This epic adventure tour takes you to Hemis National Park in Ladakh, India's best-protected area for Snow Leopards spotting. Being whitish-grey in color (tinged with yellow) and patterned with dark grey rosettes and spots, the Snow Leopard exhibits superb camouflage for its mountain environment of bare rocks and snow. It is on account of its reclusive nature that it is often referred to as the Grey Ghost of the Himalayas.
Since Snow Leopards are generally found at elevations between 3000-4500m, the trek takes you through stunning Himalayan alpine and sub-alpine zoneswhere vegetation is sparse and temperatures are extreme. Snow Leopards are most active at dawn and dusk and show a strong preference for cliffy habitat with moderately to very broken terrain, rocky outcrops and ravines. They are opportunistic predators and are known to take prey up to three times their own weight, though a large part of their diet comprises of small prey like marmots, pika, hare, birds and domestic livestock.
Accompanying us are expert naturalists and local trackers whose local expertise in this harsh terrain and their intrinsic training to look for the minutest evidences like pugmarks, scrapes and scats to track this elusive cat, is unmatched. While the sighting of this mysterious cat can in no way be guaranteed, the Snow Leopard Trek offers a unique opportunity to understand this amazing specimen and its habitat while trekking through some spectacular scenery.
The present global distribution of Snow Leopards is in the high mountain ranges of Central Asia scattered over 12 countries in fragmented habitats. Highly endangered throughout its range in Asia, the loss of habitat and prey, poaching and retaliation killings blamed for livestock losses have reduced its numbers to dangerously low levels. Wild World India promotes community-driven home-stays in the region supported by the Snow Leopard Conservancy program.
Note : - Temperature in Ladakh could go from -3 to 30 degrees Celsius. In Husing expect drastic fluctuations in the daily temperature, therefore it is advisable to carry warm jackets, windcheaters, gloves, woolen cap, walking shoes, goggles, lip-balm, thick socks and light woolen clothes.
Day 01 Arrive Delhi
Arrive Delhi. On arrival, you will be greeted and assisted by our representative and transferred to the hotel.
On arrival in hotel, check in (Rooms will be available from 1200 hrs). In its 3000 years of existence; seven cities have risen where the present capital of India stands. Here you'll encounter a fascinating blend of the ancient and the contemporary. Where government buildings, medieval palaces and bazaars exist beside a modern metropolis. Delhi is a city waiting to be explored.
Overnight at the Hotel.
Day 02 Delhi - Leh (By Flight)
Early morning we transfer to the airport to connect flight to Leh, the capital of Ladakh, also famous as “Small Tibet”, lying at an altitude of 3500m in a fertile valley of the Indus river. Half day free for acclimatize. After lunch drive to visit Sankar Gompa & Shanti Stupa. Later walk upto Leh palace and walk around local market.
Overnight in the hotel.
Day 03 Leh
Today go for Alchi excursion en-route visit Likir & Basgo
Alchi Gompa dates back to the year 1000 AD and was built by the Translator, Rinchen Zangpo. He even made a reference about the monastery in his biographies. It is written that he brought thirty-two sculptors and wood carvers from Kashmir, for the construction of the Alchi Monastery of Leh Ladakh. The monastery is sited at a distance of approximately 67 km to the west of Leh. One can easily see an Indian touch in this monastery, especially in the way its paintings have been made.
Likir Gompa The name Likir means "The Naga - Encircled". The reason behind this naming of Likir Gompa of Ladakh is that it stands surrounded by the bodies of the two great serpent spirits, the Naga-rajas, Nanda and Taksako. The monastery is situated at a distance of
approximately 62 km to the west of Leh town. Lhachen Gyalpo, the fifth king of Ladakh, offered the site where the monastery now stands, to Lama Duwang Chosje. The Lama, a great champion of meditation, blessed the site offered to him, after which the construction on the monastery was undertaken.
Basgo the seat of power of a branch of the Namgyal family. It is here in 1680 A.D. that invading Mongol and Tibetan armies were held in check over a three year long seige. Original 16th century murals and other arts of Basgo are well worth a visit. Later return back to Leh.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 04 Leh
After breakfast, drive out for an excursion trip to Thakthok, Chemday & Stakna monastery Thakthok Monastery is situated in the village of Sakti. Before the monastery was founded there was a meditation cave of a Mahaadiddha called Kunga Phuntsog. After him, during the lifetime of the Dharmaraja Teswang Namgial, 31st, in the line of the royal dynasty.
Chemday Monastery is situated 40 Kms east of Leh. The monastery is situated there on the mountain side and was founded 365 years ago by Lama Tagsang Raschen with the Dharmaraja Singey Namgial acting as patron. There is a sacred image of Padmasambhava to be seen there, one storey in height. There are, furthermore, many shrines. A custom exists whereby every year on the 28th & 29th days of the 9th Tibetan month sacred dances are performed in association with the festival of an initiatory ritual. The successive reincarnations of Lama Tagsang Raschen act as the incumbents. Stakna gompa, which is famous for its numerous statues and paintings.
Overnight at the hotel (Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner)
Day 05 Leh / Phey (Drive: Approx. 12 kms / 30 minutes) / Hemis National Park (Trek to Camp 5-6 hrs. Elevation: 12,400’)
After breakfast, drive to Phey Bridge, and start walking along the Indus River towards Zingchen Gorge. Continue up the gorge, a dramatic entry to the snow leopard’s high altitude home in Hemis National Park. Hemis National Park is situated in the eastern part of Ladakh with a general elevation over 3000 meters. It covers an area of 600 sq.kms in the valleys of Markha and Rumbak. This high altitude protected area was created in 1981 for the conservation and protection of it’s unique flora and fauna. The terrain surrounding the Park is generally rocky with thin soil cover supporting a poor vegetation growth. Streams and Rivers have laid a thick deposit of sand along their banks.
The climate of the area is sub-arctic to arctic with less rainfall during summers and heavy snowfall during winters and temperature dropping to much below freezing point. Summers are short and mild. There are many rare and endangered animal species found in this cold desert, amongst these are the elusive Snow Leopard, Ibex, Tibetan Antelope, Blue Sheep, Shapo, Marmot, Tibetan Hare etc. Among the avi fauna population found are the Snow Patridge, Golden Oriole, Snow Cock, Golden Eagle, Horned Lark, Red Billed Chuff etc. En-route, watch amidst the cliffs and at the base of rocks where they mark their turf for sign of snow leopard, and other wildlife.
Overnight at Camps.
Day 06 Hemis National Park
Wildlife Viewing: Proceed for full day of trekking snow leopard and its wildlife prey. Hemis National Park is home to blue sheep, argali (a large horned sheep), numerous mountain and migratory birds, as well as an occasional Tibetan wolf. You are likely to see sign of snow leopard as winter is the time that they descend to lower elevations. If lucky, you’ll actually see one perched high in the rocks or balanced on a near vertical ridge. Return to camp for some warming tea and share tales of the day.
Overnight at Camp.
Day 07 Hemis National Park
Wildlife Viewing: Spend another day with trained naturalists on the look-out for snow leopard and its prey. The views of this stark landscape, the sky pierced by upward tilted strata and – on snow-free days the ground adorned with hardy alpine plants, provides constant fascination.
Overnight at Camp.
Day 08 Hemis National Park (Elevation 13,500)
Wildlife Viewing, Visit Villages and Homestays: Trek to nearby sites where snow leopard may have been sighted recently. Visit and overnight in a neighboring villages, Rumbak, and experience a home stay. Home stay hosts have been trained in hospitality and are members of a community conservation effort to conserve the endangered snow leopard. Learn about their livestock herding practices and try your hand at winter pastimes (spinning, weaving, and turning a tale). Spend the days tracking snow leopard and wildlife.
Overnight in a home stay or camp.
Day 09 Hamis National Park
After breakfast, trek to nearby sites where snow leopard may have been sighted recently.
Overnight in a home stay or camp.
Day 10 Hamis National Park / Zingchen (05 hrs Trek) / Leh (Drive)
After breakfast, hike down-valley past familiar snow leopard haunts and piles of carved Tibetan prayer stones to the road head at Zingchen. Drive to Leh, on arrival in Leh transfer to the hotel.
Overnight in a hotel.
Day 11 Leh - Delhi
After breakfast, transfer to Leh airport to board the flight to Delhi. On arrival in Delhi assistance at the airport and transfer to the hotel. Rest of the day at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel.
Day 12 Delhi
After breakfast enjoy a full day city tour of Old & New Delhi which includes the following:
Red Fort: The 17th century imposing fortress built in red sandstone is surrounded by a huge 33m high boundary wall. Inside are exquisite palaces and beautiful gardens. (Closed on Mondays)
Jama Masjid: Jama Masjid (Friday Mosque) made of red sandstone and white marble. It is India's largest mosque where more than 20.000 people can kneel in prayer at one time. The interior of the prayer hall is divided into aisles by arches. The walls and floors are of marble inlay panels.
Raj Ghat: Visit the Raj Ghat on the banks of the river Yamuna is Mahatma Gandhi's Memorial, where he was cremated following his assassination in January 1948. The memorial lies in the midst of landscaped gardens and made of a simple square platform of black marble inscribed with his last words "Hey Ram". An eternal flame burns 24 hours.
India Gate and Govt Buildings: Drive through Lutyens Delhi and see India Gate which commemorates the 70,000 Indian soldiers who died in the 1st world war. 13516 names of British and Indian soldiers killed in the Afghan War of 1919 are engraved on the arch and foundations. Photo stop at Rashtrapati Bhawan once the Viceroy's residence is now the official residence of the President of India.
Humayun's Tomb: Visit the Humayun's Tomb, built by his wife Haji Begum in the 16th. Century. An early example of Mughal architecture considered the predecessor of the Taj Mahal. The elements in its design a squat building, lighted by high arched entrances, topped by bulbous dome and surrounded by the char bagh (garden divided intquadrants), water channels and fountains.
Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 13 Delhi Departure
After breakfast, transfer to the hotel to board the flight to onward journey.
End of Services
(Room will be available till 1200 hrs.)
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