Amritsar. This morning enjoy a tour of Amritsar,
taking in the beautiful Golden Temple, considered the
holiest shrine to Sikhs the world over, yet open to all.
Surrounded by a complex of sparkling white marble and a
lake for purification the lavishly guilded temple with bulbous
golden domes houses the Adi Granth, the book of teachings
for the Sikh faith. This evening we drive to the Wagah Border
crossing (a land crossing between India/Pakistan) to watch
the highly animated ‘Flag Lowering’ ceremony - a must for
any visitor to the north of India.
Overnight: Amritsar | Breakfast
Amritsar - Dharamsala. Driving north to
Dharamsala offers some dramatic scenery, where rolling
foothills rise high toward snow capped peaks. Dharamsala,
the British hill station turned Tibetan settlement, home to
the Dalai Lama and thousands of Tibetan refugees offers a
sense of peace and tranquility to all those who arrive.
Day 4 offers guided sightseeing of the area surrounding the Dalai Lama’s residence, Dharamsala’s main Buddhist Temple - Tsug Lakhang and the Norbulingka Institute - centre for Buddhist learning and handicrafts.
Overnight: Dharamsala | Breakfast x 2
Dharamsala - Palampur - Manali. En route
to Manali a stop is made at Palampur - a pretty hill
station enclosed by aged British tea plantations. Touring
a colonial plantation, set upon the mounting slopes of
Kangra Valley, criss crossed by babbling brooks offers
a chance to enjoy a fine cuppa. Arriving in Manali, the
adventurous can opt to go white water rafting, mountain
biking or skiing. Or simply spend the afternoon relaxing.
Day 6 allows for a sightseeing tour of the city and an
afternoon of leisure.
Overnight: Manali | Breakfast x 2
Manali - Rohtang Pass - Keylong. Continuing
north and rising to 3980 metres above sea level along
the Rhotang Pass we arrive at the village of Keylong -
120 km from the Tibetan border.
Overnight: Keylong | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Keylong - Sarchu. En route to Sarchu there
is time to stop and explore Sahsur Gompa, a beautiful
Buddhist Temple built in the 17th century housing
priceless 5 metre ‘Tankha’, (wall painting) depicting
all 84 sidhas of Buddhism.
Overnight: Sarchu (permanent tented camp) | Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Keylong - Tanglang La Pass - Leh. Rudyard Kipling
said of the region “Surely the Gods live here this is no place
for men.” Travelling over the Tanglang La Pass at a dizzying
height of 5350 metres confirms our arrival to the remote
and sparsely populated region of Ladakh. Cradled by the
Karakoram and the Great Himalayan ranges, the vast and
often snow covered desert is often discribed as the last
‘Shangri-La’, (land of high mountain passes) and is one of
the last enclaves of Mahayana Buddhism, Ladakh’s principle
religion for nearly a thousand years, now much suppressed
in its native homeland of Tibet. The following 3 days are
spent exploring this delightful region. Day 10 - Leh city tour with visits to the Sankar Gompa and Shanti Stupa. Day
11 - guided touring of Hemis Monastery, Shey Monastery
- a former royal palace and Tikse Gompa - a 12 story
high complex resembling Potala Palace in Lhasa, housing
Buddhist art, statues, art and swords.
Overnight: Leh & Ladakh | Breakfast x 3
Leh - Alchi. Alchi is set amongst the desolate
gorges of the Indus River and spectacular mountains. Here
we will visit the Alchi Gompa, a must see Buddhist Temple
dating back to 1000 AD. On day 13 we return to Leh.
Overnight: (1) Alchi, (1) Leh | Breakfast x 2, Lunch x 2, Dinner x 2
Sadly today arrangements conclude after breakfast and onward departure
transfer to the airport.