Markha Valley Trek (18 Days)
Day 1: Delhi
Meeting and assistance on arrival at Delhi airport, followed by transfer to hotel near the airport for a night's sleep.
Day 2: Delhi - Leh
Early morning have breakfast, then fly to Leh. On arrival, transfer by the representative to your hotel. Rest of the day free for acclimatization. Overnight stay at Leh.
Day 3: Leh Full Day Sightseeing (Shey, Thiksey, Hemis)
Shey was the old capital, and the home of the kings of Ladakh before the new capital became established. Leh sits in a strategic position on a spur jutting out into the Indus valley. The main temple contains a large Buddha statue sculpted by Nepalese craftsmen. Thiksey, this large gompa is an impressive sight, situated on top of a steep hill while the rest of the complex sprawls down beneath it. It was founded in the 15th century by Gelugpa monks. Stok has been the royal palace since the king was dethroned by the dogras and is now the home of the last king's widow. Then proceeding towards the famous gompa in this area, around 35 km far from Leh. This monastery has become famous because of its spectacular annual festival. This is the largest and wealthiest of Ladakh's monasteries. The gompa was founded in the 17th century and is sometimes called Chang Chubb Sang Ling, the solitary palace of the compassionate ones. It belongs to the Kagyupa sect. Inside the monastery, you see the impressive image of Guru Padmasambhava, which is in a temple behind the dukhang. Overnight stay.
Day 4: Leh Full day sightseeing
Full day sightseeing of Spitok, Shanti, Sankar gompa. Spituk was the first Gelugpa (yellow hat) monastery to be established in Ladakh. Richen Zangpo predicted that a monastery would be founded here to set an example to the other monasteries in the land. As it is situated on top of a small hill, there is a good view of the Indus valley. Shanti stupa is visible from most of the town. This new stupa was officially opened in 1985. The peace pagoda is part of the legacy of the Japanese Fuji guru. Overnight stay.
Day 5: Leh - Spitok - Jingchan (11,154 ft/3380 m)
The trek begins on this day. The car will drive you to Spitok village, about 15 minutes’ drive, 7 km from Leh. Start trek from Spituk to Jingchan. For the first two hours, you will be walking on a flat surface, which is good for acclimatization. Later you will enter into the Jingchan valley following the river on the left bank. Jingchan is a small village with one family divided into three houses. Afternoon to explore around Jingchan and acclimatization. Meal and overnight camp.
Day 6: Jingchan - Yurutse (13520 ft/4,120 m)
After breakfast start trek. The first part of the trail gradually ascends. It is one of the beautiful walks and is also known as the snow-leopard area. You may come across a lot of wildlife on this day's walk. At the end of the gorge, you will reach Rumbak village, and from here on, the trail continues on the right to the tiny settlements on Yurutse. A camp is set a little beyond this at the foot of Gandala.
Day 7: Yurutse - Skiu (9900 ft/3145 m)
The trek to climb the Gandala (16,097 ft/4,878 m) is not as steep as that of the previous days to Stok La, but it is longer. A spectacular panorama of white-fringed mountains merging into distant ranges of the Karakoram is revealed from the pass. The trail descends steadily to the Skiu valley, where several rivulets join to form a small stream. The broad grassy shoulders of the upper valley narrow down at Sumdho with its few houses and fields at the junction of a small stream, Skiu Nala. The river swoops exuberantly down a tight, narrow gorge choked with willow and wild rose with the trail leaping from bank to bank to the village of Skiu on banks of lower Markha and the campsite. Sinne Skiu is only at about 9,900 ft/3,000 m, and the Markha valley is quite narrow. The temperature is higher here. At dusk, just as the evening shadows begin to envelop the valley, it is worth walking back along the trail where the Skiu Nala meets the Markha to visit a small monastery cared for by an old nun. She comes here every morning and evening to light the butter lamps at the altar of "chambha"-the future Buddha.
Day 8: Skiu - Markha (13,078 ft/4,878 m)
A delightful walk up one of the loveliest sections of the Markha valley. Markha is one of the biggest in this valley. The way through woody bushes along the river is spanned by several small bridges over which the trail marches to Thinlespa. The camp is set after Thinlespa. One and a half hours later, we set the camp beneath the Markha village. The landscape is heavenly. Enjoy the evening and drink local wine with villagers at the camp along the Markha river.
Day 9: Markha - Thachunche (14,862 ft/4,878 m)
The trail continues eastwards, climbing steadily up the valley through Markha's picturesque village and its impressive monastery, which is worth visiting. Coming in from the south is the trail from Rubering La, one of the routes to Zangla in Zanskar. From Markha, the country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded section of the lower Markha is left behind. The camp below the twin villages of lower and upper Hankar is distinctively cooler than at Thinlespa. Between the two villages is a ruined fort, the wall of which climbs to a lookout tower worth visiting for those with a perfect head for heights. Camp after 3 km from Hankar village. En-route we pass some small villages. This trek is a little bit ascending, and we watch the wild animals like a Himalayan marmot, deer, and a whitetail hare. Overnight stay nearby a small stream. That one comes from the base of Kangyatse.
Day 10: Thachunche - Nimaling: 16,097 ft/4,878 m)
The trek from Thachunche camp joins the regular trail back to Nimaling past villages seemingly poorer than those of lower areas. The Nimaling plain is a broad undulating meadow that slopes upward to the base of ice-clad Kangyatse, which dominates the area. Nimaling has tiny ponds and rivulets flowing all over its meadows. You find several animals like yak, sheep, goats, horses, and Himalayan marmots, and white-tailed hares.
Day 11: Nimaling
Today, we have the rest of the day to explore the beautiful area.
Day 12: Nimaling - Shang Sumdho (13,230 ft/3,973 m) 7-8 hours
Crossing to the north of Markha begins the climb to the highest of the three passes, Kongmarula (17,409-ft/5,274 m). The trail descends steeply to the head of Martselang valley past the sulfur springs of Chuskyurmo and follows the Martselang stream to the village of Sumdho at the confluence of the Shang Nala and the Martselang. Overnight in camping.
Day 13: Sumdho - Hemis - Leh (11,200 FT/3,400 M): 3-4 hours
An easy descent where it broadens into the valley of the Indus at the village of Martselang. The jeep waits for you at the village of Martselang and drives you to Hemis monastery. Hemis is one of the most important monasteries in Ladakh. The largest and wealthiest. It is popularly known for the famous fair in Ladakh.
Day 14: Leh - Alchi - Basgo, 5-6 hours’ drive
We visit the famous painting monastery. This monastery built in the 11th century is a treasure trove of early Buddhist art in the Kashmiri tradition, a style quite different from the Tibetan art found in Ladakh's other monasteries. Also, unlike other gompas, it is hidden down by the river rather than in the more usual elevated position. This may explain why it wasn't destroyed by the various invaders who passed by throughout the centuries. After visiting Alchi, we proceed to the Basgo village. This is a small village. Enjoy the local food and local culture with the villagers. Overnight stay at a local house.
Day 15: Basgo - Leh
After having breakfast, we drive to Leh, en-route visit to the Likir and Phyang monastery. Overnight stay at a hotel at Leh.
Day 16: Leh
After breakfast, a half-day white water rafting trip on the Indus river. Return to Leh in time for lunch at the hotel. Rest of the day free to explore the local market and shopping. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Day 17: Leh - Delhi
Early morning transfer to the airport for flight to Delhi. Meeting and assistance by our staff at the Delhi airport. Optional local sightseeing can be arranged this day, or one can choose to have leisure time and go around on their own. Overnight stay at the hotel.
Departure from Delhi in time to transfer to international airport to board flight back home.