The Markha Valley trek is one of the most fascinating treks in Ladakh. The trek takes you on a beautiful journey in the land of fluttering colorful prayer flags, mane walls, high passes, exotic wildlife, and unusual shear canyons. Not to forget the authentic villages you walk past, bringing you closer to the Ladakhi culture. The colorful rock formations found on the trail, along with the views of Stok and Zanskar Mountains often leave people awe-struck. The trail is of easy to moderate grade with 1-2 steep sections, is recommended to all age groups. This is not one of those typical treks that retrace the same path while descending. Therefore, you get a wider and non-repetitive insight into Ladakhi Himalayas. Each day reveals mesmerizing views concealed behind the mountains.
Visit some of the important monasteries of Ladakh.
Get the chance to explore the multi-hued Tibetan markets and historically rich Buddhist monasteries.
Halt for at least 2 days in Leh to adjust with the low atmospheric pressure.
Witness some of the most sublime Himalayan sceneries throughout the picturesque trek.
Get the opportunity to stay at remote mountain villages, interact with its sweet and simple inhabitants and Camp at scenic locations under the starry sky.
It is a challenging trek, with loads of stream crossings, steep ascents, and descents from two high passes and long day walk and is recommended for experienced trekkers. Gear up for a beautiful and culturally rich experience, and let the serenity of the Markha Valley's landscapes knock the stress out of your life. Though the trek goes through dry regions the Indus, Markha and numerous streams will come your way. Since the trail goes through Hemis National Park, all its treasured fauna, mountain sheep, arghali, rabbits, snow leopards, can be spotted at every camping site. Ganda La and Kongmaru La are the two cardinal passes to be crossed en route. These passes are known for the panoramic views of infinite Karakoram and Ladakh ranges.
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Upon arrival at Leh Airport you will meet by Global Himalayan Adventures representative and transfer to our pre-arranged hotel, rest of the day at leisure to acclimatize. Overnight stay at hotel. Evening, we visit Shanti Stupa or Japanese Stupa - A magnificent white-domed structure. The Japanese for World Peace built the Shanti Stupa, at Changspa, on the hilltop, and was inaugurated by His Holiness Dalai Lama in 1985. Its state of the art work attracts a lot of tourists to Ladakh and is spectacular to watch. From there one can see the nice spectacular view of Leh town. The stupa looks best at night, when it is beautifully illuminated with glittering lights. A large number of tourists come to Ladakh every year to visit this amazing stupa.
This is an extra day added in the itinerary to help you get acclimatized better. Therefore utilize this day and try to stay outdoors. We visit Thiksey monastery an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village. The monastery has a beautiful 30m high gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha; the Buddha of the future is one of the most beautiful monasteries of Ladakh. Later we visit to famous Hemis Gompa; this is the largest monastic foundation of Drukpa Kagyu Order of Tibetan Buddhism. It was built during early 17th century with the blessing of Lama Stagtsang Raspa (Shambunatha), by famous Namgyal dynasty king Singgey Namgyal. Overnight stay at the Hotel. Hike up to the Thiksey and Hemis Monastery, this is only to avoid stressing your body, as it may hinder the process of acclimatization.
In the early morning hours, we will go by jeep to Zingchen. The drive will begin along an old jeep road into a parched and exposed region, so water and sunscreen are absolutely vital! After plodding through the shattered land we will enter the lush Zingchen Valley, where the Rumbak River flows into the mighty Indus. Today we will enter Hemis National Park where we may be fortunate to glimpse wildlife. The National park homes Snow Leopard, Lynx, Ladakhi Urial (a type of goat), Arghali (great Tibetan sheep), Bharal (blue sheep), Red Fox, Tibetan Wolf, Dhole (wild dog), Marmot and Mountain Hare. After paying the entrance fee, we will climb gradually through a beautiful gorge before reaching the valley leading to the village of Rumbak. Here we will stop at a tented teahouse run by women from the village. After a cup of warm tea, we will continue past the house of Yurutse before reaching camp at the base of Ganda La (4545m). From the campsite, there are spectacular views of the Stok Kangri (6,123 mts.) and the whole Stok range.
After a light breakfast, we will begin our 2-hour ascent towards Ganda La (4900m). The usual Chorten and prayer flags mark the top of the pass, where one may see Blue Sheep, Marmots and Arghali roaming the hills around. Views of the lofty Zanskar Range and the distant Himalaya Range are great as well. After a short rest, we will make a gradual descent to Shingo, where we will set camp for night.
Today, we will start by descending through a spectacular gorge to Skiu (3300m). Within this idyllic village lies an old monastery and ruins of an old castle, once a rest stop for the Royal family on their way to Srinagar. 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 winter settlements that contain Lhatos (religious shrines for local deities) and Mani walls (stones inscribed with Buddhist prayers). We arrive at our campsite by the afternoon.
During peak season a number of tented teahouses will be open for refreshment. Markha (3800m) is the largest village in the valley, consisting of around 20 houses, an old monastery, and a ruined fort. We arrive out campsite by afternoon.
The Markha valley trail continues pass old stone-mills, a ruined castle and the auspicious monastery of Tetsa, which proudly perches upon a cliff that looms above Markha. 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 mighty Mt. Kang Yatse (6400m), which will stay in sight until we cross Kongmaru La (5,265 mts). After we break for lunch in the village of Hangkar (the last one in the valley), we will continue onward to the lovely green pasture of Thachungste (4100m), where we will make camp.
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 (4600m) on the trek, giving us spectacular views of the huge peak of Kang Yatse to the right.
After a hearty breakfast, we will cross Kongmaru La (5200m), the highest pass on the trek, and from here we will have a wonderful view of the Indus Valley and Ladakh Range. The descent is quite steep, but will gradually level out as we enter Shang Gorge, with its fascinating 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). Camp overnight in Shang Sumdo. Drive from Sumdo to Leh takes about 2 hours. Reach Leh by evening. The trip ends here.
Fly down to your hometown on this day in the former hours of the day. With all the memories in your heart, happily and blissfully. Julley, Safe Journey and Visit again!
The trek follows a stunning high valley with superb views across the mountain region and is one of the best ways to still experience the unique culture of the High Himalaya region.
Unlike many destinations in India, Ladakh is not an all-year-around destination. Ladakh is a beautiful place that is located in the Himalayan range. It is located on the Indus River bank. This place has amazing scenery and many adventure routes for motorcycle enthusiasts. In short, the best time to visit Leh Ladakh is summer between the end of March to middle of August. The prime tourist time is between June and September.
The summer in Ladakh starts from April. The temperature can go as high as 30 degree C. During nights, the temperature would reach the minimum of 16 - 20 degree C. The summer here is neither cold nor hot. The climate would be pleasant all throughout the day. the summer ends in September. Summer ends in September. According to many, the best time to visit this place is between June and August. The summer would be at its prime and thus, the snow would all be melted giving the place a good greenery look. You can find a lot of tourists in this place during this period.
There is another reason for tourists to flock during this period. The Hermis Dance Festival is conducted during this time and it is a very vibrant and colourful event to watch. Starting from camping to trekking, you can enjoy a lot of adventure activities during this time. All passes, mountain routes, trekking routes and others would be open during this period. The lakes would be clear and it would be easy to camp near the river.
The top activities to enjoy during summer are Stok festival and Matho festival in March and May, Hemis festival and Phyang festival in June to August. Nubra Valley is a must visit for the summer tourists. Road trips to Manali and Sri Nagar would be at its prime beauty. In short, the best time to visit Leh Ladakh is summer between the end of March to middle of August. The prime tourist time is between June and August.
Rainfall starts in June and end by September. As you would have guessed this place would receive a lot of rainfall. The temperature would not be very cold, but the place would not be at its prime beauty. Most of the motorcycle and trekking routes would be blocked due to the rain. Many attractions would become inaccessible during this season. The temperature would be very pleasant and unless you want to drench in rain every day, it is better to avoid monsoon season. If you are planning to visit Ladakh during monsoon, make sure to watch Diskit and Thiksey festivals. You would be able to find considerable number of tourists during this season as the motorcycle tour passes would be at its prime beauty during this season. The trekking routes would be closed for safety purpose.
The winter starts from the second week of October and ends by February. The temperature can go as low as -20 degree C and as high as 2 degree C. The lakes would be frozen, motorcycle passes would be closed and trekking routes would be blocked. Almost all adventure activities becomes either dangerous or blocked. Still you can find a lot of tourists here during winter. Those who come to Ladakh for wildlife attraction would choose winter. This is when you can spot a lot of snow leopards here. Moreover, Spituk and Losar festivals happen in winter season. Last but not least, the place would be very beautiful like a fairy tale snow land. A lot of people consider winter as the best time to visit Ladakh due to the scenic beauty of the place.
Ladakh is called the adventure capital of the country for a genuine reason. The geographical location of the place makes it an ultimate destination for anyone looking for an adrenaline filled vacation. Ladakh is one of the very few destinations in the world where the entertainment starts the moment you begin your travel towards it. Thanks to the scenic routes, the travel to Ladakh is as exciting as your vacation. The land is bestowed with mountains, valleys, snows, cold desert, frozen lakes, trekking routes, rivers, mountain passes and so on. If you have picked Ladakh as you next destination, you are in for an exciting vacation.
Reach Ladakh from Kashmir Valley through Kargil, which is around 434 kms. This route remains open from early June to November. Zoji-La pass of the Himalayan ranges that is a gateway to Ladakh is approximately 11,500 feet (3,505 m high) above the sea level. J&K State Road Transport Corporation, J&K SRTC, runs regular deluxe and ordinary bus services between Srinagar and Leh. There's a night stay in Kargil. You can also hire cars, jeeps or taxis in Srinagar. If traveling in groups, you can rent deluxe buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zanskar) from J&K SRTC at Srinagar.
Manali-Leh road of 473 kms, since 1989 has been another route to Ladakh. This route is open from mid-June to early October. The road passes through the desert plateau of Rupsho and is around 3,660m to 4,570m high. There are a number of high passes falling on the route,Taglang-La being second highest motorable road in the world, 17,469 feet (5,235m) above the sea level. Himachal Pradesh Tourism (HRTC) and J&K SRTC run daily deluxe and ordinary buses between Manali and Leh; that takes around hours (or two days) with night halt in camps at Sarchu or Pang. You can also hire a Gypsy or jeep taxis.
Leh - Kushok Bakula Rinpoche Airport is the main airport of the area. The flights are directly connected from Delhi, Srinagar and Jammu; by the flights run by Air India, Go Air and Jet Airways. The schedules are set already though, but these are subject to change according to the weather. It is advised that you keep your plans flexible.
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