Lakes and Mountains of Kashmir and Ladakh

A small group tour Led by Joan Pollock

03 September 2016- 14 September 2016

Dramatic snow-capped mountain peaks, their splendour dominating the lush green pastures of the valley,embrace the beautiful vale of Kashmir. Spend time relaxing on a traditional Houseboat, wander the Alpinepastures of Gulmarg and explore the beautiful gardens created by the Mughul Emperors. Then, climbing tohigh altitudes, visit the enigmatic state of Ladakh, the seat of ancient Buddhist culture. It’s wild and barren,yet, a gentle charismatic land. See magnificent Monasteries and spiralling mountain passes.

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Itinerary

London • Delhi • Leh • Srinagar • Gulmarg • Delhi • London

Day 1 Saturday – 03 September 16 – To Delhi

Depart Heathrow on direct Jet Airways flight to Delhi.

Day 2 Sunday – 04 September 16 – Delhi

Morning arrival in Delhi. Rest and relax at the hotel. Afternoon sightseeing of Old Delhi includes an enchanting cycle rickshaw ride to Jamma Masjid through bustling streets of Chandani Chowk once the centre of Mughal City –Shah Jehanabad.

Day 3 Monday – 05 September 16 – To Leh

Fly from Delhi to Leh in the morning. Transfer to Hotel Grand Dragon. Morning at leisure to rest and relax at the hotel. Afternoon walk to the Leh bazaar followed by a visit to the Shankar Gompa which housing countless statues of pure gold and a number of interesting paintings.

Day 4 Tuesday – 06 September 16 – Leh

Morning visit the Stok Royal Palace, once the official residence of the Royal family of Ladakh. The museum has an intriguing collection of Buddhist art, weapons, jewellery and artefacts. Afternoon wander round the town of Leh.

Day 5 Wednesday – 07 September 16 – Leh

Morning excursion to the 15th century beautiful Tiksey Monastery situated on a high craggy hill 18km from the town of Leh. A huge seated Maitreya Buddha statue dominates the main prayer hall. Eighty monks are still in residence.

Day 6 Thursday – 08 September 16 – Leh

Then pay a visit to SECMOL school to see the fantastic development project founded by a group of local Ladakhi volunteers with an aim to reform the educational system. Afternoon free

Day 7 Friday – 09 September 16 – To Srinagar

Morning transfer to Leh airport for your flight to Srinagar via Jammu. Transfer to Deluxe Houseboats on Nagin Lake for four nights. Afternoon Shikara ride on the lake.

Day 8 Saturday – 10 September 16 – Srinagar

Drive down to the city of Sriangar visiting Shah Hamadan Mosque- a masterpiece of wood and brick architecture then take a heritage walk through the old city of Srinagar to the fascinating local bazaar at Jamma Masjid. Return to the houseboat for lunch. Afternoon free.

Day 9 Sunday – 11 September 16 – Srinagar

Morning visit the Shankaracharya Temple, standing upon a hill with magnificent views over Srinagar and the Dal Lake. The site dates back to 2500 BC Delightful afternoon sightseeing aboard a ‘Shikara’ – the traditional Lake boat to visit Shalimar Bagh built for Nur Jehan by her husband Jehangir in 1616. Then visit Nishat Bagh and enjoy the beautiful sun-set at Pari Mahal Garden before returning to Houseboats.

Day 10 Monday – 12 September 16 – Srinagar

Morning drive to Gulmarg – “The Meadow of Flowers”. Travel through charming villages with a back drop of Himalayan mountians. Take a ride on the highest cable car in the world to view the stunning mountain scenery. Lunch at Highlands Park Return to houseboat for overnight stay. .

Day 11 Tuesday – 13 September – To Delhi

Fly from Srinagar to Delhi. Overnight stay at The Lalit Grand Hotel.

Day 12 Wednesday – 14 September – To London

Transfer to International airport for direct flight to Heathrow by direct Jet Airways flight.

About the tour leader Joan Pollock

Joan Pollock image

I am a botanist by training, with a PhD in plant physiology and a broader interest in plant ecology. In recent years my focus has been on teaching rather than research and I have taught interdisciplinary science with the UK’s Open University, as well as whole organism biology at Durham University. Teaching at both universities has included running field trips on which students learned about assessing biodiversity, the impact of environmental factors on plant growth and processes such as succession. I am really keen to encourage people to look at how organisms interact with their environment, particularly at a time when we can see that environment changing. I would like to do this in Kasmir and Ladakh by looking at how the vegetation changes with factors such as altitude and rainfall and also at how primary succession allows the colonisation of bare ground. The Himalayas, with their natural beauty and the fact that so many British garden plants have their origins here, make an ideal location for this.

THE COST FROM

  • Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis £2,650.00
  • Single room supplement £570.00

Cost Includes:

  • International & internal flights in economy class.
  • Accommodation in Leh and on Houseboat with all meals. Breakfast only in Delhi.
  • All transfers and sightseeing by a Toyota Innova Cars and Coach.
  • Entry fee to monuments and places of interest.
  • Entry fee and services of a local English speaking guide.
  • Services of Joan Pollock as Tour Leader
  • Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.

Cost does not include:

  • Visa Fess for India- British passport holders can now obtain an E-Tourist Visa online.
  • Any expenses of a personal nature like laundry, telephone calls, beverages, gratuities etc
  • Travel Insurance.

Travel Insurance

It is essential to have adequate insurance in place before your departure. This should be appropriate for your age, health and destination you are visiting.

Please ensure:

  • It includes comprehensive medical and repatriation cover.
  • It provides cover for your whole trip (whether one day or over a year).
  • It covers you for all activities.
  • Disclose pre-existing medical conditions.
  • Take your policy number and the 24-hour emergency contact numbers with you.
  • If you are making multiple trips we recommend that you take a yearly travel insurance policy.
  • If you have any question about your cover, please check with your insurer.

For a comprehensive travel insurance quote – please click here

How to book this tour

If you wish to book this tour , please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.

Click here to download the booking form.

Read our Booking Terms and Conditions

Following Sir Aurel Stein’s Footsteps in Kashmir

Group Tour 10 to 21 August 2016

Following the trail of footsteps of the far-famed and highly acclaimed Hungarian born British explorer Sir Aurel Stein, Indus Experiences is organising a very special tour to Kashmir. The itinerary includes a trek to the alpine meadow of Mohand Marg in the Sindh Valley where Stein spent many summers and where we intend to erect a new memorial stone to the legend inscribed in English, Urdu and Sanskrit. Guest lecturers will be Susan Whitfield, John Falconer, both Curators at the British Library & Stein Researcher S.N. Pandita. Prior to departure, all guests will be invited to join Susan and John at the British Library for an orientation day, which will include the opportunity to view rare manuscripts collected by Stein, as well as his other personal documents.

London • Delhi • Srinagar • Manigam • Mohand Marg • Chittergul • Srinagar • Delhi • London

Day 1. Wednesday  – On board flight to Delhi

Departure from London Heathrow to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi by direct British Airways flight BA 257 at 1925 hrs. Flights from regional UK airports are available on request. If you wish to join this tour from any other country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only costs of the tour.

Day 2. Thursday – Delhi

Arriving in Delhi at 0820 hrs, you will be met at the Delhi airport and transferred to Hotel Lalit Grand for a nap and a quiet afternoon by the pool. We will meet again in the evening for a talk on Aurel Stein in Kashmir by Stein Researcher S.N. Pandita that will be followed with the welcome dinner.
Overnight at Hotel Lalit Grand Dinner included

Day 3. Friday  – To Srinagar

Photo 392 33 6We will take an early morning flight from Delhi to Srinagar on board Spice Jet at 10:20 hrs and arrive in Srinagar at 11:40 and then transfer to our Houseboat on tranquil Nagin Lake for lunch and an afternoon shikara (Kashmiri gondola) ride across the water to see the lotus flowers and floating gardens. In the evening Susan and John will give a talk,on Aurel Stein in Kashmir. We are inviting Minister of Tourism and Director Tourism Kashmir to join us this evening (subject to confirmation) Overnight on Houseboat Lunch and Dinner included

Day 4. Saturday  – Srinagar

We will visit Steins old Haunts in the city of Srinagar, explore the Old Town on foot with a heritage walk. After a brief stop at the Tyndale Biscoe School (named after Stein’s close friend, the British missionary Cecil Tyndale Biscoe), we will enjoy lunch at Almond Villa, and then take a tour of the famous Mughal Gardens . After the dinner on our houseboat, we hope to have a film show of a Bollywood blockbuster set and filmed in Kashmir.
Overnight on Houseboat Breakfast, lunch & Dinner included

Day 5. Sunday – To Yarmuqam

Today we depart, at first by road to Manigam and then on foot for an hour or so to Yarmuqam a picturesque village. We will camp here overnight and visit the village.
Overnight at Manigam Tented Camp Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner included

Day 6. Monday – To Mohand Marg

Our trek continues on Tuesday to Mohand Marg, the glorious alpine meadow first discovered by Sir Aurel Stein in the summer of 1895. For next 45 years whenever he was in Kashmir, in and out from or to Central Asia, Europe and America, Stein always camped in the summers on this beloved Marg that he called as ‘ my own paradise resort’. Here Stein would walk amongst the mountains, picnic in groves of pine trees, pick flowers and write to his friends. Mohand Marg was his preferred retreat after the trials of his explorations and excavations. Nearly four years after Sir Aurel Stein’s death in Kabul in 1943, a memorial stone was erected at Mohand Marg on 15 August, 1947, the same day India and Pakistan were born as independent nation states marking the end of the British colonial rule in the sub-continent. As the Stein’s memorial stone has been badly damaged in the intervening years, we intend to erect a replacement and to suitably mark the occasion with all the members of the group as witness to the event perpetuating Sir Stein;s Kashmir legacy . We will spend the night in the great outdoors at Mohandmargs comfortable tented camp.
Overnight at Mohand Marg Tented Camp Breakfast, lunch & Dinner included

Day 7. Tuesday – Mohand Marg

stein-2
We will enjoy a full day at Mohand Marg, soaking up the peace of the Himalayas and walking. Sophie will offer a photography workshop for those who wish to participate.
Overnight at Mohand Marg Tented Camp Breakfast, lunch & Dinner included

Day 8. Wednesday – Srinagar

Today we will descend on foot from Mohand Marg to Kangan , then continue by cars to Srinagar. We will relax on the terrace of The Lalit Grand Palace Hotel, with its extraordinary views across Dal Lake and spend the night in the luxurious warmth of the hotel

Day 9. Thursday – Srinagar

Photo392 23 12A day return trip to Bandipora via Huskara ( a village where there is the site of an Buddhist stupa/monastery visited by Stein and where Chinese pilgrims stayed).
Overnight stay at The Lalit Grand Palace.

Day 10. Friday  – Delhi

We will return to Delhi by Spice Jet flight . An afternoon tour of the city’s Mughal highlights (the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid and the Chandni Chowk Bazaar) will be provided. We will stay overnight at the ITC Welcome Dwarka Hotel close to the International airport.

Day 11. Saturday – To London

Early breakfast at the hotel, then transfer to Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi for your return flight to Heathrow, London by the British Airways flight BA 256 leaving Delhi at 10:20 and arriving London same day at 15:20. Flights to other regional UK airports are available on request.

The Cost

Per Person on a Double/ Twin share basis                      £2,345.00

Single room supplement                                                  £435.00

World traveler plus & Business class supplement on British airways is available on request.

Cost Includes:

  • International flights with scheduled British airways in economy class inclusive all taxes.
  • Internal flights in economy class inclusive all taxes.
  • Accommodation in Delhi inclusive of breakfast and dinner.
  • Accommodation at houseboats and at tented camps in Manigam and Mohand Marg with all meals.
  • Accommodation at The Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar with breakfast and dinner.
  • Lunch at Almond Villa – Srinagar
  • All transfers and sightseeing arrangements with a local English speaking guide.
  • Special lecture on Aurel Stein in Kashmir by S.N.Pandita in Delhi and by Susan Whitfield and John Falconer in Srinagar.
  • Entry fee for all monuments and places of interest.
  • Full ATOL & ABTA bonding.

Cost does not include:

  • Visa fee for India
  • Travel Insurance
  • Any expense of a personal nature

How to book

  • To book this tour, please compete the booking form, sign and e-mail it to us. A non-refundable deposit of £400.00 per person is needed at the time of booking. Balance payments will be due 8 weeks before departure. You can make the deposit payment by debit card or electronic transfers to our bank. Credit card payment will be charge at 2% extra. Our Bank details are on the booking form. Bookings are confirmed on first come first served basis. When the tour is full we will take about 5 additional names on the waiting list to replace their booking with any cancellations etc.
  • If you wish to join the tour and fly from any country other than United Kingdom please contact us for land only arrangements.

Click here to download the booking form.

Read our Booking Terms and Conditions

On top of the world skiing in Gulmarg

Imagine swooshing downhill across ice-white powdery snow, sun beaming down out of a deep blue sky, with a backdrop of the highest mountain range in the world.  You can do this at Gulmarg, one of India’s premier ski resorts, only 35 miles from beautiful Srinagar in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Ski Gulmarg - Himalayas with Indus

Gulmarg and the Himalayas

Skiing was introduced to Gulmarg by two British Army officers who established the first ski club at this hill station in the 1920s, but it is only in the past decade that this popular destination has really taken off as a first-class attraction for skiing enthusiasts.  In the winter, the extreme and varied terrain combined with very heavy snowfalls, create a snow destination that is among the best in the world. In 2011 CNN voted it in the Top 5 Asia Ski Resorts. Continue reading

Indus Experiences – British Travel Awards Winner

Indus Tours British Travel Awards winner - best small holiday companyIt is always lovely to receive an award or accolade in any walk of life but when it is customers and peers who vote for you then there is an extra pleasure. In October 2013 we were excited to learn that we had won ‘Best Small Holiday Company to Southern Asia’ at the British Travel Awards ceremony .  For many years the BTA organisation has acted as ‘arbiter of public opinion on travel industry performance’ and this award is recognised as the ‘Benchmark of Excellence’. Continue reading

Top 10 things to do in stunning Srinagar

Shikhara Dal Lake Srinagar- photo jktourism.org

Shikhara Dal Lake ~ photo jktourism.org

The capital of Kashmir is ancient Srinagar. Its sub-tropical climate attracts visitors all year round. Countless springs and lakes create an atmosphere of peace and tranquility. The great Mughal Emperors recognised this ‘Paradise on Earth’ and its people have developed a vibrant, colourful lifestyle within a unique landscape. There is so much to experience – here are our Top Ten Things to Do in Srinagar. Continue reading