Ladakh cultural tour, India
Description of Ladakh cultural tour, India
Explore this remote Himalayan region, with its extraordinary moon-like landscape, tucked away in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Sitting at the roof of the world, Ladakh is great to visit in July or August and this six-night adventure takes you to ancient palaces, Buddhist monasteries and the beautiful Indus valley.
The trip begins in the capital Leh, where you spend two nights in luxury hotel accommodation. You’ll have plenty of time to explore Leh palace and Shanti stupa, and walk the twisty, traditional lanes of the old town bazaar where you can snap up a beautiful pashmina. Nearby Thickse monastery is a must-see, with its amazing golden Buddha statue.
From here, enjoy a night in Alchi in a camp resort, and one in Nubra, where you’ll spend the night in a traditional yurt. Highlights include the oldest shrine in Ladakh at Lamayuru and historical Basgo gompa where invading Mongolian and Tibetan armies were kept back during a three-year siege. At the Alchi gompa, which unlike most monasteries in the region is not at the top of a hill, admire the thousands of miniature pictures of the Buddha. You’ll also visit the Rizong monastery, the most isolated in Ladakh where hermit monks lead a solitary life, perfect for meditation. Pay respect to the nuns of the Chulichan nunnery, too, who live extremely hard lives supporting the monks in the monastery above.
There will also be the chance to ride a double-hump Bactrian camel through the snow-white sand dunes of the Nubra Valley and sit back and enjoy the drive across the highest road in the world at the Khardungla Pass. You’ll have an English speaking guide at all monuments and transport is with a private car and driver, so you can sit back and admire the view, discovering why Ladakh gets its nickname the Moonland.
1 Reviews of Ladakh cultural tour, India
Reviewed on 29 Aug 2017 by Dawn Forrest
1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?
The most memorable part of the holiday would've been the experiences from visiting some of the Buddhist monasteries. The sense of calm and the quiet, friendly welcome extended in some of these beautiful oases perched amongst rugged mountains was at times overwhelming - in a very good way! The most exciting would have to be the travel on some of the roads, especially up over the Khardung-La. If a bit funny about heights, look out the other window...
2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?
We went 'off itinerary' a couple of times in that we gave our teenagers a day 'off' to chill at the hotel and to explore Leh a bit - get their own lunch, etc. I felt bad saying to their driver, and for the guide, who maybe felt he was letting us down somehow (he definitely wasn't - he was great), but the boys needed a day
off from travelling and visiting temples. They thoroughly enjoyed it and did get a lot from it, but a little break was welcome. We also added a water rafting session into the mix, which was also a welcome break and fun for the 'kids'. Really glad we did that. Another tip - do what you're told on day one in Leh. Do nothing. Don't walk fast, don't run, etc, etc - it's worth it to acclimatise properly otherwise the rest of the trip is potentially scuppered. We played cards and so on and welcomed the chance to recharge a bit (we'd been busy before the trip so were already pretty tired). Be very respectful at temples. Some folk don't seem to be, and it's not good (read up on some pre-travelling tips for Ladakh). Soak it up and enjoy.
3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?
Yes, I feel it benefited local people.
4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?
It was a very memorable holiday. If we did it again (and I would go again tomorrow. The kids possibly would revisit in years to come) I would do some of it differently. Although sitting in a car much of the time, the altitude did make us pretty tired. The temperature was higher than expected, which was very nice, but also can make us Scots a bit languid. I would go for longer and add in some days to recharge. Of the 3 places we stayed in, I would go back to 1, maybe to another, but I'd make a different choice for the other.
PlanetTo enhance the positive impact of tourism in people, destinations and economies and eliminate its negative effects, we work with local partners that aim to being part of the solutions, developing innovative projects and keeping the finger on the current pulse. Our local partner in India is a member of Ecotourism Society of India, thriving to promote environmentally responsible and sustainable practices in the tourism industry across the country, positioning India as a Global eco-tourism destination.
Ecotourism in Ladakh
This tour is one with a lower ecological footprint in general, as it includes plenty of nature, trekking and the visit of natural and cultural sites and monasteries in a region where ecotourism is a big priority. Apart from the unique landscape and harsh beauty, the mountains in Ladakh support a high altitude ecosystem with rare and endangered flora and fauna.
Local organisations like the Mountain Institue, Ladakh Ecological Development Group or Snow Leopard Conservancy put great effort into maintaining a balance in the unique cultural, social and environmental heritage of Ladakh.
There is particular focus on this trip and in Ladakh of maintaining the traditional way of life, the simple Ladahki food, and the traditional cultural environment based on eco-tourism concepts while generating economic benefits for rural populations in ways that are environmentally and socially responsible. People throughout Ladakh are being asked to reduce waste and water consumption and to use more environmental options when possible. Our core principle is to respect and enhance these values by encouraging our travellers and guides to keep the extra unneeded waste to a minimum in all our tours.
The hotels we pick subscribe to harness a healthy, green clean policy both for local communities and for their staff which ties in with our own belief and passion to keeping as green as we possibly can.
The Grand Dragon Ladakh on your trip is a hotel that has made important environmental improvements to its structure. It has been constructed in traditional Ladakhi style but conforms to Green Architectural standards by using state of art techniques, like 95 Solar panels for hot water supply and under floor heating, natural sunlight in bathrooms and guest rooms, energy efficient LED and CFL lights, practicing non-toxic chemicals and detergents for cleaning purposes, aerators in taps and special flushes which reduce water consumption by nearly 50% compared to conventional ones, environmental awareness training classes for the hotel team members and much more. The hotel has also a sewage treatment plan, the frist and only in the Ladakh region.
Moreover, it is decorated magnificently with handmade paintings by Gulam Mustafa (First modern Artist of Ladakh) around every corner, and fixtures that are reminiscent of royalty. You will also be staying in eco-friendly tents in an ethnical camp in the midst of nature, apple and abricot trees.
The concept of organic farming has been used for many decades in Ladakh. Organic farmers aim to grow local products without using pesticides that are harmful for Ladakh's ecosystem, they try to use the land in such a way that it can be re-used again and again, and they try not to contribute to the ever-increasing trend of pollution in this beautiful area of the world. In Ladakh, organic farming is hence the only form of agriculture that respects Ladakh's long-term future. You will be able to benefit from organic produce during your stay and you might even be able to join the Ladakh Organic Farming Volunteering Programme if you wish.
PeopleWe base the core of your travel experience not only on principles of responsible tourism, social consciousness and environmental concerns, but also on unique cultural experiences that bring diverse communities together and increase understanding.
We are committed to showing travellers a deeper meaning to what they do and how they explore the many facets of India. It is important to us to include the visit of sacred sites in our tours, which can help our travellers reflect inwards and increase their awareness about life and themselves and how things can be done differently.
By discovering the monasteries, ancient holy sites and local ethnicities in Ladakh, you will not only witness the energy of the center of Tibetan-Buddhist Culture, but also contribute to the local communities by bringing value to Ladakh´s ethical strengths and its people, allowing them to share their wisdoms with you. Some of these rare monuments and monasteries you visit were previously in a very poor maintenance condition. Through your visit you are contributing to their maintenance and the revival of their historical importance.
By visiting the Bactrian camel farm and going on a ride on these special double-humped camels, you are contributing to the conservation work for this threatened breed. The Bactrian Camel was used as a traditional way of load transport over the Himalayas for centuries. The government set up the small breeding farm to keep the species alive.
We only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting, giving back to their families and communities. While many operators pay per day or per tour, our guides receive an hourly rate which allows a fair and fruitful reward for their expertise. We also make sure our guides take you to local places where locals of that very region craft there products, which helps keep the money earned in that very community.
We support the Sharp Memorial School for the Blind in Dehradun, India's oldest school for the visually impaired set in a wonderful location of the Indian Himalayas. Unfortunately the school's residents do not have the opportunity to see the beautiful surroundings but are cared for admirably by Mr Samuels, his wife Sumana and their wonderful team .
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