Ladakh
HIMALAYA INDIO

LADAKH ``LITTLE TIBET``

NORTH INDIA

DELHI / TAJ MAHAL / VARANASI

Investment: US$ 5,695

Date: May 27 to June 12, 2023
Duration: 17 days
Welcome to a unique photographic adventure in one of the most beautiful and remote places on earth, Ladakh "Little Tibet".

 

We offer you a photographic expedition, where you will live a unique experience in this fascinating region of theHimalayas.

The photographic encounters with the mountain people and their way of life, the incredible road trips, the surreal serenity of its lakes, the pure Himalayan air... day after carefully planned day, all these elements come together to create a unique experience that you will remember for a lifetime. 

You will fly over the mighty Himalayas, from bustling Delhi, to the monasteries suspended in the high mountains and the stunning landscapes ofLadakh.

This photographic tour of Ladakh is a photographer's dream. It is a chance to capture life in these remote places, the stories of their friendly people, wildlife, dune and camel sites, monasteries and surreal lakes.

Ladakh, "Little Tibet", is a region in northern India.is a region in the north of India, bounded by the Kunlun Mountains to the north and the Himalayan range to the south, a place forgotten by the modern world. A land faithful to ancestral customs, where life is characterised by an intense spirituality.

Ladakh is the highest plateau in Indian Kashmir, more than 3,000 metres above sea level, forming a high-altitude cold desert because the Himalayas surround the area, keeping out the monsoon rains and clouds. After Siberia, this region is the coldest inhabited area on the planet, with winters reaching minus 50 degrees Celsius. It is inhospitable and barren, where there is almost no humidity and the sparse vegetation means that there is far less oxygen in the air than in other places at the same altitude. An astonishingly beautiful landscape, where brackish water lakes simulate tranquil mirrors of cobalt and emerald tones that reflect the snow-capped peaks, such as the Tso Moriri or Tso Kariri lakes.Tso Moriri or Tso Karlakes, at an altitude of 4,500 metres.

For an extremely arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of bird life, with a total of 225 species identified, including the black-necked crane, Tibetan snowcock, chukar partridge, bearded vulture and golden eagle. In addition, the wildlife in this region bears many similarities with the fauna of the Tibetan plateau, being home to some mammals such as ibex, baral, Tibetan antelope, lynx and snow leopard, The Tibetan wolf, which has been persecuted and hunted because it attacks the livestock of the Ladakhis, the only source of livelihood for many families, is estimated to number around 300.

In these high altitudes and barren lands, the agricultural season is only viable for a few months each year. Farm animals are scarce and water is limited, so the Ladakhis developed a small-scale farming system adapted to these harsh conditions. The land is irrigated by a system of canals that capture water from snowmelt and snow from the mountains, and their main crops are barley and maize. These lonely lands are one of the least populated areas of Kashmir, where most of the Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhists and the rest are mostly Shi'ite Muslims, with the city of Leh being the largest population centre, the capital of the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, which has a population of barely 30,000.

 

A great adventure awaits us in the heart of the Indian Himalayas!
DAY 1 (5/27-23): ARRIVAL IN DELHI

Arrival at Indira Gandhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL).

Transfer to the hotel, very close to the airport, to rest from the long trip. 

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 2 (5/28/23): DELHI

Today, we will visit the main attractions of the incredible city of Delhi. city of Delhi.

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 3 (5/29-23): DELHI / AGRA

After breakfast, drive to Agra (3 hours). 

Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and visit to the historic Agra Fort. visit to the historic Agra Fort. It was built during 1565-1573 for the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Later we will visit the city and the local market.

Lodging in Agra.

 

DAY 4 (5-30-23): AGRA / DELHI /VARANASI

Early morning visit to the Taj Mahal Taj Mahal (3-4 hrs).

Although many consider it a temple, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum that hides a beautiful and tragic love story between an emperor and his wife. This majestic building was built in the 17th century and is located near the city of Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, and is undoubtedly a must for the thousands of tourists who visit this corner of India. But let's delve into the love story that surrounds this magical place.

Many say that the Taj Mahal is poetry made art and legend has it that Mumtaz Mahal asked the emperor on his deathbed for 4 things, among them to build his tomb and to visit it every year.

Before having this name, the emperor's wife was known as Arjumand, princess daughter of the Prime Minister of the Court. Sha Jahan met her in a bazaar and it is said that it was love at first sight, Prince Kurram was stunned by the beauty of the then Princess Arjumand and without saying a word, gave her a diamond necklace that the princess was trying on. From that moment until the lovers were married, 5 years passed and it is said that they could not even see or speak to each other.

Once married, Princess Arjumand became known as Mumtaz Mahal, "The Chosen One of the Palace" and years of joy and glory passed for the lovers, even when Prince Kurram's father died and he was crowned emperor and began to call Shah Jahan, "King of the World". Four years after this event would come tragedy....

During the delivery of her fourteenth child, Mumtaz Mahal, she passed away. Her husband held her hand and listened attentively to her last requests in life: that he build her tomb, marry again, be good to her children, and visit her every year on the anniversary of her death.

It is said that the emperor was plunged into sadness of such magnitude that he locked himself in his quarters for eight days, neither eating nor drinking. On the ninth day, Emperor Shah Jahan came out and ordered that mourning be enforced throughout the kingdom, forbidding even smiles among the subjects. The emperor did not emerge from the palace until a year later, aged and with his hair and beard white.

 

Curiosities about the Taj Mahal:

  • Around 20,000 people and more than 1,000 elephants worked on its construction.
  • All chief architects were ordered to be blinded and have their hands cut off so that they could never build anything like it. 
  • It was almost destroyed in the 19th century by the English.
  • The Taj Mahal receives more than 3 million visitors a year and is one of the most photographed tourist destinations in the world.
  • Its architecture is based on Persian, Islamic and Indian styles. It has been one of the 7 Wonders of the World since 2007.
  • Depending on how the sun shines on it, the mausoleum can be seen in up to 10 different shades of color.
  • The Taj Mahal took 22 years to build completely Taj means "crown" and Mahal means "first lady of the palace".

 

After the visit to the Taj Mahal, we will drive to Delhi for our flight to Varanasi.

Varanasi in India, known in English as Varanasi, is the sacred city of India par excellence, located on the banks of the sacred river Ganges in the region of Uttar Pradesh.

It is one of the oldest cities in the world and the most revered by Hindus; the place in whose river, the Ganges, the ashes of those who have just died are scattered, in the belief that the sacred waters of the Goddess Ganga will free them from the eternal cycle of death and reincarnation.

Although in India there are six other cities sacred to Hinduism, Varanasi, as the Indians call it, is the most important pilgrimage center for millions of devotees. They come, at least once in their lives, to the banks of the Ganges to exempt their sins by bathing in the murky waters of the river. And this makes it one of the most interesting cities for the traveler who wants to delve into the culture of India.

The main destination for visitors to the city are the ghats, the name given to the stone staircases that descend to the Ganges River.

At dawn, men and women can be seen performing their purifying baths in the river while praying and paying tribute to the sun god, Surya. Each of these ghats, built in the 18th century, has a special name and function.

The ghats of Manikarnika and Harischandra are the main crematoriums of Varanasi. At the Pancha Ganga ghat, five sacred rivers are believed to converge. In total, the city has more than 100 ghats.

Another essential destination when visiting Varanasi, is the Old City, located on the banks of the Ganges, and characterized by its narrow streets lined with itinerant stores, in addition to large numbers of temples.

Lodging in Agra.

 

DAY 5 (5-31-23) : VARANASI

First thing in the morning, visit to the ghats for a boat ride boat ride on the Ganges boat ride on the Ganges, and later visit to the temple of Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The Ganges River is one of the most revered natural sites in India. The river extends southeastward from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal. Between 400 and 600 million people depend on the Ganges River to provide them with water for daily bathing and drinking.

Hindus flock to Varanasi from all over the world to purify themselves in the sacred water of the Ganges and perform rituals in the dozens of ghats along the river.

For tourists, the river serves as a fixed point of orientation for navigating the city, and they will undoubtedly spend a lot of time sightseeing and observing life around the Ganges.

The lively atmosphere of the Dasaswamedh Ghat makes it one of the best places to visit in Varanasi. This tourist attraction is a hodgepodge of flower vendors, boat operators offering rides on the Ganges River and face-painted sadhus (holy men). During the day you can spend hours people-watching in this area.

The Hindu priests organize the Ganga Aarti every evening at the Ghat, starting at sunset. Dressed in saffron-colored robes, the priests spread plates of flower petals and other offerings and sound a conch shell to signal the beginning of the spiritual ceremony. Thousands of tourists gather to watch the priests chant and wave plates of sandalwood-scented incense in intricate patterns for about 45 minutes. It's an extravagant sight and one of the best things to do here.

Hindus believe that Manikarnika Ghat is one of the most conducive places for the deceased to attain moksha (emancipation from the cycle of spiritual rebirth). The funeral pyre of this ghat burns 24 hours a day, and dozens of cremations are performed every day.

You may be offered the opportunity to see a cremation up close, though profound, the experience is not for the faint of heart, nor is it a tourist attraction in the traditional sense. Know your limits, be respectful and avoid taking photos of funerals, mourners and the deceased.

Accommodation in Varanasi.

 

DAY 6 (01-6-23): VARANASI / DELHI 

In the morning, we will visit Sarnathnear the confluence of the Ganges and Varuna rivers. Sarnath Deer Park is the place where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha arose through the enlightenment of Kondanna (Sanskrit: Kauṇḍinya).

Singhpura village located approximately one kilometer from the site, was the birthplace of Shreyans Anath, the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism.

Later we will return to the city for lunch and then drive to the airport for our flight to Delhi. flight to Delhi.

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 7 (02-6-23) : DELHI / FLIGHT / LEH

This morning, after breakfast, we will drive to the airport to catch our flight to Leh The flight to Leh will take approximately 90 minutes. Clouds permitting, this is one of the most interesting scheduled flights in the world, where we will enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayas.

Acclimatization is very important (Leh is at 3,500m altitude), so we will settle in at the hotel and have a quiet chat about the visual delights and challenges that lie ahead in the next few days. 

If our acclimatization is going well, in the late afternoon we will head for the Shanti Stupawhere we will have a privileged view of the city of Leh.

We will then return to the hotel for dinner and continue our acclimatization while we sleep. 

Lodging in Leh.

 

DAY 8 (03-6-23): LEH (THIKSEY, STOK, ETC).

Today we will spend the whole day in the city and its surroundings, where we will continue our acclimatization and visit several interesting places, such as the Buddhist monastery of Thiksey. Buddhist monastery of Thiksey.

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 9 (04-6-23): LEH / BROKPA TRIBE

After breakfast, we will head for Aryan Valley (5 hrs).

Situated high on the banks of the Indus River, on a narrow strip of fertile land, a tribe of mysterious origins has flourished for centuries. 

Legends say that the Brokpa of Dah are descendants of a lost army of Alexander the Great. Others speculate that they are Dards, a tribe exiled from Gilgit, in what is now politically a part of Pakistan.

Brokpa themselves do not know where they come from. No wonder, however, that there is cause for wonder. Their distinctive fair skin, sharp nose and unusually colored eyes are distinctly different from those of most people in Ladakh, whose appearance is influenced by Tibetan Mongoloids.

It is not only their appearance that separates them from others. In a traditionally Buddhist territory, Brokpa beauties, who initially practiced shamanism, have long had a reputation as wild women with multiple lovers.

At first glance, the arrangement of flowers adorning their heads is striking. The women's hair is fully braided with old hair extensions used to lengthen the long braids. 

Finally, it is gathered in a knot well below the waist. Turquoise, pearls, coral, silver and shells adorn the women's finery. The backs are covered with goatskin coats and the chest is adorned with numerous beaded necklaces.

Here, where the natural world inspires ornamentation, there is no need for perfume, lipstick and mascara. However, times are changing rapidly, and many of the brokpa are abandoning traditional clothing for the more wearable "Punjabi dress." Today, traditional clothing is worn mostly at festivals, but some elders still wear their heavy suits on a daily basis. 

Lodging in Aryan valley.

 

DAY 10 (05-6-23): BROKPA / NURLA

Today we will leave the Aryan Valley behind us, and head to Nurla (3 hrs).

Check in at the hotel.

After lunch, we will visit the Lamayuru Lamayuru monastery, where we will photograph the sunset.

Lamayuru is one of the largest and oldest gompas in Ladakh, with a population of about 150 permanent resident monks. In the past it housed as many as 400 monks, many of whom are now in gompas in surrounding villages. Lamayuru was founded in the 11th century by Mahasiddha Carya Naropa. 

Lodging in Nurla

 

DAY 11 (06-6-23): NURLA / LEH

In the morning on the way back to Leh, we will visit the Alchi monastery Alchi Monastery and a local Basgo house..

Lodging in Leh.

 

DAY 12 (07-6-23): LEH / NUBRA VALLEY

On the route that will take us to Hunder (Nubra Valley)we will cross the Khardung La (5.359 mts), the highest motorized mountain pass on the planet.the highest motorized mountain pass on the planet.

From Khardung La, the 50-kilometer drive to Hunder follows the course of the Shyok River, which joins the Nubra River in the Nubra Valley. The region marks the separation not only of the political geographies of India and Pakistan, but also of ethnicities (Balti people and Ladakhi people) and cultural influences (Buddhism and Islam).

The journey through the Nubra Valley winds through a diverse ecosystem of barren floodplains, rocky slopes, scrub, sand dunes, deep gorges, deep gorges, mountain rivers, waterfalls and snow-capped ridges. The desolate landscape is interrupted by green patches of cultivated fields, small villages and precariously perched whitewashed gompas.

Here, near the highest mountains in the world, with snow-capped peaks glistening in the distance, the last thing you would expect is to see sand dunes, but thanks to the peculiarities of the local geography, that is precisely what we will find, so we will take advantage of the opportunity to photograph surreal landscapes and shapes formed by the light.

But first we will go to the monastery of Diskit.

We will meet the monks and photograph inside and outside the monastery; this is a great place to capture the weathered textures, the fabulous views of the valley from the roof of the monastery, etc.

As we leave the monastery, we will have the opportunity to photograph the huge 32m high Buddha statue, built relatively recently with local funds and consecrated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2010.

Lodging in Hunder.

 

DAY 13 (08-6-23): NUBRA / TURTUK VALLEY

Today we will have the privilege of visiting the valley of Turtuk and its Balti villages.

In the extreme northwest of India, between the borders of Pakistan and China, lies one of the most unknown corners of the country, the region of Ladakh, which treasures an impressive natural beauty and cultural diversity.

It is in the midst of the mountains and deserts of Ladakh that the small Turtuk valley is located. valley of Turtuk. When in 1971 India occupied the border, Turtuk ceased to belong to Pakistan and many families were divided. Since the last decade, the border problem was relaxed and in 2010 Turtuk was opened to tourism.

Known as the people who lost their identity, it has a very diverse cultural map. On the one hand, while the rest of Ladakh is Buddhist, Turtuk is a Balti people, an ethnic group of Tibetans descended from the Skardu region of Pakistan. On the other hand, the inhabitants of the valley are Noorbakshia Muslims, but speak the Tibetan Balti language.

Lodging in Hunder.

 

DAY 14 (06/09/23): NUBRA / PANGONG TSO LAKE

Today we will be heading to the impressive Pangong Tso Lake Pangong Tso Lake (Approx. 5h).

It is probably one of the most grandiose natural spectacles in the area, located at 4,350m above sea level and bordering China.

The lake is 130 kilometers long and just 7 km wide and freezes in winter despite its high salinity, and shows a fantastic aquamarine color that contrasts with the surrounding snow-capped mountains, allowing for great compositions, as well as photographing the native fauna: waterfowl, the Kiang (wild ass) and the Himalayan marmot.

We will spend the night in a charming little village on the banks of the Pangong Tso, where nomadic and Tibetan shepherds, the Changpa, come in the summer to cultivate barley and pea crops.

If weather conditions are favorable, we will photograph the Milky Way in the incredible night sky of Ladakh.

Lodging in Pangong lake.

 

DAY 15 (10-6-23): PANGONG TSO LAKE

We will spend the whole day enjoying the majestic surroundings of Pangong Lake, as well as interacting with the local people.

Lodging in Pangong lake.

 

DAY 16 (11-6-23): PANGONF TSO LAKE / SHAKTI

Today we will head to the village of Shaktiwhere we can visit the beautiful Taktouk monastery monastery of Taktouk.

Taktouk Monastery is the only monastery in Ladakh that belongs to the Nyingmapa or red hat sect.

The name Taktouk, which literally means "rock roof", is due to the fact that both the roof and walls are made of rock. It belongs to the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and is home to about 55 lamas. It is the only Nyingma monastery in Ladakh.

The monastery was founded in the mid-16th century, during the reign of Tshewang Namgyal, on a mountainside around a cave where Padmasambhava is said to have meditated in the 8th century.

Sunset photo session in the yellow mustard fields near the hotel, with the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the background.

Lodging in Shakti.

 

DAY 17 (12-6-23): SHAKTI / LEH AIRPORT / DELHI

Today, after breakfast, we will drive to Leh airport to catch our flight back to Delhi and connect with our international flight back home.

End of trip.

INCLUDED IN THE TRIP:

  • 16 nights accommodation (double room). Single room supplement: +$900.
  • Flight Delhi - Leh - Delhi.
  • Breakfast and dinner included during the entire stay in Ladakh.
  • Bottles of water throughout the tour.
  • Entrance fees and lodging privileges in protected areas and national parks.
  • Transportation in private minibus, drivers and gasoline.
  • Local guide.
  • Photographic advice by Juanra Noriega.
  • All visits and activities specified in the itinerary.
  • Transfer service to and from the airport (Delhi and Leh).

 

NOT INCLUDED:

  • International flights.
  • Visa.
  • Tips.
  • Personal needs.
  • Anything not listed under the heading Included.
  • Services or meals not specified in the "Included" section.
Payment Policy

Reserve Deposit:

The reservation will become effective when a deposit of 25% of the total amount of the trip is made.

Places will not be reserved without a deposit.

Final Payment:

Payment of the final amount is due 45 days before the start of the trip.

General Cancellation Policy:

In the event that you are unable to participate in the Photography Trip and cancel your participation, refunds will be handled as follows:

More than 6 weeks before the start of the trip: 100% reimbursement minus €400.

Less than 6 weeks before the start of the workshop: no refunds will be given.

COVID-19 Cancellation Policy:

In case you test positive for COVID-19 and cannot make the trip, we will refund 100% of the money paid to date including the booking deposit. The test confirming the result must be presented.

In case of force majeure:

In the event of achange in tourist entry regulations due to COVID-19 policies, weather, mechanical problems , accident or illness and the workshop cannot be held in its entirety, Namaste Photo Tours will negotiate directly with the participants to arrange a new date or a refund if the participant is unable to attend the new stipulated date.

General

1. Accidents:

1.A. Namaste Photo Tours is not responsible for accidents of participants of the trip, nor will it cover medical expenses if necessary. During the trip, each participant is responsible for his or her own safety and physical integrity.

1.B. Namaste Photo Tours is not responsible for accidents or loss of photographic equipment during the trip. Each participant is responsible for his or her own photographic equipment.

2. Punctuality:

2.A. The Photographic Journey starts on a specific date and in a timely manner. All participants must be at the location on the day of the start of the trip. In case of delays due to inconveniences, the participant must contact a Namaste Photo Tours representative as soon as possible.

3. Respect:

3.A. Respect and patience are the basis of a successful Photographic Journey. Participants may be at different levels of knowledge of the subject matter, so patience is required when explaining topics that are already in their domain. Each participant's area of photographing should be respected. No disrespect from a participant to another member of the trip or staff will be allowed.

4. Climate:

4.A. The tour and its itinerary are weather dependent and may change from one moment to the next. We will always keep an eye on the best weather conditions to determine where to go and to optimise your photography.

INFORMATION
HIMALAYA INDIO

LADAKH ``LITTLE TIBET``

NORTH INDIA

DELHI / TAJ MAHAL / VARANASI

Investment: US$ 5,695

Date: May 27 to June 12, 2023
Duration: 17 days
Welcome to a unique photographic adventure in one of the most beautiful and remote places on earth, Ladakh "Little Tibet".

 

We offer you a photographic expedition, where you will live a unique experience in this fascinating region of theHimalayas.

The photographic encounters with the mountain people and their way of life, the incredible road trips, the surreal serenity of its lakes, the pure Himalayan air... day after carefully planned day, all these elements come together to create a unique experience that you will remember for a lifetime. 

You will fly over the mighty Himalayas, from bustling Delhi, to the monasteries suspended in the high mountains and the stunning landscapes ofLadakh.

This photographic tour of Ladakh is a photographer's dream. It is a chance to capture life in these remote places, the stories of their friendly people, wildlife, dune and camel sites, monasteries and surreal lakes.

Ladakh, "Little Tibet", is a region in northern India.is a region in the north of India, bounded by the Kunlun Mountains to the north and the Himalayan range to the south, a place forgotten by the modern world. A land faithful to ancestral customs, where life is characterised by an intense spirituality.

Ladakh is the highest plateau in Indian Kashmir, more than 3,000 metres above sea level, forming a high-altitude cold desert because the Himalayas surround the area, keeping out the monsoon rains and clouds. After Siberia, this region is the coldest inhabited area on the planet, with winters reaching minus 50 degrees Celsius. It is inhospitable and barren, where there is almost no humidity and the sparse vegetation means that there is far less oxygen in the air than in other places at the same altitude. An astonishingly beautiful landscape, where brackish water lakes simulate tranquil mirrors of cobalt and emerald tones that reflect the snow-capped peaks, such as the Tso Moriri or Tso Kariri lakes.Tso Moriri or Tso Karlakes, at an altitude of 4,500 metres.

For an extremely arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of bird life, with a total of 225 species identified, including the black-necked crane, Tibetan snowcock, chukar partridge, bearded vulture and golden eagle. In addition, the wildlife in this region bears many similarities with the fauna of the Tibetan plateau, being home to some mammals such as ibex, baral, Tibetan antelope, lynx and snow leopard, The Tibetan wolf, which has been persecuted and hunted because it attacks the livestock of the Ladakhis, the only source of livelihood for many families, is estimated to number around 300.

In these high altitudes and barren lands, the agricultural season is only viable for a few months each year. Farm animals are scarce and water is limited, so the Ladakhis developed a small-scale farming system adapted to these harsh conditions. The land is irrigated by a system of canals that capture water from snowmelt and snow from the mountains, and their main crops are barley and maize. These lonely lands are one of the least populated areas of Kashmir, where most of the Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhists and the rest are mostly Shi'ite Muslims, with the city of Leh being the largest population centre, the capital of the ancient Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, which has a population of barely 30,000.

 

A great adventure awaits us in the heart of the Indian Himalayas!
ITINERARY
DAY 1 (5/27-23): ARRIVAL IN DELHI

Arrival at Indira Gandhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (DEL).

Transfer to the hotel, very close to the airport, to rest from the long trip. 

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 2 (5/28/23): DELHI

Today, we will visit the main attractions of the incredible city of Delhi. city of Delhi.

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 3 (5/29-23): DELHI / AGRA

After breakfast, drive to Agra (3 hours). 

Upon arrival, transfer to the hotel and visit to the historic Agra Fort. visit to the historic Agra Fort. It was built during 1565-1573 for the Mughal Emperor Akbar.

Later we will visit the city and the local market.

Lodging in Agra.

 

DAY 4 (5-30-23): AGRA / DELHI /VARANASI

Early morning visit to the Taj Mahal Taj Mahal (3-4 hrs).

Although many consider it a temple, the Taj Mahal is a mausoleum that hides a beautiful and tragic love story between an emperor and his wife. This majestic building was built in the 17th century and is located near the city of Agra, in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, and is undoubtedly a must for the thousands of tourists who visit this corner of India. But let's delve into the love story that surrounds this magical place.

Many say that the Taj Mahal is poetry made art and legend has it that Mumtaz Mahal asked the emperor on his deathbed for 4 things, among them to build his tomb and to visit it every year.

Before having this name, the emperor's wife was known as Arjumand, princess daughter of the Prime Minister of the Court. Sha Jahan met her in a bazaar and it is said that it was love at first sight, Prince Kurram was stunned by the beauty of the then Princess Arjumand and without saying a word, gave her a diamond necklace that the princess was trying on. From that moment until the lovers were married, 5 years passed and it is said that they could not even see or speak to each other.

Once married, Princess Arjumand became known as Mumtaz Mahal, "The Chosen One of the Palace" and years of joy and glory passed for the lovers, even when Prince Kurram's father died and he was crowned emperor and began to call Shah Jahan, "King of the World". Four years after this event would come tragedy....

During the delivery of her fourteenth child, Mumtaz Mahal, she passed away. Her husband held her hand and listened attentively to her last requests in life: that he build her tomb, marry again, be good to her children, and visit her every year on the anniversary of her death.

It is said that the emperor was plunged into sadness of such magnitude that he locked himself in his quarters for eight days, neither eating nor drinking. On the ninth day, Emperor Shah Jahan came out and ordered that mourning be enforced throughout the kingdom, forbidding even smiles among the subjects. The emperor did not emerge from the palace until a year later, aged and with his hair and beard white.

 

Curiosities about the Taj Mahal:

  • Around 20,000 people and more than 1,000 elephants worked on its construction.
  • All chief architects were ordered to be blinded and have their hands cut off so that they could never build anything like it. 
  • It was almost destroyed in the 19th century by the English.
  • The Taj Mahal receives more than 3 million visitors a year and is one of the most photographed tourist destinations in the world.
  • Its architecture is based on Persian, Islamic and Indian styles. It has been one of the 7 Wonders of the World since 2007.
  • Depending on how the sun shines on it, the mausoleum can be seen in up to 10 different shades of color.
  • The Taj Mahal took 22 years to build completely Taj means "crown" and Mahal means "first lady of the palace".

 

After the visit to the Taj Mahal, we will drive to Delhi for our flight to Varanasi.

Varanasi in India, known in English as Varanasi, is the sacred city of India par excellence, located on the banks of the sacred river Ganges in the region of Uttar Pradesh.

It is one of the oldest cities in the world and the most revered by Hindus; the place in whose river, the Ganges, the ashes of those who have just died are scattered, in the belief that the sacred waters of the Goddess Ganga will free them from the eternal cycle of death and reincarnation.

Although in India there are six other cities sacred to Hinduism, Varanasi, as the Indians call it, is the most important pilgrimage center for millions of devotees. They come, at least once in their lives, to the banks of the Ganges to exempt their sins by bathing in the murky waters of the river. And this makes it one of the most interesting cities for the traveler who wants to delve into the culture of India.

The main destination for visitors to the city are the ghats, the name given to the stone staircases that descend to the Ganges River.

At dawn, men and women can be seen performing their purifying baths in the river while praying and paying tribute to the sun god, Surya. Each of these ghats, built in the 18th century, has a special name and function.

The ghats of Manikarnika and Harischandra are the main crematoriums of Varanasi. At the Pancha Ganga ghat, five sacred rivers are believed to converge. In total, the city has more than 100 ghats.

Another essential destination when visiting Varanasi, is the Old City, located on the banks of the Ganges, and characterized by its narrow streets lined with itinerant stores, in addition to large numbers of temples.

Lodging in Agra.

 

DAY 5 (5-31-23) : VARANASI

First thing in the morning, visit to the ghats for a boat ride boat ride on the Ganges boat ride on the Ganges, and later visit to the temple of Kashi Vishwanath temple.

The Ganges River is one of the most revered natural sites in India. The river extends southeastward from the Himalayas in the north to the Bay of Bengal. Between 400 and 600 million people depend on the Ganges River to provide them with water for daily bathing and drinking.

Hindus flock to Varanasi from all over the world to purify themselves in the sacred water of the Ganges and perform rituals in the dozens of ghats along the river.

For tourists, the river serves as a fixed point of orientation for navigating the city, and they will undoubtedly spend a lot of time sightseeing and observing life around the Ganges.

The lively atmosphere of the Dasaswamedh Ghat makes it one of the best places to visit in Varanasi. This tourist attraction is a hodgepodge of flower vendors, boat operators offering rides on the Ganges River and face-painted sadhus (holy men). During the day you can spend hours people-watching in this area.

The Hindu priests organize the Ganga Aarti every evening at the Ghat, starting at sunset. Dressed in saffron-colored robes, the priests spread plates of flower petals and other offerings and sound a conch shell to signal the beginning of the spiritual ceremony. Thousands of tourists gather to watch the priests chant and wave plates of sandalwood-scented incense in intricate patterns for about 45 minutes. It's an extravagant sight and one of the best things to do here.

Hindus believe that Manikarnika Ghat is one of the most conducive places for the deceased to attain moksha (emancipation from the cycle of spiritual rebirth). The funeral pyre of this ghat burns 24 hours a day, and dozens of cremations are performed every day.

You may be offered the opportunity to see a cremation up close, though profound, the experience is not for the faint of heart, nor is it a tourist attraction in the traditional sense. Know your limits, be respectful and avoid taking photos of funerals, mourners and the deceased.

Accommodation in Varanasi.

 

DAY 6 (01-6-23): VARANASI / DELHI 

In the morning, we will visit Sarnathnear the confluence of the Ganges and Varuna rivers. Sarnath Deer Park is the place where Gautama Buddha first taught the Dharma, and where the Buddhist Sangha arose through the enlightenment of Kondanna (Sanskrit: Kauṇḍinya).

Singhpura village located approximately one kilometer from the site, was the birthplace of Shreyans Anath, the eleventh Tirthankara of Jainism.

Later we will return to the city for lunch and then drive to the airport for our flight to Delhi. flight to Delhi.

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 7 (02-6-23) : DELHI / FLIGHT / LEH

This morning, after breakfast, we will drive to the airport to catch our flight to Leh The flight to Leh will take approximately 90 minutes. Clouds permitting, this is one of the most interesting scheduled flights in the world, where we will enjoy breathtaking views of the Himalayas.

Acclimatization is very important (Leh is at 3,500m altitude), so we will settle in at the hotel and have a quiet chat about the visual delights and challenges that lie ahead in the next few days. 

If our acclimatization is going well, in the late afternoon we will head for the Shanti Stupawhere we will have a privileged view of the city of Leh.

We will then return to the hotel for dinner and continue our acclimatization while we sleep. 

Lodging in Leh.

 

DAY 8 (03-6-23): LEH (THIKSEY, STOK, ETC).

Today we will spend the whole day in the city and its surroundings, where we will continue our acclimatization and visit several interesting places, such as the Buddhist monastery of Thiksey. Buddhist monastery of Thiksey.

Accommodation in Delhi.

 

DAY 9 (04-6-23): LEH / BROKPA TRIBE

After breakfast, we will head for Aryan Valley (5 hrs).

Situated high on the banks of the Indus River, on a narrow strip of fertile land, a tribe of mysterious origins has flourished for centuries. 

Legends say that the Brokpa of Dah are descendants of a lost army of Alexander the Great. Others speculate that they are Dards, a tribe exiled from Gilgit, in what is now politically a part of Pakistan.

Brokpa themselves do not know where they come from. No wonder, however, that there is cause for wonder. Their distinctive fair skin, sharp nose and unusually colored eyes are distinctly different from those of most people in Ladakh, whose appearance is influenced by Tibetan Mongoloids.

It is not only their appearance that separates them from others. In a traditionally Buddhist territory, Brokpa beauties, who initially practiced shamanism, have long had a reputation as wild women with multiple lovers.

At first glance, the arrangement of flowers adorning their heads is striking. The women's hair is fully braided with old hair extensions used to lengthen the long braids. 

Finally, it is gathered in a knot well below the waist. Turquoise, pearls, coral, silver and shells adorn the women's finery. The backs are covered with goatskin coats and the chest is adorned with numerous beaded necklaces.

Here, where the natural world inspires ornamentation, there is no need for perfume, lipstick and mascara. However, times are changing rapidly, and many of the brokpa are abandoning traditional clothing for the more wearable "Punjabi dress." Today, traditional clothing is worn mostly at festivals, but some elders still wear their heavy suits on a daily basis. 

Lodging in Aryan valley.

 

DAY 10 (05-6-23): BROKPA / NURLA

Today we will leave the Aryan Valley behind us, and head to Nurla (3 hrs).

Check in at the hotel.

After lunch, we will visit the Lamayuru Lamayuru monastery, where we will photograph the sunset.

Lamayuru is one of the largest and oldest gompas in Ladakh, with a population of about 150 permanent resident monks. In the past it housed as many as 400 monks, many of whom are now in gompas in surrounding villages. Lamayuru was founded in the 11th century by Mahasiddha Carya Naropa. 

Lodging in Nurla

 

DAY 11 (06-6-23): NURLA / LEH

In the morning on the way back to Leh, we will visit the Alchi monastery Alchi Monastery and a local Basgo house..

Lodging in Leh.

 

DAY 12 (07-6-23): LEH / NUBRA VALLEY

On the route that will take us to Hunder (Nubra Valley)we will cross the Khardung La (5.359 mts), the highest motorized mountain pass on the planet.the highest motorized mountain pass on the planet.

From Khardung La, the 50-kilometer drive to Hunder follows the course of the Shyok River, which joins the Nubra River in the Nubra Valley. The region marks the separation not only of the political geographies of India and Pakistan, but also of ethnicities (Balti people and Ladakhi people) and cultural influences (Buddhism and Islam).

The journey through the Nubra Valley winds through a diverse ecosystem of barren floodplains, rocky slopes, scrub, sand dunes, deep gorges, deep gorges, mountain rivers, waterfalls and snow-capped ridges. The desolate landscape is interrupted by green patches of cultivated fields, small villages and precariously perched whitewashed gompas.

Here, near the highest mountains in the world, with snow-capped peaks glistening in the distance, the last thing you would expect is to see sand dunes, but thanks to the peculiarities of the local geography, that is precisely what we will find, so we will take advantage of the opportunity to photograph surreal landscapes and shapes formed by the light.

But first we will go to the monastery of Diskit.

We will meet the monks and photograph inside and outside the monastery; this is a great place to capture the weathered textures, the fabulous views of the valley from the roof of the monastery, etc.

As we leave the monastery, we will have the opportunity to photograph the huge 32m high Buddha statue, built relatively recently with local funds and consecrated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 2010.

Lodging in Hunder.

 

DAY 13 (08-6-23): NUBRA / TURTUK VALLEY

Today we will have the privilege of visiting the valley of Turtuk and its Balti villages.

In the extreme northwest of India, between the borders of Pakistan and China, lies one of the most unknown corners of the country, the region of Ladakh, which treasures an impressive natural beauty and cultural diversity.

It is in the midst of the mountains and deserts of Ladakh that the small Turtuk valley is located. valley of Turtuk. When in 1971 India occupied the border, Turtuk ceased to belong to Pakistan and many families were divided. Since the last decade, the border problem was relaxed and in 2010 Turtuk was opened to tourism.

Known as the people who lost their identity, it has a very diverse cultural map. On the one hand, while the rest of Ladakh is Buddhist, Turtuk is a Balti people, an ethnic group of Tibetans descended from the Skardu region of Pakistan. On the other hand, the inhabitants of the valley are Noorbakshia Muslims, but speak the Tibetan Balti language.

Lodging in Hunder.

 

DAY 14 (06/09/23): NUBRA / PANGONG TSO LAKE

Today we will be heading to the impressive Pangong Tso Lake Pangong Tso Lake (Approx. 5h).

It is probably one of the most grandiose natural spectacles in the area, located at 4,350m above sea level and bordering China.

The lake is 130 kilometers long and just 7 km wide and freezes in winter despite its high salinity, and shows a fantastic aquamarine color that contrasts with the surrounding snow-capped mountains, allowing for great compositions, as well as photographing the native fauna: waterfowl, the Kiang (wild ass) and the Himalayan marmot.

We will spend the night in a charming little village on the banks of the Pangong Tso, where nomadic and Tibetan shepherds, the Changpa, come in the summer to cultivate barley and pea crops.

If weather conditions are favorable, we will photograph the Milky Way in the incredible night sky of Ladakh.

Lodging in Pangong lake.

 

DAY 15 (10-6-23): PANGONG TSO LAKE

We will spend the whole day enjoying the majestic surroundings of Pangong Lake, as well as interacting with the local people.

Lodging in Pangong lake.

 

DAY 16 (11-6-23): PANGONF TSO LAKE / SHAKTI

Today we will head to the village of Shaktiwhere we can visit the beautiful Taktouk monastery monastery of Taktouk.

Taktouk Monastery is the only monastery in Ladakh that belongs to the Nyingmapa or red hat sect.

The name Taktouk, which literally means "rock roof", is due to the fact that both the roof and walls are made of rock. It belongs to the Nyingma tradition of Tibetan Buddhism and is home to about 55 lamas. It is the only Nyingma monastery in Ladakh.

The monastery was founded in the mid-16th century, during the reign of Tshewang Namgyal, on a mountainside around a cave where Padmasambhava is said to have meditated in the 8th century.

Sunset photo session in the yellow mustard fields near the hotel, with the snow-capped peaks of the Himalayas in the background.

Lodging in Shakti.

 

DAY 17 (12-6-23): SHAKTI / LEH AIRPORT / DELHI

Today, after breakfast, we will drive to Leh airport to catch our flight back to Delhi and connect with our international flight back home.

End of trip.

INCLUDED / NOT INCLUDED

INCLUDED IN THE TRIP:

  • 16 nights accommodation (double room). Single room supplement: +$900.
  • Flight Delhi - Leh - Delhi.
  • Breakfast and dinner included during the entire stay in Ladakh.
  • Bottles of water throughout the tour.
  • Entrance fees and lodging privileges in protected areas and national parks.
  • Transportation in private minibus, drivers and gasoline.
  • Local guide.
  • Photographic advice by Juanra Noriega.
  • All visits and activities specified in the itinerary.
  • Transfer service to and from the airport (Delhi and Leh).

 

NOT INCLUDED:

  • International flights.
  • Visa.
  • Tips.
  • Personal needs.
  • Anything not listed under the heading Included.
  • Services or meals not specified in the "Included" section.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Payment Policy

Reserve Deposit:

The reservation will become effective when a deposit of 25% of the total amount of the trip is made.

Places will not be reserved without a deposit.

Final Payment:

Payment of the final amount is due 45 days before the start of the trip.

General Cancellation Policy:

In the event that you are unable to participate in the Photography Trip and cancel your participation, refunds will be handled as follows:

More than 6 weeks before the start of the trip: 100% reimbursement minus €400.

Less than 6 weeks before the start of the workshop: no refunds will be given.

COVID-19 Cancellation Policy:

In case you test positive for COVID-19 and cannot make the trip, we will refund 100% of the money paid to date including the booking deposit. The test confirming the result must be presented.

In case of force majeure:

In the event of achange in tourist entry regulations due to COVID-19 policies, weather, mechanical problems , accident or illness and the workshop cannot be held in its entirety, Namaste Photo Tours will negotiate directly with the participants to arrange a new date or a refund if the participant is unable to attend the new stipulated date.

General

1. Accidents:

1.A. Namaste Photo Tours is not responsible for accidents of participants of the trip, nor will it cover medical expenses if necessary. During the trip, each participant is responsible for his or her own safety and physical integrity.

1.B. Namaste Photo Tours is not responsible for accidents or loss of photographic equipment during the trip. Each participant is responsible for his or her own photographic equipment.

2. Punctuality:

2.A. The Photographic Journey starts on a specific date and in a timely manner. All participants must be at the location on the day of the start of the trip. In case of delays due to inconveniences, the participant must contact a Namaste Photo Tours representative as soon as possible.

3. Respect:

3.A. Respect and patience are the basis of a successful Photographic Journey. Participants may be at different levels of knowledge of the subject matter, so patience is required when explaining topics that are already in their domain. Each participant's area of photographing should be respected. No disrespect from a participant to another member of the trip or staff will be allowed.

4. Climate:

4.A. The tour and its itinerary are weather dependent and may change from one moment to the next. We will always keep an eye on the best weather conditions to determine where to go and to optimise your photography.

Ladakh ``Little Tibet``.

Sign me up!

As soon as possible, we will contact you, to send you the instructions on how to make the payment of the reservation (25%), and guarantee your seat in this Photo Tour.

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