Tailor-Made Holiday

India - Private Travel to Kashmir & Ladakh

Monasteries and Temples of Srinagar and Ladakh

11 days

from £2,995pp

The slow rehabilitation of Kashmir as a travel destination took a major step forward recently, when the Foreign Office eased its travel warning for Jammu & Kashmir. Warnings against visiting the cities of Jammu and Srinagar and the road between them were lifted. At last we exclaim with a huge sigh of relief. This beautiful and remote region of India should be on everyones travel wish list.

  • Discover the beautiful region of Kashmir
  • Stay on board the Sukoon, a luxury houseboat on the tranquil waters of Dal Lake
  • Stroll Srinagar's medieval Old City admiring centuries old wooden homes
  • Travel to the mountain region of Gulmarg- "valley of flowers"
  • Spectacular flight to Leh, over the foothills of the Himalaya
  • Explore Ladakh with its stunning scenery and fascinating Buddhist monasteries


This holiday to India begins in Delhi where you have time to explore before travelling on to Srinagar.

Srinagar once offered the Moghuls and British Rulers refuge from the summer heat. Today, its location on the banks of the Jhelum River with its famed gardens, lakes, waterways and houseboats offers a captivating place to spend time on your holiday to India.

Explore this beautiful area whilst staying on Sukoon, a traditional house boat, brimming with history and luxury. Spend your time wandering the magical Mughal gardens, the Hazrathbal mosque and the amazing Shahi Hamdan dargah, with a shikara ride on the famous Dal Lake and a day trip into the mountains. From here fly to the neighbouring region of Ladakh and the capital of Leh. At some 3,500 metres above sea level this town lies in the ancient Indus valley and has been a trading post for Himalayan peoples for centuries. Leh will be your base for 4 nights from where you can visit the  many monasteries chortens and gompas in the surrounding area.

We recommend a buffer day in Delhi at the end of your trip to allow for any flight delays or cancellations on leaving Ladakh.

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

  Click here to see what is included/excluded

what is included

  • All accommodation
  • Internal flights
  • International flights as detailed
  • Sightseeing with private guide as per the itinerary
  • Transfers as detailed

what is excluded

  • Gratuities
  • Travel Insurance
  • Visas

PLEASE NOTE THE ABOVE FLIGHT COST IS A SUGGESTED FROM PRICE. FLIGHT COSTS WILL BE CONFIRMED AT TIME OF BOOKING. ALL FLIGHTS ARE ATOL PROTECTED.

Itinerary at a glance

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Day 1

Fly London to Delhi


Blaring horns and the babble of its many inhabitants often drown out the fact that there is more to Delhi than the chaos on its busy streets. It may be one of the world's largest metropolises, but architectural wonders - new and old - fill the city, hidden beneath Delhi's urban sprawl.

Mughal treasures, including the Red Fort and Jama Masjid, are complemented by more recent additions to Delhi's architectural heritage, such as the stunning Lotus and Akshardham Temples.

Meanwhile, contemporary Delhi thrives in Connaught Place, which - with its colonially-designed buildings - is the most westernised part of the centre. Globalisation is in evidence, with brand names splashed across every storefront.

Day 2

Half a Day Visiting Gandhi's Memorial and Old Delhi
Head to Mahatma Gandhi's serene memorial, located within the Raj Ghat on the banks of the Yamuna River. The site of his cremation, this tranquil park features an eternal flame and lies next to memorials to other Indian leaders.

From here, continue to Old Delhi. Take a bicycle rickshaw through the lanes to Jama Masjid, India's largest and most famous mosque. This vast 16th century construction is built from the archetypical Mughal blend of red sandstone decorated with white marble and can hold up to 25,000 worshippers.


You will be staying at Claridges Hotel

Day 3

Fly Delhi to Srinagar


Famous for its serene Dal Lake that stretches along the city's eastern edge and noses its way towards the centre, Srinagar is surrounded by picturesque Kashmiri landscape. An integral part of everyday life, the lake plays host to floating vegetable gardens and lotus blossom fields, whilst small villages dot the shores.

In recent times, the city's tragic problems have managed to overshadow this idyllic location, but its relaxed lakeside ambience seems at odds with simmering regional tensions.


You will be staying at Sukoon

Day 4

Heritage Walk and Visit to Mughal Gardens
Begin with a visit to Srinagar's famous Mughal Gardens, built by the Mughal Emperors in the 17th century. These beautifully designed gardens incorporate terraced lawns, fountains, pools and flowerbeds; interspersed with examples of Mughal-era Islamic architecture.
Continue on to the Heritage Walk, starting at the Shah-e-Hamdan Sufi shrine in Old Srinagar. From here, explore the old city and walk through the narrow alleys, passing by local markets, historic buildings and everyday hustle-and-bustle. End up at the city's Grand Mosque, famed for its 370 beautiful wooden pillars.
Afterwards, head to the old wooden bridge that spans the River Jehlum. Traditional houses lie on both sides of the river, built by the city's rich elite when the waterways were still the main method of transportation.


Afternoon Shikara Ride on Dal Lake
Take a leisurely Shikara ride on Dal Lake, through winding waterways covered with water lilies and lotus flowers.
Visit the famous 'floating gardens', man-made islands on which local people - living in villages around the lake - cultivate vegetables. Watch the sun setting across the lake against a backdrop of the Hari Parbat Fort and snow-capped Pir Panjal Mountains.


You will be staying at Sukoon

Day 5

Day Trip to Gulmarg
Travel into the mountains to the pine-fringed town of Gulmarg, meaning 'valley of flowers'. Sitting amid highland pastures, the town is lush green in the summer and pristine white in the winter.

Take an easy trek up in to the Himalayan foothills; sit down for a picnic whilst taking in the fresh mountain air and spectacular views. For thrill seekers there will be the option to take the 'Gulmarg Gondola' cable car to the top of Kongdoori Mountain.

The world's second highest cable car, consisting of two stages, the 'Gulmarg Gondola' takes skiers to a height of almost 4,000 metres.


You will be staying at Sukoon

Day 6

Fly Srinagar to Leh


Once the capital of the Himlayan Kingdom of Ladakh, Leh lies on edge of the Tibetan plateau at a height of more than 3,500 metres. Closer geographically, culturally and anthropologically to Tibet than India; the city's dominating palace - with its clear architectural similarities to Lhasa's Potala Palace - highlights this connection.

Surrounded by irrigated barley fields and overlooked by rocky peaks, the city sits in the fertile Indus River Valley. In this idyllic location, modernity has only just started to take hold. Traditional Ladakhi buildings, with their flat roofs and solid walls, still fill the area surrounding the city's age-old bazaar.


You will be staying at The Grand Dragon Hotel

Day 7

Spend Half a Day Visiting Leh Market, Palace, Museum and NAMO
Head to Leh Market, once a melting pot of Central Asian cultures and still a lively place despite Leh's role as a trading town having diminished over the years. The winding alleys remain the same, yet many of the traditional buildings have been replaced or modernised.

Continue on to the Central Asian Museum, lying at the heart of the old town, before walking up through ancient alleyways to the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation Centre. An organisation that helps in conserving local crafts and heritage, the LAMO Centre exhibits Ladakhi paintings and photos.

Afterwards, head to Leh's 17th century palace, built by King Sengge Namgyal. Unoccupied since the royal family left in 1846, this nine-storey palace is Leh's most imposing building.


You will be staying at The Grand Dragon Hotel

Day 8

Full day excursion to Shey, Thiksey and Hemis Monasteries
15kms from Leh, the ruins of the once beautiful Palace of Shey stand high on a sheer rock cliff and appear to be an architectural extension of the rock formations. The palace contains the largest golden Buddha statue in Ladakh

Noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Thiksey monastery is an impressive complex and the largest monastery in central Ladakh. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect and is home to about 500 monks. It is a 12-storey complex housing many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, wall paintings and also an enormous two-storey statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha.

The 17th century red hat Hemis monastery is the most important monastery in terms of spiritual hierarchy and is also the richest in Ladakh. The Dukhang houses the throne of the Rinpoche (abbot) alongside another larger throne for the Dalai Lama. There is another Dukhang, which has a large statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. Behind the statue is a huge chorten made of solid silver, with edgings of gold, and studded with turquoise and coral stones. Hemis possesses a gigantic thangka - believed to be one of the largest in the world - that depicts a beautifully embroidered figure of Padmasambhava and is displayed to the public every 12 years.


You will be staying at The Grand Dragon Hotel

Day 9

Half Day Visit to Stok Palace
Head to the impressive Stok Palace, still home to descendants of the Ladakhi royal family. Slightly reminiscent of Lhasa's imposing Potala Palace, this photogenic building is notable for its whitewashed walls and colourful window frames.

Inside, a museum displays a variety royal treasures. These include costumes, jewellery, armour, weapons and jade carvings.


You will be staying at The Grand Dragon Hotel

Day 10

Fly Leh to Delhi


Buffer Day in Delhi
This is an essential buffer day to allow for unexpected delays. Traveling out of season increases the risk of severe weather, which can disrupt flight schedules. Experience has shown time and again, that this additional day is indispensable.

Should this day be free, have the opportunity to spend the day sightseeing in Delhi.


You will be staying at Claridges

Day 11

Fly Delhi to London

Accommodation

Below you can see some of the wonderful places we recommend you stay on your journey.

Claridges Hotel

Claridges Hotel

Built in 1952, The Claridges remains one of New Delhi’s most iconic hotels....

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The Grand Dragon Hotel

The Grand Dragon Hotel

Located in the heart of the ancient city of Leh, the Grand Dragon Hotel's design takes inspiration from traditional Ladakhi architecture....

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Sukoon

Sukoon

Sukoon (meaning 'tranquillity' or 'relaxation') was originally built in 1979....

View Accommodation

For a more detailed itinerary with great ideas on what to do and where to stay, please get in touch with our experts.

Destination Experts

Our experts have unrivalled firsthand knowledge of India

John Bellezza

John Bellezza, Tour Lecturer

John Bellezza is a prolific writer, research scholar and explorer with over twenty-five years of intensive exploration, research and experience in cultural Tibet and the Great Western Himalaya. He has conceived and conducted some of the most pioneering academic field excursions of extended length in the region. John speaks Tibetan, Hindi, Urdu, Western Pahari, Nepali and Spanish. He has delivered numerous lectures in institutions across the US including the Smithsonian, National Museum of Natural History and Columbia University. John’s other distinctions include being selected as one of the 120 greatest contemporary explorers, Adventurous Dreams, Adventurous Lives, by Jason Schoonover and he has also participated in the production of the Discovery TV documentary, Mysteries of Guge: Tibet’s Lost Kingdom, in 2007. A senior research fellow in the Tibet Centre, in the University of Virginia, John spends part of his time in the US and the other half of the year in the Himalayas.

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Zara Fleming

Zara Fleming, Tour Lecturer

Zara Fleming is an independent art consultant, researcher, cataloguer and exhibition curator with specialist knowledge of Buddhist art. Zara first visited Nepal in 1973 and Bhutan in 1976 and has been returning to these areas on a regular basis ever since. Initially based at the Victoria & Albert Museum, with general responsibility for the Tibetan and Nepalese collections (1974-81). She was then affiliated with the Central Asian Department at Bonn University cataloguing the Tibetan, Bhutanese and Mongolian collections of all UK Museums, part of a larger cataloguing project throughout Europe (1981-88) and was the Assistant Director in Europe for the Orient Foundation (1984/5). Zara has curated many exhibitions, most recently “The Tiger in Asian Art” for Asia House, London (2010/11). Zara is a lecturer for the National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies (NADFAS) and delivers talks for museums, universities, and Asian art societies.

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Charlotte Lawton, Sales Consultant

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Joe Parkes, Travel Expert

"It was extremely helpful to work in conjunction with Joe and his much more up to date knowledge of India and arrive at an itinerary which we were happy with. We enjoyed the whole trip and probably what made it special for us was the fact that all the arrangements worked so well and we really didn’t have to worry about anything at all. Even when we decided to make a small change it was dealt with efficiently and promptly. We can't think of anything that would have made our trip more enjoyable."

"The service from start to finish has been excellent. Joe was very quick to respond to any queries and put together an excellent itinerary at short notice."

"A pleasure to deal with Joe. Efficient, helpful, knowledgeable and fun!"

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Kate Hitchen, Travel Expert

"Kate was calm and bent over backwards to accommodate my jitters about going to Kashmir in the light of tighter FCO guidelines just a few days before our departure. She was absolutely correct in advising against what I thought we should do. Several times during the holiday we said that, 'Kate was dead right about that!'."

"We asked for a rather particular kind of Indian holiday. You delivered it in full. Highlights? Honestly, each day was a highlight in itself. "

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For a detailed itinerary or to book your place on this tour, please contact us.

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