While people and governments may come and go, beauty remains untouched in the hills, the roads, the streams and the lakes of Kashmir. In spring, the tulip fields rival those in Netherlands and the floating markets splatter the canvas with color. The slopes of Gulmarg make for excellent skiing adventures, while the valleys ring home to the local crafts and cuisine. If you go that far up North and don’t indulge in a Wazwan meal, you’re missing out on the opportunity of a lifetime. Kashmir is a true testament to Mother Nature’s unending stoic façade notwithstanding the tumultuous recent past.
Day 1 – Arrive in Leh
On arrival in Kushok Bakula airport in Leh, you will be met and transferred to your hotel. Spend the rest of the day at leisure to get acclimatized to the thin air and low pressure of Ladakh; you could also visit the ruins of the nine storeys Leh Palace and the white domed Shanti Stupa.
Day 2 – Leh – Thiksey – Hemis – Leh (104kms / 5-6 hrs)
After breakfast, you will be met and taken to the Thiksey monastery with an en route stop at the 300 year old Shey Palace which was built as the summer retreat for the Ladakh royalty. Later you will be taken to the Hemis Monastery famous for its rich collection of Buddha statues, sacred thangkas, murals and other artefacts. You will return to Leh by the evening.
Day 3 – Leh – Alchi – Leh (136kms / 6-7hrs)
After breakfast, you will be driven westwards from Leh to visit the 1000 year old Alchi Monastery, also a study center for Buddhism. Besides housing huge statues of Buddha and elaborate wood carvings & art work, the monastery also has some of the oldest surviving wall paintings in Ladakh. On your way back to Leh, you would be stopping at the Pathar Sahib Gurudwara and the Military hall of fame museum besides observing the gravity defying phenomenon at Magnetic Hill
Day 4 – Leh to Nubra Valley (125kms / 4-5hrs)
After an early check out, you will be met and taken to Nubra Valley via Khardungla Pass situated at a height of 18360 feet and considered as the highest motorable pass of the world. Later in the afternoon, you will be visiting the Hunder & Deksit monastery (oldest and largest monastery in the Nubra valley) besides enjoying a ride on a double hump Bactarian camel on the white sand dunes between the Deksit and Hunder villages
Day 5 – Nubra Valley to Leh (140kms / 5-6hrs)
Following the morning tour to Samastanling Monastery, you will commence your drive back to Leh through Khardungla Pass. Once in Leh, you can visit the Leh market to purchase some of the local handicrafts
Day 6 – Leh – Pangong Lake – Leh (280kms / 9-10hrs)
After an early breakfast, you will leave for Pangong Lake (14,500 feet) through the Changla Pass (17,350 feet) which is the third highest motor able road in the world. Take in the breath-taking views of the lake set amidst the lofty Himalayan mountains before being driven back to Leh by the same route.
Day 7 – Leh – Srinagar
Checkout and board the early morning flight to Srinagar where on arrival, you will be transferred to your luxury house boat accommodation on the Dal Lake. Later in the evening, head out on a shikara ride on the Dal Lake visiting the floating vegetable market besides making purchases from the many hawkers sailing around and sipping some Kahwa Chai – Kashmir’s speciality
Day 8 – Srinagar
Head out this morning on a half day sightseeing tour around Srinagar starting with the Shankracharya Temple atop the Takht-e-Suleiman Hill and regarded as the oldest shrine in the Kashmir Valley. Follow this up with a visit to one of the three famed Mughal Gardens of Kashmir, the Shalimar Bagh – “The Abode of Love” which was given shape by Emperor Jehangir. The garden that is laid down in four terraces, rising one above the other with a canal with polished stones running through it is a breath-taking sight.
Day 9 – Srinagar – Pahalgam (90kms / 2hrs)
Checkout from the houseboat this morning and be driven to Pahalgam through beautiful sprawling saffron valleys of Pampore where you could even stop and sip some saffron infused tea. Also visit the entrancing ruins of ancient Awantipura built by Emperor Avantivarman in the 9th century besides paying a visit to the Martand Sun Temple which is second only to the Sun Temple of Konark. An important historic ruin, it is the most memorable and remarkable work of King Lalitaditya of the Solar Dynasty. Arrive at Pahalgam by the afternoon and spend the evening at leisure
Day 10 – Pahalgam
Spend the day taking in the various delights of Pahalgam at your pace and by your choice. Explore the valleys of Aru and Betaab, stop by at local homes for an up close experience of living here, visit some of the local traditional arts & crafts workshops dealing with carpet weaving, paper Mache produces and shawl making besides visiting a saffron field. . You could also choose to pump some adrenaline by trying your hand at rafting on the river Lidder.
Day 11 – Pahalgam – Srinagar (departure)
Checkout from Pahalgam and be transferred to Srinagar. Visit some of the local markets for your retail fix before boarding the flight home. The Polo View Market is one of the most popular markets in Srinagar where you can shop for local and handmade crafts such as shoes, garments, shawls, show pieces and other decorative items. The market area in Residency Road provides you options to shop for walnuts and other dry fruits such as raisins, cashews and dates. Badshah Chowk and Lal Chowk can be visited if you are looking to shop for great designer carpets and the famous Pashmina shawls.
Leh Palace perched precariously on a cliff.
Thiksey Monastery, the largest in the region!
Get ready to have your mind-blown at Magnetic Hill
Hop on the back of a Bactarian Camel at Nubra Valley
Khardung La in its colourful glory
Pristine Pangong Lake
The morning market at Dal Lake
Beautiful gardens from the Mughal Era at Shalimar Bagh
White Water Rafting on the Lidder
Crafts for sale at the local market
Located in the heart of the ancient city of Leh, The Grand Dragon will pamper you with traditional Ladakhi hospitality to make you feel on top of the world, literally.
Guests at The Zen can enjoy the breathtaking views of the Stok Kangri range from their hotel rooms or even while sipping on a hot cup of tea in the lush green hotel lawns.
Hotel Karma Inn is located just 1 km from the sand dunes of Hunder village in a very serene and peaceful atmosphere amidst poplar and apricot trees.
Surrounded by lotuses, the houseboat is moored on the beautiful Dal Lake in the heart of the verdant Kashmir Valley, bounded by the pristine peaks of the Himalayas.
Perched on Kralsangri hill that captures the finest panoramic view of the Dal Lake, surrounded by majesty of Zabarwan Mountains, Vivanta is a Paradise rediscovered, in a stylish new avatar.
A gilded version of a mountainside Manor, Pine n Peak is the only luxury resort in Pahalgam. Perched atop the Rajwas Plateau, its pristine beauty remains untouched by the chaos of the market, snuggled in the layers of untouched snow and fir laden paths.
The cost mentioned is for per person. The cost mentioned is only indicative and subject to actual cost at the time of booking. Standard check in time is 1400hrs and check out time is 1200 hrs; early check in and late checkout can be requested and is not guaranteed. Footprint holds the right of altering the trip schedule in event of unfavorable weather or unforeseen conditions beyond control such as road blocks, flight cancellations, etc. Any additional cost incurred due to the same would need to be borne by the individual. The cost is subject to additional charges if paid by debit card, credit card or online bank transfer