Kashmir + Srinagar | Heaven on Earth + Floating Worlds - India

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Our customized Kashmir and Srinagar tours are wonderful extensions to our Kamzang Journeys treks in Ladakh & Zanskar, or journeys on their own in an endlessly fascinating region full of the history of Central Asia.
Enjoy the world renown beauty and hospitality of Kashmir!

The Vale of Kashmir is one of the most prized jewels of the Indian Himalaya, described by Kashmiris as 'heaven on earth', famed for its floating gardens and markets on Dal & Nageen Lakes, the fascinating historic Srinagar, the pashmina weaving and other Kashmiri crafts, its heavenly Mughal Gardens, the Shankaracharya Temple and its wonderful houseboat stays.

Around Srinagar there are some of the most beautiful valleys and villages in the Indian Himalaya, as well as some of the world's most idyllic alpine scenery. Highlights are Dacigram National Park, Manasbal & Wular Lake (the largest lake in Asia), Yousmarg, Naranag Temple (the oldest in Kashmir), Sonmarg and Pahalgam.

We've put together several options to tour Srinagar, Kashmir, the famous lakes with their colorful floating markets and shikaras (long-tail boats), either flying in and out of Srinagar or opting for a stunningly beautiful jeep safari over the renown Koji La pass to Leh and Ladakh for a tour of the Indus Valley and its many Buddhist monasteries. We base our tours in Srinagar, where you stay in style on traditional houseboats on the lake, visit the floating market, old Srinagar and its many mosques and markets and the famous Mughal gardens. 

Add on a trip to Tsomoriri, Tso Kar and Pangong Lakes, the high salt lakes of the Indian Changthang for an other worldly and sublimely beautiful trip, experiencing nomadic life and spotting rare bird and wildlife.

 There are many ways to customize this trip.
Get in touch to create your personal trip of a lifetime!

Tours

Heaven on Earth | Kashmir + the Floating World of Srinagar
9 Days


Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake
Day 2 - Srinagar | Sightseeing Mughal Gardens + Old Srinagar
Day 3 - Drive Gulmarg
Day 4 - Drive Pahalgam
Day 5 - Pahalgam | Day Hike
Day 6 - Drive Srinagar
Day 7 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
Day 8 - Srinagar | Day Trip Sonmarg
or
Day 8 - Srinagar | Day Trip Naranang Temple
Day 9 - Trip Ends

NOTE: Flights Srinagar - Leh on WEDNESDAYS only

Amazing Kashmir, Indus Valley + Ladakh
10 Days


Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake

Day 2 - Srinagar | Sightseeing Mughal Gardens + Old Srinagar
Day 3 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
Day 4 - Srinagar | Gulmarg Day Trip
Day 5 - Drive Naranag Temple + Sonmarg
Day 6 - Drive Lamayuru
Day 7 - Drive Leh
Day 8 - Leh | Indus Valley Monasteries Tour (East)
Day 9 - Leh | Optional Sightseeing Shanti Stupa, Sankar, Leh Fort + Old City
Day 10 - Trip Ends

Ultimate Kashir + Ladakh | Srinagar, Leh, Nubra Valley + Indus Valley Monasteries
13 Days

Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake
Day 2 - Srinagar | Sightseeing Mughal Gardens + Old Srinagar
Day 3 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
Day 4 - Drive Sonmarg + Kargil or Lamayuru
Day 5 - Drive Uleytokpo Camp
Day 6 - Uleytokpo Camp | Sightseeing Alchi + Likir + Rizdong Monasteries
Day 7 - Drive Leh
Day 8 - Leh | Indus Valley Monasteries Tour
Day 9 - Leh | Optional Sightseeing Shanti Stupa, Sankar, Leh Fort + Old City
Day 10 - Drive Nubra Valley | Cross Kardong La Pass
Day 11 - Nubra Valley | Sightseeing Diskit + Hunder
Day 12 - Drive Leh
Day 13 - Trip Ends

Leh, Indus + Salt Lakes Extensions
Leh, Indus Valley Monasteries & Salt Lakes Tour

Kashmir + Srinagar Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Trek

Ganbebal Trek + Amazing Kashmir
10 Days

Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake

Day 2 - Srinagar | Sightseeing Mughal Gardens + Old Srinagar
Day 3 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
Day 4 - Drive Sonmarg. Trek Thajiwas Glacier (Nichnai)
Day 5 - Trek Vishnasar + Krishansar Lake
Day 6 - Trek Gadsar 
Day 7 - Trek Gangabal Lake  19 Kms.
Day 8 - Gangabal
Day 9 - Trek Naranag, Drive Srinagar
Day 10 - Trip Ends

Leh, Indus + Salt Lakes Extensions
Leh, Indus Valley Monasteries & Salt Lakes Tour

Kashmir + Srinagar Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Extensions

Srinagar + Kashmir Extensions
So much to do in beautiful Srinagar, we recommend booking these day tours, canal shikara trips or hikes and extending your stay in Kashmir! Priced per vehicle or shikara. Generally the guide is not included. Guide for the day is $40.

OPTION Srinagar | Old Srinagar Mosques + Mughal Gardens Tour (+$65)
OPTION Srinagar | Dal Lake Backwater Shikara + Hindu Temple Tour (+$60)
OPTION Srinagar | Shankaracharya Temple Hike (+$60 - Includes Guide)
OPTION Srinagar | Naranag Temple Day Trip (+$65)
OPTION Srinagar | Pahalgam + Avanipur Day Trip (+$65) or Over Night Trip (+$105 - Hotel not Included)
OPTION Srinagar | Manasbal + Wular Lake Day Trip (+$65)
OPTION Srinagar | Yousmarg Day Trip (+$65)
OPTION Srinagar | Dacigram National Park Day Trip (+$65)

Tours, Hikes, Shikara Tours + Day Trips

OLD SRINAGAR, MOSQUES + MUGHAL GARDENS TOUR
A half day (or full day) tour of the world famous Mughal Gardens, visiting the Nishat Bagh (Garden of Pleasure) and Shalimar Bagh (Abode of Love), returning to the houseboat for a hot lunch of fresh, local fare, often including fish from the lake. You will also visit the bustling and fascinating streets of Old Srinagar, and enter into some of the many famous mosques of Srinagar.

DAL LAKE BACKWATER SHIKARA + HINDU TEMPLE TOUR
The longer 'backwaters shikara tour' through the small back canals of the lake, finally passing by the Hindu temple which is still taken care of by Kashmiri 'pandits', Brahmin priests who have lived in Kashmir for centuries. Watch the timeless life on the lake, a photographer's dream ...

SHANKARACHARYA TEMPLE HIKE (OR TOUR)
In the afternoon head out for a hike up to Shankaracharya Temple, a Shiva temple which commands a magnificent view of Srinagar and the lakes from 1000 meters above the city. This Hindu temple, which dates back perhaps to 200 BC - with the present structure built in the 9th century - is also sacred to Buddhists. Adi Shankara visited the temple and gave it its name, Persians and Jews also had a name for the temple which translates as 'Garden of King Solomon', and Persian inscriptions can be found inside the temple.

NARANAG TEMPLE DAY TRIP
A wonderful Kashmiri day trip, scenic throughout, with an hour or so to stretch your legs at Naranag, and options to hike further up this idyllic valley. From Srinagar it's an hour and a half drive to the ancient ruins at Naranag, in a beautiful alpine setting up the valley from the main road. Hike up half an hour from the ruins, following the sparking river, through forests of pine, to see the 'gypsies' who herd their animals in the green pastures. En route to Naranag you'll drive through many traditional Kashmiri villages, green with their summer crops of rice, a timeless scene.

The Naranag temple is an important archaeological site, consisting of a cluster of temple ruins dedicated to Shiva. The temples are said to have been built in the 8th century by Lalithdatiya Muktadiya, with a pedestal for bathing at Bhutsher donated by King Awantivarman. 

PAHALGAM + AVANIPUR TOUR
Enjoy a beautiful drive to Pahalgam, a hill station at 2440 meters on the Lidder River, locally named the' Vale of Kashmir' and the starting point for the yearly Amarnath Yatra, one of Hindu's most important pilgrimages. On the way, visit the saffron fields, traditional Kashmir villages and the ruins of Avantipur, an 1100 year old temple. This can be an overnight or day trip depending on your time table.

MANASBAL + WULAR LAKE DAY TRIP
An excursion to the largest lakes in Asia, treasures of bird life and wildlife, with blooming lotus flowers and the Mughal garden of Jaroka ('bay window') , and a wonderful way to get away from the city and into the wilds. The name is said to be derived from Manasoravar, near Mount Kailash, in Tibet. The lake has three villages on its shores, Jarokbal, Kondabal and Ganderbal, and is said to be the deepest lake in India, at 13 meters in depth.

YOUSMARG DAY TRIP
Yusmarg (or Yousmarg) is an alpine valley and hill station in the western Kashmir Valley, 50 kilometers south of Srinagar, at an altitude of 2400 meters. The name is a deravitive of ‘Meadow of Jesus’, and believed by locals to be a stopping point of Jesus during his travels in Kashmir.  Yusmarg is a beautiful spot to spend the afternoon, with meadows of flowers, woods of pine and fir and snow-capped peaks. It sits on the banks of  the Doodganga River in the Pir Panjal range.

DACHIGAM NATIONAL PARK DAY TRIP
Dachigam National Park, meaning ’ten villages’, is situated 22 kilometers from Srinagar and covers an area of 141 square kilometers, first created to provide drinking water for Srinagar. It was declared a national park in 1981, but has been a protected area since 1910, first under the care of the Maharaja of Jammu & Kashmir. The park is in the Zabarwan Range of the western Himalayas, wooded with coniferous forests, along with with alpine pastures, flowers, meadows, waterfalls and deep gullies.

Dachigam has a large variety of wildlife, including leopard, musk deer, Himalayan black + brown bear, jackel, hill fox, grey langur, yellow-throated marten, Himalayan weasel, jungle cat, marmot and otter,  and is additionally renown for its birdlife and trout fishing.

Highlights+Reviews

Trip Advisor Reviews

Client Highlights
Outstanding trekking adventure, first class guides and personal attention - this is why Kamzang has so many repeat clients! We trekked with Kim Bannister and Lhakpa Dorje Sherpa for 22 days through remote Zanskar in Aug 2014. It was the adventure of a lifetime. Kim has many years experience and a loyal team of support staff and horsemen. Food and camping were very well organized; Kim and Lhakpa lead us through stunning scenery into remote Zanskari villages. Their detailed local knowledge and ability to speak with villagers made for a memorable rich experience. Over high passes and crossing rivers we always were in good hands. Thoroughly recommended if you really want to trek off the map.
- David R. & Kathy F (Canada), Wild Ladakh & Zanskar Trek 2014

What a trip! Thanks for all your hard work and imagination. Truly a spectacular journey and the clientele you attracted was a magnificent bonus.
- Chris R (USA), Wild Ladakh & Rupshu Trek

I think about you and Lhakpa and everybody a lot; and I miss the trek, the beautiful mountains, the amazing scenery and rich culture there. Every time when I go through my trekking photos, the memories of those great moments come back to me, speaking to me and asking me why I haven't packed my gears and signed up for my next Himalaya trip?!
 - Summer T (China), Wild Ladakh Zanskar Traverse

I have been on treks with Kim four times. All her trips are superbly well organized and smoothly run. Everything is take care of. The food is great and accommodation good. The only thing you have to do is the walking. It's a five star service and great value!
- Peter H (UK), Ladakh & Zanskar Treks + more

Read More Testimonials
Trekker's Comments

Trip Highlights

  • Historic Old Srinagar + Mughal Gardens
  • Beautiful Dal + Nageen Lakes
  • Shikara Tours (Local Boats)
  • Floating Market
  • Dacigram National Park
  • Manasbal + Wular Lake
  • Yousmarg
  • Narang Temple
  • Beautiful Drive over Zoji La Pass, along the Indus, to Leh
  • Houseboats on Dal Lake
  • Delicious Kashmiri Cuisine
  • Renown Kashmiri Hospitality
  • Leh + the Historic Indus Valley
  • Indus Valley Tibetan Buddhist Gompa (Monastery) Tours
  • Ancient Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries, Palances + Fortresses
  • Stunningly Beautiful Tso Moriri + Pangong Lakes
  • Traditional Ladakhi Villages
  • Nomadic Settlements

Kashmir + Srinagar Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Photo Gallery | Trip + Trek Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Kashmir + Srinagar Photos
Kim Bannister Photography

Himalayan Photos
Wildlife
Himalayan Wildlife Photos

Birds
Himalayan Bird Photos

Flowers
Himalayan Flowers Photos

Travel Reading
Travel Books

Articles + Videos | Ladakh + Zanskar, Indian Himalaya
Kamzang Journeys | Kharnak Nomads | MrMennoBen YouTube

Kamzang Journeys | Markha Valley | MrMennoBen YouTube

Kamzang Journeys | Changthang Nomads | MrMennoBen YouTube

Kamzang Journeys | Rupshu Nomads | MrMennoBen YouTube

Leh + Indus Valley | MrMennoBen YouTube

Ladakh Diaries: Postcard from Paradise | India Today - Features Kamzang Journeys

On Snow Leopard Mountain | BBC Planet Earth

Child Monks of the Himalayas | BBC - In Pictures

Chang Tang Pa | Cat Vinton Photo Essay

Silent Roar, The Snow Leopard | National Geographic Documentary

Shepherdess of the Glaciers | Trailer YouTube

Ladakh, Mountains & Men | Le Figaro

Blog Article | Za Rahula Local Nomadic God

Street Food in India | India Mike Blog

Ladakh, the Last Shangri La | National Geographic

A Journey to Little Tibet | National Geographic

Legends of Dha Hanu

India: Extreme Biking in Beautiful Ladakh | The Telegraph UK

The Grey Ghosts of the Mountains | Vimeo

Kashmir, the Inheritance of Loss | New York Times

Gandhi | BBC Documentary (3 Parts)
The Making of the Mahatma - Part 1

The Rise to Fame - Part 2
The Road to Freedom - Part 3

In Search of Gandhi | BBC Documentary

Date+Price

Dates
Custom Departures
9, 10 + 13 Days

Trip Prices
See Details

Heaven on Earth | Kashmir + the Floating World of Srinagar (9 Days)
Trip Prices
2 People - $825
3 + 4 People - $750
5 + 6 People - $700
Single Supplement - $250

Amazing Kashmir, Indus Valley + Ladakh (10 Days)
Trip Prices
2 People - $1025
3 + 4 People - $900
5 + 6 People - $825
Single Supplement - $300

Ultimate Kashir + Ladakh | Srinagar, Leh, Nubra Valley + Indus Valley Monasteries (13 Days)
Trip Prices
2 People - $1275
3 + 4 People - $1100
5 + 6 People - $995
Single Supplement - $350

Ganbebal Trek + Amazing Kashmir (10 Days)
T
rip Prices
2 + 3 People - $795
4, 5 + 6 People - $720
Single Supplement - $200

Accommodation
Srinagar - Deluxe Houseboat            
Gulmarg - Hotel Hilltop (or similar standard)                   
Pahalgam - Hotel Hilltop (or similar standard)
Kargil - Hotel Zojila Residency
Lamayuru - Hotel Moonland
Uleytokpo - Uley Ethnic Dlx. Hut
Leh - Hotel Royal Ladakh or similar
Nubra - Silk Route Cottages

Tour Includes

  • Deluxe Houseboats in Srinagar (breakfast + dinner)
  • Hotels as per Accommodation (breakfast + dinner)
  • Group transportation by private vehicle (Inova for 2 - 4 people, Tempo Traveler for 5 - 6 people)
  • All sightseeing in Srinagar + en route
  • Shikara ride on Dal Lake
  • Accommodation in Leh, Tso Moriri + Pangong Lakes (breakfast)
  • Indus Valley monasteries tour
  • Local tour guide
  • Airport transfers
  • Flight booking services
  • All taxes, entrance fees
  • Permits
  • Treks: Mountain guide + cook, horses to carry gear, all meals, tents + camping logistics.

Tour Excludes

  • International or domestic flights
  • Indian visa
  • Travel or travel health insurance
  • Equipment rental
  • Alcohol & bottled drinks
  • Gompa (monastery) donations
  • Laundry
  • Tipping & other items of a personal nature

Tips & Extra Cash
Allow approx $250 for meals & tips. We recommend $100-$200 per person into the tip pool as tips to the guides & drivers.

Contact+Details

Trekker's Comments
Travel Books

Kamzang Journeys Contact
Kim Bannister
kim@kamzang.com
Kim Mobile: +(91) 9419 981715
Lhakpa Mobile: +(91) 9419 977569

Delhi Airport Transfers & Sightseeing | Dhruv Travels
Contacts: Prince & Rajesh
travelorganiserindia@yahoo.co.in
Office: +(91 11) 6536 8764
Prince mobile: +(91) 98104 85897
Rajesh mobile: +(91) 98993 73886

Srinagar & Kashmir Contact
Shangaloo Travels
Mehraj Deen (GM & Ladakh Operations)
mehraj@shanglootravels.com
Mehraj Mobile: +(91) 9419013874, 9858986512
Office: +(91) 0194 2502083
Shangaloo Travels Tel : +(91) 0194 2502082 - 2502090, +(91) 9596 787001 - 7887020

Kathmandu Contact
Khumbu Adventures
hiking.guide@gmail.com
Office: +(977) 01 4488352
Lhakpa Dorji Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 235461, 9813 371542
Doma Sherpa Mobile: +(977) 9841 510833, 9803 675361

On-Trek Contact
We are not able to access SMS or phone calls to our satellite phone in Jammu & Kashmir state because of security restrictions. In case of emergency, a few numbers are listed below, or contact Doma Sherpa of Khumbu Adventures (above)

Ang Chuk (driver) +(91) 9419 344641
Rinchin (Shaynam Hotel manager) +(91) 9906 990444

Arrival Hotels Leh
Hotel Shaynam
Padma Guest House
Hotel Omasila

Health Information
India Health Information
CDC

Travel Medical Insurance
Required for your own safely. We carry a copy of your insurance with all contact, personal and policy information with us on the trek and our office in Kathmandu keeps a copy. Note that we almost always trek over 4000 meters (13,000+ feet) and that we don't do any technical climbing with ropes, ice axes or crampons.

Note that private helicopter insurance generally not available in India!

Travel Books
Travel Books

Arrival India

Arrival India
NOTE: Flights to/from Leh are NOT included in the price or itinerary. Everyone will need to arrange their own flight or overland trip to Leh. You can book your international flights all the way to Leh, Ladakh (IXL) which will ensure that your flight provider is responsible for hotels if your flight is delayed or cancelled. You might also want to come overland from Manali, breath-taking jeep safari, or from Srinagar, both some of the planet's most spectacular drives.

Email us your flight arrival details and have our contact details with you when you arrive in Delhi in case you need assistance. Kim will have her mobile with her, as will our agents from Dhruv Travels, so don't hesitate to call. We can help with hotels, flights, airport pick-ups and drops, sightseeing in Delhi or travels further to Rajasthan or Agra & the Taj Mahal (see Dhruv Travels).

Indian Visa
Be sure to have your Indian Visa before arrival in India. Most countries qualify for the new visa-on-arrival system, which is valid for 30 days. Information about the new visa-on-arrival for citizens of many countries (excluding the UK). NOTE that you need to apply and pay for the visa BEFORE arriving in India. You get the actual visa with your paid application once in India.
Indian Visa

Reference for Indian Visa:
Hotel in Leh: Shaynam Hotel, 20 Old Leh Road, Leh 194101
Travel Agent in Delhi: Dhruv Travels, 2464, Nalwa St, Chuna Mandi, Paharganj, New Delhi, 110055, India, +91 11 2358 2715
Hotel in Delhi: Jyoti Mahal Guest House, 2488-90 Nalwa Street, Chuna Mandi, Pahar Ganj, New Delhi,110055, +91 1123580523/24/25/26

You can print out + fill out your Visa on Arrival form before arriving in India, but you need to apply for the visa before leaving for India!

Delhi Airport Hotels
Delhi Airport Hotel

Delhi Restaurants + Bars
Zomato

Notes on Itinerary
Although we try to follow the itinerary below, it is ONLY a guideline based on years of experience trekking in the Himalaya. At times local trail, river or weather conditions may make a deviation necessary; rivers may be impassible, snow blocks passes, and landslides wipe out trails. The trekking itinerary and campsites may also vary slightly depending on the group's acclimatization rate or sickness.

The Himalaya are our passion, and we take trekking seriously. Although everyone is here on vacation, please come with a dollop of patience and compassion added to your sense of adventure ...

Hotels in Leh
We use one of the three hotels below as our 'arrival hotels' depending on availability and your preference. Our standard hotel is the Hotel Shaynam where Kim and the staff stay, a lovely family-run guest house with a blooming garden, deck chairs & umbrellas. We don't charge a single supplement here. There is a single supplement or small upgrade charge for Hotel Omasila &  Padma Guest House. We book all hotels for you regardless of where you stay. Please specify your preference when booking a trek. If staying at Shaynam or Padma we recommend 'Open Hand' down the road for a delicious meal or coffee & great atmosphere.

Hotel Shaynam
Single Supplement - No (if single available)
Breakfast - Included
Extra Nights - Single $30, Double $35

Padma Guest House
Single Supplement - $75
Breakfast - Included
Extra Nights - Single $45, Double $55

Hotel Omasila
Single Supplement - $175
Extra Nights - Single $65, Double $75, Suite $115
Breakfast - Included

Alternative Hotels
We're happy to book other hotels of your choice for you. Some recommended hotels below.

Dragon Hotel
Single Supplement - $185
Extra Nights - Single $70, Double $80, Suite $120
Breakfast - Included

Luxury Hotels in Leh
We offer options to upgrade to one of Leh’s wonderful luxury hotels, which include breakfast in the tarriff. Indulge yourself! We’ll make the bookings for you, just let us know the dates …

The Grande Dragon Ladakh
Inquire for price
Breakfast - Included

Srinagar

The Vale of Kashmir is one of the most prized jewels of the Indian Himalaya, described by Kashmiris as 'heaven on earth', famed for its floating gardens and markets on Dal & Nageen Lakes, the fascinating historic Srinagar, the pashmina weaving and other Kashmiri crafts, its heavenly Mughal Gardens, the Shankaracharya Temple and its wonderful houseboat stays.

Around Srinagar there are some of the most beautiful valleys and villages in the Indian Himalaya, as well as some of the world's most idyllic alpine scenery. Highlights are Dacigram National Park, Manasbal & Wular Lake (the largest lake in Asia), Yousmarg, Naranag Temple (the oldest in Kashmir), Sonmarg and Pahalgam.

We've put together several options to tour Srinagar, Kashmir, the famous lakes with their colorful floating markets and shikaras (long-tail boats), either flying in and out of Srinagar or opting for a stunningly beautiful jeep safari over the renown Koji La pass to Leh and Ladakh for a tour of the Indus Valley and its many Buddhist monasteries. We base our tours in Srinagar, where you stay in style on traditional houseboats on the lake, visit the floating market, old Srinagar and its many mosques and markets and the famous Mughal gardens.

Tour Itineraries

Heaven on Earth | Kashmir + the Floating World of Srinagar | 9 Days

Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar 1585m | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake
Arrive in Srinagar, either by flight over via several overland options.

You will be met by our representative and transferred your deluxe houseboat right on Dal Lake, one of the Mahjong Group of houseboats. The afternoon is free; we recommend just sitting on the deck of the houseboat and watching the local life go by, extremely colorful. Depending on your schedule you can also do some touring of the many Mughal gardens in Srinagar. In the evening we'll take you on a sunset shikara ride on Dal Lake. Overnight Houseboat
 
Day 2 - Srinagar | Old Srinagar + Mughal Gardens Tour
A half day tour of the world famous Mughal Gardens, visiting the Nishat Bagh (Garden of Pleasure) and Shalimar Bagh (Abode of Love), returning to the houseboat for a hot lunch of fresh, local fare, often including fish from the lake. You will also visit the bustling and fascinating streets of Old Srinagar, and enter into some of the many famous mosques of Srinagar.

Late afternoon you have the option of another shikara ride on Dal and Nageen Lakes, which are often compared to Venice. There are several options for trips by shikara, we recommend a bird-watching morning. Overnight Houseboat
 
Day 3 - Drive Gulmarg
After breakfast you’ll leave for the lovely drive to Gulmarg, one of the most beautiful summer resorts in the valley. It is also popular for its golf course, the highest in the world, and skiing during the winter season. Enjoy the mountains, summer flowers and perhaps the snowy mountains. Options are a gondola ride from Gulmarg to Khalinmarg, a short hike or possibly a horse ride. Overnight Hotel
 
Day 4 - Drive Pahalgam
After breakfast, you will leave from Gulmarg and drive to Pahalgam (2440m), the' Vale of Kashmir'. On the way visit you can visit the saffron fields and the ruins of Avantipur, an eleven-hundred years old temple. You will reach Pahalgam, made famous by Bollywood, by lunch time. After lunch have a walk around the hills and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Overnight Hotel
 
Day 5 - Pahalgam | Day Hike
A free day for a hike in this beautiful alpine setting. Overnight Hotel
 
Day 6 - Drive Srinagar
After breakfast, you will return to Srinagar, reaching the hotel by lunchtime. You have the afternoon free, inquire if you’re interested in shopping or photography trips to the old city or elsewhere. Overnight Houseboat

Day 7 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
A free day in wonderful Srinagar. We recommend a shikara ride to the morning markets followed by the 'backwaters tour' through the small back canals of the lake, finally passing by the Shri Shivji Temple in Rainawari, a Hindu temple which is still taken care of by Kashmiri 'pandits', Brahmin priests who have lived in Kashmir for centuries. Watch the timeless life on the lake, a photographer's dream ...

In the afternoon head out for a hike up to Shankaracharya Temple, a Shiva temple which commands a magnificent view of Srinagar and the lakes. Overnight Houseboat
 
Day 8 - Srinagar | Day Trip Sonmarg 2690m
A wonderful full day excursion to Sonmarg, possibly the most beautiful drive from Srinagar and known as the 'Gateway of Ladakh'. On the way you will stop at many beautiful spots, with chances to meet locals and take photos. Once in Sonmarg, the 'Meadow of Gold’, you can go horseback riding or visit Thajiwas Glacier, where snow remains year-round. In the evening return to Houseboat. Overnight Houseboat.

Day 8 - Srinagar | Day Trip Naranang Temple
Two wonderful options for your last day in Kashmir, the second being an hour+ drive to the ancient Buddhist ruins at Naranag, in a beautiful alpine setting. Hike up an hour or so from the ruins to see the 'gypsies' who herd their animals in this wonderful setting, along the river. En route to and from Naranang you'll drive through many traditional Kashmiri villages, green with their summer crops of rice, a timeless scene. Overnight Houseboat

NOTE: Wonderul OPTIONS to continue the drive to Leh and Ladakh along the INDUS VALLEY.
Leh, Indus Valley Monasteries & Salt Lakes Tour
 
Day 9 - Trip Ends
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi or elsewhere, or pick up by private vehicle for the continuation of your journey.

+++++

Amazing Kashmir, Indus Valley + Ladakh | 10 Days

Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar 1585m | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake
Arrive in Srinagar, either by flight over via several overland options.

You will be met by our representative and transferred your deluxe houseboat right on Dal Lake, one of the Mahjong Group of houseboats. The afternoon is free; we recommend just sitting on the deck of the houseboat and watching the local life go by, extremely colorful. Depending on your schedule you can also do some touring of the many Mughal gardens in Srinagar. In the evening we'll take you on a sunset shikara ride on Dal Lake. Overnight Houseboat
 
Day 2 - Srinagar | Old Srinagar + Mughal Gardens Tour
A half day tour of the world famous Mughal Gardens, visiting the Nishat Bagh (Garden of Pleasure) and Shalimar Bagh (Abode of Love), returning to the houseboat for a hot lunch of fresh, local fare, often including fish from the lake. You will also visit the bustling and fascinating streets of Old Srinagar, and enter into some of the many famous mosques of Srinagar.

Late afternoon you have the option of another shikara ride on Dal and Nageen Lakes, which are often compared to Venice. There are several options for trips by shikara, we recommend a bird-watching morning. Overnight Houseboat

Day 3 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
A free day in wonderful Srinagar. We recommend a shikara ride to the morning markets followed by the 'backwaters tour' through the small back canals of the lake, finally passing by the Hindu temple which is still taken care of by Kashmiri 'pandits', Brahmin priests who have lived in Kashmir for centuries. Watch the timeless life on the lake, a photographer's dream ...

In the afternoon head out for a hike up to Shankaracharya Temple, a Shiva temple which commands a magnificent view of Srinagar and the lakes. Overnight Houseboat.

Day 4 - Srinagar | Gulmarg Day Trip
A beautiful, 50 kilomater scenic drive to Gulmarg, a popular and beautiful summer resorts in the Srinagar valley, known for the highest golf course in the world and some great skiing during the winter. Gulmarg is surrounded by snowy mountains, summer flowers and green meadows, a great spot for a summer picnic!

Wikipedia: "Originally named Gaurimarg, ‘the fair one’, by shepherds in honor of the Hindu goddess Parvati, the resort was renamed Gulmarg, ‘meadow of flowers’, by Sultan Yusuf Shah of the Chak Dynasty who frequented the place with his queen Habba khatoon in the 16th century.

Wild flowers of 21 different varieties were collected by the Mughal emperor Jahangir for his gardens in Gulmarg. In the 19th century, British civil servants started using Gulmarg as a retreat to escape summers in North Indian plains. Hunting and golfing were their favorite pastime and three golf courses were established in Gulmarg including one exclusively for women. One of the three golf courses established survives to the present day and at an altitude of 2650 meters is the world's highest golf course. In 1927, British established a ski club in Gulmarg and two annual ski events were hosted one each during Christmas and Easter. Central Asian explorer Aurel Stein also visited Gulmarg during this period. After the end of London colonial rule, Gulmarg became a part of the independent princely state of Jammu and Kashmir."

Day 5 - Drive Naranag Temple  + Sonmarg
A wonderful Kashmiri day, scenic throughout, with an hour or so to stretch your legs at Naranag, and the rest of the afternoon to enjoy the mountain views at Sonmarg. From Srinagar it's an hour and a half drive to the ancient ruins at Naranag, in a beautiful alpine setting up the valley from the main road. Hike up half an hour from the ruins, following the sparking river, through forests of pine, to see the 'gypsies' who herd their animals in the green pastures. En route to Naranag you'll drive through many traditional Kashmiri villages, green with their summer crops of rice, a timeless scene.

The Naranag temple is an important archaeological site, consisting of a cluster of temple ruins dedicated to Shiva. The temples are said to have been built in the 8th century by Lalithdatiya Muktadiya, with a pedestal for bathing at Bhutsher donated by King Awantivarman. 

Enjoy the rest of the beautiful drive to Sonmarg, where you'll check into your hotel and go out for an afternoon stroll, enjoying the mountain views.

Day 6 - Drive Lamayuru Monastery
Another scenic drive through Kashmir, crossing the Zoji La

Day 7 - Drive Leh
Leaving Lamayuru after enjoying breakfast in the garden restaurant, with views of the monastery, you'll have a 3 to 4 hour drive (depending on road conditions) along the Indus to Leh.

Welcome to Leh, the capital of predominantly Buddhist Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir, tucked away amidst the Ladakh mountains, part of the great Trans Himalayan range. Arriving by road from Srinagar, you'll have had some extra acclimatization en route, but will still need time to adjust to the 3500 meter altitude. Hydrate with plenty of water, stay away from beer for a few days, rest and don't over-exert yourself. 250 mg of Diamox twice a day is a good way to help your body acclimatize naturally.

Have a wander around town; there are bakeries, cafes, tandoori restaurants, old alleyways, Buddhist monasteries, mosques, Hindu temples and wonderful markets, especially the Main Bazaar.

Day 8 - Leh | Indus Valley Monasteries Tour (East)
A private jeep to take you on a tour of the eastern Indus monasteries, including Thiksey, Shey, Stakna and Stok Palace. Options to customize and visit other monasteries as well.

We'll drive 13 kilometers to the ancient palace of Shey, one of Ladakh's old capitals, followed by 5 more scenic kilometers to Thiksey Gompa. After a look around this bustling monastic community you'll continue to drive east along the Indus, crossing the river 6 kilometers later and visiting hilltop Stakna Gompa. Further along this side of the Indus is Stok Palace and green Stok village, where we can visit the current palace with its incredible prayer room and wonderful museum. From Stok it's a quick drive back to Leh, re-crossing the Indus at the Tibetan community of Choglamsar.

Day 9 - Leh | Optional Sightseeing Shanti Stupa, Sankar Gompa, Leh Fort + Old City
An optional walking tour of Leh, to enjoy the peaceful, willow-lined streets and bustling bazaar life of Singge Namgyal's 17th century capital of Ladakh, once an integral part of Western Tibet and a major trading post along the southern Silk Route. There is lots to explore in this wonderful Central Asian town; the newly-restored ruins of the 17th century Leh Palace, the ancient 15th century Leh Fort and the attached Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, other historic Tibetan Buddhist gompas, the Sunni Muslim mosques, narrow back alleys with steaming Muslim bread, tiny antique shops tucked away amidst the many ancient stupas and architectural remnants, the exotic Main Bazaar (c. 1840s) which once accommodated trade caravans, and even a polo field. Today, the Main Bazaar is a colorful street, the sidewalks crammed mornings and afternoons with Ladakhi women selling their fresh fruits and vegetables, and locals at the far end vending their dried nuts, apricots and apples.

Caravans of merchants from far-flung destinations such as Yarkand, Tibet, Kashgar and North India passed through Leh during ancient trade missions, trading salt, wool, Pashmina, tea and semi-precious stones, lending to the city its exotic allure. Pilgrims flocked to the monasteries of Leh and the Indus valley, explorers of old stopped in Leh to re-stock and weather out the harsh Himalayan winter and soldiers en route to plunder and conquer desirous destinations passed through Leh, all leaving their mark on this unique capital.

Sroll along the bustling Fort Road, lined with shops owned by Kashmiri, Tibetan and Kashmiri shop-keepers, to the crumbling but majestic Leh Fort (3680 meters) and the red, Maitreiya Tsemo Gompa, perched high on a craggy and crumbling hilltop overlooking the bazaars of old Leh. Stop at 16th century nine-story Leh Palace, of a similar architectural design to the Tibetan Potala Palace, on the way down if you have the energy. Visit the museum, a worthwhile endeavor, as well as the nearby gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries) - Soma Gompa, Chamba Lakhang and Chensrig Lakhang.

Wander the willow-lines streets of Changspa to reach the many steps leading to the Japanese-built Shanti Stupa for a view over the green fields and white-washed Ladakhi houses of the villages surrounding Leh. The precariously perched Leh Fort guards the eastern edges of the fertile valley. Sankar Gompa (17th - 18th century), reached through shady lanes to the east of Changspa, lies in the midst of Chubi's groves of poplar and willow and is another wonderful morning or afternoon walk. The back route to Leh Fort starts in Chubi and passes through a desert-like Buddhist cremation ground before climbing to the fortress.

Day 10 - Depart
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi or elsewhere, or pick up by private vehicle for the continuation of your journey.

Leh, the Indus Valley & High Lakes Extension
Leh, Indus Valley Monasteries & Salt Lakes

We also have a nearly perfect extension from Leh, again also a trip on its own, of Leh, the Indus Valley monasteries (gompas, in Tibetan or Ladakhi) and a jeep safari to the breathtakingly beautiful and culturally interesting Tso Moriri and Pangong Lakes, the later partly in Tibet. Visit the nomadic communities at Tso Moriri, the traditional villages at Pangong Lake and explore the bustling Tibetan Buddhist monasteries en route to these lakes.

There is lots to explore in historic Leh and tucked away amongst the shady villages and intriguing alleyways of this Central Asian capital.

+++++

Ultimate Kashir + Ladakh | Srinagar, Leh, Nubra Valley + Indus Valley Monasteries | 14 Days

Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar 1585m | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake
Arrive in Srinagar, either by flight over via several overland options.

You will be met by our representative and transferred your deluxe houseboat right on Dal Lake, one of the Mahjong Group of houseboats. The afternoon is free; we recommend just sitting on the deck of the houseboat and watching the local life go by, extremely colorful. Depending on your schedule you can also do some touring of the many Mughal gardens in Srinagar. In the evening we'll take you on a sunset shikara ride on Dal Lake. Overnight Houseboat
 
Day 2 - Srinagar | Old Srinagar & Mughal Gardens Tour
A half day tour of the world famous Mughal Gardens, visiting the Nishat Bagh (Garden of Pleasure) and Shalimar Bagh (Abode of Love), returning to the houseboat for a hot lunch of fresh, local fare, often including fish from the lake. You will also visit the bustling and fascinating streets of Old Srinagar, and enter into some of the many famous mosques of Srinagar.

Late afternoon you have the option of another shikara ride on Dal and Nageen Lakes, which are often compared to Venice. There are several options for trips by shikara, we recommend a bird-watching morning. Overnight Houseboat

Day 3 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
A free day in wonderful Srinagar. We recommend a shikara ride to the morning markets followed by the 'backwaters tour' through the small back canals of the lake, finally passing by the Hindu temple which is still taken care of by Kashmiri 'pandits', Brahmin priests who have lived in Kashmir for centuries. Watch the timeless life on the lake, a photographer's dream ...

In the afternoon head out for a hike up to Shankaracharya Temple, a Shiva temple which commands a magnificent view of Srinagar and the lakes. Overnight Houseboat.

Day 4 - Drive Sonmarg + Kargil (or Lamayuru)
We depart early morning in our private vehicle for the scenic drive to Kargil. The road passes through many local villages, and we will drive past local shepherd herding their flocks, as we drive towards beautiful Sonmarg (2740m) where we’ll stop for lunch. Afterwards, we continue on a rough road to the Zojila pass (3527m), known as the ‘Gateway of Ladakh’. We continue the drive towards Drass, the second coldest inhibited place in the world (!!) where we stop for a cup of tea and a passport check. Another two and a half hours of driving brings us to Kargil (2710m), which became an important stopping point for tourists after Ladakh was opened in 1974. Overnight at Hotel.
 
Day 5 - Drive Lamayuru + Uleytokpo Camp
We leave in the morning  for another beautiful drive to Uleytokpo. We have to ascend three passes today, a scenic journey! The first Buddhist village we pass will be Mulbek, follow by the highest pass along the Sringar-Leh road, the Fotula La. We will arrive at Lamayuru Monastery in time for lunch, and spend an hour exploring this wonderful monastery, perched on a spur overlooking the valley and one of the  oldest gompas in Ladakh. Continue drive to next village Nimu a view of Zanskar River following into Indus. Finally we reach Uleytokpo. Overnight at Hotel.

LAMAYURU: The oldest and spectacularly set Lamayuru monastery is about 125 kms. West of Leh, founded in the 10th century . in 11th century the Mahasiddha Naropa came to this place. Then Rinchen Zangpo translator came and built many temples and stupas and then teaching of the Kadampa school came to flourish. Later Jamyang Namgyal offered it to Chosje Danma and Digung Kargyut school were introduced and named Yungdrung Therpalling. The Yundrung Kabgyad festival is held on the 28th and 29th days of the 2nd Tibetan month. Overnight at Camp.
 
Day 6 - Uleytokpo Camp
After breakfast you will enjoy a full day tour of Alchi, Likir and Ridzong monasteries (see descriptions). Overnigh at Camp.
 
ALCHI: Alchi Choskor is the onlymonastery in the Ladakh on flat ground, around 69 Kms west of Leh. Largest and most famous of all of the temples and built by the great translator Ringchem Zangpo. The temple was founded in 11th century which accounts for the Indian and particularly Kashmiri influences.
 
LIKIR: Located around 52 Kms from Leh, know as Klu-Kkhjil (water spirits) founded in the 14th century by Lama Dhwang Chosje a great champion of meditation. The site of the monastery was encircled by the bodies of two great spent spirits. Therefore, name became widely renowned as Lekir. In the 15th century the disciple of Khasdubje know a lhawang Lodos Sangphu caused the monastery to flourish. This monastery also belongs to Gaylukpa school. Every year from the 17th to 19th of the 12th month the Lekir festival is held.
 
RIDZONG: Rizong is also known as Yuma Changchubling about 73 Kms from Leh and around 6 Kms from main road, founded about 138 years ago by the great Lama Tsultim Nima. Gompa belong to Gelukpaorder. Dress and food provisions are provided for all member of the community by the Governing body of the monastery. The monastery is sited in a  most solitary positions and there is a nunnery place called chulichan down the monastery. The work of spinning wool, milking, extracting oil for the temple lamps has to be performed by all the nuns.
 
Day 7 - Drive Leh
After breakfast we have a 3-4 hour drive back to Leh, depending on the road conditions. You’ll have the afternoon free to explore the Central Asian city of Leh, endlessly fascinating. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 8 - Leh | Indus Valley Monasteries Tour (East)
A private jeep to take you on a tour of the eastern Indus monasteries, including Thiksey, Shey, Stakna and Stok Palace. Options to customize and visit other monasteries as well.

We'll drive 13 kilometers to the ancient palace of Shey, one of Ladakh's old capitals, followed by 5 more scenic kilometers to Thiksey Gompa. After a look around this bustling monastic community you'll continue to drive east along the Indus, crossing the river 6 kilometers later and visiting hilltop Stakna Gompa. Further along this side of the Indus is Stok Palace and green Stok village, where we can visit the current palace with its incredible prayer room and wonderful museum. From Stok it's a quick drive back to Leh, re-crossing the Indus at the Tibetan community of Choglamsar.

Day 9 - Drive Nubra Valley | Diskit + Hunder 4020m (cross Kardong La pass)
You'll enjoy a jeep up to the Kardung La on the Ladakh Range, the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra Valleys, and part way to the infamous Siachen Glacier. This epic road was built in 1976, and openned to public vehicles in 1988. We get to cycle down this switchbacking road, stopping on the way down to slowly cycle through some of Leh's leafy northern suburbs.

From Wikipedia "Khardong La is historically important as it lies on the major caravan route from Leh to Kashgar in Central Asia. About 10,000 horses and camels used to take the route annually, and a small population of Bactrian camels can still be seen at Hunder, in the area north of the pass. During World War II there was an attempt to transfer war material to China through this route."

Times of India Article | Kardung La

Upon arrival at Diskit you'll check into your luxury tent at the camp.  Afternoon visit The Nubra Valley lies in the north of Leh and The valley is on the trade route from leh to Khangar via Samsar and Karakoram pass, Apart from unparallel trekking opportunities. The valley have several Buddhist Gompas Diskit Gompa is 350 years old and is situated on the highest point near the village in which there are about 120 resident Buddhist monks. Overnight at Camp. (120 km)

NUBRA: The Nubra valley lies to the north of Leh, accessible via the Khardung La pass 5600 Mtrs which is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. The Nubra valley has opened for Foreign Tourists in 1994 by the Govt. of India to expand tourists opportunities in ladakh region. The valley is on the trade route from leh to Khangar via Samsar and Karakoram passed. Apart from unparraled trekking opportunities. The valley have serval Buddhist Gompas Diskit Gompa is 350 years old and is situated on the highest point near thevillage in which there are about 120 Resident Buddhist Monks. The Nubra valley is also known for its double humped bacterian camels.
 
Day 10 - Nubra Valley | Sightseeing
After breakfast, you’ll set off on an amazing full day visit of the Nubra valley. Nubra is translated as ‘Valley of Flowers', and is situated to the north of Leh. The main attraction in this area is Bactarian Camels (Shaggy double hump Camel) around sand dunes, to Hunder Monastery. Later drive to Panamic hot sulpher spring and on the way back visit and Panamic Gompa :30 km from Sumur, Panamic is a small village with a hot spring and a gompa, Ensa gompa, as its main attractions. Reaching the gompa, covered by poplar trees, is quiet exhausting since the journey takes three hours each way.  Moreover, the gompa usually remains locked, but, if you come across a semi resident monk, you can very well see the interiors preserving some old wall paintings and the footprints of Tsong-kha-pa. The footprints, it is believed, date back to the fourteenth century, when Tsong-kha-pa returned from his journey to Tibet. Even if you do not get an opportunity to explore the monastery from inside, the views fromdilapidated chortens nearby turns your effort into a success.
Overnight at Camp
 
Day 11 - Drive Leh 3500m
One more trip over the Kardong La, and a great descent back to Leh, where you will check into you hotel and then have the afternoon free to wander the alleys of Leh's exotic Central Asian capital, photographing the local women selling their fresh produce on the Main Bazaar. Sample the fresh apricots if they're in season, one of Ladakh's specialties.

Leh is the capital of predominantly Buddhist Ladakh, in Jammu and Kashmir, tucked away amidst the Ladakh mountains, part of the great Trans Himalayan range. If you arrive by air you'll feel the big jump in altitude and it will take your body a few days to adjust. If you arrive by road from Manali or Srinagar you'll have had some extra acclimatization en route, but will still need time to adjust to the 3500 meter altitude. Hydrate with plenty of water, stay away from beer for a few days, rest and don't over-exert yourself. Even walking up the stairs of the guesthouse, let alone the Leh Fort, will make you breathless for the first day or two. 250 mg of Diamox twice a day is a good way to help your body acclimatize naturally. We recommend starting the day before you fly up to Leh.We stay at the family-run Shaynam Hotel, more of a family-run guesthouse with a lovely garden in the center courtyard, located just a few minutes south of the Main Bazaar in old Leh town. Your rooms will be booked for you, you'll just need to advise Kim of your arrival time, whether by air or by road. Once everyone has arrived and checked into rooms, Kim will show you around town: the bakeries, cafes, tandoori restaurants, email cafes, banks and wonderful markets. We'll meet for dinner in the evening at the Ibex, Chopsticks, Penguin or Summer Harvest, a few of our favorite restaurants. Overnight at Hotel.

Day 12 - Leh | Optional Sightseeing Shanti Stupa, Sankar Gompa, Leh Fort + Old City
An optional walking tour of Leh, to enjoy the peaceful, willow-lined streets and bustling bazaar life of Singge Namgyal's 17th century capital of Ladakh, once an integral part of Western Tibet and a major trading post along the southern Silk Route. There is lots to explore in this wonderful Central Asian town; the newly-restored ruins of the 17th century Leh Palace, the ancient 15th century Leh Fort and the attached Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, other historic Tibetan Buddhist gompas, the Sunni Muslim mosques, narrow back alleys with steaming Muslim bread, tiny antique shops tucked away amidst the many ancient stupas and architectural remnants, the exotic Main Bazaar (c. 1840s) which once accommodated trade caravans, and even a polo field. Today, the Main Bazaar is a colorful street, the sidewalks crammed mornings and afternoons with Ladakhi women selling their fresh fruits and vegetables, and locals at the far end vending their dried nuts, apricots and apples.

Caravans of merchants from far-flung destinations such as Yarkand, Tibet, Kashgar and North India passed through Leh during ancient trade missions, trading salt, wool, Pashmina, tea and semi-precious stones, lending to the city its exotic allure. Pilgrims flocked to the monasteries of Leh and the Indus valley, explorers of old stopped in Leh to re-stock and weather out the harsh Himalayan winter and soldiers en route to plunder and conquer desirous destinations passed through Leh, all leaving their mark on this unique capital.

Sroll along the bustling Fort Road, lined with shops owned by Kashmiri, Tibetan and Kashmiri shop-keepers, to the crumbling but majestic Leh Fort (3680 meters) and the red, Maitreiya Tsemo Gompa, perched high on a craggy and crumbling hilltop overlooking the bazaars of old Leh. Stop at 16th century nine-story Leh Palace, of a similar architectural design to the Tibetan Potala Palace, on the way down if you have the energy. Visit the museum, a worthwhile endeavor, as well as the nearby gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries) - Soma Gompa, Chamba Lakhang and Chensrig Lakhang.

Wander the willow-lines streets of Changspa to reach the many steps leading to the Japanese-built Shanti Stupa for a view over the green fields and white-washed Ladakhi houses of the villages surrounding Leh. The precariously perched Leh Fort guards the eastern edges of the fertile valley. Sankar Gompa (17th - 18th century), reached through shady lanes to the east of Changspa, lies in the midst of Chubi's groves of poplar and willow and is another wonderful morning or afternoon walk. The back route to Leh Fort starts in Chubi and passes through a desert-like Buddhist cremation ground before climbing to the fortress.

 
Day 13 - Trip Ends
We will transport you to the airport for your flight out of Leh.

Leh, the Indus Valley & High Lakes Extension
Leh, Indus Valley Monasteries & Salt Lakes

We also have a nearly perfect extension from Leh, again also a trip on its own, of Leh, the Indus Valley monasteries (gompas, in Tibetan or Ladakhi) and a jeep safari to the breathtakingly beautiful and culturally interesting Tso Moriri and Pangong Lakes, the later partly in Tibet. Visit the nomadic communities at Tso Moriri, the traditional villages at Pangong Lake and explore the bustling Tibetan Buddhist monasteries en route to these lakes.

There is lots to explore in historic Leh and tucked away amongst the shady villages and intriguing alleyways of this Central Asian capital.

Trek Itinerary

Ganbebal Trek + Amazing Srinagar

Day 1 - Arrive Srinagar 1585m | Sunset Shikara Ride Dal Lake
Arrive in Srinagar, either by flight over via several overland options.

You will be met by our representative and transferred your deluxe houseboat right on Dal Lake, one of the Mahjong Group of houseboats. The afternoon is free; we recommend just sitting on the deck of the houseboat and watching the local life go by, extremely colorful. Depending on your schedule you can also do some touring of the many Mughal gardens in Srinagar. In the evening we'll take you on a sunset shikara ride on Dal Lake. Overnight Houseboat
 
Day 2 - Srinagar | Old Srinagar + Mughal Gardens Tour
A half day tour of the world famous Mughal Gardens, visiting the Nishat Bagh (Garden of Pleasure) and Shalimar Bagh (Abode of Love), returning to the houseboat for a hot lunch of fresh, local fare, often including fish from the lake. You will also visit the bustling and fascinating streets of Old Srinagar, and enter into some of the many famous mosques of Srinagar.

Late afternoon you have the option of another shikara ride on Dal and Nageen Lakes, which are often compared to Venice. There are several options for trips by shikara, we recommend a bird-watching morning. Overnight Houseboat

Day 3 - Srinagar | Floating Market + Back Canals Shikara Tour + Shankaracharya Temple
A free day in wonderful Srinagar. We recommend a shikara ride to the morning markets followed by the 'backwaters tour' through the small back canals of the lake, finally passing by the Hindu temple which is still taken care of by Kashmiri 'pandits', Brahmin priests who have lived in Kashmir for centuries. Watch the timeless life on the lake, a photographer's dream ...

In the afternoon head out for a hike up to Shankaracharya Temple, a Shiva temple which commands a magnificent view of Srinagar and the lakes. Overnight Houseboat.

Day 4 - Drive Sonmarg. Trek Thajiwas Glacier (Nichnai)
Leave Srinagar by private car and drive through picturesque village and arrive Sonmarg.  Continue drive to Thajiswas. Start trekking starting with a steep ascent up to Shokhadri, from where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the glaciers and Sonmarg. Descend towards Nichnai, locally called the Shepherds Valley. (84 km drive, 13 km trek)

Day 5 - Trek Vishnasar + Krishansar Lake
Leaving in the morning and immediately  start ascending to Nichnai pass (13579 Ft) then descend towards Vishnasar  and Krishnasar Lake 5/6 hours walking through the natural garden of the valley and crossing a stream at the end. (15 km)

Day 6 - Trek Gadsar  
Full day trek  6/7 hours walk towards Gadsar known as Botanist paradise steep ascending upto Krishansar pass which is 4080 meters (16 km)

Day 7 - Trek Gangabal Lake 
Leaving Gadsar and easy ascending upto Poshpatri  (The valley of flowers) than a gradual walking upto Megandub. From here steep and difficult trek to Zangibal peak 4180 Mtrs. This is the highest pass on this trek  where you can see beautiful view of the Gangabal lakes and Harmukh peak. (19 km)

Day 8 - Gangabal
Free day to enjoy the mountains! A few options are fishing for Rainbow Trout at Gangabal lakes, or a full day’s hike to Lul Gul pass, where from you’ll enjoy a beautiful view of Nanga Parbat.

Day 9 - Trek Naranag. Drive Srinagar
Leaving Gangabal, we trek down to Narang, on the way passing Trunkol and Nunkol, two small gypsies villages. We end the trek with a steep descend towards Naranag. At Naranag, we’ll spend an hour or so visiting the ancient Buddhist monastery. It’s said that third world conference of Buddhism was held some where around this place. Leave by car to Srinagar for the two two hour drive. Overnight at hotel.

Day 10 - Trip Ends
Transfer to the airport for your flight to Delhi or elsewhere, or pick up by private vehicle for the continuation of your journey

 

Jullay!

 © Kim Bannister

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