RASK Undiscovered

THE ULTIMATE TRAVELLING CAMP – LADAKH

CHAMBA CAMP, THIKSEY, LADAKH - FIVE NIGHTS AND SIX DAYS

Embark on a nomadic journey in canvas luxury. Unfurl the centuries-old culture of Ladakh, exploring her fascinating monuments, quaint monasteries enriched with ancient art forms, fairs and festivals. Be part of the region’s unique rituals; enjoy the ancient sport of Polo, brought to Ladakh in the 17th century by the Royals. Try your hand at archery set amidst the most dramatic and breath-taking landscape. Raft on the gentle Indus River, stopfor a delicious picnic lunch at the most picturesque spot along the banks. Experience Ladakh in all its splendour at the Chamba Camp, Thiksey.

A land of varying landscapes, from white deserts to blue lakes, ice-capped mountains to lush valleys, Ladakh, like a dream captured in a snow globe, is a wildly beautiful milieu set between the Kunlun Mountains and the Himalayas. Located in a valley just north of the Indus River is Leh, the capital of Ladakh, a region often referred to as ‘Little Tibet’. The centuries-old culture of this picturesque capital city finds expression in its monuments, monasteries, oral literature, art forms, fairs and festivals.

Day One: Arrive at Leh * Check into the Chamba Camp, Thiksey

This morning, following your arrival into Leh, you will be greeted by our representative and transferred to your residence, The Chamba Camp, Thiksey. Soak in the serenity of the surroundings as you are accorded the traditional welcome of Ladakh. You will be accompanied to your well-appointed luxury tents, where the check-in formalities will be completed by our Guest Relations hostess.

There will be no activity on your day of arrival as it is medically mandated that you relax and undergo minimal exertion to enable you to acclimatize to the rarefied oxygen levels at this high-altitude. The Excursion Specialist at Chamba Camp, Thiksey will meet with you to discuss the itinerary suggested and help you plan your excursions and make changes if required, to suit your interests, choices and leisure.

 Overnight at the Chamba Camp, Thiksey

Day Two: Unravel the treasures of the old city

Today brings a late start, leaving the morning free for you to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and walk around the camp site, taking in the sights and the atmosphere where each tent opens out on to alfalfa pastures. Enjoy the view of the willow trees as the wind gracefully brushes the branches and the rustling sound of the poplar trees create an aura of unmatched beauty and serenity, making you unwind and relax.

Or, if you are an early riser, may we suggest setting out on our optional bird watching sojourn, with our camp naturalist, spotting and identifying a variety of birds of the Trans Himalayan region.

This afternoon, following lunch, proceed on a gentle orientation tour of Leh, located approximately 19 kilometres (1 hr) from your camp. Visit popular landmarks which include the magnificent Leh Palace. Built by King SenggeNamgyal in the 17th century, the palace has nine storeys’, some of which are in ruins. Some of the sections display fine traces of Ladakhi architecture. From the palace continue by foot to the LAMO [Ladakh Arts & Media Organisation] Centre on a short walking tour passing some enchanting old houses. The centre is housed in one of the most important heritage houses, Munshi (Togoche) House situated at the foot of the Leh Palace. Following a tour of the house there will be a short presentation by a Ladakhi scholar on the architectural heritage of the old city. Enjoy a view of the old city from the terrace of the Munshi House as you sip the special Ladakhi tea with light snacks. The Heritage exploration continues from Munshi House through the old city ending in the bazaar.

Conclude your tour at the Shanti Stupa, perched upon a great vantage point over Leh, with spectacular views of the stone strewn landscape, as you relish a hot cup of traditional Ladakhi butter tea watching the setting sun.

Overnight at the Chamba Camp, Thiksey

Day Three: Discover hidden relics of Thiksey Monastery and explore the Hemis Monastery

Get ready for an early morning start with tea and coffee followed by a visit to the Thiksey monastery, which stands about a kilometre from your camp. This beautiful monastery houses a two storey statue of the Maitreya Buddha seated on a lotus, and boasts of a spectacular view of the valley. At the monastery, you will have the privilege to participate in the Morning Prayer ceremony at sunrise. Continue on a guided tour of the monastery, visiting the beautiful prayer room which has many handwritten and painted books as well as the temple dedicated to goddess Tara with her 21 images placed in glass-covered wooden shelves. You will also see small shrines devoted to the guardian divinities including Cham-Sing, the protector deity of Thiksey.

Return to the camp for a leisurely breakfast. The rest of the morning is free, allowing you time to relax and take in the pristine beauty around you. Or you may like to indulge in our optional cycling trip in the vicinity of the Thiksey village and its surroundings. Or else you could also choose to drive to the Saboo village for a séance session with the Oracle

[Note: This optional excursion will be confirmed a day prior subject to the oracle willing to give an audience]

This afternoon, proceed to explore the jewel in the crown of the Drukpa lineage, the Hemis Monastery, the oldest monastic institution of Ladakh, situated about 20 kilometres (1 hr) from Thiksey. Built in a secluded valley, the monastery belongs to the Drukpa School or the Dragon Order of Mahayana Buddhism. Explore the many interesting facets of this institution, established under the patronage of King SengeNamygal in the 13th century, where young lamas are taught literature, history, philosophy, yoga and tantra. The monastery halls are adorned with beautiful statues and mural paintings.

On your return to the camp, later in the evening, as the sun sets on varied mountain hues amidst the rustic landscape with the Thiksey Monastery standing tall as a monumental back drop, you will be enchanted by a cultural dance performance, Zyabro.

Overnight at the Chamba Camp, Thiksey


Day Four: Walk in the Footsteps of Buddha

Embark on an exploration of the monastic treasures of Ladakh. Driving through picturesque landscape along the River Indus, arrive at the fabled Alchi Monastery, built in the 11th century. Founded by Ringchen Zangpo, the Great Translator, the AlchiGompa displays a Kashmiri influence in its art and architecture. Within the monastery you will see beautiful Tibetan and Gandhara style murals of Ladakh, frescos and images of the Buddha. Relish a picnic lunch in a picturesque setting. On your way back from Alchi, you will stop by at the Basgo fort, built in the 16th century. Basgo, literally “Bull’s Head” in the local language, was the centre of power and politics in this region at one point of time and houses a copper-gilt Buddha statue in one of its prayer halls. The ruins of the fort bear the horrific evidence of the invasions of the Mongols.

Alternatively combine your visit to Alchi with our optional rafting excursion. The day begins with a drive through the pastoral countryside, arriving at the put-in point. Take a gentle rafting trip down the Indus River, floating past traditional Ladakhi villages, enjoying the mesmerising views, and the contrast between the greenery of the Nimoo village on one bank and the stark barren landscape of the other. Following a picnic lunch continue to the fabled Alchi Monastery.

Overnight at the Chamba Camp, Thiksey


Day Five: Morning at Leisure. Visit the Stok village and Palace

* Optional Excursion to Wari – La or séance with the Oracle

The morning is at leisure. Or after an early morning breakfast,embark on a journey to one of the most scenic passes in Ladakh – the Wari La, which is also the world’s fourth-highest motorable road. This pass connects the two most exotic and most travelled valleys in this Trans-Himalayan region. You get a breathtaking view of the Nubra valley, which lies beyond the pass, as well as the many villages dotting the Indus valley. This route opened up only in 2008 as an alternative route into the Nubra valley. After a short safety briefing at the top you will cycle down the best track the Ladakh Himalayas have to offer. The road criss-crosses its way on the mountain side into the green oasis of Shakti village, where we will end our trip and then drive back to camp for a late lunch.

Alternatively, you may choose to visit the local oracle. Buddhists are firm believers in the influence of the spirits on the material world. This is taken into consideration when any new venture or major activity is to be initiated. The lamas associated with the monasteries play the key role of a mediator between the world of the humans and the spirits. Not only do they perform the rites necessary to propitiate the gods, but they also take on the role of astrologers and oracles who can predict an auspicious time for starting any work, whether ploughing the fields, or taking in the harvest, arranging a marriage or going on a journey. Today you have the opportunity to drive to the village of the Oracle for a séance session in Ladakh.

Later, this afternoon, you will drive 20 kilometres (1hr) to visit the Stok Palace, across the River Indus. Take a walk through the Palace, a beautiful medieval fortress, serving as the residence of the Queen Mother and Prince of Ladakh. A section of this Palace has been converted into a museum which houses some of the most interesting and priceless collections of the Royal family. Admire some of the exquisite royal perak (headgear) embedded with priceless coral and turquoise. The museum also exhibits Royal costumes, coins, photographs and paintings. Continue onwards to the Stok village. Explore the rustic beauty of the village as you walk down the narrow lanes, catching a glimpse of local village life, culminating at a quaint Ladakhi house, where you can enjoy a nice cup of tea.

Overnight at the Chamba Camp, Thiksey


Day Six: Bid farewell to the land of the lamas

Today you bid farewell to the enchanting and breath-taking mountainous and rugged terrain of Ladakh, as you transfer to the Leh airport and board your flight to your onward destination.

PRICES FROM EUR 2,000 per person

(on Luxury Suite Tent, double occupancy) for the entire trip.

 

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