The Great Himalayan Journey- A Secret Retreats journey -
This journey has been personally designed by Muslin Naqash,
native from Kashmir and designer of this journey
“An imaginative and remarkable journey that leads through Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal, Darjeeling and the Dragon Kingdom’ of Bhutan(as extension) which will appeal to the Himalayan enthusiasts keen to explore beyond the cultural highlights.”
This journey is an incredible and unique opportunity to traverse the entire Himalaya from Kashmir, Ladakh, Nepal, Darjeeling to Bhutan(as extension). Share a lifetime of experiences with the local people. Appreciate the rich cultural history as we explore the markets and the back lanes of Leh, Kathmandu, Pokhara, Darjeeling and Thimphu (extension). Combine exhilarating walks with impromptu celebrations. Savour the rich and varied landscapes from the alpine valley of Kashmir to the stark, arid mountains of Ladakh to glimpsing the High Himalaya from the rim of the Kathmandu Valley to taking in the awesome backdrop of Kanchenjunga out of Darjeeling to savoring the snow-clad peaks that form the borderlands of Bhutan and Tibet.
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The walk begins at Zaina Kadal (bridge). Across the bridge is a living breathing museum of Islamic architecture, where as far as the eye can see are located homes, more than a century old. Tramp through the old quarters of Srinagar city into narrow streets, past structures and buildings, relics from an earlier period, trying to retain their dignity in the fast changing world so alien to them. Perambulating through the narrow lanes and by lanes you come out at the grand mosque of Jami Masjid and later at the Shah Hamadan mosque (one of the oldest mosques in Srinagar), beside the Jhelum River - noted for the papier-mâché work on its walls and ceilings. No nails or screws were used in the construction of this all-wooden mosque. Originally built in 1395 it has been destroyed by fire in 1479 and again in 1731.
The last stop today on our itinerary is the Zaina Kadal Market to soak up the atmosphere so typical of a local market like the bazaar of Ali Baba. After a traditional Kashmiri lunch in a local restaurant, drive up to the Shankaracharya temple. The car will take you to the foot of the flight of stairs, leading to the temple point and no further. The rest of way you have to climb but the effort is rewarding because the bird eye views of the valley from the temple precincts are truly breathtaking around sunset.
Leh is the capital of the ancient Buddhist Kingdom. Upon landing, transfer to Nimmu village about 45 minutes from the airport, where you will get full day relax to acclimatize to the high altitude at your comfortable rural heritage accommodation Nimmu House. In the evening enjoy indoor activities at Nimmu House like a library with books on Ladakhi & Tibetan culture. Nimmu House- a three storey house located in picturesque Nimmu village close to the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers, is one of the few remaining examples of traditional Ladakhi architecture. The house was built in the early 20th century by Rinchen Namgyal Zildar, a cousin of the then Ladakhi king. The house is a unique place with 30 rooms, including two Buddhist temples, stables, an orchard of 5000 sq meters with hundreds of apricot, apple and walnut trees. Dinner and night at Nimmu House
The Royal Leh Palace "Lehchen Spakhar" is located in the heart of the historic town of Leh. The impressive nine-storey palace was built by the ambitious King Singge Namgyal in 17th century. In fact this is the only tallest building in entire Ladakh. It is a miniature replica of Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The ruins of Leh palace overlooks the entire city of Leh and the Indus valley and signifies Ladakhs rich heritage. The palace is presently undertaken by Archaeological Survey of India and take care of its maintenance. The palace houses a museum and old prayer room Walk down from Leh Palace through the back streets with small old mud houses down into colorful Leh main bazaar.
We check-in to hotel Heritage Stok Palace. Stok is home to a royal Palace and a small museum which contains religious artifacts and ceremonial clothing belonging to the royal family. In the evening visiting the palace and museum and dinner.
Our next stop will be our hot lunch near Thiksey Gompa - this monastery resembles Potala Palace of Lhasa and has the most imposing structure providing a panoramic view of the green Indus Valley from its vantage point atop a hill. It has chambers full of statues, stupas and sacred thankhas. There are 60 resident lamas and the library is one of the biggest in Ladakh.
Conclude our day’s sightseeing of our Indus valley excursion is Shey Palace- ranking as the summer palace of the erstwhile Raja of Leh. Set upon a hill, and housing the largest golden topped victory stupa, the monastery has a two-storey statues of the sitting Buddha wrought with copper and gold of stupendous grandeur. Many chortens can be seen in front of the building with the biggest and most important monastery in Ladakh –Back to Stok Palace for overnight stay with dinner.
Leaving behind hussle and bussle of the Kathmandu Valley. Dhulikhel is a naturally and culturally rich destination straddling on a ridge with breathtaking views of the eastern Himalaya. Historically, Dhulikhel is a Newar settlement. The Newars are an ethnic group of Nepal who originally inhabited the Kathmandu Valley. They are renowned for their outstanding craftsmanship and woodcarving skills which is evident in all the traditional homes. We will wander around the old town where you can lose yourself to time in the tangle of cobbled laneways, discover ancient houses with sagging wooden frame works, intricate carvings, hidden temples and thriving market squares.
Afternoon at leisure
Dinner at the hotel
Pokhara is an enchanting Himalayan valley. If Kathmandu is the cultural hub of Nepal then Pokhara is its centre of adventure. Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge is the perfect location to explore the diverse villages around the valley or to head down to Phewa Lake for a walk along the bustling Lakeside area with its cafes. Take a boat on the lake and perhaps visit the Tal Barahi island temple. The guides at Tiger Mountain Pokhara Lodge will be happy to take you to explore.
Back to the hotel in the afternoon for some rest and to enjoy the evening at leisure.
In the evening a pre-trip briefing will be given, drinks and dinner at the Estate.
Afternoon and dinner at the Estate
Hotel: Glenburn Tea Estate
End of our services –or extension to Bhutan
Hotel: Naksel Paro
The Great Himalayan Journey
The total price includes:
Accommodation for 13 nights (or 18 nights if extension to Bhutan)
All meals as mentioned in the program
All airport transfers and drive between destinations as indicated
All excursions and activities as indicated
All transfers and transport included as per stated in the itinerary and activities
An English speaking local guide to assist you whilst on tour
Entrance fee to monuments and monasteries as per itinerary.
Assistance to book all flights and hotels before/after the journey.
For the extension to Bhutan: visa and permit fees included
The total price does no include:
International and Domestic flights
Extra activities you may require and not mentioned in the program
Meals not specified in the program
Alcoholic beverage, laundry
Visa (India, Nepal)