Ladakh Photopgraphic Tour

Day 01: Arrival in Leh :
Overnight in Leh. Included meals lunch and dinner. Altitude: 3500m. We meet and begin our tour in the capital city of Leh. Airport pick-up and transfer to hotel. After group introductions, participants are free to explore but are also advised to take a rest day to acclimatize for the altitude. We end the day with a group meal and review the itinerary for the rest of the tour.

Day 02: Local sightseeing in Leh :
Overnight in Leh. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt: 3500m. Today we dedicate the day exploring the capital city of Leh. In the morning we visit Leh Palace that was modeled on the Potala Palace in Tibet. It is also the former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh. In the afternoon we venture through the narrow streets, local markets and bazaars of Leh. We end the day at Shanti Stupa for a magnificent sunset and view of Leh.

Day 03: Monastery Tour :
Overnight in Leh. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt: 3500m. Today is a full day to explore Thiksey, Hemis, and Shey Gompa (Monastery). Our first stop, Thiksey Gompa, is a 12-storey complex said to resemble the Potala Palace in Lhasa Tibet. We arrive early in the morning to watch the monks perform their morning prayer. Next we visit Hemis Monastery, said to be the wealthiest Monastery in the Ladakh region, and also where the famous Hemis summer Festival takes place. Our last stop of the day is Shey Monastery. Built in 1655, Shey was the summer palace for the kings of Ladakh. Shey is noted for its gold statue of Buddha. We end the day back in Leh.

Day 04: Leh – Lamayuru :
Overnight in Lamayuru. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt: 3510m. After breakfast we drive by jeep to the village of Lamayuru. The drive takes approximately 4 hours. Perched precariously on high cliffs, Lamayuru is the most famous and spectacular Gompa in Ladakh. With 150 resident monks, it is one of the largest and oldest. We arrive in the early afternoon and spend the rest of the day exploring the monastery. Lamayuru is the meeting place of the Great Himalayan wall and the East Karakorum Himalaya range.

Day 05: Lamayaru – Alchi :
Overnight in Alchi. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt: 3100m. In the morning we visit Lamayaru Gompa again and then explore the areas surrounding the village. We visit an area known as the "moonlands". This landscape is so alien it resembles the surface of the moon, hence its name. It reality this is a feature of geological folds and schist rock formation. We spend some time Unlike most monasteries in Ladakh, Alchi is situated on lowland, not on a hilltop. It is situated on the banks of the Indus River at an altitude of 3100m.

Day 06: Alchi – Likir – Leh
Overnight in Leh. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt. 3500m. The morning is spent exploring the Alchi monastery. We move on to Likir monastery and view its 75ft tall gold-covered Buddha statue. The views from the monastery to the valley and agricultural fields below are magnificent. Moving on, we pass the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers as we drive back to Leh for an evening meal and a well-deserved rest.

Day 07: Leh – Pangong Lake :
Overnight in camp at Spangmik. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt. 4250m. We leave early in the morning after breakfast. The drive to Pangong Lake is 5 hours from Leh. Parts of our journey are over rough roads but you can always count on dramatic mountain scenery. We cross over the Changla Pass (5288m), the third highest motorable road in the world. At 4350m, Pangong Lake is the highest salt-water lake in the world, shared by both India and China (Tibet). At its broadest point, the lake is 5km wide and extends for another 134km. Pangong is a photographer's dream come true. The passing clouds continually shape the light and how it shines on the surrounding mountains and water. We spend the afternoon capturing images of this dramatic and memorable landscape. The lake is an important breeding ground for a variety of birds including a number of migratory birds. It also supports a number of species of wildlife including the kiang (Tibetan Ass) and the marmot. The evening's accommodations are in deluxe tents facing Pangong Lake.

Day 08: Pangong Lake – Leh :
Overnight in Leh. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt. 3500m. We spend the morning taking photos of the sunrise on Pangong Lake and then begin our return journey to Leh. On our return trip, we make a number of stops along the way to take in the stunning scenery.

Day 09: Leh – Tsomoriri | Korzok :
Overnight in camp at Korzok. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt. 4595m. We depart early in the morning for Tsomoriri Lake and reach it by the afternoon. At an altitude of 4595m, Tsomoriri is home to nomads as well as a few villages. Tsomoriri literally means the lake of the mountain. This harsh landscape is the breeding ground of many migratory birds – including the endangered blacknecked cranes and bar-headed geese. The blue waters contrast with the desert landscape of the surrounding mountains, making it one of the most surreal environments. We have the rest of the day to explore and photograph here. In the evening we take a walk along the lake and take in the magic of the evening light.

Day 10: Korzok Gustor Festival :
Overnight in camp at Korzok. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt. 4594m. After breakfast, we make our way to the Korzok Gompa. Today is the first day of the Korzok Gustor Festival and we spend it soaking up the atmosphere of this wondrous occasion. The Korzok Gustor is an ancient festival of the Buddhists famous for its Black Hat Dance – a masked Dance performed to ward off evil forces from nature. This ritual dance dates back to a few centuries ago when the first Buddhist scriptures came into existence. Pilgrims are attracted to this festival, which will allow us numerous opportunities for photographs.

Day 11: Tsomoriri | Korzok – Leh :
Overnight in Leh. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt. 3500m. Today we retrace our route back to Leh after the experience of Tsomoriri and the Korzok Gustor festival. On the way we stop at Tsokar Lake, a salt-water lake thought to have once been connected to Tsomoriri. It is also called "White Lake" because of the salt deposits, as there are no outlets from the lake and this makes the water brackish.

Day 12: Leh rest | exploration day :
Overnight in Leh. Included meals breakfast, lunch and dinner. Alt. 3500m. On our final day of the tour we have a free day in Leh for rest, souvenir shopping, and exploration after the long journey from Tsomoriri. We have a final celebratory evening meal together.

Day 13: Airport drop-off :
For those participants travelling back home, we arrange transportation to the airport.

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