Chase the Roots of Buddhism

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12 Days
Zanskar & Suru Valley

A 2,500 years old cave serving to the liberation of bodhisattvas, an oasis of spirituality

Experience the life of monks in Karsha & Phugtal Monasteries with the assured comfort in remote Zanskar Valley

Why this experience is unique?

  • Scenic drive to remote region
  • Home to young lamas & head monks
  • Cave monastery in remote valley
  • Organic food & best quality services
Experience Details

Built in the 1oth century, Karsha Monastery is situated in the most remote part of Ladakh, Zanskar Valley. The monastery, affiliated to Gelugpa or the Yellow Hat sect, comprises a set of 30 whitewashed buildings built like a cascade along the mountainside. It is home to young Lamas who get admitted in the monastery at very early age to get the teaching of Buddhism from head monks.

In the more remote part of the valley, the Cave Monastery of Phugtal resides. Established in the early 12th century by the great Buddhist scholar Changsem Sherab Zangpo, this cave monastery shelters some 70 monks living high up in the mountains, detached from the rest of the world.

Take days out from your urban lifestyle and get transported to a peaceful world of Zanskar Valley with the assurance of comfort, safety, and enriching experiences!

Your Day by Day Journey
Day 1 to 3: Arrive and acclimatize
  • Arrive in Leh and get acclimatized
  • Local sightseeing & relax
  • Day in spiritual village of Ladakh

Day 1Acclimatize in Leh

We will pick you up from Leh airport and transfer you to a hotel in Leh (11,500ft). You will be resting today and acclimatizing yourself to the High-Altitude environment amidst the picturesque Himalayan landscape. This day is called the Acclimatization day and is required to adjust your body to the low oxygen levels of this altitude.

Day 2Shanti Stupa & Leh Market

Before we step into the villages of Ladakh we would acquaint ourselves with the Ladakhi culture, heritage, and lifestyle. As per your choice, you can pick local places to visit. Hall of Fame, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Central Asian Museum – these are the places we recommend you to visit. Come back after spending a day doing sightseeing and rest in the same hotel.

Day 3Leh to Lingshed Village

After a relaxed breakfast at the Homestay in Leh, we will begin our journey towards Zanskar Valley via Lingshed. This is a newly opened route that makes helps people of Zanskar connected to the world throughout the year. Today we will stop at Linghshed that is known for 1000 years old Lingshed Monastery. The monastery was visited by his holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Upon arrival, stay in authentic Ladakhi homestays.

Day 4 to 6: Zanskar Valley and Karsha Gustor
  • Zanskar Valley from new route
  • Lifestyle of Lamas learning Buddhism
  • Stay in untouched town of Ladakh

Day 4Lingshed to Karsha Monastery

Today you embark on a journey to Zanskar valley. You will drive through the picturesque roads of newly opened roads to Zanskar Valley. We will reach Karsha Monastery and settle in the nice homestay situated near an iconic monastery. This will be an evening before the ceremonious event of Karsha Gustor. Enjoy the magnificent view from your homestay and see the villagers, monks, and even kids preparing the monastery for the festival.

Day 5Day with Lamas in Karsha Monastery

Padum, named after the Great Odiyana Padmasambhava is the administrative center in Zanskar and the only town in the whole of Zanskar Valley. You will have your breakfast in a carefully chosen homestay in Padum and then head out to visit Karsha Monastery. Get ready with your cameras and reach early to to see what a day looks like in life of Lamas. Meet the head monk and young Lamas who learn Buddhism and attend formal schooling as well. You will also meet a spiritually cleansed layman who can predict the future. We will come back to the Padum and prepare for the long journey to Phugtal Monastery.

Day 6Karsha to Phugtal Monastery

Today we begin our much-anticipated journey towards the Phugtal Monastery. From Padum, we drive south into the Lungnak Valley, the most unexplored region of Zanskar After a 4-hour drive alongside the Tsarap river, the road will end at a beautiful village, Cha. From Cha, we will have to trek for 2 to 3 hours along the Tsarap River to reach the Phugtal monastery. Hidden in the valley sitting in a cave, the first sight of the Phugtal monastery is mesmerizing and is truly out of the world. Keep an eye to spot some fossils along the trek. On arrival, stay right at the entrance of the monastery from where you see the majestic Zanskar River on one side and the Cave Monastery on the other. Enjoy your cup of tea with this view at your guest house with the best facilities to sleep, eat, and clean up.

Day 7 to 9: Journey to remoteness
  • Visit medieval cave monastery
  • Visit Ladakh's largest glacier
  • Hot spring village of Wanla

Day 7Morning Prayer & back to Padum

Wake up early, have a cup of tea with the best morning view and breeze in the valley. The day begins with the meditative prayer performed by old and young monks in the monastery. This prayer carries the power to evoke the positive energy that you wish to carry along with you. The stupa at the center of the cave is the main attraction apart from the library and praying hall. Spend some in the monastery exploring the ancient artifacts and closely see the monk’s unique kitchen, sleeping halls, or play a couple of games with kids residing there. If time permits, you can take a visit to Yougar village, on the other bank of the river crossing a wooden woven bridge. Take a stroll into the simple life of the people of Zanskar and learn their culture. Start trekking back to Cha village where a taxi will be waiting for you to drive to Padum. Relax in a hotel on arrival.

Day 8Visit Ladakh's Second Largest Glacier

After a good sleep and a nice breakfast in hotel, leave with a day pack to see another most scenic valley of Ladakh – Suru Valley. This is a place where green Kashmir Valley and the barren mountains of Ladakh meet. Drive towards Drang Drung glacier that is Ladakh’s second-largest glacier. You’ll see the massiveness of the glacier that in fact is reduced drastically in the last 20 years due to global warming. After enjoying the beautiful views of Suru Valley, come back and spend your evening in Padum that still is very new to the outer world.

Day 9Padum to Wanla Village

After breakfast, start the return journey. Drive from the same new route and reach Wanla – the village known for hot springs and Wanla Monastery. The village is located on the Srinagar-Leh highway (NH1). Upon arrival, visit the hot springs and monastery and relax for the rest of the day in a homey environment of the homestay.

Day 10 to 12: Return to leisure
  • Drive back to the main town
  • Spend a day in scenic valley
  • Return to Leh and enjoy leisure

Day 10Wanla to Leh

Begin the day with a relaxed morning. Post breakfast, leave for Leh and visit Lamayuru Monastery that is one of the most popular places to visit in Ladakh. Continue your journey with a couple of more visits to iconic places such as – Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Zanskar-Indus Confluence Point. Reach Leh early evening and settle in the comfort of your hotel room.

Day 11Relaxing in Leh Town

Take an extra day to spend in the mountains without any travel and just to relax. Drive down to Leh town and spend some time in a book store, cozy cafe, or a Pashmina Center from where you can buy the most authentic Pashmina products. Enjoy your last evening in the mountains before you fly back.

Day 12Goodbye Leh

On the last day, the tour ends with dropping you at the airport. One can fly back or keep exploring Ladakh for the next few days.

What it includes?

– Stay in homestays
– All meals
– Tour Guide
– Entrance Fees
– All transportation in the destination location
– Responsible Traveller’s Kit

What it excludes?

– Air fare
– Travel visa and insurance
– Bottled water
– Room service
– Any private expenses

Is this Experience right for you?

Are you travelling because you need some time away from your urban life? Does living a village life in the mud house in the mountains excite you? Are you ready to truly live the local lifestyle? If your answer is yes, take up this experience that will transport you to a different world. You might not get the internet here but you will also not feel the need for it as you will be busy exploring the unique sites, mountain views, and village life. The luxury here is living at the beautiful mountain destination, getting freshly cooked organic food at every meal, and having happy locals offering their warm hospitality.

Hear from communities

  • Guests like to eat our Ladakhi food. They say it is delicious, even when it is prepared by an elderly ama (mother) like me. I always make sure I serve them the cleanest and healthiest food. My husband is a copper artist. When guests leave us, they say ‘Julley’, and hug us. It makes us feel happy.

    Tsering Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Sumda Chun
  • I became a Mountain Homestay Host in 2018, and I have hosted many travellers since then. Running a homestay has helped me and my family a lot. Not only is the solar set up in our house useful for us, but even travellers prefer to stay in our homestay because of it.

    Rigzin Dolkar
    Mountain Homestay Host - Photolalok
  • The training we got in astronomy turned out to be a life-changing experience for our village. I felt happy and proud while mapping the position of the planets and sharing the secrets of the universe with the tourists. Tourists told me that even they didn’t know so much about the dark skies!

    Tsewang Dorjey
    Astropreneur - Maan
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