The spectacular mountain geography of this remote Indian province is a stronghold of Tibetan Buddhism. Monasteries adorned with the iconic blue, red, and yellow prayer flags dot the steep mountain slopes, and crystal clear rivers flow from glaciers, cascading into the mighty Indus river.
Join us on this Ekno Travels journey into the mountains of Ladakh as we explore the Hemis Festival, dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche, an 8th century Buddhist master. from across the world.
This festival of dance and theater is enacted with elaborate masks, costumes, and adornment. The glorious finale, in a cacophony of instruments, chants, and sounds, ends in unveiling of the monasteries giant Thankga (tibetan buddhist painting). A moment of pure magic.
India’s northernmost province, Ladakh – is spread over a mountainous terrain averaging of an average altitude of 3500m above sea level. A part of the State of Jammu and Kashmir, it was opened to tourists in the mid-70s and since then, thousands of people from around the world have thronged to this bastion of Himalayan Buddhism.
|TOUR DATES||30 June – 8 July 2017|
|TOUR COST||A$2500 per person twin share
Single Supplement A$495
* Prices based on minimum 6 people with English speaking guide
|DURATION||9 days, 8 nights|
|Dates||30 June – 8 July, 2017|
30 June 2017
1 July 2017
2 July 2017
3 July 2017
4 July 2017
Today we witness the celebrations of the Hemis Festival, which commemorates the birth of Guru Padamasambhava. After an early breakfast we travel to the Hemis Monastery, the largest and richest monastery in all of Ladakh. At 9am the birthday celebrations of Guru Padamasambhava begin in the courtyard, filled with local Ladakhis and Buddhist pilgrims. A raised platform with a richly cushioned seat and a finely painted small Tibetan table is placed with the ceremonial items – cups full of holy water, uncooked rice, tormas made of dough and butter and incense sticks. A number of musicians play the traditional music with four pairs of cymbals, large-pan drums, small trumpets and large size wind instruments.
The festival highlight is the gathering of the lamas around the central flagpole to perform the mystic mask dances (Chams) and sacred plays. Dressed in colorful bright brocades with vibrantly decorated and richly adorned paper-mache masks the dancers enact an elaborate combat between good spirits and evil demons to the clatter of drums, cymbals and long horns.
In the afternoon, we return to Leh for a guided tour of the city, including a visit to the Royal Palace. Constructed in the 17th century, this imposing nine story stone palace is one of the most captivating architectural ruins in 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. 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. Overnight Leh
5 July 2017
6 July 2017
7 July 2017
8 July 2017
Pickup and drop off Delhi airport
8 nights’ accommodation and breakfast, 1 welcome dinner
Internal airfares from Delhi to Leh
Internal transfers by car from Delhi and return to Delhi
Local English speaking guide throughout tour
Return airfares to India
Visa on arrival costs
Lunch and dinner
Personal expenditure such as drinks, laundry service and souvenirs
Compulsory insurance of any kind