Kashmir and Ladakh Safari Tour
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Markha Valley Classic Trek



Duration

12 days (7 days of trekking)

Best Time

June to October

Highest Point

Kongmaru La (5135m)

Trek Highligh

Remote villages, people & culture, wildlife, mountain peaks & high passes.

Trek Category

Moderate

Itinerary:-

Day-1

Delhi- Leh - By early morning flight – 1.15 hours: Early morning transfer to the domestic airport for taking the flight to Leh. This must be one of the most dramatic lights in the world. On a clear day from one side of the aircraft can be seen in the distance the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum etc. and on the other side of the aircraft is the Nun Kun massif. Upon arrival at Leh, you will be transferred to the hotel. After welcome drinks / breakfast take complete rest for acclimatization to the high altitude of Leh since you have flown from a very low elevation in New Delhi to over 11,000 feet at Leh! Dinner & overnight the hotel.

Day-2

In Leh – Visit Leh Palace, Sankar Gompa & Shanti Stupa: The morning is at leisure to acclimatize to the rarefied air. After early lunch, we drive you to the City Centre to stroll along the main bazaar observing the varied crowd and looking into the curio shops, which is an engaging experience. A particularly attractive sight is the line of women from nearby villages sitting along the footpath with baskets of fresh vegetables brought for sale. Behind and around the main bazaar, are many smaller markets of interesting little shops selling curios, jewellery, handicrafts etc. Down the main bazaar, in the opposite direction are the Tibetan markets where one can bargain for antiques, curios and a whole range of souvenirs.

Later we drive you to visit the Leh Palace & Sankar Gompa, a small and pretty Gelug-pa monastery, a branch of Spituk Gompa. Wind up the day’s tour with a visit to the Shnati Stupa from where you can have dramatic evening views of the town and the Indus Valley. Dinner & overnight the hotel.

Day 3

In Leh -Visit Thiksey & Hemis Monastery & Stok Palace: By Surface: After breakfast drive to visit Thiksey Gompa, one of the most vibrant and picturesquely located monasteries in the region. A major Geluk-pa monastery of Ladakh, its founding dates back to the 15th century. The successive reincarnation of the Khanpo Rimpoche is the incumbent head lama.

From Thiksey, drive upstream the Indus valley to visit the Hemis Gompa, located in a side valley across the Indus River. The largest and most famous of Ladakh’s monasteries, its founding dates back to the 17th century, built over a period of 40 years (1602 – 1642 A.D.). Hemis is also well known for its annual festival of mask dances or Hemis Tsechu which commemorate the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava. Recently a museum has been set up in the monastery where many of its hitherto unseen art treasures are on display.

On the way back from Hemis, drive to visit Stok Palace, present residence of the former royal family of Ladakh, which was built in 1825. The palace has a museum displaying the family heirloom of the royal family. The Palace Gompa is located behind the museum and contains some ritual dance marks and frescoes. The annual festival of “Stok Gurur Tseshu” is held here during which the Stok Oracle appears. Later return to Leh for dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 4

Drive to Chiling (10,990ft / 3350 m); Visit Likir: After breakfast pack your trekking bags and drive out of Leh towards Likir, by-passing the turning to the road to Chilling. Upon reaching Likir, drive up the hill overlooking the pretty village and visit the impressively located, 15th century Likir gompa. After sightseeing and a picnic lunch continue your drive, initially doubling back till the turning towards the Chilling road and then crossing the bridge on the Indus near Nimo to follow the winding road beneath steep cliffs up the Zanskar River towards Chiling. Below Chiling leave the vehicles and climb the narrow footpath into the village. Overnight in camp or homestay in Chiling.

Day 5

Trek to Skiu. (10,794ft / 3, 290 m) 3-4 hrs: After breakfast you may like to explore Chilling which is renowned for its tradition of copper work; there is a small museum well worth visiting down by the road and you may also have the opportunity to see a copper workshop. The road is being extended beyond Chilling and depending on its development you may walk or drive further up the valley to the river crossing. After crossing the river follow the dirt track which winds up the valley climbing gradually to the small village of Kaya, ahead of which Skiu village come into view. Overnight in camp or homestay at Skiu.

Day 6

Trek To Markha (12,303ft / 3,750 m) 7-8 hrs: It is a very pleasant walk up one of the loveliest sections of the Markha valley. The trail follows the river bed, occasionally climbing up the valley sides through this steep-sided valley. Woody bushes, roses, poplar and willow trees grow thickly along the river, which is spanned by several plank bridges. Beyond Thinlespa the trail continues eastwards climbing steadily up the valley until a river crossing before entering the pretty village of Markha. If time allows, it is worth walking up to visit the monastery and ruined palace above the village. Camp near the village or check in a homestay for overnight stay.

Day 07

Trek To Hangkar / Thachungtse (12,795ft / 3,900m) 7-8 hrs: Leaving Markha, the scenery changes and the further you trek up the valley, the smaller and seemingly poorer the villages become. The twin villages of Lower and Upper Hangkar are both distinctly cooler than Markha, and they are the highest in the Markha valley. Between the two villages is a ruined fort, the walls of which climb sharply up a crag to an eyrie of a lookout tower. There are also great views across Upper Hangkar from the ridge towards Kang-Yatse. Depending upon your choice between homestay & camping, you may check-in at a homesaty in Hangkar village or walk past these villages to Thachungtse for setting up camp for the night.

Day 08

Trek To Nimaling (15,574ft / 4,747m) 8 hours: From Hankar / Thachungtse the trail climbs steadily up the narrow valley to Nimaling a broad and undulating meadow, sloping upwards to the base of the ice-clad Kang Yatse peak, (21,500ft/6,553m.) Nimaling is the summer pasture for thousand of animals - yaks, sheep, goats, horses etc. brought from Markha and other surrounding villages. This is one of the most beautiful mountain valleys of Ladakh, dominated by the ice-clad Kang-Taste. Camp overnight here.

Day 09

Cross Kangmaru La Pass (17,409ft / 5306m) & Trek to Sumdo (7-8 hrs): Trekking ahead from Nimalaing, cross over to the north of the Markha Valley and ascend to the Kongmaru la (17,409ft/5,306m) with wonderful views from the top. There are snow covered peaks in every direction and on a clear day the giants of the Karakoram, including K2, can be seen on the north western horizon. From here the trail descends steeply to the head of the Martselang valley past the sulphur springs of Chuskyurmo, and follows the Martselang stream to the village of Sumdo or Shang-Sumdo. Camp here overnight.

Day 10

Trek to Martselang (11,200ft / 3414m). Drive To Leh: 3-4 Hrs Trek: Today’s trek is an easy descent mainly along the left bank of the Martselang stream to where it broadens into the valley of the Indus at Martselang village. Transport will be waiting here for the 2 hour drive to Leh. Dinner & overnight at hotel.

Day 11

In Leh Day Free For Independent Activities / Leisure: Today is at leisure for rest and independent activities at Leh. Dinner & overnight at the hotel.

Day 12

Leh - Delhi – By Flight: In time transfer to the Leh airport to board the flight out of Leh