(5 nights 6 days)
Participating in Kalchakra is a once-in a lifetime experience. One gets to experience the festive spirit that envelops Leh during the Kalachakra & Hemis festival and see the flamboyant, vibrant and varied tribes from across the region, all dressed in their traditional best, as they perform at Hemis Monastery, participate in festival events and break into spontaneous dances whenever they want.
- Day 1: Arrive Leh (3505 M/11500 ft.) Arrive at Leh airport from Delhi. It is a 1hr 15 minute flight with great views over the last 15 mins. Meeting and assistance on arrival and then drive for about 10 minutes to reach Leh. Check into the hotel rooms. It is critical for proper acclimatization that people flying in to Leh don’t indulge in much physical activity for at least the first 24. So, the rest of the day is reserved for relaxation and a short acclimatization walk in the vicinity.
- Day 2: Leh – Hemis Festival
Post early breakfast, drive to Hemis to witness the Hemis festival – commemorates the birth of Guru Padamasambhava. Drive back to the hotel in the evening.
Hemis Festival – The highlight of the Hemis festival is the mystic mask dances (Chams) and sacred plays by lamas, performing around the central flagpole that illustrates good prevailing over evil. Dressed in colourful bright brocades with vibrantly decorated and richly adorned paper-mache masks, the dancers simulate combat between good spirits and evil demons to the cacophony of drums, cymbals and long horns.
- Day 3: Leh – Choglamsar (attend Kalachakra) - Leh
Post early breakfast, drive to Choglamsar, “Buddha Garden” to attend The Dalai Lama’s teachings along with the monks of Namgyal Monastery and senior lamas. Drive back to Leh in the evening and spend sunset at Shanti Stupa for unforgettable views of Leh Valley & town
Optional: In the afternoon drive back and before Leh take a detour over the Indus to reach Stok Village. Enjoy a traditional Ladakhi meal in a village home, later see Stok Palace & Museum. Enjoy the rest of the day in Leh, seeing the Palace & Bazaar. Photo ops: the gompas & the monuments, the Stok & Rimo range of mountains from various vantage points, at Stok Village, in Leh Palace and at the Bazaar.
- Day 4: Leh – Choglamsar (attend the Kalachakra Ritual Dance) - Leh Post early breakfast, drive to Choglamsar, to attend the Kalachakra Ritual Dance performance by the monks of Namgyal Monastery. Drive back to Leh in the evening. Rest a while and leave for the bazaar to shop for Thangkas, Chunky antique Silver Jewelry with Turquoise embellishments, mementos, Apricots & apricot based beauty products. Bid your adieus as you enjoy a grand farewell dinner at Summer Harvest restaurant and reach you guesthouse in time to turn in for the night.
- Day 5: Leh - Pangong Tso (4260 M / 14000 ft) - Leh 150 km / 5 hrs each way Leave early morning carrying packed breakfast, on an incredible drive over Chang-La (5,475 M / 17950 ft) to reach Tangse. Stop here to enjoy breakfast in the Ladakhi style dining area of a local home-cum- guest house. If there is time, take a short detour to see a temple with some amazingly intricate wood carving and finally reach the grand Pangong Lake by afternoon. Spend a couple of hours enjoying the spectacular views of the mountains of the Changchenmo range to the north, their reflection shimmering in the ever changing blues and greens of the lakes brackish water. Have your packed lunch. Leave by 1500 hrs to cross Chang La with daylight to spare and reach hotel in Leh by say 0800 hrs.
- Day 6: Depart Leh Morning transfer to the airport in time for your return flight back home.