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Packages » Ladakh Packages » Package L014

FESTIVAL PACKAGE 2 – THIKSEY GUSTOR

Package Code: l014

Duration:  07 DAYS / 06 NIGHTS

DATES: OCTOBER 31ST TO nOVEMBER 06th, 2012

ACCOMMODATION: 06 NIGHTS AT HOTEL
Minimum People Required: TWO
Level of Endurance: Moderate moderate



Introduction:

THIKSEY GUSTOR

Sharing moments of festive happiness with strangers in a strange land where whole communities collectively celebrate ancient culture and tradition. If this is your idea of exploring the mystic of the Ladakh region, then welcome Nomadier. A visit to Ladakh for the Thiksey Gustor Festival is ideal for a Nomadier to observe at close quarters the nuances of an ancient people that have for centuries, captured the imagination of the world.

 

Gu means nine and Stor implies sacrifice, literally therefore Gustor means ‘sacrifice of the 9th day’ and marks the birthday of Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa Order of Buddhism. In 2011, it will take place on the 13th and 14th of November. The core event of the festival is the mask dance known as chams. These highly colourful religious dances are an important part of the Buddhist culture. In these dances, various religious stories are told and the victory of good over evil is celebrated. In some monasteries, an effigy symbolizing the stronger forces of evil is burnt at the end of the festival. In the two-day festival, the first day is devoted to the celebration of Chamring and the second to the celebration of Palden Lhamo and Chogyal (Shri Devi and Dharmaraja). It is also an annual occasion for the villagers to be together and is considered an auspicious time for marriages and investments.

 

The Thiksey Monastery is one of the most beautiful monasteries of Ladakh and belongs to the Gelugpa Order of Buddhism. Sherab Zangpo of Stod got the Thiksey Monastery built for the first time at Stakmo, however, later Spon Paldan Sherab, the nephew of Sherab Zangpo, reconstructed the monastery in 1430 AD. The new monastery was sited along the rising slopes of a hill, overlooking many picturesque villages strung along the Indus River. It houses a temple, known as Lakhang Nyerma. This temple, built by Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator, is dedicated to Goddess Dorje Chenmo. A huge temple in its time, today it stands mostly in ruins. Apart from this temple, there are a number of other sacred shrines inside the monastery complex. The monastery also has a rich collection of numerous valuable artifacts and ancient relics.


Itinerary:

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

 

Day 03: Thiksey Gustor Closing Day
Witness the closing day of Thiksey Gustor. 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 LakePangong 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.