Join us as we trek in Ladakh’s high-altitude Changpa nomad country from Rumtse Village to Tso Moriri Lake. One of our favorite areas of the Himalayas with great walking, gorgeous country and passes with superb mountain views. An adventure to stretch body, and mind, with an immersion into Tibetan Buddhist and the Changpa nomad culture of Ladakh.
Our trip begins and ends in Delhi. From Delhi it’s a short but amazing flight over the Himalayas to Leh (3538 meters, 11,607 feet), capital of Ladakh. We take it easy on arrival in Leh and spend 5 days acclimatizing while exploring Leh, a transit point for caravans on the bygone Silk Route, and the Tibetan Buddhist monasteries of Thiksey and Alchi, and other sites in the fascinating Indus Valley. We have included extra days for acclimatization as this is a high altitude trek.
Thiksey Monastery, a short drive from Leh, spills down a hillside and houses a huge golden statue of the Buddha Maitreya, the Buddha to come. The views from the monastery's rooftop terrace over the Indus Valley are spectacular.
Alchi, a 2-hour drive from Leh along the Indus River, has 1000-year-old temples set in a beautiful village amid groves of ancient willow trees. Among the Buddhist world’s greatest artistic treasures, the temples are filled with intricate paintings and monumental statues of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas with richly painted robes.
Ladakh Trek Highlights:
Changpa nomads in their encampments of artfully-stretched yak-wool tents; at the corners of each tent are protector yak tail standards. Pashmina goats provide valuable pashmina wool and milk to make dried cheese, a large part of the nomads’ diet. Tents are stretched over a large below-ground space furnished with hand-woven rugs, sleeping mats, traditional cooking utensils including the very important brass-banded wooden churn for churning their salted butter tea. The Changpa (literally “people of the Changthang,” a vast high-altitude region of the Tibetan Plateau) are Tibetan Buddhists belonging to an unreformed Red Hat sect.
In additon to herds of yak and pashmina goats, there is rich wildlife: kyang (the wild horse of the Changthang), wild goats, marmots, giant wild hares and a great variety of birds: bar-headed geese, brahminy ducks, gigantic “bearded” vultures, terns, accentors, redstarts, hoopoes, larks, ravens, choughs, snow pigeons, Tibetan snow cocks, and the rare black-necked crane.
Tibetan Buddhist culture. Long, wide stone walls composed of innumerable mani stones, each stone carved with the mantra “Om Mane Padme Hum,” “The Jewel is in The Lotus,” the mantra of Avalokiteshvara, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. Mani stones are regarded as sacred, making and paying for them a sacrifice to the Buddha. Nomadic mani-stone carvers engrave stones only in winter; in spring, summer and autumn they are busy tending their animals. Mani walls are often decorated with sheep and yak horns and kathaks, white silken offering scarves.
Tso Kar Lake, ringed by a necklace of gleaming white salt deposits, and vast Tso Moriri Lake, its water containing every shade of blue you can imagine. Surrounded by cream-colored hills and grassy meadows, Tso Moriri is truly electrifying. At the northern edge of the lake is the village of Korzok, one of those truly end-of-the-world places, it is said to be one of the world’s oldest settlements. Korzok’s ancient monastery is a center of worship for the nomads of the region. Belonging to the “unreformed” Drukpa Red Hat sect, the monastery has bold and powerful statues of Tibetan Buddhist divinities. Groups of nomads come to worship and make offerings of cash, and butter for the gompa’s butter lamps.
Returning to Delhi, we will visit the great sites of Old and New Delhi. Visit bazaars and parks, Hindu and Jain temples and the Jama Masjid and the Qutab Minar, a World Heritage site.
Tents, equipment and luggage are carried by pack horses. On the trail you need carry only a light daypack with a water bottle, packed snack and light wind shell.
Our crew sets up camp and prepare and serve delicious meals in our circular dining/lounging tent. We’ve been trekking with the same great mountain crew for years.
More Ladakh Trek Photos on our Trips Into India Facebook page.
The price for this 22-day Ladakh trekking tour with Carol and Martin Noval is $3500 per person (single supplement: $300). Includes roomy Gortex tents on the trek, excellent hotel accommodation in Delhi and Leh, all meals, snacks, mineral water and beverages (except for alcoholic ones), all entrance fees, road travel in Ladakh by deluxe SUV, the two flights Delhi-Leh and Leh-Delhi, and all airport transfers in India. Group size 6-8 members. We can make arrangements for you for extra travel to Agra for the Taj Mahal and other places in India.
More about trekking with us:
“Thank you again for planning and hosting such an incredible trip. We really enjoyed getting to know you as well. We loved the trekking and hope that one day we can come back and hike with you again.” Megan and Frank P.
"...a perfect and powerful trip. I feel very fortunate that I happened upon a tour being led by such knowledgeable, interesting ...and WELL ORGANIZED people - thanks again." Jim T.
"I just want to thank you for both for your wonderful leadership and great knowledge of the area, history, and culture. I have great memories to cherish." Candice S.
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