Shakti Ladakh with Taj Mahal
Arrive in Delhi (International flight details awaited). On exiting the aerobridge you will be met and assisted through the airport’s immigration and baggage reclaim and then in the arrival hall you will meet our representative who will assist you to your vehicle and transfer to the hotel.
Standard check-in time at hotel is 1400 hrs.
The capital of India, Delhi is home to 16 million people, making it the third largest city in India. The strategic location of the city made it an attractive location for invading armies, and it served as the capital for many great empires that ruled India. Many of these Empires built significant monuments, and whilst the Mughal and the British are the most visible, while driving through the city you will see ruins from previous capitals, the earliest dating back to the 12th century.
Overnight: The Imperial
This morning after breakfast you will be taken for the sightseeing tour Delhi.
Pulsing with energy and colour, Old Delhi is laced by a maze of narrow lanes, which twist and turn between the tall, leaning buildings. You will witness the hustle and bustle of thronged bazaars where you will experience the full sights, sounds and aromas indicative of the Indian sub-continent. In Old Delhi you will visit the famous Red Fort surrounded by shops and bazaars, the Jama Masjid with its tapering minarets and wonderful marble domes and Chandni Chowk. In Old Delhi you will also have an opportunity to experience a rickshaw ride.
Also will visit the Gurudwara Bangla Sahib, the temple of the Sikhs. Their turbans and beards make the men easily identifiable with the sect. Sikhism developed as an antithesis to the caste ridden and ritualistic forms of Hinduism and developed as a simple religion whose foundation was “sewa” – socially responsibility irrespective of a person’s social standing. Thus every Sikh Temple has the famous community kitchen, where it is considered a privilege to assist cooking the food and serving a simple meal to pilgrims, the economically challenged or a visitor.
You will also drive through the government buildings area. You will glimpse the magnificent Parliament Building, built in a circular shape supported by 144 pillars. The Rashtrapati Bhawan (the official residence of the President of India) is spread over 330 acres and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens. Also drive past the India Gate, an arch which is a war memorial and honours the 90,000 soldiers of the British-Indian army, who lost their lives fighting for the British during WW1.
Visit Humanyun’s Tomb was built in the 16th century and is architecturally considered the forerunner of the Taj Mahal. Commissioned by the widow of Humayun, the second Mughal emperor, it was subsequently used as a burial place for members of the royal family. Today it is one of the most beautiful sites of North India.
Overnight: The Imperial
This morning after breakfast, you will be escorted to the airport to board the flight for Leh:
Flight: G8-221 (Go Air)
Departs Delhi: 0925 Hrs
Arrive Leh: 1050 Hrs
On arrival at Leh Airport (3332m/10928ft), please proceed to the arrivals hall where you can collect your baggage and register yourself at the foreign registration counter, where foreigners must register. Once you have collected your luggage and have registered, please proceed outside the airport, where a representative from ‘Mountain Trails’ will meet you. Please note that Shakti guides are not allowed into the airport, hence why we use a local agent and that your guide will be waiting for you at the village house. You will then be driven to our village houses in Nimoo around an hour from the airport.
Nimoo (3190m/10463ft) is a large village situated 36km west of Leh along the Indus valley at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers. The village is characterized by impressive mountain scenery, and is considered exceptionally fertile in Ladakhi terms – lush green fields and apricot, apple, and walnut orchards abound.
As you will be acclimatizing today, we recommend that you spend the day taking it very easy relaxing at your house. Your guide will give you thorough briefing of your itinerary today.
Enjoy an early dinner prepared by your private chef.
This morning after breakfast, depending on how you are feeling, you will be taken on a two hour walk of the village of Nimoo by your guide. You will get a fascinating insight into rural Ladakhi life before returning to the village house for lunch.
After lunch, relax in the village house or visit the Basgo Fort in the late afternoon. At Basgo (3295m/10808ft) there are three ‘Future Buddha’ monasteries completed in the 16th century and the ruins of a fort that is interesting for its Islamic architecture. You could also take a short walk around Basgo village, depending on how you are feeling.
This evening, you may wish to cycle around the beautiful village of Nimoo and beyond on scenic routes.
Drinks followed by dinner will be served by your private chef.
After a leisurely breakfast, you will be driven for one hour up the Zanskar canyon to the village of Chilling (3236m/10614ft) .Chilling is a settlement that is traditionally home to metal smiths and is the only village in Ladakh that has provided copper, bronze, tin, silver and iron work to Leh through the centuries. Your guide will take you for a walk around the village of Chilling and you will get the chance to see the local metal smith at work.
You will then have the option to raft for 2 hours to the shores of Nimoo, ending at the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus River. Return to your village house in Nimoo to dry up and enjoy hot lunch. After lunch, spend some time relaxing at the village house.
We have beautiful terrace patios at our rooftops where you can sit comfortably and read any of the books from our small library collection at the house.
This evening, we will organize a cooking lesson with your private chef. Try your hand in learning how to make a few local dishes.
Drinks followed by dinner will be served later at the village house.
After breakfast, you will be driven for one hour to Alchi (3120m/10233ft). Alchi is the only monastery in Ladakh to be built on flat ground. The temple was founded in the 11th century and is particularly interesting for its Indian and Kashmiri influences.
Enjoy a picnic lunch at the pretty village of Saspol. You will then be driven for an hour to the picturesque village of Likhir.
Shakti Village House at Likhir is located at the head of the Likhir valley, high above the monastery with its famous giant gold Buddha. Likhir is Shakti’s only two bedroom house and was chosen for its magnificent valley views with a range of snow capped mountains beyond, possibly the best view in Ladakh. The house is owned by a talented local carpenter and his elderly parents who farm the land around the house. This is a very rural setting but one that is close to monasteries and excellent walks in the western end of the Indus Valley. The two bedrooms, terrace and sitting room all face the main valley view and the rooms incorporate local willow weaving that is done by the family. This house is a smallholding that has been renovated with sensitivity and style for our guests.
Visit the Likhir monastery with your guide. It also has a school where approximately 40 monks study per year. A visit to the monastery will leave you struck by the beauty of the illustrative paintings on the walls, the spectacular 25 foot statue of the Buddha.
Later today should you wish to trek, you set out on a walk up to the grazing grounds of Likhir. Walk upwards for about half an hour till the road disappears and you come across a small glacial stream. Cross over the stream to the other side and start ascending a trail for about an hour till you get further upstream to the Likhir summer pastures. There is only one settlement in the grazing ground, where an old lady spends her entire summer at this settlement grazing her yaks and sheep and looking after them.
The hike can be discussed with your private guide and further extended depending on how you are feeling.
The Likhir living room is stocked with some interesting books and games. You may spend the evening unwinding and playing a round of scrabble!
Enjoy drinks and dinner at your village house in Likhir.
Overnight: Shakti Likhir Village House
This morning after a leisurely breakfast, you will have the option to be driven for approximately 2.5 hours to Lamayuru, known for its moonscape. Lamayuru monastery is the most ancient monastery of Ladakh, founded in the 10th century. According to popular folktale Lamayuru was once a lake. Your guide will take you on a walk around Lamayuru monastery.
A picnic lunch will be organised at a lovely spot on your way back to Likhir village.
En-route, you may wish to stop and visit the interesting Rizong Monastery, also called “the paradise for meditation” the monastery is noted for its extremely strict rules and standards followed by each monk who meditates here. Visit the monastery and take a walk in the surrounding area with your guide.
Alternatively if you are keen on trekking, you may set out on a hike towards the village of Yangthang for about 4-5 hrs. The hike is flexible and can be discussed with your guide and adapted depending on how you are feeling.
This walk is a portion of the ‘Sham valley’ trek named after the Sham region of lower Ladakh. It is a moderate trek with great scenery and passing through villages dotted with apricot, and willow and poplar trees. The trail traverses across two passes. From Likhir the route heads west up to Phobe La (3580m) and beyond this lays the Sumdo village. The trail goes steadily upwards till you get to Chagatse La (3630m).
Across the pass is the village of Yangthang (3630m). We will organize a picnic lunch for you at Yangthang. After lunch you will be driven back for 1.5 hours back to your village house in Likhir.
Drinks and dinner will be served later at the village house
Overnight: Shakti Likhir Village House
This morning after a leisurely breakfast, you will be driven for 1.5 hours to the charming village of Phyang. Explore the village with your guide, walking further to reach Phyang monastery which houses a 900-year-old museum and contains numerous sacred shrines and frescoes dating from the royal period.
Enjoy a picnic lunch with the dramatic Phyang monastery in the backdrop. You will then be driven for an hour to your next village house– The River house.
The River House located in Stakna’s neighboring village Ranbirpur. The two villages are separated by the river Indus. It is surrounded by the Stok Kangri range, and offers spectacular views of the mountains and three monasteries – Stakna, Matho & Thiksey. Interestingly, a hillock located close to the river house is believed to have once housed a castle of “Bon”, an ancient religion that dominated Ladakh in the pre-Buddhist era. It is our first 4 Bedroom en suite property in Ladakh and perfect for large families and groups of friends. It is located on the banks of the Indus, with stunning views from the bedrooms and two of the bathrooms.
Later today, if you are feeling active, you may take a walk to the interesting Stakna monastery located across the river from the River house. The name Stakna, literally meaning ‘tiger’s nose’ was given because it was built on a hill shaped like a tiger’s nose. Founded in the late 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar; the Stakna monastery is the residence of about 30 Monks.
This evening, we could arrange for you to visit an oracle close by. Oracles in Ladakh are said to have healing powers and are fortune tellers as well.
Drinks and dinner will be served later at the village house.
Overnight: Shakti River House
For those who are prepared to get up at around five am, we recommend starting early and driving for 30 minutes to Thiksey monastery (3400m/11152ft) to experience the early morning Buddhist prayers (you would need to leave at five thirty).This is subject to monastery timing.
Built around 600 years ago, Thiksey monastery is one of the finest examples of Ladakhi religious architecture. The monastery consists of twelve levels ascending the hillside crowned by the current lama’s private residence. Below the monastery proper are chapels and houses stretching down the hillside where one hundred monks of the Yellow Hat Buddhist sect reside. You could spend some time the Amchi who is a Ladakhi medicine man and return to your village house for breakfast.
You will then proceed to Hemis monastery (3500m/11480ft) which is an hour away, around early noon. You will have the option to either drive or you may cycle up till the Matho monastery, from where you will be driven to Hemis. Belonging to the Red Hat sect, Hemis was built in 1630 and is Ladakh’s largest monastery. It is an impressive and intriguing experience. After you have visited the monastery and the museum with your guide, you will have a picnic lunch at a nearby spot. After lunch, you could take a short walk around the monastery, a 3 km uphill walk to the caves.
Alternatively if you are keen on trekking, you will have the option of taking a full day hike. The hike we are recommending is the first day of the four day return trek to the top of Stok Kangri, which is the highest mountain in the Stok range and Ladakh’s most famous mountain.
You will follow a small river up a narrow valley for around an hour and a half to two hours until you reach Changma where there is a tea house. The higher you climb, the more impressive the scenery gets with some beautiful and unusual rock formations and stunning views of the Stok range. You may wish to finish your hike at Changma after having a picnic lunch (that our porters will have carried with you), returning the way you came. For those who are feeling fitter, it is well worth walking another hour to hour and a half to Moncarmo (4250m/13,727ft) where again there is nothing but a teahouse and even more stunning views.
This evening we can arrange for a Buddhist monk to come visit you and share stories of his way of life.
Tonight you will have your farewell drinks and dinner at the village house.
Overnight: Shakti River House
Early this morning after breakfast you will be driven for an hour to the domestic airport for your flight to Delhi.
Flight: G8 204 (Go Air)
Departs Leh: 0820 Hrs
Arrive Delhi: 0955 Hrs
Upon arrival you will be driven to Agra (approx 4 hours), you will be met by our representative in the arrival who will assist you with the check-in at hotel.
This was the seat of the mighty Mughal Empire before it shifted its capital to Delhi, and it is home to some of their most inspired architectural creations including the Taj Mahal. In the 16th and 17th century, the Mughal Courts were at their most powerful, and were great patron of the arts, and Agra attracted artisans, poets and musicians from across India as well as Persia and Central Asia, transforming Agra into a cultural and architectural paradise
Overnight: The Oberoi Amarvilas
Early this morning visit the Taj Mahal at sunrise.
The Taj Mahal is at its best at sunrise – just when the light, playing on the marble of the tomb and the reflections in the stillness of the waters, presents this incredible building in all its beauty, majesty and splendor. It is a monument of love built by Shah Jehan in 1630 for his Queen, Mumtaz Mahal to enshrine her mortal remains. For twenty two years 20,000 men labored day and night to build this masterpiece, which has held the world awe struck ever since. The Taj Mahal is truly one of the wonders of the world.
Return to the hotel for breakfast.
Later you will be take for the sightseeing of Agra. Agra Fort – When the Mughal Emperor Akbar established his supremacy in Northern India, he began his first architectural venture, rebuilding the fort as a beautiful fort palace. The work was completed by his son and grandson, highlighting the Mughal’s ability to blend defensive and decorative architecture. Richly decorated with marble and mosaic, it was in a part of this fort that Shah Jahan spent the last years of his life, imprisoned by his son Aurangzeb. His private quarters where he was confined, has a magical view of the Taj Mahal across the river Yamuna.
You may also stop to see the tomb of Itmad-ud-Daulah which is the third of Agra’s great monuments. It was the first Mughal building to use the craft of facing buildings with white marble and decorating them with inlaid semi-precious stones, and art which reached its zenith in the Taj Mahal. Though lacking the grandeur and artistry of the Taj Mahal, Itmad ud Daulah it is small, intimate and serene.
Overnight: The Oberoi Amarvilas
- Shakti Ladakh: Walking tours, cycling along with cultural experiences such as monastery visits, morning prayers, a private interaction with a head monk, visiting and oracle and a Tibetan medicine man
- Agra: Sunrise Visit to Taj Mahal
- Start destination:
- New Delhi
- Final destination:
- 11 nights and 12 days
‑ Accommodation for 11 nights at the hotels as mentioned above
‑ Breakfast at the hotel in Delhi & Agra
‑ All meals in Ladakh
‑ Transport in an Air conditioned Toyota Innova throughout the tour.
‑ All activities in Shakti
‑ Services of an English speaking local guide for Delhi & Agra
– Services of an English speaking accompanying guide for Shakti portion
‑ Entrances to the monuments/monasteries as per the itinerary
– Special activities as mentioned in the itinerary
‑ Porters’ fee at the airports only
‑ All currently applicable taxes
- Not included:
– International/Domestic air fare, visa fees, airport tax or any kind of insurance cover.
– Items of personal nature like drinks, laundry, telephone calls, tips, camera fees etc.
– Any other meals than those mentioned in the itinerary.
– Car at disposal or any sightseeing on leisure days – unless specified above.
– Early check-in or a late check-out room (s) at any hotel (s) – unless specified above.
-Liability for change in itinerary due to reasons beyond our control like change in flight
and train schedule cancellation of flights/trains, political disturbances, natural
– Any other item not specifically mentioned above as ‘INCLUDED’.
– Any other Govt. tax increase.