Tibetan Life in India
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Last updated: 02/19/2009
Immerse yourself in the daily life of Little Tibet. In this remote region, see Buddhist monks, glorious stupas, and rainbow prayer flags, all set against a backdrop of vast snow-capped mountains.
ManaliThis module begins in Manali. You can arrive in Manali from Dharamsala by private transfer or from Delhi via overnight train and then car. Manali is a perfect departure point for your journey, which will take you over the second highest black-top road in the world. Set in peaceful valley, Manali is an easy-going town popular with Indian honeymooners and nature-loving hippies. The valley is a mountain Shangri-La filled with traditional farmer's houses, orchards, fields, cows, and refreshing waterfalls. For the first time, you'll begin to feel the altitude (2100 metres â close to 7000 feet), so try to take things easy. Altitude sickness is something that you may experience as you climb higher into the Himalayas. For more information about altitude sickness, click here.During your stay, you can enjoy a relaxing soak in the natural hot springs at nearby Vashisht. This is a 3km walk from Manali alongside a fast-flowing river through flower-filled grassland. Drinking tea helps to combat the effects of altitude, and there are dozens of cosy teahouses in Manali. You can also drop in on the Hadimba wooden temple and eat in one of the lovely restaurants in Old Manali. Your welcoming hotel is located in this Old Quarter, nestled amongst thick pine trees.
Manali - KeylongYou'll make an early start today for the long drive to Keylong (about 7hrs). From Manali, you'll climb higher and higher, leaving the green landscape behind you as you pass the tree line. You'll head towards the mountain peaks and ever deeper valleys. On the way, you'll climb over a mountain pass at a height of about 4,000 metres (13,120 feet) and you'll really feel the altitude here as the cool wind whips about your face. You'll also notice that the altitude is affecting your breathing. You'll be surrounded by gigantic peaks towering at over 6,000 metres (19,700 feet), stopping regularly to enjoy the jaw-dropping views. This is, quite literally, the high point of the day. Finally, you'll descend a little into the small village of Keylong, where you'll spend a night in a comfortable hotel.
Keylong - LehToday, you'll set off on the long journey on to Leh (approximately 12hrs). After leaving Keylong, you'll climb even higher into the Himalayas. Already well above the tree line, you'll find yourself amidst a stony desert of snow. You'll cross high mountain passes that will have your heart in your mouth, and vast sandy plains with no signs of life. When you make rest stops, you can enjoy some steaming masala chai, spiced with cardamom and cloves. Be sure to drink lots of water at all times, keeping altitude sickness at bay. Finally, at the end of the day you'll pull into the green Leh Valley. After the exhausting trip, you'll probably want to do absolutely nothing, and this is precisely what you can do. You'll spend the next two nights in a cosy guesthouse in Leh.
LehThere's nothing planned for today, so you'll have plenty of time to get used to the altitude and take a look around Leh. The town lies at 3,500 metres (11,480 feet) above sea level and there is a nine-storey palace in the historic town that looks very similar to the Potala in Lhasa. You can also visit the bazaar, overloaded with colourful jewellery and wonderful Tibetan textiles. Alternatively, find a bench in the crisp sunshine and settle down with a good book. Most importantly, take everything at a relaxed pace.
Leh - Tibetan monastery excursion by jeep
Today, your english-speaking guide will collect you from the guesthouse by jeep. Today is monastery day, and your first stop will be Shey Monastery, the oldest in the area. Shey Gompa Monastery stands on the far side of an extensive grass plain lined with conifers and surrounded by steep bare walls of rock. Inside the complex, there is a statue of Buddha reaching a staggering height of over 12 metres.
From here, you'll travel to one of the best places for observing religious ceremonies in India. In Thikse Monastery, you'll see monks praying, chanting, ringing bells and blowing horns that echo around the valley. Watching the ceremony and soaking up the atmosphere, surrounded by the overpowering Himalayas, you're sure to feel tingles down your spine. The last monastery you'll visit today is Hemis, the largest and richest of the three. The inner courtyard here is filled with colourful fluttering prayer flags and there are traditional Thangka pictures hanging on the walls. At the end of this remarkable afternoon, you'll go back to your guesthouse in Leh where you can sip a cup of chai and try some Indian sweets.
Leh - End of the moduleToday, you can take your time to enjoy a tasty breakfast while the sun slowly warms the valley. The module ends after this, and you'll be free to continue with the rest of your trip. We can arrange a flight back to Delhi for you, and you can easily travel to other areas of India from there.Looking for even more adventure? If so, you can link an exciting 4-day trek to this module. During the trek you'll stay in local homes, giving you an intimate behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in the Himalayas. You'll walk approximately 4 hours each day and visit typical Tibetan monasteries along the way. Click here for more information about the Himalayan homestay module.
- Inclusions -
- Transfer Manali - Keylong -Leh, accommodation with breakfast, excursions with guide.
- Exclusions -
- International flight, all other meals and excursions.
- Extras -
- This module is based on 2 sharing a private trip (no group tours)and runs daily from Manali, between the end of June and the middle of September. Accommodation is basic but clean and comfortable.
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