Visit India on this spectacular trip to Delhi, Agra and Ladakh. Begin your holiday in Delhi, where you’ll explore the history of the city before heading to Agra, to admire the spectacular Taj Mahal at sunrise. After exploring these two cities, you’ll fly north to Leh, the capital of Ladakh in the Himalayas. Admire the lush, green views from the Leh Palace, watch the prayer flags fluttering at Alchi Monastery and ride camels in the Nubra Valley. This is the ultimate holiday to enjoy the cities and mountains of India.
This itinerary can be tailored to suit your requirements; please contact one of our consultants to start planning your dream trip.
Depart the UK from your chosen airport.
On arrival in Delhi, you will be met and taken to your hotel, checking in for one night. Spend the afternoon relaxing in your hotel or heading out to explore the city.
This morning, you’ll head out to tour New Delhi – designed and built by the British in the 1920s, it is a city of wide boulevards and impressive Government buildings. After King George V transferred the capital from Calcutta to Delhi, the royal architects designed palatial buildings and tree-lined avenues with fountains and pools. Your guide will show you the incredible buildings of Humayun’s Tomb and the Qutub Minar.
In the afternoon, you’ll be driven to Agra, which will take around 4 hours. On arrival you will check into your hotel for one night. In the 17th Century, Akbar the Great made this city a leading centre of art, science, commerce and culture, which culminated in the building of the Taj Mahal, masterminded by Sha Jehan.
This morning you’ll head out to the Taj, for sunrise, with pink clouds and silhouetted minarets reflected in the peaceful water. Spend the morning exploring this mighty building, soaking up this awe-inspiring wonder of the world. Built by an emperor in memory of his beloved queen, it took 18 years to complete, with craftsmen working around the clock on the intricate and romantic design. With perfect proportions and distinct femininity, legend says that once the construction was completed, Shan Jehan ordered the architect’s hands cut off, and blinded, so he would never be able to duplicate the structure.
After this, you’ll take a tour of Agra Fort, where you’ll wander through the chambers of this ancient royal residence. The country was once governed from here, as well as containing the largest treasury and mint. Dignitaries and ambassadors from far off lands would be brought here, each one participating in the history of India.
In the late afternoon, you will be driven back to Delhi, where you will spend the night.
After breakfast, you’ll be transferred to the airport for the short flight to Leh, in the northern state of Ladakh. On arrival, you’ll be met and taken to your hotel – we recommend you spend the rest of the day relaxing and acclimatising to the air at high altitudes. Leh sits at 3,500m up the Himalayas.
This morning, you’ll head off to explore Shey, the ancient capital of Ladakh. Even after Singge Namgyal built the more imposing palace at Leh, the kings continued to regard Shey, as their real home. The importance which was attached to Shey ‐ the seat of Ladakh’s heartland ‐ is attested by the enormous number of Chorten about the village, particularly around the palace complex and barren plain to the north of the road.
You’ll also see the Shanti Stupa, a Buddhist white-domed stupa on a hilltop in Chanspa. It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu, Gyomyo Nakamura and part of the Peace Pagoda mission. Finally, you’ll visit the Leh Palace, modelled on Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet before driving back to Leh to explore the bazaar.
After breakfast, you’ll leave for Sakti, a village in the Leh district which is around 50km drive. Here you’ll be able to meet a local family and watch a cooking demonstration of their local cuisine and enjoy their dishes for lunch, as well as trying a cup of butter tea. You’ll learn about traditional Ladakhi dress and taste the local beer, known as chang. On the way you will explore Chemrey Monastery, nestled in the mountainside for the last 350 years. Here you can see the sacred image of Padmasambhava.
In the afternoon, you will visit Takthok Monastery and meet an expert in Tibetan medicine. Known as Amchi, you will learn about this traditional medicine (you can even receive a personal consultation from the physician if you wish!). Return to Leh and finish your day by meeting a local Oracle, a man who analyses people’s destinies by reading astronomic combinations according to the Tibetan Buddhist calendar).
After an early breakfast, you’ll be driven to Uleytokpo, stopping enroute to visit Likir and Alchi Monastery. First stop in at the village of Nimo where you can admire the views of the confluence of the River Zanskar and River Indus, before carrying on to Likir. This little village is in a tiny valley, with a school for young Lamas run by the monastery.
Next, you’ll visit the Alchi Monastery. Founded in the 11th Century, it is richly decorated by artists from Kashmir and Tibet, highly influenced by Byzantine art. Maintained by the Likir monks, it is no longer a place of active worship. In the afternoon, you’ll head to Basgo Monastery, situated on top of the hill towering over the ruins of the ancient town. Noted for its Buddha statue and murals, the complex comprises the Chamchung, Chamba Lakhang, and Serzang temples, dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha.
After breakfast, you’ll head to visit the 11th Century Lamayuru Monastery, one of the earliest seats of lamaistic learning and the most picturesque monastery in Ladakh. Built on a huge rock, the history of the monastery begins with the visit of Arahat Nimagung, a Buddhist saint, to this place, when there was merely a lake here. It is said that Arahat made a prophecy that "a monastery will come up at this spot" and he made offerings (prayers with grains of corn) to the Nag serpent spirits. The corns mixed with the earth and formed in the shape of Swastika (Yungdrung), later it came to be known as Yungdrung Monastery. The Great Translator Rinchen Zangpo constructed a temple here in eleventh century.
In the afternoon, you’ll head back to Leh, visiting the Rizong Gompa, one of the only monasteries in Ladakh that houses female monks, called ‘chomos’.
This morning, you’ll drive to the Nubra Valley, driving over the Khardung La, the highest motorable road in the world, at around 5600 metres high. From the pass, one can see all the way south over the Indus valley to seemingly endless peaks and ridges of the Zanskar range, and north to the giants of the Saser Massif.
The Nubra Valley is popularly known as Ldumra, or the Valley of Flowers. In the far north of Ladakh, the valley sits between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas. The Shayok and Saichen Rivers drain through the valley - the flat part of the river is sandy & occupied by green farms & myricaria. The villages along the banks are lush with greenery, willow & poplar trees. Before the partition of India, Nubra Valley was one of the trade centres of the country, as well as a stop on the ancient famous Silk Route passed through this area.
You’ll be staying at Lchang Nang Retreat, where peaceful individual cottages are nestled in an orchard full of elm, apricot, and apple trees, combining comfort and simplicity, and pay homage to the local architecture. It’s a lovely place to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Nubra Valley.
Today you’ll explore the beautiful Nubra Valley including the Deskit Buddhist Monastery, magnificently situated on a hilltop, facing the whole valley. You’ll also visit the sand dunes of Hunder, where you may see a few Double-Humped, Hairy and Bactrian Camels. Nearby, you’ll see the Samstaling Monastery before heading back to the Lchang Nang Retreat to relax and enjoy your time in the peaceful atmosphere.
After breakfast in the camp, you’ll be driven back towards Leh, enjoying views of the mountains. Spend the rest of the day in Leh, exploring the town at your leisure.
Today you will explore the city of Leh, after experiencing morning puja at the Thiskey Monastery. Thiskey is one of the largest and most impressive Gompas with several temples full of images, stupas and exquisite wall paintings. It also houses a two story high statue of Buddha which has the main prayer hall around its shoulders.
In the afternoon you’ll visit Stok, the palace of the banished royal family. The museum displays fabulous period costumes and jewellery of the royalty along with exquisite Tangkhas representing the life of the Sakya - Muni Buddha. Interesting historical objects like coins, seals, armour, weapons, precious jade and porcelain can also be seen here. After exploring the palace you’ll take a hike to see the beautiful Stok Gorge. Spend the evening at leisure, enjoying your final night in India.
After breakfast, you’ll be taken back to the airport for your flight home via Delhi.
The best time to visit India is generally between December and March, when the cooler season takes hold and the monsoon rains have ended. However, in such a large country, there are different microclimates within the other regions – the high Himalayas have bitterly cold winters while, the Tamil Nadu is much less rainy than other parts of southern India in the summer.
This itinerary is purely a suggestion and can be tailor-made to your requirements, so please contact us with your dates and requests, and we’ll put together a bespoke quotation for you.