Markha Valley Trek

Introduction

Situated in the Indus Valley of Ladakh between the Pir Panjal mountains of the Himalayas and the Karakoram mountains, is the sleepy town of Leh which comes alive in summers as the tourists, adventurers and explorers descend down to explore this amazingly beautiful lunar landscape which geographically is part of the Tibetan Plateau and culturally similar, but with distinctly unique features of its own. With the Indus River rushing its white silt waters in its journey to reach the Arabian Seas, this is a land of great adventures. From climbing Mount Stok Kangri, to crossing many high passes on a lovely trek along the Markha River camping near villages where life has remained unchanged since ever. With green meadows fed with the waters of the melting snows to views of the towering Mount Kangyatse, to visiting the small gomaps and temples dotting the countryside, this is a culturally enriching trek with spectacular natural beauty.

The visit to the major monasteries like Hemis, Thiksey, Shey, Stok, Phyang and Spituk with the ornately decorated statues of the various incarnations of Lord Buddha is a great culturally educative experience. The people are really warm and friendly and very hospitable with a smile of welcome on their faces at all times.

Tour Highlights

  • Spectacular view of Mt Stok Kangri and other mountains
  • Trek through the pristine ladakhi villages
  • Visit the nomadic camps in alpine meadows
  • Visit the beautiful monasteries of Hemis, Thiksey and Shey

Destinations Covered

Delhi

Delhi

The City of Glory

Delhi is said to be one of the oldest existing cities in the world, along with Jerusalem and Varanasi. It is the Capital Territory of India and a modern-day citadel that's dotted with ancient monuments.

History and Culture

Legend estimates it to be over 5,000 years old. Over the millennia, Delhi is said to have been built and destroyed 11 times. The oldest alleged incarnation of the city shows up in the Indian mythological epic Mahabharata as Indraprastha. 

Leh Ladakh

A land of scenic beauty and creations
Being the capital of Ladakh, is one of the most beautiful and fascinating tourist destinations The region is blessed with beautiful landscapes, sky-kissing monuments, tranquil lakes and evergreen forests.

Detailed Itinerary

  1. Day 1 Arrive Delhi

    Delhi

    After clearing immigration and customs, our representative will meet you at the receiving area and escort you to your hotel.

    Overnight at the Hotel

  2. Day 2 Delhi

    Delhi

    After breakfast, experience the combined charm of Old and New Delhi.

    The day begins with the sightseeing of Old Delhi and a visit to the Raj Ghat. Drive past the Red Fort on your way to the Jama Masjid, India’s largest mosque. A Tour through the bazaars of Chandni Chowk is followed by a drive past the historical India Gate, the Rashtrapati Bhawan and the Parliament House. The day is concluded by a visit to the capital’s most striking monument; the 70 meter high Qutab Minar.

    Overnight at the hotel (B)

  3. Day 3 Delhi / Leh flight

    Leh Ladakh

    Early morning check-out from the hotel transfer to Delhi Airport to connect with flight to Leh.

    On arrival, check-in to the hotel.

    Leh, the capital city of Ladakh and a historical transit point for caravans of the bygone Silk Route, still looks and feels like a trading post of the ancient past. It is an imminently accessible and fascinating locale, featuring two notable monasteries, a palace, a mosque, and countless narrow, crooked alleyways beckoning the curious visitor. District Leh is situated roughly between 32 to 36 degrees North latitude and 75 to 80 degrees East longitude with an altitude ranging from 2300 meters to 5000 meters above sea level.

    Rest of the day is free for acclimatization.

    Overnight at the Hotel (B,L,D)

  4. Day 4 Leh - Shey - Thiksey – Hemis - Leh

    Leh Ladakh

    Start your day with the visit of Shey, the King’s old Palace. The Palace was built by King Deldan Namgyal in the beginning of the 17th century AD as a summer residence for the Kings of Ladakh. It is the oldest palace in Ladakh and above it is an even older fortress. The Palace and Fort are in ruins but the monastery is in use to this day. Inside is a 39-foot statue made of gilded copper of the Shakyamuni Buddha, which was made by King Deldan Namgail in the memory of his father Singay Namgail. The statue is the only of its kind in the region.

    We make our way towards the Thiksey Gompa – an impressive imitation of Lhasa’s Potala Palace dramatically perched on a slope overlooking the Indus Valley. Thiksey is the most beautiful of all monasteries in Ladakh, belonging to the Gelukpa order. The Gompa was first build at Stakmo by Changsem Sherab Zangpo of Stod. Later the nephew of Sherab Zangpo, Spon Paldan Sherab, founded the Thiksey Gompa on a hilltop to the north of the Indus River in 1430 AD. There are sacred shrines and many precious objects to be seen there.

    After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Hemis Gompa, the biggest monastery in Ladakh. Located 45 Km to the south of Leh, it is built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery and hidden in a gorge. The Monastery belongs to Dugpa Kargyutpa order and houses monks of the Brokpa or Red Hat sect. One can see beautiful frescoes (paintings) on the walls and the largest Thangka painting in Ladakh, which is over 12 m in length. Within the monastery there are to be seen a copper-gilt statue of the Lord Buddha, various stupas made of gold and silver, sacred thankas and many objects. The Monastery was founded by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in 1630, who was invited to Ladakh by King Singay Namgial and offered a religious estate throughout the region.

    Overnight at the Hotel (B,L,D)

  5. Day 5 Leh - Chilling and Trek to Skiu. (4 Hrs of Hike)

    Leh Ladakh

    After breakfast drive a 40 kilometer along the road towards sham valley to Nimmo, where the chill waters of the Zanskar River meet the Indus. We turn onto a dirt road, cross the Indus on a sturdy bridge and then follow the left bank of Zanskar River through a gorge to Chilling - A village well known in Ladakh and Zanskar for the skill of its silversmiths. Chilling is also the gateway into the Markha valley. Crossing the Zanskar River by way of a box and cable bridge, we begin our first day of trekking along a narrow trail on the right bank of Zanskar gorge, to a point where the Markha River meets the main valley. We climb to cross spur and can look southwards to where the impressive Zanskar gorge disappears around a corner. At this point, we turn towards the southeast into the Markha valley and continue until we reach the irrigated trees and fields of the hamlets of Skaya and Skiu. The main trail into the Marks valley from the north, over the Ganda La, joins our route at this point. There is a small monastery in Skiu and a derelict fortress/monastery on the cliff above our riverside.

    Overnight stay at Mobile Tent (B, Packed Lunch, D)

  6. Day 6 Trek from Skiu to Markha (7 – 8 Hrs/Markha 3800 Mts)

    Leh Ladakh

    Following the Markha River, we will hike through the lovely valley on a fairly level path. The trail crosses the river at various points, and passes through winter settlements that contain Lhatos (religious shrines for local deities) and Mani walls (stones inscribed with Buddhist prayers). During peak season, a number of tented teahouses will be open, providing hearty refreshment. After crossing the river for the last time, we will arrive in Markha, the largest village in the valley, consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery and a ruined fort could be visit.

    Overnight stay at Mobile Tent (B, Packed Lunch, D)

  7. Day 7 Trek from Markha to Hangkar (5-6 Hrs /4000 Mts)

    Leh Ladakh

    The Markha valley trail continues past old stone-mills, a ruined castle and the auspicious monastery of Techa, which is proudly perched on a towering cliff that looms above Markha, well worth visiting if we have the energy. The path then intersects the river several times before cutting through the last hamlets in the valley. After leaving the village of Umlung , we will be afforded our first view of Kang-Yatse (6400m), which will stay in sight until we cross Kongmaru La. After having break for lunch we reach at the village of Hangkar (the last in the valley), we will press onward to the lovely green pasture of Hangkar, where we will stay for the night.

    Overnight stay at Mobile Tent (B, Packed Lunch, D)

  8. Day 8 Trek from Hangkar to Nimaling (4-5 Hrs / Nimaling 4700m)

    Leh Ladakh

    Today the trail will lead us up to the beautiful plateau of Nimaling, where the people of the Markha Valley bring their herds to graze during the summer months. At 4700m, Nimaling is the highest camp on the trek, giving us spectacular views of Kang Yatse to the right, the Zangskar Range and the MarkhaValley below.

    Overnight stay at Mobile Tent (B, Packed Lunch, D)

  9. Day 9 Trek Nimaling – Chuskirmo and drive to Leh ( 6 Hrs / Kongmaru la 5200 Mts)

    Leh Ladakh

    After a having breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La, the highest pass on the trek. Here we have a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains andvalleys. The 2-hour descend is quite steep, but will gradually level as we enter Shang Gorge, with its strange and otherworldly rock formations. More river crossings bar our way before we arrive at the sour-spring of Chuskurmo (used in traditional medicine by the Amchi doctors). After having lunch at Chuskurmo continue to hike until Chokdo Village where the car will be waiting for you to drive Leh.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B, Packed Lunch, D)

  10. Day 10 Leh

    Leh Ladakh

    After breakfast, visit Shanti Stupa a Buddhist white-domed stupa (chorten) located on a hilltop. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. It holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself. The Stupa has become a major attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

    Rest of the day is free to explore the markets and enjoy shopping for curios and souvenirs in the bazaars. Tibetan handicraft items including prayer wheels, Buddhist masks and Thangka paintings can be purchased. Tibetan silver jewelry and traditional Ladakhi jewelry with turquoise are also popular in this area.

    Overnight stay at the hotel (B, L, D)

  11. Day 11 Leh / Delhi & Departure

    Delhi

    After breakfast, transfer to Leh airport to connect with flight to Delhi.

    Arrive, Delhi and transfer to the hotel near the airport before your flight to onward destination.

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