Srinagar-Sonmarg-Kargil-Pangong Tso – Leh
|Srinagar and Leh|
|BAFFLED KASHMIR & LADAKH||Kashmir is a secret hideaway discovered by the cognoscenti a millennia ago! The grand Mughal Emperors came to relax and delight in their exquisite scented gardens. Later the British followed in their footsteps building elegant Houseboats on the famed Dal and Nagin Lakes. Kashmir is a tourist retreat, far from the maddening crowd. Relax on your private deluxe Houseboat, explore the ancient city of Srinagar, discover ancient Temples and unwind in the beauty of the mountains in Gulmarg.|
Day 1. Arrival at Srinagar
Meeting and assistance by goingindiaa representative. Transfer by a chauffeur-driven car to a Deluxe Houseboat on Dal Lake for 2 nights stay. Settle in your houseboat over a hot cup of Kahwa — a saffron enriched and almond supplemented drink to set your mood for honeymoon. Houseboats have been a part of Kashmir’s aquatic culture for centuries. They are delightful intricately carved wooden houses on Dal Lake and Nagin Lake supplied with all modern amenities. Leave for a relaxing shikara ride on Dal Lake in the evening. Overnight in Houseboat.The Shikaras are about 15 ft long with a canopy for shade. The seats and backrest are heavily cushioned, you can relax and stretch out in Moghul style for your boat journeys. While riding on Shikara you can often observe White Breasted Kingfishers (Halycon Smyrnensis), large striking birds with robust bills perched on the branches of willow trees. These birds concentrate their efforts to hunting on the floating gardens. These man-made islands comprise of reeds, willow rods, aquatic vegetations and held together with humus consisting of mud from the lake bottom. The houseboat and shikara communities have lived for centuries on the Dal, and so complete is their infrastructure on the lake, that they never have to step on land! Doctors, tailors, and bakers — you’ll see them all in tiny wooden shops on the lake, near picturesque vegetable gardens and acres of lotus gardens.
Day 2. Srinagar
After breakfast leave for sightseeing of Pari Mahal, Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Bagh and Nishat Bagh. Overnight in Houseboat.Mughal Gardens were built by the Mughals in the Islamic style of architecture. This style was heavily influenced by the Persian gardens particularly the Charbagh structure. Significant use of rectilinear layouts is made within the walled enclosures. Some of the typical features include pools, fountains and canals inside the gardens.Shalimar and Nishat Gardens have a unique setting, they are ideal for a relaxed walk or Pure relaxation under the shade of chinar trees. Views of Dal Lake from Nishat gardens are soothing to the eyes and you can see the Hari Parbat Fort across the lake. Afternoon visit of Polo View Market for a stroll in the busy town centre to buy Kashmir souvenirs.
Day 3. Excursion to Sonmarg (86 km, 2-3 hrs drive)
Today embark on a full day excursion to the picturesque Sonmarg — The Meadow of Gold. The fast flowing Sindh River makes it popular for trout and masher fishing in summer. You can opt for a pony ride to one of the glaciers for some fun in the snow and ice. Evening drive back to Srinagar. Overnight at hotel in Srinagar.
Day 4. Srinagar
Full day at leisure. Overnight at hotel in Srinagar.
Day 5. Transfer To Kargil (204 km, 6-7 hrs drive)
Kargil, the headquarter of Kargil district, is around 204 km to the east of Srinagar and 234 km to the west of Leh. It was a transit point of caravans on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarken and Kashmir till 1949. However, since 1974, with the influx of tourists, the region has been replaced as centre for tourism related activities. Tourists traveling between Zangskar, Leh and Srinagar have to make a night halt here, before starting for the second day of their journey. Overnight at hotel in Kargil.Kargil is located on the bank of the Suru River which flows at around 10,000 ft high. Here people were followers of Buddhist religion till the 14th Century AD. Presently, Kargil is inhabited by Muslims of Shia sect.
Day 6. Transfer to Leh (234 km, 6-7 hrs drive)
After early breakfast, transfer to Leh. The 7-hour journey goes via some of the picturesque locations of the region. Check-in at Hotel for 3 nights stay. Rest of the day at leisure. Overnight at hotel in Leh.
Day 7. Excursion to Shey, Thiksey and Hemis Gompa
After breakfast we proceed for Indus Valley Monastery tour including Shey — the ancient capital of Ladakh, Thiksey — an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village, and Hemis Gompa — the largest monastic foundation of Drukpa Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. Most of the other Drukpa monasteries are the branch monasteries of Hemis. Overnight at hotel in Leh.Shey is the summer Palace of royal family. A small drive ahead takes you to Thiksey where you can see the biggest future Buddha statue of Maitreya. Finally on to the richest monestry of Ladakh, Hemis — nestled between two mountains and houses the rare Buddhist artifacts and texts. It is here in the month of June – July takes place the famous Hemis Festival.
Day 8. Day Trip to Pangong Tso (154 km, 4-5 hrs drive)
Pangong Tso, Tibetan for “long, narrow, enchanted lake”, also referred to as Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 metres. It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. The lake is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. This will be the first trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the convention. Overnight at hotel in Leh.
Day 9. Departure for Leh Airport
Breakfast at the hotel, Check-out from hotel and transfer to Leh airport for your onward destination.