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MEDITATION, MONASTIC EXPERIENCE AND COMMUNITY TREKKING IN LADAKH

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July 10, 2020
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Tour Details

ABOUT THE ITINERARY

Tired of the hustle and bustle of your daily life? Do you really need to experience a life time adventure in an extraordinary Himalayan landscape far away from the ordinary world? If so, maybe this itinerary is done for you!
Perched at an altitude of over 3,500 meters, Ladakh is an isolated plateau fringed with soaring snow-capped mountains and enormous sweeping valleys, and deep turquoise lakes dot this high-altitude desert. This raw and awe-inspiring ancient land is often referred to as Little Tibet and is home to one of the best-preserved Tantric Buddhist societies in existence. This itinerary is designed to experience the essence of Buddhist spirituality in India. Ladakh region Indian Himalaya has been a spiritual land for centuries. This tour is not for everyone, but only for experienced traveller who wants to go deep into the culture and practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Ladakh — once the hub of the ancient Silk Route — is aptly described as a place where Buddhist spirituality and its ancient culture reign supreme amidst virgin nature. It’s a cold desert in northern India, dotted by tiny hamlets spread over the Himalayan peaks adjoining Tibet, where one can simultaneously have a close brush with sunburn and frostbite in summer.
To experience Himalayan Tibetan Buddhist Spiritual atmosphere and to take part in daily activities, Conscious Journeys has designed this experiential tour to Ladakh for spiritual seekers or curious travellers who wants to discover this ancient land not only from a touristic point of view. There are many tours to Ladakh, but this one is different from others. You will be willing to practice meditation in one of the most traditional centre in Ladakh and take part in a soft trekking, living in local homestays led by a women Organisation. As soon as you reach Leh, you will have the chance to take part in a two days meditation retreat. We have selected an incredibly beautiful Retreat Centre, an inspiring oasis of tranquil contemplation, located in a secluded corner, dominated by Rocky Mountains on one side and golden sand dunes on the other. The sweet scent of fragrant and jewel-like flowers, which line the footpaths of the centre, play joyfully on the senses, while enigmatic stupas, reclusive meditation caves, abundant prayer flags, and the most sacred and eye-catching Milarepa rock cave provide silent spiritual encouragement. This experience will help you in the process of acclimatization at 3500 metres altitude.
Conscious Journeys offers you a unique opportunity to stay with and share the culture of the Ladakhi people in remote villages, while trekking through the rugged habitat of the endangered snow leopard. Its authentic interactions with Ladakhi people and exploration into the core of Ladakhi culture provides a perfect opportunity that you will never forget in life. During this tour you will discover all the major monastery of the area. In Lamayuru you will meet a small community of yogis, who practice a kind of tantric meditation that was practiced in ancient Tibet by great yogis like Milarepa, Naropa. Here you will have a chance attend the Chod ritual, a very ancient tantric practice.The tour ends in Pangong Tso, meaning High Grassland Lake in Tibetan. Situated around 4,350 metres above sea level, the endorheic lake is a vivid sheet of blue with a striking backdrop of stark scree slopes and harsh arid mountains. It truly is an enchanting place, one rarely feels so close to nature amidst the unforgettable scenery.

Departure & Return Location

John F.K. International Airport (Google Map)

Departure Time

3 Hours Before Flight Time

Price Includes

  • Assistance upon arrival and departure
  • Accommodation on twin sharing basis
  • Breakfast in Delhi
  • Breakfast , Lunch and Dinner at Mahabodhi retreat centre
  • Breakfast and Dinner in Leh
  • Fight from Delhi to Leh & Leh to Delhi
  • All the sight seeing by Ac car. (Point to point as per tour program)
  • 01 mineral water bottles per person per day
  • Local guide for sight seeing and trekking
  • Environment fee / Entry fee to all sites
  • All applicable present government taxes
  • Donation to NGO

Price Excludes

  • Single room supplement ($550 USD)
  • *Medical and Travel Insurance (Compulsory)*
  • International flight ticket
  • Visa fee (You must obtain your own Visa)
  • Drinks (Alcoholic)
  • Any Kind of Personal Expenses, Optional Tours
  • Tips to local guide and driver
  • Anything not specified under the head "Prices included"
  • Extra meals above Itinerary, Laundry, Telephone Charges
  • Any type of Natural Crises, Road Blocking and Flight Delay Charges

Complementaries

  • Umbrella
  • Sunscreen
  • T-Shirt
  • Entrance Fees
ACTIVITIES

There are many tours in Ladakh, but this is very different from all the others. You will have the opportunity to practice meditation in one of the most traditional centers of Ladakh and to do light trekking, staying in homestays managed by a women’s organization. During this tour we will visit all the major monasteries in the area. In Lamayuru there will be a meeting with a small community of yogis, who practice a sort of tantric meditation, already practiced in ancient Tibet by great yogis like Milarepa, Naropa.

  • Explore Delhi with its ancient neighbourhoods and modern buildings,
  • Practice meditation during 2 days residential retreat,
  • Visit the Tibetan refugee community in the village of Choglamsar,
  • Choose your favourite cave where to practice meditation
  • Discover an integrated development project of Devachan
  • Explore fascinating labyrinth of winding streets in Leh,
  • Visit the spectacular eight-storey of Leh Palace
  • Admire a beautiful sunset from Shanti stupa
  • Learn the activities and mission of the Women’s Alliance of Ladakh
  • Experience a morning prayer with monks in Thikshey Monastery,
  • Visit the most famous and largest monastery of Ladakh, Hemis
  • Experience three days easy trekking in the Sham Valley with a Women Association
  • Explore Likir monastery
  • Take the chance to interact with your host family during the trekking
  • Discover Alchi monastery,
  • Meet and interact with Yogis and attend the Chod prayer lead by Yogis in the meditation centre of Lamayuru
  • Unwind in Pangong Tso lake, a secluded water body tucked in the Himalayas, wears the deepest shade of azure and flaunts a beautiful scenery, cultural performances and activities
  • Historical and archaeological sites sightseen
Itinerary

Day 1ARRIVAL AT DELHI

Arrival at Delhi airport. Transfer to hotel for some rest. Some of the most famous attractions are the Qutub Minar, the Red Fort, the Mughal Gardens, the Akshardham Temple, Lotus Temple, Raj Ghat etc. After some rest you will visit the Jama Masjid, the mainthe main mosque in Old Delhi (every day nearly 25,000 people visit and pray inside this mosque). An ancient copy of the holy Quran is also preserved here, which was written on Deer skin. Visit small lanes of this part of the city such as Chawri Bazar, one of the busiest street of Old Delhi. After you will visit the Red Fort, known as LalQila or Qil’ah” was constructed by the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. The fort was originally the palace of the Mughal emperor, after the capital was moved from Agra to Delhi. Delhi was the capital of the Mughals until the revolt of 1857. Overnight in Delhi.

Day 2FLY TO LEH

After an early breakfast, you are transferred to the domestic airport for your flight to Leh. This must be one of the most sensational flights in the world. On a clear day from one side of the aircraft can be seen in the distance the peaks of K2, Nanga Parbat, Gasherbrum and on the other side of the aircraft, so close that you feel you could reach out and touch it, is the Nun Kun massif. Upon arrival, you will be transferred to your hotel. You would take a little time to settle in and acclimatize since you have gone from a relatively low elevation in New Delhi to over 3.500 metres! You will spend the day acclimatizing and enjoying the beautiful landscapes. Overnight in Leh

Day 3MEDITATION RETREAT CHOGLAMSAR

After breakfast transfer to Choglamsar about 10 km from Leh for 2 nights meditation retreat. On the outskirts of Leh resides a large Tibetan refugee community in the village of Choglamsar, an idea that sprang from concerns of XIV Dalai Lama for the Tibetan Settlement in Ladakh. Devachan meditation camp is dominated by Rocky Mountains on one side and golden sand dunes on the other. The place with its enigmatic stupas, reclusive meditation kuties, abundant prayer flags, and the most sacred and eye-catching Milarepa rock cave provide an ideal occasion for spiritual engagement. These 2 days meditation courses will be conducted by Bhikkhu Sanghasena, founder and spiritual Director of Meditation Centre and the course will be based on the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. This retreat will be useful to acclimatize with the altitude and to have a direct experience of spiritual practices of Buddhism.
Overnight at Mahabodhi Society

Day 4MEDITATION RETREAT CHOGLAMSAR

After breakfast transfer to Choglamsar about 10 km from Leh for 2 nights meditation retreat. On the outskirts of Leh resides a large Tibetan refugee community in the village of Choglamsar, an idea that sprang from concerns of XIV Dalai Lama for the Tibetan Settlement in Ladakh. Devachan meditation camp is dominated by Rocky Mountains on one side and golden sand dunes on the other. The place with its enigmatic stupas, reclusive meditation kuties, abundant prayer flags, and the most sacred and eye-catching Milarepa rock cave provide an ideal occasion for spiritual engagement. These 2 days meditation courses will be conducted by Bhikkhu Sanghasena, founder and spiritual Director of Meditation Centre and the course will be based on the essence of the Buddha’s teachings. This retreat will be useful to acclimatize with the altitude and to have a direct experience of spiritual practices of Buddhism.
Overnight at Mahabodhi Society

Day 5VISIT THE PALACE LEH

After the 2 days meditation program you are ready to discover with more consciousness the essence of Ladakh, a real backpacker’s heaven with numerous trekking trails, valleys, and picturesque lakes, renowned as the land of monks and monasteries. After breakfast transfer to Leh. Today you will discover the fascinating labyrinth of winding streets and quaint bazaars. The main street is open and airy, with rows of shops on either side. You will visit the spectacular eight-storey Leh Palace looming above, overlooking the town, was built in the 16th century, about the same time as the Potala in Lhasa which it resembles. Late afternoon walk towards Shanti Stupa to admire a beautiful sunset from the stupa.
Overnight in Leh

Day 6NGO INTERACTION LEH

After breakfast visit Stok palace which houses a fine private museum. There is a superb collection of thangkhas, said to be the best in the world. In the afternoon you will visit Women’s Alliance of Ladakh, a local NGO that works on strengthening local communities to provide for their own needs of finding a way of counter-development. The organization concentrate son self-sustaining farming, the use of renewable energy and education, traditional medicine and mindful tourism. Here you will watch a movie about Ladakh and their activities.
Overnight in Leh

Day 7MONASTERY EXPLORATION HEMIS

After an early morning breakfast, we will drive to Thiksey and Hemis monastery for the morning prayer. Thikshey Monastery, perched on a rock-strewn hill, resembles the Potala in the Tibetan capital Lhasa famous for its architecture and location. Located on top of the hill in Indus Valley, the 12-storeys monastery has 10 temples, assembly hall, rare and precious stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. The monastery housed a big statue of the Maitreya Buddha, the purity of whose gaze invites reflection and silent meditation. Morning Prayer at Thiksey Monastery. Later visit Hemis Monastery, the most famous and largest monastery of Ladakh, which belongs to Drukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. During the colourful festival, which takes place every year in the Monastery, you will have the chance to observe the Cham Dance or the Mystic Mask Dance. The monks in flowing brocade costumes and brightly painted paper mache masks depicting demons, perform the chams or masked dance to demonstrate how goodness came to prevail over evil. sar
Overnight in Leh.

Day 8TREKKING YANGTHANG

Today you will start for a three days easy trekking in the Sham Valley with the Ladakhi Women Association, a responsible tourism initiative. We will drive to Likir. where you will have a chance to visit the Monastery, built in the 11th century and known for the 75 m tall Buddha statue. After the visit we will start the easy trekking for around 5 hours, a perfect way to explore cultural and natural heritages of the Sham. The itinerary is easy to follow, because the aim is not to reach the summit the highest peaks the trip becomes not only the destination itself but to increase awareness through slow trekking approach. You will cross Pobe La pass (3550m) and descend to Sumdo (3470m), a tiny village of 2 households in a small river valley. Rest under shady trees, before ascending to Charatse La pass (3650m).
Overnight in Yangthan

Day 9TREKKING HEMIS SHUPACHAN

After breakfast in your homestays start another day of easy trekking (approximately 3 hours) towards Hemis Shukpachu (3690m). You will cross Sarmanchan La pass (3750m) and descend to the large, prosperous village of Hemis Shukpachu. The village has a grove of juniper trees. There are not too many juniper trees in Ladakh and hence, Hemis-shukpachan is famous for having a grove of them! The trees, held sacred by the local people, are protected by the Forest Department. Time to explore the village with your host family.
Overnight in Hemis Shupachan

Day 10MONASTERY VISIT ALCHI

After breakfast start your trekking (around 4/5 hours) towards to Temisgang (3200m). You will have a gradual walk up to Mebtak La pass (3820m), then short steep down. Enjoy mountain views as you walk towards the steep zig-zag path up to Lago La pass (3820m). Keep watching for Ladakh Urial. As you reach Temisgang visit the monastery and palace. Later you will visit Alchi monastery before drop you in Lamayuru. Alchi monastery, founded in the 11th century by Rinchen Zangpo the Great Translator, was richly decorated by an artist from Kashmir and Tibet. The monastery is well-known for its magnificent well-preserved 11th or 12th century wall paintings. The monastery is maintained by monks from Likir and is no longer a place for active worship. After the visit drive to Lamayuru. Our journey weaves through remote mountain passes and deep river valleys that embed themselves eternally in your heart and mind.
Overnight in Lamayuru

Day 11CHOD RITUAL LAMAYURU

After breakfast we will visit the monastery. This 11th century monastery is not only the oldest and most picturesque, but is said to be the earliest seat of learning in Ladakh. It serves as a seat for the Drikung Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. We will climb to Lamayuru meditation center. Lamayuru meditation center hosts a small community of yogis, who practice a kind of tantric meditation that was practiced in ancient Tibet by great yogis like Milarepa, Naropa. You will have a chance to meet and interact with Yogis and attend the Chod prayer lead by Yogis.
Chod ritual is an esoteric tantric practice aiming at cutting your ego or attachment to your body by mental visualizing the offering of your body to all sentient being especially to the restless hungered creatures of the spirit world. Later we will have lunch at the retreat Centre with a typical local style. After lunch drive back to Leh. If time permits, we will stop at Rizong Gompa. Rizong is one of few monasteries in Ladakh which houses women monks called ‘Chomos’. Its small Gompa is situated deep inside a narrow valley. also called “The paradise for Meditation”.
Overnight in Leh

Day 12VISIT PANGONG LAKE

Departure towards Pangong lake. On the way visit Chemre Monastery. We proceed to Taktok Gompa which is a monastery within a cave with beautiful wall paintings. A collection of multicolored yak butter candle sculptures made by the head lama can also be seen. Arrival at Spangmik village, enjoying beautiful views of mountains of the Chang-Chenmo Range and snow-capped peaks of the Pangong Range from the village. Several glaciers located on the north west of the Pangong Lake are also visible from the village.
Overnight at Spangmik.

Day 13TRANSFER TO LEH

Visit Pangong Lake (4,267 m). which is bisected by the international border between India and China. Spending some free time at the beautiful lake, possibility of swimming, meditation or practicing yoga. Return Back to Leh. Overnight at Leh

Day 14DEPART FROM LEH AIRPORT

Transfer to Leh airport and depart for your international flight via Delhi.

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