The Markha Valley Trek
This is a trek in Ladakh crossing two high passes with spectacular views of Karakoram and Zanskar mountain ranges. Ladakh, also known as little Tibet, is one of the most remarkable regions of India. Although politically part of India, Ladakh is geographically and culturally an extension of western Tibet. Ladakh is a high and arid landscape with lush irrigated valleys surrounded by snow capped peaks. Leh the capital of Ladakh has long been a remote and fascinating outpost and important cross-roads for pilgrims and traders in the upper Indus Valley. After the spectacular flight over the Himalaya to Leh we spend several days for essential acclimatization with sightseeing at Buddhist monasteries. The trek start the village of Spituk and after crossing the Ganda La we descend into the Markha Valley. We continue to the beautiful Nimaling plains dominated by the impressive Kang Yatze peak. From here we cross the Kongmaru La with superb views south to Zanskar and north to the Karakoram range. We descend from the pass through a steep canyon with wonderful colored rock and then drive back to Leh.
Season: July – Sept.
Duration: 15 Days
Leadership: Local Leader
Cost: On Request
Minimum Group Size: 2 people
Delhi – Leh : Arrive Delhi and join the tour at the hotel. A driver will be sent to collect you on your arrival at Delhi airport and to bring youback to the hotel.
Transfer to the airport for an early morning flight to Leh. The rest of the day you can rest from altitude and the early start or start exploring Leh. Overnight hotel.
Leh is the ancient capital of Ladakh and has many hilltop forts and palaces to visit including the Royal Palace which overlooks the town. The town is situated on the old Silk Route and still has a trading tradition- it is well worth wandering around the colorful bazaar.
The two most well known monasteries are Shey and Thiksey. Shey gompa was constructed by the first king of Ladakh and was the seat of power for the pre- Tibetan kings. Thiksey gompa is a very impressive monastery containing numerous stupas, statues, thankas, wall paintings and a large pillar engraved with the Buddha’s teachings.
After breakfast, we drive to Spituk and start trekking. On leaving Spituk we enter a flat plain at the foot of the Stok mountains, for the rest of the day the trail follows the Indus river, often with rafts floating past, before leaving the Indus to head into the mountains along the pretty Jingchen gorge.
The route follows the Jingchen Nala upstream in an increasingly narrow valley- look out for the blue sheep high above on the steep sides of the valley. Before entering Rumbak the valley widens and the snow-topped Stok mountains come into sight. The trail continues upstream, crosses the bridge and then takes the right fork to Yurutse.
On leaving Yurutse the trail passes a beautiful purple band of rock and continues to Ganda la base camp where you take the path west towards the Ganda la. Once at the pass there is a great view of Stok Kangri and the Zanskar range to the west, and from there descend to Shingo.
Today we pass through a spectacular gorge with beautifully coloured and eroded rocks following the Shingri Nala river to Skiu- above Skiu is an attractive gompa and the remains of a royal residence.
The trail passes through Chalak and Tunespa and on approaching Markha you get the first glimpses of Kang Yatse (6,400m).
The route goes up the main valley on the right bank, passes the monastery of Humlung and continues to Hankar. The valley narrows and the trail crosses to the left bank to reach the pastures of Tchatchutse.
The trail passes a small lake and then across pastures to Nimaling which is one of the most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh with grassy plains surrounded by high peaks and passes. To the south the view is dominated by Kang Yatze and to the north the Kong Maru La- the high pass we must cross in order to return back to Leh.
Today is a long day as the trail climbs to the Kong Maru La- at the top of the pass there are colourful prayer flags framing the 360-degree Himalayan panorama. To the north we look out towards Tibet, the Eastern Karakorams and China and to the south lies Kang Yatze whilst in the west there are the dry mountains of Zanskar.
The descent from the pass is fairly steep but soon eases before entering a narrow gorge with colourful rock formations. We descend into the Indus Valley and to the village of Shang.
We walk along the riverbed on the left bank passing a series of chortens and follow a gently rising trail through rugged scenery to Hemis. After visiting Hemis monastery we drive back to Leh.
Today we fly to Delhi and the rest of the day we explore Delhi with a good local guide- the day is flexible depending on what you would like to see but the most popular places generally are the Red Fort, Jama Masjid, Qutub Minar and the Mughal gardens.
Transfer to Delhi airport for the flight back home. End of trip.
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