The Ladakh Festival - 4 days

FROM USD $829

Leh, the former Kingdom of Ladakh sits on the rugged Himalayan plains with Buddhist monasteries perched on soaring hilltops and ancient palaces clinging to sheer rock walls. Join us to experience the colour and festivity of the annual Lahakh festival whilst discovering the sights of this magical city.

Delhi - Leh. Take an early morning flight today from Delhi to Leh. Flight prices do vary and when booked in advance start from USD$350. Flights can be booked through On The Go or independently. Upon arrival to Leh an arrival transfer will take you to your guesthouse where the remains of the day can be spent at leisure.

Once the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, Leh now sits in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Today the town is still dominated by the former Leh Palace, built around the same time and in similar style to Potala Palace, and was once of the home of the royal family of Ladakh. The 28,000 residents of the the city are predominantly Buddhists and as such, Leh is the very much the heart and soul of Buddhist culture in the region.

Our Accommodation: This peaceful boutique guesthouse makes for a a delightful and comfortable stay. Each guestroom offers wooden floors, en-suite facilities and simple decoration traditional to the region. Some rooms also offer an outdoor balcony. Overnight - Leh & Ladakh (L, D)
A Buddhist monastery in Leh
This morning the streets of Leh come to life in a blazing hue of colour, dance and the rhythm beating of drums as the celebrations of the Ladakh Festival begin. Gathering at approximately 8am, we take our places to watch the inauguration procession of village people as they make their way down the mountain passes to the city adorned in their finest gold and silver ornaments and exquisite turquoise headdress.

In tow with the procession we make our way to the main market area of the city where the celebrations continues on a grand scale. Here various cultural troupes and village contingents dress in full ceremonial costumes or traditional Ladakhi garb and sing songs and perform various dances to the tune of village folk music.

As the parade arrives at the Polo ground participants break into a variety of folk and popular dances, presenting the best samples of the region’s performing arts and sporting events including archery and polo. Here there will also be the chance to witness traditional mask dances performed by monastery lamas wearing their ritual regalia dancing in slow languorous movements to the music of cymbals, flutes and trumpets. It may also be possible to watch a polo match of the ‘Ladakh Festival Cup’ as various polo teams in the region battle it out (subject to festival scheduling). Here in the western Himalayas the game is played in its original form with fewer rules and frenzied crowd involvement.

This afternoon enjoy a guided sightseeing tour of the town, whose skyline is dominated by Royal Palace. Sengge Namgyal, a Buddhist and the King of Ladakh from 1616 until his death in 1642, commissioned the building and many more grand monasteries, palaces and shrines during his reign. Constructed in the 17th century, this imposing nine story stone palace is one of the most captivating architectural ruins of the region. Situated in the foothills of the barren landscape, the palace was built as a residence for the King and to mark the reunifying Upper and Lower Ladakh. Today it is an excellent example of the medieval Tibetan architecture, with its colossal inclined buttressed walls and protruding wooden balconies.

Above the Royal Palace, on Namgyal Tsemo (Victory Peak), are the ruins of Leh’s earliest royal residence, a fortress type structure built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century. Back in town the main sites to visit are the Jokhang – a Buddhist temple built in the 1980s by the Ladakh Buddhist association, and an imposing 17th century mosque – which reflects a mixture of Islamic and Tibetan architecture and accommodates more than 500 worshippers, that sit opposite each other.

There will also be a stop at Sankar Gompa to view the image of Avalokitesvara, inset with turquoise and shown with a thousand heads, arms and feet and one hundred thousand eyes. Next up is Shanti Stupa, which was built to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and inaugurated by his holiness the Dalai Lama in 1985 and Stok Palace - a museum where the Sengge Namgyal family heirlooms and relics can be seen on display. Overnight - Leh & Ladakh (B, L, D)
The Ladakh Festival - 4 days Go Guide : :Check out the go guide for details of the tour, info on visas, climate, money, what to bring and more!
King Gompa in Leh at sinrise
Day 3: Shey and Thiksey Monestories
Today embark on guided tours of the Shey, Thiksey and Hemis monasteries. Situated on a hilltop outside of Leh, the Shey Monastery was once the summer palace of the royal family and it is believed that the Kings of Leh were born here. The monastery is also home to an impressive two-story high-seated image of Buddha cast from copper and covered with gold leaf.

Thiksey monastery is also located on a hilltop and the views of the green Indus valley from its rooftop are splendid. This monastery has a number of colourful murals in its courtyard and chambers full of statues and stupas. In many respects this imposing structure is a replica of Potala Palace in Lhasa.

The last stop, Hemis Gompa is the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh which contains a large number of gold statues, stupas and thangkas, one of which is reputed to be the largest in existence and is exhibited only once every 12 years. Overnight - Leh & Ladakh (B, L, D)
The Himalayan City of Leh
Leh - Delhi. Early this morning (dictated by flight times) we transfer to the airport for our flight to Delhi (booked independently in addition to our tour cost) arriving at approximately 8:30am you will be transferred to the international airport for your connecting international flight.

Opt to extend your stay and explore the sites of Delhi. Additional tour accommodation is available in Delhi should you require. If travelling with us on a tour that starts today, upon arrival to Delhi from Leh you will be transferred to your start hotel for the commencing of your new tour. (B)
Tour Details
  • Starts in: Delhi / Ends in: Delhi
  • Departs: 22 September 2014
  • No local payment required
  • Breakfast:3, Lunch: 3, Dinner: 3
  • Hotel Rating: Boutique guesthouse
  • Tour Guide: Local guide during scheduled sightseeing
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