Leh Festival Tour
Amidst the barren yet breathtaking Himalayas exists the fragile and vibrant cultural landscape of Ladakh. Since 1985, the annual Ladakh Festival showcases ancient traditions and folk heritage that highlight the distinct Ladakhi cultural ethnicity that is foreign to the rest of us Indians. Every villager is to participate in the festivities in accordance to an established social code. Unlike other festivals of Ladakh, which celebrate a monastic or an auspicious occasion, the annual Six-day Ladakh Festival, brings together the cultural heritage of various village contingents and troupes from the plateau.
DETAILED ITINERARY - 15th Sept to 24th Sept 2017
DAY 1 - 15th Sept - Arrival In Leh
Arrive at Leh early in the morning and take rest for the whole day.
DAY 2 - 16th Sept - Local sightseeing in Leh
We take the road and head towards Lamayuru. A number of attractions en-route.
Pattharsahib Gurudwara: A beautiful Gurudwara constructed in memory of Guru Nanak Dev.It is situated on the Leh Kargil road. The armed forces looks after the Gurudwara.
Magnetic Hill: Alleged to have magnetic properties strong enough to pull car uphill. Visitors and residents alike claim the legend to be true. Though theres some science to it as well but we'll tell you about that during the trip.
Confluence of Sindhu and Zanskar rivers is a magical sight apart from the obvious geographical significance.
Moonland: As the name says it all, this particular area is said to resemble the moon surface.
Lamayuru Monastery: The Monastery is made up of number of shrines and is well known for its magnificent wall paintings.
DAY 3 - 17th Sept - Visit Nubra Valley (Avg height of Valley - 10,000ft)
Via Khardungla Pass (World`s Highest Motorable Road, 18,360 ft) lies the uniquely landscaped Nubra valley, which separates Ladakh range from the Karokaram range. One can experience the white sand desert of Hunder equipped with double hump camel rides. We spend the night sharing peace and space with the mountains at Nubra.
Dinner and overnight stay at the Nubra.
DAY 4 - 18th Sept - Visit , Turtuk Village
Turtuk Village is one of the gateways to Siachen glacier, Turtuk was opened to tourists in 2009. The village offers views of Beautiful Valley, part of the Shyok Valley. It is predominantly a Muslim village, and residents speak languages including Balti, Ladakhi and Urdu. Turtuk is the last outpost in India after which the Pakistan-controlled Gilgit-Baltistan begins.
Dinner and overnight stay at Nubra.
Day 5 - 19th Sept - Visit Diskit Monastery and overnight in Ladakh
Diskit monastery is the oldest and the largest monastery in Nubra Valey. The Gompa roof is said to offer glorious views of Nubra valley. We make our way to Leh as the sun sets in. Evening free for shopping or relaxation. Over night in Leh
DAY 6 - 20th Sep - Leh Festival
Experience the Leh festival on its opening day as the artist groups from various villages and tribes visit the Leh town to showcase the wealth of their cultural heritage.
Sindhu Ghat: The Sindhu Ghat at Choglamsar village at the bank of Indus is where 50 senior Lamas hold prayers to mark the beginning of the Leh festival.
DAY 7 – 21st Sep - Pangong Lake (Night Stay)
After crossing the third highest motorable pass the Changla Pass (17,800 ft) one arrives at the picture perfect Pangong lake (14500 ft, Highest Salt water lake). It’s an unimaginable 135 kms long with almost 70% of the lake in China. Its part of the Changthang geographical setting in the higher Himalayas.
We spend a night at the banks of the serene Pangong Lake.
DAY 8 – 22nd Sep – Pangong to Tsomoriri
Today we leave early morning and cover 260Km to reach one of the most serene place in Ladakh via Chushul. The drive begins with a 30Km run along the beautiful Pangong lake .We reach Tsomoriri by evening.
Over night at Lake View Hotel at Tsomoriri.
DAY 9 – 23rd Sep - Visit Tsokar and Depart for Leh
Onto the smaller cousin Tsokar, translated as the Salt lake. Salt extracted from this lake is sold all over Ladakh. Tsokar maybe small in size but nonetheless breathtaking. On the way to Tsokar from Tsomoriri, opportunities of spotting wildlife endemic and unique to this region are plenty.
Dinner and overnight stay in Leh.
DAY 10 – 24th Sep - Depart for Mumbai
Take the early morning flight back to Mumbai.
Please note: Activities like trekking, rafting, cycling, mountaineering etc. in the Ladakh region can be arranged on request. Any level of customization is available.
Resort Links :
Leh - Hotel Chonjor Residency
Nubra Valley - Desert oasis Camp
Pangong Resort ( Pangong Lake): Pangong resort
Hotel Lake View ( Tsomoriri Lake) Lake View Hotel
Trip Cost : Rs 45,000 + 6% Tax per person
Cost Includes :
- Accommodation and All meals
- Surface transfers as per itinerary
- Inner liner Permits, Entry fees, Taxes, Parking & Toll
The Cost Does Not Includes
Amidst the barren yet breathtaking Himalayas exists the fragile and vibrant cultural landscape of Ladakh. Since 1985, the annual Ladakh Festival showcases ancient traditions and folk heritage that highlight the distinct Ladakhi cultural ethnicity that is foreign to the rest of us Indians. Every villager is to participate in the festivities in accordance to an established social code. Unlike other festivals of Ladakh, which celebrate a monastic or an auspicious occasion, the annual fifteen-day Ladakh Festival, brings together the cultural heritage of various village contingents and troupes from the plateau.
Ladakh translated as "Land of high passes" is a land like no other, it is bound to exceed every expectation that one can muster. A synonym for heaven, solace and nirvana. Bounded by the Great Himalayas on one side and the Karakoram on the other, this is the highest plateau (over 3000 mts) and houses the largest district in India, Leh.
Jungle Lore organizes road trips, trekking expeditions, specialized high altitude wildlife trips and customized trips to Ladakh.
Ladakh is also known as "Little Tibet" as it is heavily influenced by Tibetan culture. Over the years, Ladakh has gained strategic importance being at the crossroads of several trade routes, though the Chinese closed this route off in 1960s. A high altitude desert created by the Great Himalayas - which provide a rain shadow- meaning they prohibit the entry of rain bearing clouds.
Ladakh is a landscape photographer's fantasy land. It spreads over an altitude ranging from 9000ft at Kargil to 25,170 ft at Saser Kangri in the Karokoram. At this altitude the mountains take an aggressive form and the barren rocks stare right at you so as to shape your very imagination. The mountain ranges in this region were formed over a period of 45 million years by the folding of the Indian plate into the more stationary Eurasian Plate. The drift continues, causing frequent earthquakes in the Himalayan region.
Ladakh as they say is the Land of high passes and it lives up to the tag as the three of the highest motor-able passes - Khardungla, Tanglangla and Changla lie in Ladakh. Khardungla- the highest of them all, at 18,360 ft gives way to the Nubra valley - the land of sand dunes. The Pensi la at 14,436 ft is the gateway to Zanskar, one of the most unexplored destinations. The inaccessibility of this unique region can be attributed to it being blocked by snowfall for 8 months of the year.
Ladakh goes well with the tagline "All that's special", as everything here is unique and cannot be witnessed else where in the world. If you have been disappointed with something that hasn't lived upto the hype and more, try Ladakh.
Culture of Ladakh
Ladakhi culture is heavily influenced by Tibetan culture, in fact it is quite similar. There are more Buddhists than Muslims in certain areas and the ratio changes as we move towards Zanskar valley. Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa (noodle soup) and tsampa, known in Ladakhi as ngampe (roasted barley flour).
A dish that is strictly Ladakhi is skyu, a heavy pasta dish with root vegetables. As currency started making its place in the economy of Ladakh, food from the Indian plains gained popularity. Tea in Ladakh is traditionally made with strong green tea, butter, and salt. It is mixed in a large churn and known as gurgur cha (Butter Tea), after the sound it makes when mixed. The milk and sugar based sweet tea made in Indian style is also common now. Most of the surplus barley that is produced is fermented into chang, an alcoholic beverage drunk especially on festive occasions.
Ladakhis are very fond of ice hockey which is generally played in the month of January on natural ice. Archery is a traditional sport and many villages still conduct archery festivals, which also include drinking, dancing and gambling as a medium of celebrating the sport. Polo is another traditional sport of Ladakh.
The architecture in Ladakh draw heavy influences from Tibet and India. The monastic architecture reflects a deeply rooted Buddhist approach. The Buddhist wheel, along with two dragons, is a common feature on almost every gimp, including the likes of Hemis, Thiksey, Alchi etc. Ladakhi Buddhist festival music is much like its Tibetian counterpart and often involves religious chanting. These chants are complex, often recitations of sacred texts in celebration of various festivals.
Festivals of Ladakh are an important part of life there which mark several occasions such as harvesting, commemoration of the head Lamas of the founding monastery, New Y,ear etc.The festivals of Ladakh conducted by various monasteries often have religious masked dances which are an important part of Ladakh's culture. The dances typically narrate a story between good and evil , which typically end up in victory of the former.
Hemis Festival : The most famous of all monastic festivals in June (a three day affair) to commemorate birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. The sacred dance drama of the life and mission is performed wearing facial masks and colorful brocades robes. The monkey year festival is a special treat which comes at a cycle of 12 yrs. The four-storey Thanka of Guru Padmasambhava is displayed during the festival.
Thiksey, Karsha and Spituk Gustor: Gustors takes place all the three monasteries at different times of the year. A two day celebration, to mark the victory of good over evil. Gustor literally means "Sacrifice of the 29th day" and it ends with burning of effigies representing evil.
Dosmochey : Celebrated with much fervor and delight in the month of February at the courtyards of majestic Leh Palace. Masked Lamas from different monasteries perform the Chams every year turn by turn. This festival is also celebrated at the Diskit monastery and the Likir with great enthusiasm. The start and end of the Tibetian calendar marks the occasion.
Matho Nagrang: Matho Monastery of Leh Ladakh hosts the Matho Nagrang Festival, on an annual basis. The festival takes place on the 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. All the monks participate in the sacred dances, performed at this annual event. The festival is famous because of appearance of the two oracles during the festival after a full month of meditation in complete isolation. Matho Monastery also boasts of housing an amazingly rich collection of four hundred years old Thankas.
Stok Guru Tsechu : Also held in February, a week before the Matho Nagrang. Monks from Stok monastery perform masked dances, but the highlight being appearance of two oracles who are laymen prepared and cleansed by the lamas to receive the spirit of the deities.
Phyang Tsedup : This festival is held in the Phyang monastery in July/August. The monks as usual perform the Chams but the festival gets its popularity from the huge Thanka of Skyoba Giksten Gonbo hung during the celebrations.
Yuru Kabgyat: The two day festival is celebrated at the Lamaruyu monastery in the month of July. The lamas perform the masked dance or the Chams with great zeal .
Losar celebration : Losar stands for the Tibetian new year. The Losar festival is celebrated in the eleventh month of Tibetan calendar, two months ahead of Tibetan New Year. In early 17th century, King Jamyang Namgyal decided to lead an expedition against the Baltistan forces in winter; therefore he decided to celebrate the festival two months before. Later it became a tradition and being celebrated in the eleventh month. It lasts for over a month when Gods, deities, ancestors and even animals are fed without fail. Everyone in the family joins in for the celebration and if anyone is missing, they will have a cup of tea filled in their name.
Ladakh Festival: From September 1st to 15th every year in Leh and in the villages around, the Ladakh festival is celebrated in the grandest style. With cultural troupes performing from different parts of Leh, forming the part of the procession which leads to the Polo ground, for the big inauguration. Regular programs are held at the nearby villages during the 15 day period.
Sindhu Darshan: Sindhu Darshan is a three-day festival held from 1st to 3rd June, in Shey Manla around 8 kms. from Leh on the bank of Indus river (Sindhu Ghat). For the first time it was organized in October 1997, as a symbol of unity and communal harmony and national integration.
People of Ladakh:
Ladakh has a population which is a blend of many different races, predominantly the Tibetans, Mons and the Dards. People of Dard descent predominate in Dras and Dha-Hanu areas. The residents of Dha-Hanu, known as Brokpa, are followers of Tibetan Buddhism and have preserved much of their original Dardic traditions and customs. The Dards around Dras, however, have converted to Islam and have been strongly influenced by their Kashmiri neighbours. The Mons are descendants of earlier Indian settlers in Ladakh. They work as musicians, blacksmiths and carpenters. Most of the people in Leh district of Ladakh and Zanskar valley of Kargil district are Tibetian Buddhist, while most of the people in the rest of Kargil District are Shia Muslims. There are sizeable minorities of Buddhists in Kargil District and of Shia Muslims in Leh District. There are some Sunni Muslims of Kashmiri descent in Leh and Kargil towns and also Padum in Zanskar.
The harsh living conditions of Ladakh make co-operation among families imperative for survival. The Ladakhis establish co-operative groups called phasphuns, in which several unrelated families maintain alliances of friendship, co-operation, and helpfulness. If both parents in a family would die, other adults in the phasphun would adopt the young children. If a family separates, the other members of the phasphun make a fair division of the property. The families in the phasphun usually live in the same village, participate in group religious ceremonies, and worship a common god, though they are not necessarily neighbors and are often not related. Ladakhis tend to develop a very strong sense of self with deeply rooted self respect and noticeable lack of pride. They also have a strong sense of their place on earth developed by their daily interaction with their natural environment.
Trip Cost : Rs 45,000 + 6% Tax
Travel Dates : 15th Sep to 24th Sep, 2017
Weather Link for Leh
Trip Leader : Vishal
Resort Links :
Hotel Chonjor Residency (Leh) -
Nubra Valley - Desert oasis Camp
Pangong Resort ( Pangong Lake):
Hotel Lake View ( Tsomoriri Lake)
Hotel Ladakh Continental (Leh) - Visit Website
Pangong Resort ( Pangong Lake):
Hotel Lake View ( Tsomoriri Lake)