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Rupshu Kharnak Trekking Tour

Rupshu Kharnak

A beautiful trek through a less-frequented area of Ladakh, this route follows the same trail as on the Markha trek for the first 3 days, before entering the high plateau of Changthang, which stretches far into Tibet. The only inhabitants of this desolate wilderness, where the climate is so extreme that you can get sunburn and frostbite at the same time, are nomadic and semi-nomadic people, who live in tiny settlements with their yak, sheep, pashmina goats and a small harvest of barley on which they survive.

Tour Information
Season: July to October
Total Duration: 14 Nights / 15 Days
Trekking days: 07 Days
Total trekking hours: 40 hrs Approx.
Special Features: High passes and Villages
Trek Grade: Moderate - Strenuous
Max Alt.: 5200 m

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The Journey begins Now!!!

Day 01: Arrive Delhi
You arrive in Delhi by International flight. After a traditional 'Swagat' (Welcome) our representative would assist you at the airport and to our hotel for check-in. After some rest, breakfast at coffee shop in the Hotel. After breakfast we will go on a guided tour of Delhi at 1100 hrs., beginning with a morning sightseeing trip to Old Delhi and followed by visits to the 1648 Red Fort, India's largest mosque - Jama Masjid and Gandhi Memorial at Raj Ghat. Afternoon tour includes visits to India Gate & President's House. Later on time we drive back to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 02: Delhi - Leh ( BY 9W-609) Dep: 0645hrs / Arr: 0800hrs
Early morning transfer to Domestic Airport to connect the flight for Leh. Upon arrival at Leh Airport our representative would assist you at the Airport and transfer to Hotel. Check in to the hotel. Post breakfast rest of the day for rest for acclimatization. Later in the afternoon a walk around Leh town (3500mtr) includes a visit to Leh Market, Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa & Leh Gompa - This walk shall help us in a getting acclimatized at this height. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 03 : Leh to Shang Sumdo via Martselang (2½ hours)
We will leave Leh by jeep to the starting point of the trek at Martselang (3600 m). Along the way, we will visit the first Palace of Ladakh at Shey, following the famous Yellow Sect monastery of Thikse, which houses one of the largest Buddha statues in Ladakh (called the future Buddha). We will then visit Hemis, the largest and most famous Drukpa monastery in Ladakh (built in the early 17th century). After the tour, we will drive to Martselang, where we will meet our crew. Martselang is the entry point into Hemis National Park, where we might get glimpses of such endangered high-altitude animals such as the snow leopard, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan sheep and Golden eagle. From there, we will walk for 2 ½ hours to the small village of Shang Sumdo (3700 m).

Day 04 : Shang Sumdo 3700 m. - Lartsa 4600 m.(6 hrs)
Today we will climb steadily through the gorge of Shang, enjoying the magnificent colors and rock formations on view. We will then pass through the small village of Chogdo (4000 m) and cross a few rivers before reaching camp for the night.

Day 05 : Lartsa 4600 m. - Thachungtse 4250 m via Kongmaru La 5200 m. (6-7 hrs)
A steep ascent leads us up to Kongmaru La (5200 m). From the pass we will get a breathtaking view of the north face of Kangyatse (6400 m), Zanskar and the Karakoram ranges. We then descend gradually to the summer pasture of Nimaling, where the villagers from Marka valley spend the summer with their sheep, goats and yaks, which graze on this lush greenery. The campsite of Thachungtse is further down the valley on the bank of the Marka River at 4000 m.

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Day 06 : Thachungtse - Yakrupal (5-6 hours)
After yesterday's strenuous walk, today is easier as we walk through the remote Langthang valley, where few other trekkers go. It's only the villagers from Markha, who use this valley as a pasture ground for their animals. From Thachungtse, we will follow the valley down until it divides, cross the river and follow the valley to the left along the Langthang Chu River. The valley down to the right leads to Markha. The Langthang River has a tendency to rise during the day due to the melting of snow in the mountains, and by noon it becomes a dangerous river to cross. An early start in the morning is therefore essential, as one has to cross the river several times. Yakrupal is a nice, green campsite where both the horses and we will have a good meal.

Day 07 : Yakrupal - Zalung Karpo La 5200m - Khar (5-6 hours)
After Yakrupal, we will continue up the valley towards the pass of Zalung Karpo La. From the top of the pass there is a spectacular view of the Zanskar range on one side, while on the other, the highest plateau in the world appears: the Chang Tang plateau stretching far into Tibet, known as the land of the nomads. The trail down is steep and several river crossings will follow to the beautiful and lush campsite of Khar, which will be our home for tonight. Kharnak means "black castle" in Ladakhi, and, situated on a hill above the campsite, one can imagine the former palace of Khar where the king of Kharnak used to live. The ruins of this former kingdom still stand, and the nomads believe it to be haunted. It is said that the nomads in Dat are descendants of the people who lived in Khar and that they for some reason moved to Dat three or four generations ago.

Day 08 : Khar - Dat (5-6 hours
A relatively easy day and a beautiful walk through wide, lush valleys (by Ladakhi standards!). At Tangtse Sumdo the valley divides - the left valley leading to Dat and the right into Zanskar, by the 'Zhunglam trek', where one will get one's feet real wet due to the 80 river crossings! On the way we pass several nomad camps before reaching the tiny village of Dat, a settlement of stone huts and the winter headquarters for the nomads in Kharnak. Here they live from October to December and March to June. The nomads of Kharnak are a colorful and joyful people moving together with their yaks and pashmina goats. In Dat there is also a Monastery, and when the villagers are away from Dat, one or two people ride back on horses every second day to light the candle here.

Day 09 : Dat - Yar La 4950m - Lungmo Che (5-6 hours)
From Dat we enter the vast land of the Changthang plateau and follow a long, wide valley before taking one of the side valleys towards Yar La. In spring the nomads move with all their animals towards Zara and it can be an unforgettable sight to see 30-40 families moving with their yaks in caravans. It is an easy ascent to this pass. From here it is a short walk down to the pastures of Lungmo Che, where we will spend the night, surrounded by snowcapped mountains, grazing yaks and pastel light.

Day 10 : Lungmo Che - Zara (5 hours)
The trail follows rolling hills towards Yagang, another settlement of stone huts belonging to the Kharnak nomads. A jeep road continues to Zara, the summer headquarters for the nomads in Kharnak. If you go for a visit up here, you will most likely be welcomed with numerous cups of butter tea and probably be invited into the nomads' black tents woven out of yak hair.

Day 11 : Zara - Leh (5 hours)
It will feel sad to leave this fascinating world, but it is time to return to Leh. From Zara the drive takes us back over the Taklangla pass, the second highest pass in the world.

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Day 12: Leh Sightseeing
Today we proceed for Indus Valley monastery tour. We start with a visit to Shey, the ancient capital of Ladakh. The monastery here has a huge gold-gilded statue of Buddha Sakyamuni with a large silver lamp burning in front of the statue. Then we visit Thiksey Gompa, an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village. The monastery has a beautiful 30 m high gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future. Drive further to visit the famous Hemis Gompa, founded in 1630's by Stag-tsang-ras-pa under the royal patronage of Sengge Namgyall. Hemis is one of the largest and richest gompas of Ladakh. The two-day festival of monastic dance in June-July has raised the reputation of Hemis particularly high. The festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava, popularly known as second Buddha and responsible for spreading Buddhism in the Tibetan world. Later we visit the Stok Palace, the Royal residence of the King of Stok & the Museum that has a rich collection of Ancient Ladakhi artefacts including old Thangkas, precious stones, arms and armoury, the Queen's necklace and the crown of the King of Ladakh among others. Overnight stay at the hotel in Leh.

Day 13: Leh - Delhi (By 9W610) Dep: 0840hrs / Arr: 0955hrs
Transfer to the Airport to catch the flight for Delhi. Upon arrival in Delhi we assist you to check in at our Hotel. Later in the afternoon we depart for Delhi sightseeing that includes Humayun's Tomb, Lotus Temple and Qutub Minar. Later we drive back to hotel for overnight stay.

Day 14: Delhi - Agra - Delhi (220 Kms. - 04hrs - One way) - Optional Tour
After an early breakfast, we drive at 0730 hrs to Agra, the erstwhile capital of India under the great Mughals and known for The Taj Mahal It has always fascinated Indians and foreigners alike. On the way we visit Sikandra (Tomb of Emperor Akbar). At Agra after lunch (own lunch) We visit the incredible architectural excellence of Taj Mahal, built by emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. Next we visit Agra Fort - Built principally as a military establishment by Akbar in 1565, the red sandstone Agra fort was partially converted into a palace during Shah Jahan's time. Though the principal structure was built by Akbar, many more additions were made by his grandsons. This massive fort is 2.5 kms long and is considered as the predecessor of the Delhi Red fort. After visiting the fort we drive back to Delhi at 1700 hrs. Upon arrival in Delhi. Finally we will have farewell dinner and later we transfer you to the International airport.

Day 15: Depart Delhi
Our tour concludes: Caper thanks you for your patronage and ensures a punctual transfer to the International airport for your onward travel to your next destination.

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