructed by King Vikramaditya in the memory of his brother Bhartrihari. The golden reflection of flowers floating in the Ganges is enchanting in the twilight during the Ganga aarti ceremony at the ghat. Haridwar abounds with Hindu temples and ashrams. More than the architectural designs, the spiritual ambience of the place is striking. Kankhal has several other temples and ashrams as well. The Sapt Rishi Ashram is situated along the Haridwar-Rishikesh road. The Ganges River flows in seven streams in front of this ashram. The Kanva Rishi Ashram is some 42 km from Haridwar on the banks of the Malini River. Other important places to visit are the Bharat Mata Temple, Maya Devi Temple, Bhimgoda, and Shanti Kunj. This evening, you witness an aarti ceremony along the river. Here the crowds are larger than in Rishikesh, and one glance reveals that you have left the tourists behind and are now among locals. The Ananda In The Himalayas – Valley View Room (B)
Day 10: Narendra Nagar – Ananda
Today is at leisure to relax and savor your surroundings, the award-winning luxury spa or opt for activities such as nature hikes and white water rafting. The Ananda In The Himalayas – Valley View Room (B)
Day 11: Narendra Nagar / Dehradun / Delhi
Return to Delhi, where the remainder of the day is at leisure. Oberoi Gurgaon– Deluxe Room (B)
Days 12: Delhi / Depart
This evening, you are transferred to the airport for your journey home. (B)
Land price, per person, double occupancy: From US$650 per person per day. Internal airfare additional.