Kashmir and Ladakh holiday, India
Description of Kashmir and Ladakh holiday, India
For some people Ladakh and Kashmir holidays can seem too remote, more of an expedition than a holiday. But this fourteen day, tailor made itinerary has been carefully crafted to allow travellers who want to visit these stunning Himalayan regions to do so with ease of access, and stay in good quality accommodation along the way. By starting and ending your trip in Delhi, you will have the services of a private guide to guide you around the city highlights, and then guide you to onto domestic flights to both Srinagar for a few days and then, after a day’s rest back in Delhi, on another flight to Leh. Where more expert local guides await.
In Srinagar, the largest city of Jammu and Kashmir state, you will stay overnight on one of the city’s famous houseboats which interconnect Lakes Dal and Nigeen, and also have plenty of time to take in the mosques, ancient streets and markets of this historical city, brimming with cultural heritage.
In Leh, the capital of the Himalayan heaven that is Ladakh, enjoy its magnificent setting at 3500m, enveloped by snowy peaks, and visit some of its cultural highlights, the top of the list being its extraordinary royal palace, set into the mountain. From Leh, you can also take trips out to the Nubra Valley with your chauffeur guide, a flower filled landscape created by two rivers and stunning natural division between the Ladakh and Karakoram mountains. You will access it via the famous Khardung La pass, an ancient trading and caravan route.
Your final trip before returning to Delhi will be spent on a camping adventure at one of Ladakh’s most beautiful places to visit: Panong Lake, shared by both India and Tibet. Serene and sumptuously blue, this is the most perfect Ladakhi way to bring your trip to a close, before flying back to Delhi.
PlanetWe promote excursions which foster a more sustainable tourism and commit to maintaining small-group sizes to limit negative environmental impacts in accordance to the carrying capacity of the visited site. 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.
We have a recycling policy in our UK and local offices and re-use or recycle the information booklets we provide to every client on arrival wherever possible. Moreover, we do not produce a glossy brochure, concentrating on a comprehensive website, and providing as much information to our travellers as possible electronically, reducing the use of paper and inks.
This tour includes plenty of nature, trekking and the visit of natural and cultural sites and monasteries in Kashmir and Ladakh. Apart from the unique landscape and harsh beauty, the mountains in Ladakh for example 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, supported by your stay.
There is particular focus on this trip of maintaining the traditional way of life in both regions, the simple local 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.
Especially in Ladakh, people 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 through our “bring it in, bring it out” policy for litter and rubbish such as food packaging and recycling wherever possible.
The hotels we pick subscribe to harness a healthy, green clean policy both for local communities and for their staff. The Grand Dragon Ladakh on your trip for example 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.
On your trip we will include transport modes like traditional rickshaws in Delhi or boat rides, which reduces our carbon footprint and will also give you the opportunity to meet and interact with the local people. During your city explorations, we will give preference to slow, possibly non-motorized forms of mobility, such as city walks or bicycles. If motorized forms are unavoidable, we make sure that vehicle sizes are as small as appropriate and proper licensing on vehicles and certifying to national emission standards are maintained.
PeopleWe make sure we only work with local guides that come from the very region you are visiting. Through this trip you are hence 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 provide staff with written employment contracts and fair working conditions (e.g. overtime payment, national wage requirements, no discrimination, grievance mechanisms in place and no child labour).
Furthermore we ensure that our drivers do not more than 9 hours of driving per day and are provided adequate accommodation and do not drive at night (with the exception of airport pick-ups/drop-offs). After a driving period of 4.5 h the driver must take a break of at least 45 min. Our tour guides receive special training in how to leave a lower impact on the trips and in regional conservation projects.
We 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.
Our Kashmir and Ladakh Tour is also a special cultural mix for you, with a lot of diversity in history, art and religions. 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.
If you want to do additional shopping, we will take you to local markets where locals of that very region craft their products to help keep the money earned in that very community. When we take you to local shops or markets we change the selected shops on a rotating basis. Also we make sure food stops are at locally owned cafes or restaurants and give customers recommendations on locally owned shops and restaurants, especially new start-ups.
Through visiting and purchasing your souvenirs at the local Handicrafts Units in Kashmir for example, you will be able to contribute to keeping alive local handicraft and traditions. They symbolize the cultural significance of the state and provide employment to a large mass of local people of the valley.
We ensure customer awareness by familiarizing our guests with local history, culture, religions and traditions, by informing on culturally appropriate behavior, (e.g. dress codes for religious sites, taking photographs of people, language tips, etc.).
By travelling with us, you help us support the Sharp Memorial School for the Blind in Dehradun. It´s 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 wonderful surroundings but are cared for admirably by Mr Samuels, his wife Sumana and their wonderful team.