2015 Indian Himalayas Tour

An extended tour of the Indian Himalayas that includes the cultural sites of re-accessible Kashmir and also the unspoilt wilderness of remote Zanskar.

When?
5 - 25 July, 2015
Where?
Kashmir and Ladakh

The RSAA’s wilderness tour in 2015 will be to the Indian Himalayas, taking in both the high-altitude deserts of Ladakh and Zanskar, but also the newly re-accessible Kashmir Valley. The 21-day tour will include three short treks suitable for those of moderate fitness and agility, as well as visits to a number of important religious and cultural sites.

Members will fly directly from London to New Delhi and spend their first night in the colonial-era Maidens Hotel. The following morning we will fly straight on to Leh, and have a gentle afternoon tour of Leh Palace and the Tsemo Gompa as we acclimatise to the altitude. We will stay the night at Hotel Caravan Centre, and during the evening hope to enjoy a talk from the director of the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation (LAMO).

On our first full day in Ladakh, we will start early and visit the Shanti and Tisseru stupas before driving north from Leh to Kargil through the famous moonland landscapes. We stay overnight in Kargil and then continue south into Zanskar the following day.

Whilst in Zanskar, the party will split into two: group one will have a more strenuous, multi-day trek that includes camping, and group two will enjoy day treks and homestay accommodation. The Zanskar section of the tour will last from July 9-17. Highlights for group one will include Zamthang, Testa, Ski and Phugtar; group two will have the opportunity to visit Zangla, Zongkhul and Sheela.

Having broken our journey once again at the Nun Kun Deluxe Camp, we will continue by road north through the Suru Valley to Kargil, the town that gave its name to the 1999 war between India and Pakistan. We will arrive here mid-afternoon in time to enjoy a tour of the fascinating Aziz Bhat Museum with its collection of Central Asian trade artefacts, and dinner with the museum’s curator, Aziz Hussain Munshi.

From Kargil we travel west to Srinagar, stopping en-route at the Kargil War Memorial and to admire the views from Zoji La, the second highest point along the Srinagar-Leh Highway. We will enjoy two nights at the Taj Vivanta Hotel, which has unrivalled views across the lakes and hills, and whilst in the city visit the newly re-opened Hari Parbat Fort, take a Heritage Walking Tour of the Old City, and explore the charming Pari Mahal (Fairy Palace) at dusk. We hope also to arrange for members to have the opportunity to meet and talk with a Minister from Jammu and Kashmir Government.

On day 17 we will leave Srinagar and drive the two hours to Dudhpatri, a little-visited valley famed for its wild flowers. We will visit the Chrar-i Sharif Shrine (one of the holiest in India) and the shrine of Hazrat Sheikh Nur-ud-Din Wali, which is surrounded by seven springs. It is a short walk from Dudhpatri to Yusmarg (the Meadow of Jesus), where we will stay the night in the JKTDC Tourist Bungalows.

The following morning, guests will have the choice between spending a leisurely day in Yusmarg, or trekking to and from Sang-e Safed, a beautiful lake that remains frozen for much of the year. We will return to Srinagar by car in the early evening, finishing the day with a shikara (Kashmiri gondola) ride across Dal Lake to reach our accommodation onboard the Chicago Houseboats.

On our last day in Srinagar, we will rise early and travel by shikara to the floating vegetable market, which starts each day at dawn. After breakfast we will then continue to the famed Shalimar Gardens, where we hope to arrange a guided tour with the Head Gardener. The gardens were built by the Mughal Emperor Jahangir and then extended by his son, Shah Jahan, in 1630. In the afternoon there will be the chance to visit a reputable carpet shop or to explore Srinagar independently.

We will fly from Srinagar to New Delhi on the morning of day 20, and so members will have the chance to explore the highlights of the Indian capital on a group tour, or, if they are already well-acquainted with the city, to go off independently. We will reconvene in the evening, hopefully for a drinks reception with the British High Commission, and a farewell dinner.

This tour will be led by RSAA members Tanzin Norbu, a native of Zanskar and expert on Ladakhi Buddhism, and Sophie Ibbotson, author of the Bradt Guide to Kashmir. The cost will be £2750 per person based on two people sharing (£3000 including a single person supplement). A £750 deposit will be required to confirm your place on the tour, and the balance will be due 12 weeks before departure.

To join the tour, please complete the booking form below and send it along with your deposit to the tour operator, Indus Experiences.

Booking Form Indian Himalayas Tour

Booking Terms and Conditions 

27 SEP

UPCOMING EVENT

Under the Same Shade: Three Years of Working on the Roof of the World

Where: The Royal Asiatic Society, 14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 (Nearest tube stations Euston Square and Euston mainline).

Lecture starts at 1.15pm and finishes by 2.30pm. The sandwich lunch, from 12.30pm, must be booked by 2.30pm the day before.

Tickets: Free

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