Indus valley to Lamayuru - cultural tour
Duration: 2-3 days
Distance: 260 km
This tour follows the Indus valley to the west until Lamayuru. It goes through some of the most charming and picturesque Ladakhi villages and ancient monasteries.
The medieval village of Lamayuru dotted with stupas and mud brick houses, is dominated by the photogenic Yungdrung monastery. In the gompa’s main prayer hall, there is a small cave in which the Indian scholar-saint Naropa meditated in the 11th century. The monastery, belonging to the Red Hat sect, contains wall paintings, thangkas, scriptures, statues of Buddha and other deities.
Lamayuru is also known for its “moonland”, a lunar landscape with extraordinarily odd geological formations. According to the legend, this area used to be the bottom of a lake which dried up when the Buddhist saint Nimagung foresaw that a monastery would be built here.
A small road along a narrow gorge leads to Rizong monastery standing above a rocky amphitheater. It was founded in 1831 by Lama Tsultim Nima and it belongs to the Gelugpa order. It is home to 40 monks and is known for its strict rules and standards.
The monastery was founded by Tibetan translator Rinchen Zangpo in the 11th century. It is very famous for its interior murals which are some of the best examples of Ladakh’s Indo-Tibetan art. Several temples can be visited: Sumsteg temple (three-storey building), Vairocana temple (containing impressive mandalas), Lotsa temple and Manjushri temple (enshrining a colorful four-sided statue of Buddha of Wisdom).
The monastery, surrounded by old chortens and barley fields, is well-known for the 23m-high Maitreya Buddha statue located just outside the gompa complex. It was founded in the 11th century and further extended during the 15th century. The gompa belongs to the Gelugpa order.
Basgo was the capital of lower Ladakh until the Ladakhi kingdoms united in 1470. The hilltop fortress consists of several temples connected to a ruined castle. A two-storey-high statue of Maitreya Buddha and fantastic murals of guardian deities can be seen in the Chamba temple.
Confluence of Indus & Zanskar rivers
The confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers is located 3 km southeast of Nimmu village. Zanskar river is blue or brown in color depending on the season, while Indus looks jade green.
The white-and-ochre gompa is situated on a hilltop above Phyang village. The monastery name has come from the blue mountain (Gang Ngonpo) behind the monastery. It was founded by Choje Denma Kunga Drakpa in the 16th century with the help of his disciple Chogyal Tashi Namgyal, the 21st King of Ladakh. More than 100 monks live in the monastery, teachings in Buddhism and modern education are imparted. There is a museum to visit.
Spituk monastery is located on hill near the Indus river. It is home to over 100 monks and it has a large collection of statues, frescoes and religious scriptures.
All the itineraries can be customized to suit your own special interests, preferences and timing. Please contact us for more information.