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Markha Valley Trek

Trek Highlights

The Markha Valley Trek is certainly one of the most varied and beautiful treks in the world. It ventures high into the Himalayas crossing two passes over 15,000 ft. as it circles from the edges of the Indus Valley, down into parts of Zanskar, and passes through terrain that changes from incredibly narrow valleys to wide open vast expanses. It is made all the more interesting by the ancient form of Buddhism that flourishes in the many monasteries that dot the landscape perched high atop hills.

As we trek to the upper end of the Markha Valley we are rewarded with spectacular views of jagged snow capped peaks before cross the 16500 ft. Gongmarlu Pass and descending to the famous Hemis monastery, where we end our trek.

Location Chart

LEH - STOK - YURUTSE - SKIU - MARKHA - TCHATCHUTSE - NIMALING - SHANG - HEMIS - THIKSEY - SHEY - SHENKAR - LEH

Day by Day Itinerary


DAY 01: ARRIVE DELHI

Meeting and assistance upon arrival thereafter transfer from international airport to Hotel. Overnight at Hotel.

DAY 02: DELHI-LEH

After breakfast transfer to domestic airport on time to connect flight for Leh. Meeting and assistance upon arrival. Thereafter transfer to Hotel. Day free for acclimatization. Lunch, dinner and overnight at Hotel Spic-n- Span.

DAY 03: LEH-LIKIR - ALCHI - LEH

Breakfast in Hotel. After breakfast full day excursion of Likir and Alchi monasteries. Packed lunch en- route.

Likir Monastery : A few kilometers short of Alchi, a scenic road passing through rocky mountains and the river, takes one to this Gompa which contains a number of enormous clay statues of the Buddha in different forms. Founded in the 12 century, Likir was the first royal monastery to be established in Ladakh under direct Tibetan influence.

Alchi Monastery : 66 Km west of Leh, this monastery consists of six temples which contain a chorten, seated Buddhas and exquisite paintings. Over 10 centuries old, profusely painted walls depict the events of the Buddha’s life, lamas and musicians. Its murals, dating from the 11th and 12th centuries, pre-date the Tibetan style of painting that is present in all the other gompas. Some of them are reminiscent of the paintings of the far-off Ajanta caves and are presumed to be almost the sole survivors (along with some in Phuktal Gompa in Zanskar and Tabo in Spiti) of the Buddhist style current in Kashmir during the first millennium A.D.

Dinner and overnight stay at Hotel Spic- n -Span.

DAY 04: LEH - STOK - FOOT OF STOK LA

Breakfast in hotel. Drive to Stok and trek to the foot of Stok La (03-hrs trek).
Cross the village of Stok, then follow on the left bank the river, which comes from the massif of Stok Kangri. After 2 hours, the path leads away from the river. Climb gently, then leave a small pass on the left and go up a small valley. Camp near a sheepfold. Packed lunch enroute.
Dinner and overnight stay in tents.

DAY 05: FOOT OF STOK LA - YURUTSE

Breakfast in camp. Trek to Yurutse (06 hrs) with packed lunch. From the sheepfold, long and steep ascent to the Stok La (4900mts, 03 hrs). Steep descent, then a kind of flat until Rumbak. Pass the village, cross the river (bridge) and an escarpment. Go up the right bank, then the left bank, easy going.
Camp at Yurutse for dinner and overnight.

DAY 06: YURUTSE - SKIU

Breakfast in camp. Trek 6-7 hours to Skiu. From Yurutse, good path along the mountainside, then cross a small valley and zigzag steeply upto a flat, then go along the mountainside to the Ganda La (4900mts, 03hrs). Long, easy descent towards Shingo, then into splendid gorges. Several easy fords. After a 2 hour descent arrive in the valley of Markha. Turn to the left (east) then a few hundred metres further to Skiu. Packed lunch.
Dinner and overnight stay in tents.

DAY 07: SKIU – MARKHA

Breakfast in camp. Begin 07 hour trek to Markha with packed lunch. From Skiu, good path on the right bank of the Markha. A great deal of vegetation. Then on the left bank (bridge) cross a barren plane, go back onto the right bank (bridge) and arrive in Chaluk which has a few houses. Go to
the river, cross it and walk along the left bank. Another crossing, then a short climb towards Markha. There is a beautiful campsite beyond the houses, near the river.

Dinner and overnight stay in camp.

DAY 08: MARKHA - TCHATCHUTSE

Breakfast in camp. Trek to Tchatchutse with packed lunch (06 hrs). Go up the main valley on the right bank. The path is sometimes difficult in the riverbed. Pass the monastery of Humlung. Then carry on along the right bank and arrive in Hankar. The path improves. A bit beyond Hankar, leave a broad valley on the right-hand side. The valley narrows and goes higher. Cross onto the left bank (bridge) to reach the pastures of Tchatchutse.
Camp here for dinner and overnight.

DAY 09: TCHATCHUTSE - NIMALING

Breakfast in camp. Trek 3 hours to Nimaling. The path can be seen easily, several small inclines. The river is rather far to the left (gorge). Walk near a small lake, then across pastures to Nimaling. This is one of the most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh (4700mts), dominated by the Kang Yaze (6400mts). Several fairly difficult routes lead to the summit. Climbing the antecime (west) on the other hand is not too difficult. Packed lunch.
Dinner and overnight stay in tents.

DAY 10: NIMALING - SHANG

Breakfast in camp. Trek 8 hours to Shang with packed lunch. Cross the Markha. Long climb along the mountainside, then some zigzagging up to the Kongmaru La (5150mts, 1 ½ hrs). Steep descent. Pass a campsite (4700mts) then reach a stream. Long descent into gorges. Several easy fords. Leave the gorges and keep walking on the left bank to Chukirmo. Then sometimes in the riverbed, right bank and again on left bank. Arrive in Shang. Beautiful campsite amidst groves. Small Gompa one hour away from the village.

Dinner and overnight stay in tents.

DAY 11: SHANG - HEMIS

Breakfast in camp. Trek to Hemis (3-4 hrs) with packed lunch. Take the riverbed again, then a good footpath through large blocks. Go back onto the left bank. You reach a dusty trail suitable for motor traffic. Pass a small house built to last and then a series of chortens. Leave Martsellang on the right and follow a gently rising trail to Hemis. The Gompa and village are beautifully situated. Visit the Hemis Gompa.
Camp at Hemis for dinner and overnight.

DAY 12: HEMIS - THIKSEY - SHEY - SHANKAR - LEH

Breakfast at camp. Drive to Leh en-route visiting Thiksey, Shey and Shankar Gompa.

Thiksey Monastery: 17 kms from Leh enroute to Hemis Gompa, the Thiksey monastery provides a panoramic view of the Indus valley from its vantagepoint atop a hill. There are several temples and wall paintings of the Buddha. Close by is the summer palace of the old Raja of Leh. This monastery is 800 years old with silver and gold statues.

Shey Monastery: This monastery has a 7.5-m copper statue of Buddha plated with gold, the largest of its kind.

Shankar Monastery: The small monastery at Shankar harbours accomplished modern tantric murals and a thousand-headed Avalokitesvara deity. It has innumerable collection of small statues of pure gold and a number of interesting paintings. It is well lit and can be visited in the evening as well. Overnight at hotel.

DAY 13: LEH - DELHI

Breakfast in hotel. After breakfast drive to airport in time to connect flight for Delhi.
Day at Leisure.

Overnight at hotel.

DAY14: DELHI ABROAD

After breakfast transfer to international airport on time to connect flight to onward journey.

 
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