8 days, 7 nights
Duration

Join us on this Ekno Travels journey as we travel deep into the mountains of Ladakh and experience the once in a lifetime Hemis Festival. The spectacularly isolated mountain geography of this remote Indian province is one of the few remaining strongholds 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. 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.

The Hemis festival is a uniquely Ladakhi experience, dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche) an 8th century Buddhist master who was responsible for spreading Buddhism across the world. This festival of dance and theatre is enacted with elaborate masks, costumes, and adornment. The glorious finale; in a cacophony of instruments, chants, and sounds ends in the unveiling of the monastery’s giant Thankga (Tibetan Buddhist painting).  Don’t miss the chance to experience this moment of pure magic for yourself.

TOUR DATES

8 – 15 July 2019

TOUR COST

A$2350 per person twin share

Single Supplement A$690

* Fixed departure – price based on minimum 6 people
Independent Travels – Price on Application

DURATION

08 Days, 07 Nights

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Exploring the colourful chaos of Old Delhi,
  • Enjoying the stunning views of the city and the mountains from Leh Palace.
  • Experience Leh city which lies at 3,500 metres and its colourful c history of mixing cultures.
  • Visit the ancient temple of Alchi
  • Colourful and memorising Lama dancing at Hemis Festival.

TOUR ROUTES

Delhi, Leh, Hemis, Lamayuru, Alchi

MAP

Hemis Festival Leh Ladakh, India

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Day 1

8 July 2019

Welcome to India! Upon your arrival at the airport in Delhi, our representative will greet you and escort you to the hotel. After checking into your hotel, spend the rest of your day at your leisure exploring the local area and relaxing in the hotel. Our friendly guide and hotel staff will be on hand should you need restaurant recommendations or general provisions.

Overnight: Hotel, Delhi

Day 2

9 July 2019

We will take an early morning flight to Leh, the spectacular capital of Ladakh. Our flight will pass  over multiple Himalayan ranges and serves as a fantastic photo opportunity. Leh is framed on all sides by the towering Himalayas, with the mighty Indus River roaring in the valley below. After we land we will take a walking tour of Leh Bazaar, which has been an important stop on trade routes dating as far back as the third century. The rest of the afternoon is at your leisure to rest and acclimatise.

Overnight: Hotel, Leh

Day 3

10 July 2019

After breakfast, we will visit Gompa Soma, a Buddhist temple constructed in 1840 at the base of the towering Leh palace. Afterwards, we head to Moti Market, Leh’s old bazaar, for an exploration of its ancient lanes with a history that can be traced back to the Asian spice trade. We will eat lunch together followed by free time to rest, explore, or sip traditional Tibetan butter tea at your leisure.

Overnight: Hotel, Leh

Day 4

11 July 2019

Today we will witness the celebrations of the Hemis Festival, which commemorates the birth of Guru Padamasambhava. After an early breakfast we will 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, which quickly fills up 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 other ceremonial items – cups full of holy water, uncooked rice, tormas made of dough and butter and incense sticks. A number of musicians play traditional music with four pairs of cymbals, large-pan drums, small trumpets and large sized 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 colourful 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 will 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 reunification of 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: Hotel, Leh

Day 5

12 July 2019

After breakfast we will take you on a sightseeing tour of Stok Palace, Shey Palace and Thiksey monastery.

Stock Palace is the home of the present day royal family. The palace and accompanying museum were built in the year 1825, by King Tespal Tondup Namgyal. At present the place has a collection of elaborate royal dresses and crowns which are open for travellers to explore.

Shey Palace was built by Deldan Namgyal at the beginning of the 17th century AD. The main image in the monastery is a three story statue of Buddha Shakamuni, made of copper gilt which was made by Deldan Namgyal in the memory of his father Singay Namgyal. The statue is the only one of its kind in the region.

Thiksey Gompa belongs to the Gelukspa order of Buddhism and is considered to be the most beautiful of all the monasteries in Ladakh. After our day of sightseeing we will return to Leh in the evening to rest and eat dinner.

Overnight: Hotel, Leh

Day 6

13 July 2019

After breakfast we will travel to the town of Lamayuru, a spectacular 3 hour drive outside of Leh. Our journey weaves through remote mountain passes and deep river valleys that embed themselves eternally in your heart and mind. We will visit the local monastery and gompa and climb to the high point overlooking the town for unrivalled views across this spectacular region. The afternoon is at your leisure to enjoy the lunar-like white stone surroundings.

Overnight: Guest house, Lamayuru/Alchi

Day 7

14 July 2019

We begin our return journey to Leh by way of Alchi, an ancient Buddhist village tucked into the Indus River valley. The Alchi Gompa is considered one of the most ancient Buddhist sites in the region, dating back to 10th Century. You will have time to  observe the comings and goings of the monastery as well as to browse for handicrafts. Our drive back to Leh offers a spectacular setting for thought and reflection on our week’s journey and discoveries.

Overnight: Hotel, Leh

Day 8

15 July 2019

Prepare for your morning flight to Delhi. Arrive in Delhi and continue to your final destination. We look forward to seeing you on another Ekno tour soon!

INCLUDES

Pickup and drop off to/from Delhi airport
7 nights accommodation and daily breakfast
Internal airfares from Delhi to Leh
All transfers and sightseeing trips by private car including driver
Entrance fees to all museums and monuments
Local English speaking guide throughout tour

EXCLUDES

Return airfares to India
Cost of Indian tourist visa (on arrival)
Lunch and dinner (unless otherwise specified)
Personal expenditure such as drinks, laundry service and souvenirs
Tipping
Donations to monasteries
 Compulsory insurance of any kind

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