Trip Title : Srinagar to Leh to Manali [Jeep Safari]
Tour Type : Adventure of driving on highest motor able roads in the world + Culture + Scenic Beauty + High Altitude Lake
Duration :13 Nights / 14 Days
Best Time : June to Mid September (Operational months)
Grade : Moderate
Maximum Altitude : 6726 Ft ASL / 18380 Ft
Tour Arrivals : June 09th / July 08th / Aug 07th / Sep 06th
Tour Price : USD 2300/- per person
New Delhi / Srinagar - Sonmarg - Zojila Pass - Drass / Kargil - Fotula Pass - Lamayuru - Alchi / Leh Pangong Tso - Lake, Khardungla, Monasteries, Forts and Palaces) - Tanglangla Pass / Sarchu - Baralachla Pass - Darcha - Keylong - Rohtang Pass / Manali – Kullu / New Delhi
Tour Highlights are: Visit to temples & hot water springs in Manali, High altitudes terrains and mountain passes, Buddhist Monasteries & Palaces in Ladakh, Scenic natural beauty snow clad mountains, lakes, Shikara ride, Mosques and Mughal Gardens in Kashmir Valley all this encapsulated with the sheer adventurism of 4x4 self drive vehicle.
Srinagar: Srinagar, arguably a city that embodies romance and beauty is the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir; perfectly placed in the centre of the Kashmir Valley. Srinagar has an average elevation of 5200 feet above sea level. It is situated on the banks of Jhelum river, a tributary of the Indus. The beauty of Srinagar can not only be seen in its lakes, gardens, springs, mountains, and the rich heritage, but also in the people who embrace the guests with open arms. And the city itself is a gateway to some of the most beautiful scenic places of the Indian subcontinent. It is also known for traditional Kashmiri handicrafts, dry fruits and mouth watering cuisine. The Dal and Nagin lakes enhance its picturesque setting, while the changing play of the seasons and the clean climate ensures that the city is equally attractive to visitors around the year. Name of this city is composed of two Sanskrit words, śrī (venerable) and nagar, which means "city". One theory of the origin of the name is that a Pandava King Ashoka (not to be confused with the Mauryan Emperor Ashoka) built the city of Srinagari. Another theory is that Mauryan Emperor Ashoka founded the original city of Srinagar, then situated on the site of the present village of Pandrethan, 05 kms to the North of the existing capital.
Kargil via Sonmarg / D Zojila Pass / Drass: Driving from Kashmir Valley up North to Sonmarg known flower valleys and lakes. Further up to D Zojila pass which differentiates Kashmir and Ladakh region, Drass - coldest region in India, and reach Kargil. Which is the headquarter of this region and close to India – Pakistan border.
Lamayuru Valley / Alchi: Driving towards North East direction takes to Fatu La you would like to stop at Mulbekh to see an image of Buddha Carved on a large stone. Further drive to Lamayuru Monastery you will encounter a strange formation of landscape called Moon Valley. You will reach at Alchi which is only one monastery in Ladakh constructed in a flat ground.
Alchi / Leh: Drive through monasteries on the way to reach Indus river at the confluence of Zanskar and arrive in Leh City, which being one of the most beautiful city situated at an altitude of 3500 mt ASL famous for highest high altitude airport an ethnic / ancient and colorful city. Monasteries, Fort and Palaces, Gateway to Silk route, Hub for Buddhist culture for Red sect and Yellow sect. Lush green valley around river Indus and agricultural fields and business hub for this region.
Khardungla Pass & Nubra Valley: Highest motorable pass in the world which make you feel being at the roof top of the world. This pass differ Nubra valley and Leh valley border with Pakistan in North West and Tibet in North East. Nubra means valley of Flowers, a silk route to Siachen Glacier and way to Pakistan. Lush green valley with two hump camel awaits for your arrival.
Pangong Lake: One of the most beautiful high altitude lake in the north east of Leh city. It is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 mts. It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet, 60% of the length of the lake lies in Tibet, which is today under China's rule. The lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. Lake changes its colour as per the Sun light and you may see the spectrum of its reflection from different angle. Approx 150 Kms away - one way from Leh worth visiting to see the silent witness of God's creation.
Manali - Located at an altitude of about 6500 ft. it is one of the main tourist towns of Kullu valley. It is a place inhabited by innocent village folks who continue with their traditional rites and rituals in spite of the sweeping waves of modernization. To the modern day visitors, Manali conjures up images of evergreen pine groves, snow capped mountains, whispering forests, cascading waterfalls and the swift flowing waters of perennial Beas. There are a number of soul-stirring Holy Places in and around Manali; Hadimba Temple, Manu Temple at old Manali, Vashishtha Rishi Temple, Shiv Temple, Tibetan Monasteries and a Gurudwara in Manali, are just a few of the places that calm the unquiet spirit. The sulphur hot water springs at Vashisht and Kalath are endowed with great healing powers. While visiting Manali one can hike, trek and drive to the famous 13500 ft. Rohtang Pass which remains covered with snow even during summers. Another tourist attraction and picnic point, situated amidst billowing meadows encircled by silver oak and spruce trees, is Solang Nallah. It is famous for its skiing slopes and offers opportunity for horse riding, paragliding and joy rides on snow scooters. Manali is an epitome of what nature can offer to mankind. It has everything to offer to its visitors in commensurate with their tastes, temperaments and needs.
Arrive in India (New Delhi), our company representative will welcome you at the airport and provide transfer assistance to your hotel. You will be given a briefing related to your tour and travel documents. Proceed to your room for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out. In-time transfer assistance from hotel to airport to board flight for Srinagar. Upon arrival, you will be met and welcomed by our representative at the airport, transfer assistance to House-boat. Late afternoon Shikara ride on Dal Lake visiting floating Flower and Vegetable gardens etc. Also witness Walnut woodcarving and Papier Machie making demonstration. Overnight stay at houseboat.
Breakfast. This morning proceed for the full day sightseeing and visit important sights of Srinagar City. Visit Shankaracharya Temple - This Temple, known to be built by Jaluka, the son of Emperor Ashoka around 200 BC, is an ancient shrine located on the Takht-e-Suleiman hill. This sacred site, situated at a height of about 1100 ft on the south-east of the city, offers splendid views of the valley and the snow clad mountains of the Pir Panjal range. Local folks tell a story that saint Shankaracharya spent some of his time at this site during his visit to Kashmir to revitalize Sanatan Dharma. It is constructed on an elevated octagonal plane, can be reached through a flight of steps bounded by side-walls. The inner sanctum adorns a modern ceiling & several Persian inscriptions.
Visit Hazratbal Mosque - Also known as Dargah Sharif, Assar-e-Sharif and Madinat-Us-Sani, this Mosque on the western banks of the majestic Dal Lake is considered to be one of the most important shrines for Muslims. With the impressive Nishat Bagh in the vicinity, this enchanting white marble mosque offers great views of the Lake in the back drop of the majestic Himalayas. The Mosque is a combination of Kashmiri and Mughal styles of architecture, with historical significance dating back to the 17th century. The distinctiveness of the Hazratbal Mosque is that it enshrines the 'Moi-e-Muqaddas' (the sacred hair) of the prophet Mohammed, which is shown to public only on special occasions.
Visit Khanqah of Shah Hamadan, also known as Khanqah Mosque, Shah Hamadan Masjid, Khanqah-e-Moula and so on, is one of the oldest Muslim Shrines in Kashmir. It is ideally situated on right bank of the River Jhelum. This mosque was built in 1395 by Shah Sikandar in the memory of Mir Sayyid Ali Hamdani, a preacher from City of Hamdan in Persia. The shrine bears aesthetically designed wooden structure with surprising carved roofs, rich interiors carved with ancient religious sermons and historical inscriptions, with antique chandelier and carved hanging bells. This shrine was gutted in a devastating fire twice in year 1480 and in 1731 and was reconstructed by ruler Sultan Hassan Shah and by Abul Barkat Khan respectively.
Later visit the famous Mughal gardens – Nishat Bagh (Garden of Pleasure) - The largest Mughal garden situated on the banks of world famous Dal-Lake in the backdrop of Zabarwan hills encircles the Dal Lake. Empress Noor Jahan's brother Asif Khan laid the Garden in 1633 AD. Nishat has seven terraces with a beautiful central water course flowing right in the middle. These terraces rise dramatically off the mountains from the eastern part of the lake.
Shalimar Bagh - It was planted by Mughal Emperor Jehangir for Empress Noor Jahan in 1619 and later extended in 1727 by Shah Jahan. Shaded by magnificent Chinar trees, the Shalimar is a series of stone pavilions and flowing water with paint box bright flower beds. The Garden blooms with innumerable varieties of flowers in spring and autumn.
Chashme Shahi Garden, founded in 1632, is a small beautiful garden, the smallest among the famous Mughal gardens it is also known as Royal Spring, by road. The garden is established in three sections with an aqueduct with fountains and waterfalls located along the middle. Different varieties of beautiful fragrant flowers and manicured lawns are the main attractions in this garden. It is believed that the fresh water spring in the garden has medicinal value.
Overnight stay at houseboat.
Early morning breakfast and check-out. In the morning drive to Kargil, drive through the scenic country side reach Sonmarg, which is one of the smallest resorts in Kashmir, lying in the heart of a gorgeous valley carved by the river Sindh. Known as the 'Meadow of Gold', it is set amidst a valley of flowers and lakes, this place gets its name 'Son' meaning Golden, from the bloom of Yellow Crocuses that fill this valley in the spring. The road which runs through the picturesque Sind valley is flanked on one side by the densely populated slopes and many varieties of Alpine flowers. The dense forests here comprise of Sycamore and Alpine flowers, Silver Birch, Fir and Pine. Drive through the Zoji-la pass (11,500-ft. / 3,505 m) and Drass (famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world) and reach Kargil. Check-in at hotel for overnight stay.
After leisurely breakfast, check-out from hotel. On the way to Alchi you can view the 09 mt, tall rock sculpture of the Maitreya Buddha at Mulbek (7th-8th century AD). Also visit Lamayuru monastery, located between Bodhkharbu and Kha-la-che, on a steep rock mountain Lamayuru is amongst the oldest monasteries, mostly in ruins Lamayuru monastery is home to about 150 monks of Red-Hat sect of Buddhism. Later visit adjoining "Moonland" hills. Arrive Alchi and check-in at hotel. PM visit the 11th century Alchi Choskor, oldest surviving monastic complex famous for its wall frescoes and architecture - a UNESCO listed heritage site. This temple is an ideal study centre of Buddhism and is managed by the monks of Likir Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast and check-out, Later drive to Nubra Valley, en-route pass through Sangam (confluence of Indus & Zanskar Rivers) visit Hall of Fame, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, photo stop at Magnetic Point.
Drive across Khardung-la (alt: 18,380 ft), after descending from the pass, drive on for sightseeing of Sumoor area and Samstaling Gompa. Later check into a fixed camp in the same area or drive across to Deskit / Hundar for overnight in a fixed camp or hotel.
Breakfast. AM explore Deskit Gompa, founded by Lama Shesrab Zangpo of Stod. Hundar and the Sand Dunes where you can enjoy a short camel safari using the double-humped Bactrian camel found here (optional on direct payment). Later drive to Leh city, arrive and check-in at hotel. Remaining day at leisure Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast. Morning will be at leisure. PM visit Shanti Stupa a magnificent white-domed structure - Built by a Japanese Buddhist organization, known as 'The Japanese for World Peace' to promote World Peace. Shanti Stupa is located on the hilltop at Changspa. In 1985, HH Dalai Lama inaugurated the Shanti Stupa Ladakh. The idea to construction this Stupa was to celebrate 2500 years of Buddhism.
Later visit Sankar Gompa and Leh Palace - Leh Palace overlooks the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh, modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, This palace is in ruins but it is open to visitors. Afterwards visit the local market. Overnight at the hotel.
After breakfast, drive through Choglamsar village to visit Shey Palace, Shey is the oldest capital of Ladakh from where its earliest Tibetan kings ruled. Until the 16th century, Shey was the residence of the royal family. According to tradition, it was the seat of power of the pre-Tibetan Kings. One of the attraction of the Shey is the victory stupa which is topped with gold. The palace Gompa has a two storied 12 mt high Gold statue of Maitreya Buddha, sitting in meditation posture and brilliantly coloured murals. To visit it is advised to start early from Leh as it is open till 9 in the morning.
Afterwards drive to Karu to cross the river Indus and visit the famous Hemis Monastery founded in 1630 by Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso, it is the biggest monastery of Ladakh. It belongs to the Drupka order, Monks of the Ka-gyu-pa or the Red Hat sect reside in this monastery. An annual festival to celebrate the victory of Guru Padmasmbhava over the evil forces marks the highlight of the monastery.
Later drive back to Leh, en-route visiting the picturesque Thiksey monastery. Reach hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out. Afterwards drive to Pangong Lake, drive through Choglamsar Village and Karu by crossing river Indus and reach Upsi. Upon reaching this famous lake located on the Indo China Border, check-in at fixed tented camps located at Spangmik. Visit famous Blue Blackish lake, which is 5 to 6 kms wide and over 144 km long with half of it running to the other side of the Indo-China border. After sightseeing around the lake, return to camps for overnight stay.
After breakfast, morning will be at leisure to visit lake again. Later check-out and get prepared to drive to Sarchu, drive through Chang-la pass (alt: 17370 ft), Tanglangla Pass 5400 mt, cross Morai plains and Pang and arrive in Sarchu. Check into fixed campsites for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out. This morning resume your drive to Manali. Drive through to Baralacha-la Pass (1620 Ft) and further drive to Darcha (3500 mt) it is situated at the junction of Yotche Nullah and the Zanskar Chhu which takes off from the Shinkun la. Both these nullahs meet with the main river Bhaga at this place. This is the main point for the trekkers to enter in Zanskar valley or up to Leh. Drive through Keylong, Khoksar village and reach Rohtang Pass (3790 mt) landscape changes from this location, leaving behind barren Himalayas. Rohtang Pass being one of the highest road point and gateway to Lahaul and Spiti valleys. This pass remains closed during winter due to heavy snow fall from November end to May end. Drive upto Marhi below Rohtang with similar high altitude topography, forest of Birch, Fir and Spurce. Marhi - a barren landscape offering extensive views of the valley and the mountains. Continue your drive further and reach Manali and check-in at hotel. Overnight stay at hotel.
After a leisurely breakfast, explore Manali town. Visit Hadimba Devi Temple, first visit the 450 years old temple dedicated to Hadimba Devi, which has some excellent woodcarvings which includes its intricately carved wooden doors and a 24 mt tall wooden tower. Goddess Durga dominates most of the themes of the carvings inside the temple which is very captivating. You will also visit the Vashisht Bath, Manu Temple, Jagat Sukh temple, Tibetan Monastery and the handicraft centre. Visit Vashisht to witness tranquilizing façade of Mother Nature, known for its quaint environs, small temples, simple living and ofcourse hot sulphur springs. Evening will be free for leisure activities. Overnight stay at the hotel.
After early breakfast check-out from hotel, drive to Chandigarh, transfer to railway station in-time to board Shatabdi express for New Delhi. (Train timings to be advised) Arrive and transfer to international airport to board flight for return journey.