Ladakh Bizarre Facts

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Packages » Ladakh Packages » Package L013


DATES: FEBRUARY 23rd TO march 01st, 2013




Ever heard of stories of oracles who were seers and who could perform unbelievable physical acts without a trace of harm to themselves? Those stories were true. Welcome Nomadier to the festival of Matho Nagrang.


During the festival, specially chosen monks become the vehicles for the Oracles of the protectors of Dharma, Rangstsen and Karmar. Chosen every three years, the two monks spend several months in a rigorous regimen of prayer and other religious practices and purify themselves for the role of the chosen one. When the Oracles finally possess the monks, they answer queries on the future and also predict the coming year in full public view. The Oracles run along the rooftop parapets blindfolded and cut their tongues and arms with sharp swords, however, no traces of wounds are found on their bodies the next day. Unbelievable? But true.


This annual festival of the Matho Monastery, the only Shakyapa monastic establishment in Ladakh, is held in the 1st month of the Tibetan calendar (March). In 2011, the Matho Nagrang will be celebrated on the 18th and 19th of March in the monastery premises. The monastery is situated on a bank of the Indus across Thiksey and was established in the first half of the 16th century AD. It has a valuable collection of very old and beautiful Thankas with some being in the form of Mandalas.


Day 01: Arrival LehLeh
The flight to Leh, the capital city of Ladakh, takes you over the Greater Himalaya and makes an exciting landing at one of the highest airports in the world. One can hope to get excellent views of Stok Kangri as one flies-in and on a clear day the great peaks of the Karakoram are visible to the north. You would be met at the airport by a Nomadier representative and taken to your hotel. The remainder of the day is for you to rest. Leh is at an altitude of nearly 11,000 ft., and you can expect to feel the effects of the rarefied atmosphere. For the first few hours, you may experience a little breathlessness and perhaps a slight headache. These symptoms of altitude sickness are mild and usually disappear quite quickly; however, everyone is advised to take it easy for the first day at least. Press-ups and hill sprints are definitely taboo! Overnight stay at a hotel in Leh.


Day 02:Matho Nagrang Inaugural Day
Be a part of the inaugural day of the annual monastic festival at Matho Monastery. Packed lunch will be served at the festival. Return to Leh for overnight stay in hotel.


Day 03: Matho Nagrang Closing Day
Witness the closing day of Matho Nagrang. Again, packed lunch will be served at the festival. Return to Leh for overnight stay in hotel.


Day 04: Indus Valley Monastery Tour

Leave in the morning after breakfast and drive to Thiksey Village, visit Thiksey Gompa and then drive to Shey Village to visit Shey Palace and Gompa. Post-visit continue driving to Hemis Gompa, one of the most famous monasteries of Ladakh. Overnight stay at a hotel in Leh.


Thiksey GompaThiksey Gompa

The Thiksey Gompa belongs to the Yellow Hat (Gelupga) sect of Buddhism and is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. This 12-storey complex houses a 49 feet high statue of Maitreya which itself covers two storeys of the building. 19 km away from Leh and spectacularly sited, Thiksey has several temples in the Gompa containing vivid imagery, multiple stupas and exquisite wall paintings of Buddha.


Shey Palace and GompaShey Palace and Gompa

Situated on a hillock 15 km upstream from Leh, this was once the residence of the royal family and according to tradition; it was the seat of power in pre-Tibetan eras. A 7.5 meter high gold-plated copper statue of Buddha, the largest of its kind, can be seen here.


Hemis GompaHemis Gompa

40 km away from Leh, Hemis is the wealthiest, most known and biggest Gompa in Ladakh. Its popularity stems from a major annual festival held here in summers. This festival is celebrated in honor of Guru Padma Sambhava's birth anniversary. Hemis Gompa has among its wonders, the largest Thanka in Ladakh which is unfurled only once in every 12 years. The Gompa was built in 1630 AD during the reign of Singay Namgyal and flourished under the Namgyal Dynasty for the royalty favored the Drugpa sect which managed the monastery. It is divided into two sections, the assembly hall on the right and the main temple, known as Tshogkhang, on the left. The hall (Dukhang) is also used as the "Green Room" by dancers during the festival. The verandahs have a surfeit of frescoes among them the Buddhist 'Wheel of Life' (Kalachakra) and the lords of the four quarters besides the prayer wheel.


Day 05: Excursion to Khardungla PassExcursion to Khardungla Pass

Leave in the morning after breakfast for the ultimate adventure of your life. A drive right up the highest motorable road in the world to Khardungla Pass (18,390 ft.). It is around 39 km away from Leh and has two checkpoints on both sides. Here, how much time one remains lost in the standstill beauty all around is hard to predict. Drive back to Leh and in the evening take a small roundtrip to Shanti Stupa for a beautiful view of the entire Leh Valley at sunset. Overnight stay at a hotel in Leh.


Shanti Stupa (Japanese Peace Pagoda)Shanti Stupa (Japanese Peace Pagoda)

The Shanti Stupa or Japanese Peace Pagoda was built by a Japanese religious organization led by Head Monk - Nakamura with help from the locals. It is beautifully situated on a hill top in Cahngspa Village and provides a bird's eye view of the entire Leh town and surrounding mountain peaks. With small clean rooms on the side for meditation and a main Japanese shrine at the entrance, its architecture bears the mark of Japan.


Day 06: Excursion to Pangong Lake

Leave in the morning after breakfast to Pangong Lake on the Indo-China border with the route taking you past the picturesque villages of Shey and Thiksey, and turning off the Indus valley by the side valley of Chemrey and Sakti. The Ladakh range is crossed through Chang-la Pass (18,000 ft.), which despite its great elevation is one of the easier passes, remaining open for much of the year, even in winter, apart from periods of acute snowfall. Drive back to Leh for overnight stay at a hotel.


The Pangong LakeThe Pangong Lake

The Pangong Lake, situated at 14,000 ft. is a long narrow basin of inland drainage, nearly 6-7 km at its widest point. Visitors are permitted to only around 7 km along the southern shore from the head of the lake as part of Pangong lies in China. Standing there offers stunning views of the mountains of the Changchenmo range to the north, their reflection shimmering in the ever-changing blues and greens of the lake's brackish water. Also visible above Spangmik are the glacier and snow-capped peaks of the Pangong range.


Day 07: Departure to Airport

Nomadier provides assistance in your transfer to the Airport and wishes you goodbye.