Duration: 16 Days
Best Time: Mid June to Mid September.
Highlights: Houseboats, Shikara Rides, Dachigam National Park, Tarsar Lake
Route at a Glance: Delhi - Srinagar - Aru - TarSar Lake - Sikwas - Sonmus - Sombal - Sonmarg - Kargil - Lamayuru - Alchi - Leh - Delhi.
WELCOME to Kashmir - Immortalised by Mughal Emperor Jahangir as
"Paradise on Earth!"
"Paradise on Earth!"
Be spellbound by the splendour of pine forests giving way to grassy dales, with wild flowers carpeting the valley floors, as gushing rivers and streams, spilling over with glacial snow melt, nourish the countryside and refresh the champagne air.
COME…AND BE BLESSED BY THIS NATURAL HARMONY!
Your host in Kashmir: Yousuf Chapri, a veteran explorer and environmentalist, will organise these delightful walks. A reservoir of knowledge, Yousuf carries with him years of experience with immense pride. He is known for his inimitable style, for trekking and camping in Kashmir, and has worked and trekked with Sherpa Tenzing. Yousuf brings a rare joie de vivre on camping holidays, and will ensure that you have a life time experience!
Leave your country for New Delhi.
DAY 02: Arrive Delhi.
Assistance on Arrival and Transfer to Pre-Booked Hotel. Morning at leisure. Afternoon Guided Tour of Old Delhi, including visit to Red Fort and Jama Masjid (Mosque) followed by Dinner at the atmospheric ‘Karim’s’ Restaurant in Old Delhi! Return to Hotel for Overnight stay.
DAY 03: Delhi – Srinagar
After Breakfast Transfer to Airport for 1 hour flight over the Himalayas to Srinagar. Assistance on Arrival and Transfer to Chinar Ghat; from here you will be Transferred by Shikaras (Kashmiri Paddle Boats) to one of the finest houseboats on the Dal Lake, offering stunning views of the Lake and surrounding Hills. On arrival in Houseboat you will be served Kehwa – Kashmiri Herbal Tea (Green Tea). In the evening a gentle Shikara ride through the backwaters, bobbing across Lily and Lotus covered Lakes, abundant with birdlife, and through beautiful Floating Gardens. Return to Houseboat for overnight stay.
DAY 04: Srinagar Sightseeing
After Breakfast visit to the Famous Mughal Gardens situated at the foot of Zabarwan Hills, with superb views of the Lake: we visit Pari Mahal, Cheshma-Shahi and Nishat Garden before taking a break for picnic Lunch, in the Shalimar Garden, organised in Yousuf’s trademark style! Post Lunch visit to Shankaracharya Temple and Jesus Christ’s Tomb in the City. Dinner and Overnight in Houseboat.
DAY 05: Srinagar Sightseeing
Very early morning visit by Shikara to the vegetable market to observe and enjoy the traditional barter system. Hot Breakfast will be served in the Shikara boat. Return to Houseboat; morning free. Late afternoon visit to Dachigam National Park, to enjoy the bird life. There is a good possibility of sighting the highly Endangered Hangul (Kashmir Stag) and the Himalayan Black Bear. Rainbow Trout will be served for dinner in the park. Return to Houseboat for the night.
DAY 06: Srinagar – Aru (2410 metres elevation)
After Breakfast, Drive to Aru Valley (3hrs), en route visit Awantipura Temples, and then further drive through Picturesque Villages and Rice Fields to Aru where Hot Lunch awaits you by the River. Overnight in Alpine Tents: shower tent/s; toilet tent/s with commode/s will be provided. The Campsite will be equipped with chairs and tables and the tents have thick mattresses for slumbering, as Yousuf makes every effort to ensure that you have the best camping experience ‘anywhere in the Himalayas’. Campfire and Dinner.
DAY 07: Aru – Lidderwat (3050 metres elevation / 4hrs)
After Breakfast, we Trek about 4 hours. It is a superb walk that takes us through Forests of Cedar: the initial few kilometres are bit steep culminating into a beautiful Alpine Meadow; we Trek through this Meadow and Camp just before the Bridge on the banks of River Lidder. The meadow is populated by Gujjar and Kashmiri Shepherds (Bakarwals), taking their cattle to higher pastures during summer months. Dinner and Overnight in Tents.
DAY 08: Lidderwat – Tar Sar Lake (3800 metres elevation / 6-7hrs)
As things get a bit tougher today we have Early Breakfast and make a steep ascent to the Meadows of Seikwas (3450mts elevation). Our efforts will be rewarded by stunning views towards Lidderwat and the Kolahoi Peaks; this is a perfect place for Lunch. Enjoy the Stunning Views of the Kashmir Himalayas. Post Lunch Trek (about 2-3 hours) is through a profusion of Wildflowers that appear in springtime after the winter snows melts! We finally arrive at the stunning Tarsar Glacier Lake enclosed on 3 sides by a snow ridge and chockfull of Rainbow and Brown Trout. This is the Most Beautiful Camping Spot on the Trek. The highlight of the Dinner will be a Fresh Catch from the Lake! Overnight in Tents.
DAY 09: Tar Sar – Sikawas Pass (4100mts elevation) – Sonamous (3350 metres elevation / 6-7hrs)
After Breakfast we begin one of the Finest walks in the Himalayas: after breaking camp we gradually descend, through a Rocky Outcrop and Lush Meadows, to Seikwas. From here we make a few hours steady ascent to the Pass offering superb views of the Sind Valley; Lunch on the Pass and then a steep descent for about 2hrs to the Sonamous Plateau offering a bird’s eye-view of the surrounding countryside. Campfire and Overnight in Tents.
DAY 10: Sonamous – Sumbal (2130 metres elevation / 4hrs) – Sonamarg
After Breakfast we descend through Dense Forest, past Gujjar Villages, and finally through Terraced Rice Fields, to the road head where Yousuf will be waiting to give you company for a Short Jeep Ride (1 hour) till Sonamarg (Meadow of Gold). In the evening Grand Dinner around Campfire, with Folk Music and Songs. Overnight in Camp.
DAY 11: Sonamarg – Kargil
After Breakfast, Drive about 7hrs to Kargil, across Zoji La (3540mts elevation): the spectacular mountain road passes over the main Himalayan Range. We drive past the Village of Drass (2nd Coldest Place on the Planet). From Drass we follow the Drass River to its confluence with the Suru River to Kargil for Overnight stay in a simple hotel. Overnight in Hotel.
DAY 12: Kargil – Alchi (5-6hrs drive)
We set out from Kargil after Breakfast to reach the first Buddhist Settlement at Mulbekh; ahead of Mulbekh the road crosses the 3760mts Namika La (in Tibetan Language ‘Pass’ is called ‘La’); the stunning drive continues to another Pass – the 4147mts Fotu La – the Highest Point on the Road. Take in the impressive sights of the Ladakh and Zanskar Mountain Ranges as we make a brief stop at the stunning Lamayuru, descending from the main road to the Monastery there. From Lamayuru we drive about 2hrs to Alchi and stay in a delightful little Guesthouse. Alchi has a fascinating Monastery and an equally charming village. Overnight in Guesthouse.
DAY 13: Alchi – Leh (2hrs drive)
After Breakfast we visit Alchi Gompa (Monastery) and village and then drive along the mighty Indus River, enjoying the stunning views on the way, to Leh (3500mts elevation) – the Capital and First City of Ladakh, bearing distinct cultural influences of Tibet; that is why it is also known as ‘Little Tibet’.. Afternoon stroll around the beautiful Tibetan Market or visit to Shankar Monastery. Dinner and Overnight in Hotel.
DAY 14: Leh Sightseeing
After Breakfast, Guided Visit to the 3 most important Monasteries of Ladakh – Hemis, Thiksey and Shey. Overnight in Hotel.
DAY 15: Leh – Delhi (Fly)
Early morning flight back to Delhi across spectacular Ladakh Ranges: a scintillating farewell to a superb journey! Arrive in Delhi and Transfer to Hotel for Overnight. Afternoon free to spend.
DAY 16: Return flight to your home country!