High Road to Leh - 9 days
FROM USD $2,539
Taking in the classic sights of Kashmir, from staying in a house boat on Lake Dal and the regal Mughal Gardens of Srinigar to the magnificent scenery of the Himalayas before finishing on top of the world in Leh. Donâ€™t miss this opportunity to see a truly remarkable and different part of the world.
Transfer to Delhi airport and onward flight to Srinigar where you will be met at the airport upon arrival and transferred to your house boat. The rest of the evening is free for you to enjoy. Overnight - Onboard house boat
This morning we board one of the colourful shikara to visit the floating gardens, known as "Rad" in Kashmiri, where mounds of earth make for a fascinating display as they protrude from the water topped with all sorts of growing local produce. Tomatoes, cucumbers and melons have been found to grow the best with the constant source of irrigation. Hawkers peddle thier products from boats and the whole spectacle has a colourful charm.
Later we visit some of the stunning Mughal Gardens that Srinagar is famous for. We visit the terraced Nishat Bagh or Nishat Garden on the eastern side of the lake, Nishat Bagh translates in Hindustani as "Garden of Joy" which is entirely fitting. Later we visit Shalimar Garden, equally as stunning and located on the northeast side of the lake. The gardens are linked to Dal Lake via channel. We also visit the more modest Chesmashahi gardens en route to the Pari Mahal garden perched majestically atop the Zebanwan Mountain. After our tour the rest of the afternoon is free. Overnight - Onboard house boat (B, L, D)
Day 3: Srinigar Old City
Today we visit the Old City of Srinigar, or as it's also known downtown Srinigar, with its winding streets and alleys lined with shops selling and making the finest Kashmari goods, we take a heritage walk through this part of the city along the River Jhelum.
We also visit Hari Parbat, also known as the Mughal fort, a hill fort, situated on Shakira Hill and providing panoramic views of Srinagar City and Dal Lake. We also visit the 700 yearold Jama Masjid mosque and the Shah Hamadan Mosque situated on the right bank of the Jhelum River.
We return to your houseboat for lunch before tour with a visit to the Tomb of Zain Ul Abideen, well hidden in the streets of the bazaar this mausoleum marks the final resting place of Sultan Sikander's favourite wife. After a full day return to your house boat to enjoy an evening at leisure. Overnight - Onboard house boat (B, L, D)
Day 4: Relaxing on Lake Dal
Today is entirely yours to do as you please. Explore the local markets for some bargains or just relax on your house boat with the stunning surrounds of Lake Dal. Overnight - Onboard houseboat (B, L, D)
Day 5: Onwards to Kargil
Today set out for Kargil, the day will mostly be taken up by driving but the epic sights of the himalayas all around will make the time fly by. This is not your ordinary scenery. En route a stop will be made at Sonmarg - known as the gateway to Tibet - where the views are astounding. At around 2800 metres above sea level the surrounding mountains dwarf the valley as they rise to 5000 metres and beyond, snow capped mountains truly give the sense of high altitude. Stops will also be made at Zozilla Pass, a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir, bringing you to an elevation of over 3500 metres, as well as a stop at Drass, considered to be the second coldest place on earth with temperatures plummeting as low as minus 45 degrees celsius in the winter. Arrive into Kargil, the second largest town in the area after Leh, to enjoy a free evening after a long day. Overnight - Kargil (B)
Day 6: On top of the world - Leh
Today continue your mountainous journey and make our way to Leh. On the way we will visit Lamayuru and Alchi monasteries - considered to be 2 of the oldest Gompa's in the region, dating back to somewhere in the 10th or 11th centuries AD. A stop will also be made at the Magnetic Hill where it is said the laws of gravity are broken as a magnetic pull drags vehicles up a small hill, however, despite what seems to be an amazing feat of nature it is argued that it is actually an optical illusion and despite the hill seemingly going up hill it is actually a slight decline. Arrive into Leh, hotel check in and evening at leisure. Overnight - Leh (B, D)
Day 7: Leh Monasteries and Palaces
Enjoy an excursion to Shey, Thiksey & Hemis monasteries. Shey monastery situated on a hilltop is about 15km from Leh, was the summer palace of the royal family of Leh. The monastery houses a two storey high-seated image of Buddha cast from copper and covered with gold leaf. Thiksey monastery is situated on a hilltop and the views of the green Indus valley from its rooftop are splendid. This monastery has a number of chambers full of statues and stupas. Courtyard murals are bright and this imposing structure is in many respects a replica of Potala Palace in Lhasa. Hemis Gompa is the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh contains a large number of gold statues, stupas and thangkas, one of which is reputed to be the largest in existence and is exhibited once every 12 years.
On our way back to Leh a stop will be made to visit the 14th Century Stok Palace and museum. Evening at leisure. Overnight - Leh & Ladakh
Day 8: Leh
Today it is time to get higher than you ever have before - on land at least. Take a drive to Khardungla Pass, the highest point on earth that can be reached by vehicle. At a mere 18800 feet high the surrounding vistas offer views like never before. Now you really are on top of the world. Afternoon return to the hotel and evening at leisure. Perhaps after dinner opt to take a stroll through the markets for some last minute souvenirs. (B, D)
This morning after breakfast onward transfer to Srinagar airport and your onward flight to Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi arrangements come to and end. (B)