Ladakh Monastery Trek

Duration : 15 Nights / 16 Days
Places to see : Ladakh Monastery

Day 01: Arrive Delhi - Leh
Morning arrive Delhi at international airport our representative meet you at airport later drive to domestic airport take the morning flight for Leh. Check into the Hotel and relax the whole day. This is necessary for getting acclimatized. Overnight at the Hotel.

Day 02: Leh - Ladakh
After having breakfast, you will be visiting the various places of tourist interests in Leh.

Sankar Gompa
This is small but more interesting place to visit than the Leh Gompa and can easily be visited on foot. The Sankar Gompa is an under Gompa of Spitok Gompa. At the most only 20 monks live here and few are permanently in residence although the monastery itself is fairly active. Thus the Gompa is only open to the public from 7.00 am to 10.00 am and from 5.00 to 7.00 pm. It is, however, well lit, so an evening visit is worthwhile. At these times the monks will welcome the visitors and may offer one yak butter tea, 'Tsampa' and boiled and spiced mustard plant.

Jami Masjid
When one had enough of the bazaar, head past the new green and white painted Jami Masjid at the top of the street, and follow one of the lanes that lead into the old town. Apart from the odd electric cable, nothing much has changed here since the warren of flat roofed houses, crumbling 'Chortens', 'Mani' Walls and narrow sandy streets was laid down late in the 16th century - least of all the plumbing.

Chamba Temple
One place definitely worth walking through the putrid smelling puddles to visit, however, is the Chamba temple. It's not easy to find on your own; ask at the second row of shops on the left after the big arch for the key keeper (gonyer), who will show you the way. Hemmed in by dilapidated medieval mansions, the one roomed shrine houses a colossal image of Maitreya, the Buddha to come, and some wonderful old wall paintings.

Leh Palace
The old palace of the kings of Ladakh overlooks the town from the southwest slope of the Tsemo hill. It has eight storeys and was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 16th century, at much the same time as the famed Potala of Lhasa - which it resembles. The damage to the palace, one side is gaping open, stems from the Kashmiri invasions of the last century. Like the Shey palace the Leh palace still belongs to the Ladakhi royal family, who now live in their palace in Stok.

Leh Gompa
The Leh Gompa stands high above the palace and also overlooks the ruins of the older palace of the King of Tagpebums. The Red Gompa also known as Namgyal Tsemo Gompa was built in 1430 by King Gvags-Pa-Bum-Ide and has a fine three-storey high seated Buddha figure flanked by Avalokitesvara on the right and Manjushri on the left. In all there are three Gompas at the top of the hill, the topmost one is in a very ruined condition but offers extremely fine views over Leh and the surrounding countryside. To the right of the palace one can see a Buddha painted on the rocks, a remnant of an earlier monastery.

Shanti Stupa
A relatively new addition to the rocky skyline around Leh is the toothpaste white Shanti Stupa above Changspa village, 3-km west of the bazaar. Inaugurated in 1983 by the Dalai Lama, the "Peace Pagoda", whose sides are decorated with gilt panels depicting episodes from the life of the Buddha, is one of several such monuments erected around India by a "Peace Sect" of Japanese Buddhists.

Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Day 03: Leh- Indus valley
Touring the monasteries and palaces of the Indus valley.

Day 04: Indus valley - Shey monastery and Thikse monastery
we tour Shey monastery and Thikse monastery, and Stok Palace.

Shey monastery: King Deldon Namgyal got the two-story Shey Gompa constructed in the year 1655, in the memory of his father. One of the highlights of the monastery is a two-story high image of the seated Buddha. The image is worked out of copper sheets, gilded with gold, and is the biggest metal statue and the second largest Buddha statue in Ladakh. It also contains sacrificial offerings such as grain, jewels, holy signs and mantras inside it. The upper story of the Shey Gompa is adorned with a number of beautiful wall paintings.

The walls on both the sides of Buddha display the 16 Arhats (Worthy Ones who have achieved Nirvana), 8 on each side. And the wall behind the statue has the images of Buddha's two chief disciples, Sariputra and Maudgalyayana. Like this, almost every wall around the Buddha statue is painted with some image or the other. In the front of the Buddha is a large bowl of wax with a central flame, symbolic of divinity and purity, which burns for one year before being replaced. The lower story of the Shey Monastery of Leh Ladakh has a large library and is decked with murals of Buddha figures with hand gestures of various types.

Thikse monastery: Thiksey Gompa of Ladakh is situated at a distance of approximately 18 km from the town of Leh. One of the most beautiful monasteries of Ladakh, it belongs to the Gelukpa Order of Buddhism. Sherab Zangpo of Stod got the Thikse Monastery built for the first time, at Stakmo. However, later Spon Paldan Sherab, the nephew of Sherab Zangpo, reconstructed the monastery in the year 1430 AD. The new monastery was sited on a hilltop, to the north of Indus River.

Thikse Monastery of Leh Ladakh houses a temple, known as Lakhang Nyerma. This temple, built by Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator, is dedicated to Goddess Dorje Chenmo. A huge temple in its time, today it stands mostly in ruins. Apart from this temple, there are a number of other sacred shrines inside the monastery complex. The monastery also has a rich collection of numerous valuable artifacts and ancient relics.

Thiksey Gompa serves as the residence of approximately eighty monks. It has been served, for quite a long time, by the successive reincarnations of the Skyabsje Khanpo Rinpoche. The monastery also plays the host to Gustor ritual, organized from the 17th to 19th day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar. Sacred dances also form a part of this ritual, which takes place on an annual basis

Stok Palace: This is the present residential palace of the Royal family of King Singe Namgyal, the family was staying earlier in the renowned Leh palace. Stok palace, constructed in 1825 AD by King Tsespal Tondup Namgyal, is a striking palace where the ancient and modern architectures meet together making the beautiful home.

This palace is famous for beautiful gardens apart from the architectural beauty. The view of the sunrise and sunset are wonderful from the palace, the glowing sunlight makes here sceneries quite enjoyable. At present, the palace is open to visits and presents a collection of royal attires, crown and other royal materials.

Overnight at the Hotel.

Day 05: Shey monastery and Thikse monastery - Lamayuru Monastery
We travel by jeep to Lamayuru monastery, Lamayuru Monastery is situated in Ladakh, in between Bodhkharbu and Kha-la-che, on a steep rock mountain. It lies at a distance of approximately 127 km to the west of Leh town. Lamayuru Monastery belongs to the Red-Hat sect of Buddhism and houses approximately 150 Buddhist monks. The monastery is made up of a number of shrines and also has a very rich collection of thankas and magnificent wall paintings. At the outset, the Lamayuru Monastery consisted of five buildings, out of which only the central one exists today.

Every year the Lamayuru Gompa plays host a masked dance, which takes place on the 17th and 18th day of the 5th month of Tibetan lunar calendar. The monks from the monasteries of the nearby areas also come to take part in the celebrations. There is an interesting legend associated with the Lamayuru Gompa of Leh Ladakh. It is said that the Lamayuru Valley used to be a clear lake, at the time of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha). And, nags (holy serpents) used to reside in the lake.

Bodhisattva Madhyantaka had once a prediction quite a long time back that the lake would eventually be dried, making way for the construction of a Buddhist monastery. The legend moves further to state that Mahasiddhacharya Naropa, an 11th century Indian Buddhist scholar, sat in meditation for a number of years in one of the caves in Dukhang. He was the one who caused a crack in the hillside surrounding the lake.

Through this crack, the lake started draining. When the lake dried out, the scholar found a dead lion lying inside it. On the same spot, where he found the tiger, he constructed the first temple of the area, known as the Singhe Ghang (Lion Mound). Another legend has it that the building of Lamayuru Monastery was constructed, as per the instructions of King of Ladakh, under the direction of Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator. After this, the monastery came under the administration of the Zhwa-mar-pa (Red Hats).

Later, Dharmaraja Jamyang Namgial offered the monastery to Chosje Danma. And this led to the observance of the rituals of the Digung Kargyud School, with the monastery being renamed as Yungdrung Tharpaling. Today, the Lamayuru Monastery is served by the successive reincarnations of Skyabsje Toldan Rinpoche.

Overnight at Hotel

Day 06: Lamayuru Monastery - Prinkti La
Begin trek. Cross the Prinkti La (3700 meters) to the village of Wanla, where there is a beautiful ancient monastery. Wanla Monastery is located in Wanla, a small town to the southeast of Yungdrung Gompa, in Leh district of J&K. Wanla monastery was built during the time of Lama Rinchen Zangpo, in 1000 A.D. the primary attraction here is the image of the 11-headed Mahakaruna that stands to a height of more than two storeys. The walls are graced with the paintings of Buddha, Bodhisattvas (a person dedicated to achieving complete Buddhahood) and mandalas. A hallowed image of Chovo-je-Paldan Atisha can also be found here

Day 07: Prinkti La - Hinju
Continue through awesome country to pastures beyond the village of Hinju. The scattered village of Ursi. We will then walk through a narrow gorge until we reach a traditional Rangthak (flour mill) at the far end of the village The trail will then cut through the village of Hinju (3720 m), roughly 2 km below our campsite in a yak herder's encampment.

Day 08: Hinju -Konzke La
Next on Ladakh Monasteries Trek is Konze La (4900 m), here we get a spectacular view before descending to pastures just above the village of Sumda Chenmo. Konze La offers a wonderful view of the mountain ranges all around, and it's one of the few places in Ladakh where there's still a possibility of spotting the elusive snow leopard or the highly endangered blue sheep.

Day 09: Konzke La -Sumda Chenmo
Pass through Sumda Chenmo, which actually has two monasteries - one is active, while the other lies in ruins below the village. Camp in the valley near the river.

Day 10: Sumda Choon
Rest day, with an optional side trip to Sumda Choon, whose ancient and rarely visited monastery houses remarkable artistic treasures. From there we head towards the true left side of the valley, which provides a beautiful view of the village with its lush greenery. Further the trail cuts through the valley's wild rose bushes & leads us to another river crossing (this stream originates from the high snow-capped peaks of Photoksar (5685 m).Before making a steep challenging ascent over Lanak, we will see Edelweiss & some of the other rare wild flowers of Ladakh

Day 11: Sumda Choon -Lanak
Continue upwards on Ladakh Monasteries Trek to the beautiful meadow of Lanak. In the evenings, we have often spotted Bharal, the rare and elusive blue sheep, on the nearby cliffs.

Day 12: Lanak - Alchi
The climb to Dundunchen La (4800 meters) is strenuous, a stunning view encompassing the Stok and Zanskar ranges. Finish our trek with a long descent into Chilling, before boarding the rafts on the Zanskar River. Ride the river to its confluence with the Indus at Nimu, and then board jeeps for the trip to Alchi 70 km west of Leh harbours an extraordinary wealth of ancient wall paintings and wood sculputre miraculously preserved for over nine centures insides five tiny mud walled temples, The site's earliest murals are regarded as the finest surviving examples of a style that flourished in Kashmir during the "second Spreading" Barely a handful of the monasteries founded during this era escaped the Muslim depredations of the fourteenth century.

Alchi is the most impressive of them all the least remote and the only one you don't need a special permit to visit nestled beside a bend in the milky blue Rive Indus amid some dramatic scenery
Overnight stay at Alchi village.

Day 13: Alchi
Morning after breakfast at Hotel visit Alchi,

Sum-tsek is a triple-storied temple with a carved wooden fa?e consisting of pillars, carved brackets, and capitals. The walls of the halls are covered with mandalas in vibrant colors, standing figures of Bodhisattvas, Manjushri (the embodiment of wisdom), Avalokiteshvara, and Maitreya Buddha.

Lotsawa Lha-Khang and Manjushri Lha-Khang are two adjoining shrines that share a similar plan. The square shrine has four central columns that hold up the raised roof. Within the shrine of Manjushri are four large plaster images of the Bodhisattva. The murals of the temple follow the theme of the thousand Buddha while gods and goddesses dominate the wall space.

Lha-Khang Soma is a structure constructed later in comparison to other shrines of Alchi. Within the small square room is a chorten or votive stupa. Columns that support the roof have wonderful carved brackets with lion faces. Walls of the shrine are painted with the images of Vairochana, Buddha, Bodhisattvas, and guardian figures. The doorway is decorated and protected as usual with the image of Mahakal

Evening return back to Camp

Overnight stay at Alchi Village

Day 14: Alchi - Leh Ladakh
Morning drive to Leh by jeep

Day free in Leh.

Overnight at Hotel

Day 15: Leh - Delhi (Flight)
In the morning transfer to airport to catch the flight for Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi visit Old & New Delhi such as Jama Masjid, Red Fort, Lotus Temple, Qutub Minar, Humayun's Tomb, Akshardham Mandir, India Gate, etc. Evening transfer to International airport to catch onwards flight.

Day 16: Depart-Delhi
Transfer to airport for flight to Onwards journey.

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