Shakti Ladak Village Experience

Stok, India

Hiking off the beaten track to experience the authenticity of Ladakh.

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Situated in the far north of the sub-continent, over 3500 meters (11,500 feet) up on the high plateau, Ladakh is often referred to as 'little Tibet'. Having been part of British India, it was subsequently absorbed into independent India in 1947. Ladakh's geography protected it from the ravages of the Chinese Cultural Revolution as a result of which it contains one of the most intact Tantric Buddhist societies left on earth. With a high altitude desert dominated by rugged snow capped mountains and deep turquoise lakes it is one of the most picturesque places on earth. Ladakh has long been on the map for backpackers, mostly staying in and around Leh, it is has not yet come on the radar of the adventurous luxury traveler. As such, Shakti Himalaya has designed a 'village house' experience that avoids the over commercialization of Leh and takes you out, off the beaten track to these untouched villages in the Indus valley. Village walks are at the heart of any Shakti Experience, enabling you to enjoy the villages and rural life in remote mountain regions. Accompanied by local porters and guides, you step out of the modern world, walking between villages that are remote, and staying in traditional village houses, which Shakti has spruced up to provide proper comfort without compromising their authenticity. We will arrange visits to local schools, monasteries and markets to enable you to get a full understanding of the culture of each region, its people, religion and customs. Providing authentic experiences of local life, our walks are the perfect antidote to the frenetic world that most of us live in. For the more active walker we offer trekking and camping in remote but beautiful locations. Our treks require a reasonable level of fitness and are in remote areas at altitudes of 6000-14000 ft. The Shakti tented camps use dome tents which provide a night under canvas, with all the usual Shakti service and style. Enjoy outstanding mountain views and some of the clearest night skies to be found in the world. River Rafting is an included activity in all our Ladakh programmes(subject to water levels) and is a wonderful way to explore Ladakh. This is offered on the Indus and Zanskar rivers, both of which are fed by glaciers. The rafting is varied with rapids ranging from Class 1 to Class 4. Shakti Ladakh is open from the beginning of May to the end of September annually


    Shakti has six houses in Ladakh, each with its own unique charm. The itinerary below is a brief example of what we offer in Ladakh, however, each client’s itinerary is tailored specifically to suit his/her interests. The itinerary does not in any way reflect the ‘best’ possible routing and is simply a sample.

    Shakti Ladakh is open from the beginning of May to the end of September annually.

    Day One: Delhi to Stok

    Early this morning fly from Delhi to Leh. You will be met and driven to the Shakti village house in Stok where we recommend complete rest so that you can thoroughly acclimatize.

    Overnight: Shakti Stok Village House

    Day Two: Stok

    Take a gentle walk to explore the charming village of Stok. Visit the Stok Palace, which is home to the king and queen of Stok. The fascinating Museum exhibits old and unique Ladakhi artefacts. Later savour a delicious picnic lunch at a beautiful spot nearby. Return to the house and relax on the terrace with a drink in hand while enjoying great views of the Stok Kangri Range.

    Overnight: Shakti Stok Village House

    Day Three: Stok

    Early this morning you will attend the morning prayers at Thiksey monastery where you will witness young and old monks begin their day with prayers and chanting. You can even meet a local Ladakhi medicine man at the monastery and learn about traditional cures. Thereafter enjoy a picnic breakfast in the charming village of Sakti. Alternatively, you can return to the village house for breakfast and to freshen up. Later in the day you will visit the beautiful Hemis monastery which was built in 1630 and is the largest monastery in Ladakh. You will have this evening at leisure.

    Overnight: Shakti Stok Village House

    Day Four: Stok to Likhir

    This morning drive up to the entrance of the Zanskar canyon, to the village of Chilling, where you will see the local metal smith at work. Walk down to the river bank for an adventurous and exciting rafting trip down the Zanskar River, through the rugged canyon and to the shores of the village of Nimoo. Here, a scrumptious picnic lunch will be laid out for you. Later drive for about an hour to your next village house in Likhir.

    Overnight: Shakti Likhir Village House

    Day Five: Likhir

    This morning after breakfast, take a leisurely walk through the picturesque village and visit the Likhir monastery, which is also visible from the house. Situated at a height of 11,483 feet, this is one of the most interesting Yellow Hat Sect monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery also has a school where approximately 40 monks study each year. The young monks and the teachers will be thrilled to have you over for a cup of tea before you leave. Alternatively you may decide to simply relax at the house.

    Later head out to Alchi(3120m/10233ft), which is one and a half hour drive. Alchi is a fascinating monastery, which is the only one in Ladakh to be built on flat ground, unlike the others which were always on hilltops. The temple was founded in the 11th century and is particularly interesting for its Indian and Kashmiri influences.

    Drive for about 20 minutes and enjoy a picnic lunch at Saspol, home to old and neglected, yet beautifully painted caves. Drive back to the village house and enjoy drinks and snacks in the cosy living room.

    Overnight: Shakti Likhir Village House

    Day Six: Shey

    Start your day early and visit the Himalayan Capital of Leh, about an hour and a half away. The Bazaar offers a plethora of colourful and interesting souvenirs which you can shop around for if you like. Visit the Leh Palace which has been restored and now houses a small museum. A short walk away is the glorious Shanti Stupa, a relatively new structure and a symbol of peace.

    Lunch will be at a traditional Ladakhi restaurant in town after which you will drive a short distance to your next village house in Shey.

    Overnight: Shakti Shey Village House

    Day Seven: Shey

    You have many options this day. You could visit the famous Pangong Lake which is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to Tibet. The stunning lake is reached by a dramatic and rough mountain road. You may also choose to take a full day’s hike to the base camp of Stok Kangri, the highest mountain in Ladakh. For those in the mood to take it easy we recommend a walk around the interesting village of Shey where you can chat with local people and watch them as they go about their daily chores. You may like to visit the ancient Shey Palace with its Gompa and a 39 feet tall copper statue of Shakyamuni Buddha.

    Overnight: Shakti Shey Village House

    Day Eight: Shey to Delhi

    This morning you will be driven to Leh Airport in time to check-in for your return flight to Delhi.

    Shyok River Journey Extension: As an extension to the Ladakh Village Experience, Shakti also operates an exclusive Shayok River journey that will take you along the old Silk Route into the remote Nubra valley. An exciting combination of rafting and driving takes you into this fascinating region, where you spend 2 nights under the stars. Accommodation is an exclusive Shakti tented camp in remote but beautiful locations, which we have carefully selected. Enjoy outstanding mountain views and some of the clearest night skies to be found in the world. The Shyok River Journey can be enjoyed as a standalone experience as well.

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