Day 01: Drive from Manali to Jispa (140 km, 6 hr)
Start your overland journey and drive to Jispa. This high altitude road beyond the great Himalayan range, connects the densely fertile and green Kullu valley to the stark barren region of Ladakh. The drive starts at Manali slowly winding up mountain roads till Rohtang Pass at 3,950M which connects the Kullu to the Lahaul valley. On entering the Lahaul valley we see a distinct change with the Hindu influence being replaced with the Buddhist religion. Continue drive to Jispa via Keylong. Overnight stay in hotel.
Day 02: Drive from Jispa to Leh (334 km, 9 hr)
This is rather a long adventurous drive where you cross many high altitude mountain passes filling your drive with thrill and ecstasy. We begin passing through scenic Baralacha -la pass (16000 ft), Sarchu, Nakeela and Lachalung-la Pass (16,617 ft.) Further driving through Skyangchu Thang (a vast plateau stretching for 42 kms) and then crossing Taglang-La (17,585ft) and driving through the upper Indus Valley. Reach Leh by evening. Overnight stay in hotel
Day 03: Monastery Tour
After leisurely breakfast, visit Shey Palace, Thiksey Monastery, Hemis Monastery and Stok Palace Museum. Overnight in hotel.
47 Km from Leh on the west bank of the Indus, the monastery belongs to Dugpa Kargyutpa order, built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, is hidden in a gorge. It is the biggest and richest monastery in Ladakh and is must see for visitors. Sacred mask dance is performed on 9th, and 10th, day of the Tibetan 5th, month of Tibetan calendar.
Thiksey Monastery is the largest monastery in central Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated 18 km from Leh in the Indus valley. Thiksey Monastery is the largest monastery in central Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir. It is situated 18 km from Leh in the Indus valley. The monastery is referred as ‘Mini Potala’ of India as it resembles Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. There is one big statue of Maitreya (future Buddha) which covers almost two floor of the monastery that is 40 feet in height. Tara temple of Goddess Tara is another major attraction for the visitors. Apart from visiting monastery one can also find some rare and precious stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords in the monastery.
Stok Palace Museum is situated within the Stok Palace, which is essentially the home of the royal family of Ladakh. Visitors can see several royal artefacts, royal crowns, copper coins, precious stones, jewellery, heirlooms, prayer instruments and Thangkas dating back to the 16th century at the museum. Thangkas are known to depict the teachings and life of Lord Buddha.
Day 04: Leh –Nubra Valley (Approx. 125 km)
After breakfast leave for Nubra Valley, driving across Khardong-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.
Day 05: Nubra Valley – Leh (Approx. 125 km)
In the morning visit / explore Deskit , 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 back to Leh reaching in the late afternoon / evening. Overnight at the hotel.
Day 06: Leh-Pangong Lake (Approx. 150 km one way)
Full day excursion to Pangong Lake (located on the Indo-China Border), enroute crossing the Chang-la pass (alt: 17370 ft.). Numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface can be spotted in plenty. After sightseeing around the lake, drive back to Leh, reaching in the late afternoon / evening. Overnight in hotel.
Day 07: Pangong Lake- Leh (Approx. 150 km one way)
After breakfast, leave Pangong / Tangtse and retrace the Leh route across Chang-la. Upon reaching Karu, drive across the Indus. Later drive on to Leh, enroute visiting the picturesque Thiksey monastery. Overnight in hotel.
Day 08: City tour of Leh
Free day for rest after the long journey to Pangong Lake. In the afternoon visit Shanti Stupa, Sankar Gompa, Leh Palace & the markets. Overnight at the hotel.
Shanti Stupa as know Buddhist white-domed Stupa was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura .The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself. Shanti stupa provides beautiful and panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. This has become a primary reason for Shanti Stupa to become a popular tourist attraction, apart from its religious significance.The Shanti Stupa was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. It is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh.
The timeless two-storey Gelukpa Sankar Gompa takes you between stone walls and attractive Ladakhi farmhouses following little streamlets and passing a pretty rural stupa. Sankar’s small, main prayer room features a portrait of Kushok Bakula Rinpoche (died 2004), Ladakh’s former head lama. His recently identified reincarnation will eventually move to the gilt-roofed photang (official residence) opposite the monastery.
Day 09: Leh – Alchi/ Uleytoko (Approx. 80 km)
After leisurely breakfast drive down the Indus Valley on the first leg of your journey to Kargil & Srinagar. On the way, visit Hall of Fame, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Point, Sangam (confluence of Indus & Zanskar Rivers) and then the 11th century Alchi Choskor, oldest surviving monastic complex famous for its wall frescoes and architecture – a UNESCO listed heritage site. Overnight in fixed camp / resort at Uleytokpo.
Day 10: Uleytoko-Lamayuru- Kargil (135 km approx.)
After breakfast leave for Kargil, enroute visiting the dramatically located Lamayuru monastery and the adjoining “Moonland” hills. On the way to Kargil you can view the 9-Mtrs. tall rock sculpture of the Maitreya Buddha at Mulbek (7th –8th century AD). Overnight in hotel at Kargil.
Day 11: Kargil- Sonamarg- Srinagar (205 km approx.)
Early departure for Srinagar driving through Drass (famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world) and crossing the Zoji-la Pass (11,500-ft. / 3,505 m) to reach hill station of Sonamarg from where it’s smooth driving through the beautiful Kashmir countryside to reach Srinagar. Overnight in hotel at Srinagar.
Day 12: Fly back from Srinagar
In time transfer to the airport for taking the flight for onward journey.