Day 01: Arrival Delhi + sightseeing
After arrival in Delhi, a full day city tour of Delhi that includes Old Delhi with the Jama Masjid mosque, Red Fort (UNESCO) and Chandi Chowk market. Then Raj ghat, the place where the body of Mahatma Gandhi was burned, Kutub Minar (UNESCO) - biggest brick minaret in the world with a complex of buildings with early Afghan architecture. The Lotus temple, the beautiful blooming Lotus flower shaped building. Humayun´s Tomb (UNESCO), a unique example of Mughal architecture. The India Gate and drive around the Government buildings. In the evening, an optional visit of the Red Fort to experience its famous Sound & Light Show. Overnight.
Day 02: Delhi – Leh
After breakfast, a transfer to the domestic terminal for the spectacular early morning flight over the Himalaya to Leh. The rest of the day is free to relax and acclimatise to the altitude of 3500 m. Dinner and overnight.
Day 03: Leh sightseeing
Breakfast. A full-day city tour of Leh which is nicknamed the “Little Lhasa” thanks to its panorama of the Royal Palace which is reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Tibet. A visit of the Royal Palace, the Shanti Stupa with a beautiful view on the city, Tibetan market etc. Dinner and overnight.
Day 04: Leh – Monasteries Thiksey, Shey and Hemis
Breakfast. A full-day tour of the famous Buddhist monastery Thiksey, a visit of the monastery buildings, Tibetan pharmacy, temple and shrine with the most beautiful Buddha statue in India. It will be followed by visit of ancient Shey monastery with the summer Royal Residence and Hemis monastery located among rocky massifs. Return to Leh, free time at your leisure in the city, dinner and overnight.
Day 05: Leh – Likir - Alchi
After breakfast, a drive to monastery at Likir, a beautiful building, reminiscent of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. From here we drive to Yangtang village from which there is the option to walk to Ridzong monastery, set hidden in a valley. This solitary gompa is renowned for its strict monastic teachings. Just below in a grove of apricots is a small nunnery, which is inhabited by young nuns from the Nubra Valley who have come here to study Buddhism. After Ridzong we re-join the River Indus again, which we follow to Saspol. Just after the village we cross this mighty river and drive to Alchi, a pretty village set in a grove of apricot trees. Barley fields surround the village and at harvest time the village is buzzling with activity. Dinner and overnight in a traditional guest house.
Day 06: Alchi
After breakfast, we will visit the famous monastery in Alchi, which is the most important cultural site in Ladakh. Built in the 11th century, it is a treasure trove of early Buddhist art in the Kashmiri tradition, a style quite different from the Tibetan art found in Ladakh’s other monasteries. It was founded by Rinchen Zangpo who was said to have built 108 temples in Ladakh and is responsible for reviving interest in Buddhism at that time. Then we will make an excursion to Lamayuru. The drive takes us through some of the most spectacular scenery in Ladakh. There will be time to explore the monastery and the village before driving back to Alchi. Dinner and overnight in a traditional guest house.
Day 07: Alchi – Bagso Fort - Leh
After breakfast we drive back to Leh visiting Basgo Fort en route. The rest of the afternoon is free for individual exploration. The old town and the local bazaar are well worth a visit. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 08: Leh – Pangong lake
Breakfast. A full-day trip to the Pangong Lake which lies on the Indo-Chinese border. We will pass through a mountain landscape with unforgettable views, Buddhist monasteries and stupas. Passing through the Chang-La Pass with an elevation of 5360 m where the second highest road in the world leads. A short walk around the Pangong Lake with amazing views of the mountains with an elevation of 7000 m and maybe more. Return to Leh, dinner and overnight.
Day 09: Leh - Tsokar Lake (6 hrs drive)
After early breakfast we will begin our journey along the legendary road from Leh to Manali across the Great Himalayan Range. This journey rates as one of the classic road journeys of the world. From Leh we follow the Indus River for a short while before turning away to climb to the Taglang La at 5328 m - this pass is the third highest road pass in the world. The road winds its way up through a spectacular landscape to the prayer flags at the top. Descending from the pass we leave the main road for a while to visit Tsokar Lake. We camp a bit further from the lake (due to ecological reasons camping is not allowed on the lake shore). Dinner and overnight in a camp.
Day 10: Tsokar – Jispa (8-9 hrs drive)
Breakfast. Today we will climb through a stunning wind eroded landscape of earth and rock pillars to the Nakli-La and further on to the Lachalung-La. We then descend the Gata Loops, an amazing series of 22 hairpin bends. The highest point today is Baralacha Pass (4845 m). Continue driving to Jispa for the night. Dinner and overnight in the guest house.
Day 11: Jispa - Manali
After breakfast, we will cross our last pass, the Rhotang-La (3985 m). This takes us over the Himalayas and from here the scenery changes dramatically - we leave the barren mountains behind and descend into the green and fertile Kulu Valley to Manali. Dinner and overnight in hotel.
Day 12: Manali
After breakfast, a full day tour of Manali – a visit to Vashisth Bath which is situated just 3 km from Manali. The sulphur springs gushing forth from the mountains here have great medicinal effects. A possibility of swimming in the Bath. Then visit to the Hadimba Temple which is one of the most important temples in the region, Tibetan Monastery etc. The evening will be free for shopping activities on the mall road. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 13: Manali – Dharamsala – McLeod Ganj
After breakfast, a drive to Dharamsala. On the way, a visit to Shiva Temple in Baijnath and a further stop at Palampur famous for its Tea Garden. Dharamsala is a hill-station lying on the spur of the Dhauladhar Mountains well-known for its scenic beauty. Since 1960, when it became the temporary headquarters of His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Dharamshala has risen to international repute as “The Little Lhasa in India”. Dinner and overnight stay in McLeod Ganj.
Day 14: McLeod Ganj
After breakfast, a half day city tour of McLeod Ganj with His holiness Dalai Lama residence, Tibetan market, War memorial, Bhagsunath temple, Dal Lake and church of St. John. We have a full day to explore the town. Dinner and overnight stay.
Day 15: McLeod Ganj - Amritsar
Early morning breakfast and departure to Amritsar. On arrival, a transfer to Wagah village lying on the Indo-Pakistan border where a special ceremonial takes place every evening the “Wagah – Attari border closing ceremony”, which really is a unique experience. Return to Amritsar and in the evening a visit to the famous Golden Temple to see the “ceremony of the transmission of the holy book”. Dinner and overnight.
Day 16: Amritsar - Delhi
Breakfast. Visit to the Golden Temple, which is most important place of the Sikh religion. It is a spacious complex from white marble where a huge water tank lies inside and in the middle of it – like an island –the Harimandir itself shines. The temple is covered with copper plates gilded with many tons of solid gold. You can have lunch in a special Sikh canteen where almost 4000 people can eat together at one time. The next stop is the Wall of Martyrs where the Amritsar massacre took place, Amritsar Museum etc. In the afternoon, a train back to Delhi. Transfer to the hotel and overnight.
Day 17: Delhi + departure
Breakfast. Completion of Delhi sightseeing, shopping activities in a local market or another optional programme according to your wishes. Transfer to the airport and departure.
Delhi - Leh - Thiksey - Alchi - Pangong Lake - Tsokar Lake - Jispa - Manali - Dharamsala - Amritsar - Delhi