This unique photography tour will take you through a sensory experience second to none. Starting in Leh with an introduction to photography, the tour ends after a week exploring the alpine dunes of Hunder and the high altitude lake Pangong Tso. We begin our journey with the Ladakh Festival in Leh showcasing the dance and colors of the local culture . Here you will be privileged to see monks, believers, performers and people from all over Ladakh as they participate in this festival, held annually in the city. Moving north, we visit the sand dunes of Hunder and the Monastery at Diskit. We camp and walk through some of the most magnificent scenery and visit the border village of Turtuk. We end the week with the 4350m high altitude lake of Pangong. With almost 60% of the lake in China, it is almost 604 sqkm in size. This great adventure follows in the footsteps of many explorers and is a magical week of discovery, learning and above all, Ladakhi hospitality.
On this holiday we will be constantly at an altitude of more than 3500m. Therefore, it is essential that you acclimatise well in order to make the best of the week. You will be advised by the UFO guide and mentor to rest and keep your body hydrated as much as possible on the first day of arrival. Your oxygen levels will be monitored from time to time to check on the level of acclimatisation. There is fair bit of walking to be done every day, and we would encourage you to do a bit of walking/running and breathing exercises to enjoy this photography expedition to the maximum. There is no level of restrictions and anyone with a camera and a genuine interest in photography are welcome. If you have no camera and no interest in photography, you are welcome nonetheless. We will guide you as to what personal gear and camera equipment you should be carrying to capture the best images at the stunning locations we have for you. The UFO mentor has prepared a curriculum which we will try to follow. However, the UFO mentor can change the curriculum according to his or her perspective as and when the situation may arise.
Meet at the group hotel in Leh. A single group transfer at 10.30 am from Leh Airport to the group hotel in Leh is provided. The first day is reserved for acclimatization and you will be advised to rest and drink water as much as possible. In the evening will be a short orientation session where the group gets to know each other as well as discussing camera equipment and itinerary. Lights out after dinner as we will have an early start the next day.
We will make an early start after tea and
breakfast and head to Leh city center to catch the beginning of the Ladakh
Festival. The procession of performers, monks and people is a stunning blend of
dance, color and life of the local culture. After we have witnessed the
procession we will tour the old Leh city circuit. We will amble through small
alleys and lanes behind the city Jama Masjid, with old mud-brick Ladakhi houses
with eroded chortens and visit the LAMO Center (Ladakh Arts and Media
Organization) residing in a 17th century mansion. You should be ready for quite
a bit of walking as that is the best way to witness the life in this ancient
city and acclimatize
We head north to Hundar in the Nubra Valley. Situated in the valley where the Shyok river meets Nubra or Siachen river, Hundar is famous for the its cold desert landscape where sand dunes meet snow capped mountains. We will visit Hundar Monastery in the day and capture the sunset over the dunes. Dont miss out on catching the Bactrian camels that walk about the valley. If the weather is clear, the Mentor can decide to hold a night photography lesson. We will stay the night at Hundar.
After early tea and breakfast, we witness the early morning prayers at Diskit Monastery, the oldest Gompa in Nubra Valley. Founded in the 14th century, the monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and has glorious views of the Nubra Valley on the monastery ceiling. We leave for a 2-3 hour drive to the border village of Turtuk. One of the gateways to Siachen Glacier, it is one of the few places where you can witness the Balti culture. Beyond Turtuk is the Pakistan controlled Gilgit-Baltistan region. We head back to Hundar by the evening to review our photos and get some hot tea and dinner.
After a filling breakfast, we visit the 32 m tall impressive Maitreya Buddha near the Diskit Monastery. Regarded as the Future Buddha in the Tibetan literature, Maitreya, will appear on Earth in the future, achieve complete enlightenment and teach the pure dharma. We then leave for Pangong Tso while via Shyok village. Situated at about 4350m, Pangong covers an area of almost 604 sqkm and extends between India and China. It is home to many migratory birds and freezes completely in the winter. The lake is in the process of being ratified under the Rumsar convention as a wetland of international importance. We will try and reach the lake by lunch which will give you ample time to explore lake shore and take in the stunning sunset views over the lake.
After morning tea and breakfast, we drive back to Leh. It will take us 5-6 hours to get back to the city but the views on the drive are glorious and will keep you captivated. Evening is at leisure for everyone and we will do a review of the work in the past few days.
We will make an early start after tea and breakfast to catch the morning prayers at Thiksey Monastery. Affiliated to the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, it is situated on a hill in Thiksey village and is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. After getting the blessings of the monks, we walk to Shey where a picnic lunch will be waiting for us. After lunch, we rest a bit and visit the Shey Palace and surrounding areas. You will be given sometime to yourself where you can explore the palace on your own and maybe a small assignment by the Mentor. A fixed time and place will be decided where the group will meet later and then head back to Leh.
We will visit the old markets and the 17th century Leh Palace. We continue to Tsemo Gompa, right next to the Palace and then move on to the busy market streets of Leh. After Lunch we head to Shanti Stupa. You will be given sometime to yourself where you can explore the palace on your own. A fixed time and place will be decided to re- group and then head back to the hotel.
After an early breakfast we transfer by private vehicle to the Leh Airport for your onward journey. However, if you would like to extend your visit in Leh to visit the Pangong Tso, Nubra Valley or any other areas, please contact our team of adventure travel consultants.