The Markha Valley Trek is certainly one of the most varied and beautiful treks in the world. It ventures high into the Himalayas crossing two passes over 15,000 ft (4575 m) as it circles from the edges of the Indus Valley, down into parts of Zanskar, and passes through terrain that changes from incredibly narrow valleys to wide-open vast expanses. It is very interesting place as it is well known for its ancient form of Buddhism that flourishes in the many monasteries. These monasteries dot the landscape perched high atop hills. The trails are decorated by elaborate "chortens"(shrines) and "Mani"(prayer) walls that further exemplify the region's total immersion in Buddhist culture. As you trek to the upper end of the Markha Valley you will be rewarded with spectacular views of jagged snow capped peaks before crossing the 5150m Kongmaru La (Pass) and the famous Hemis Monastery, where we end our trekking. There are also few days to explore the fascinating town of Leh and raft the Indus River.
Welcome upon arrival at the Leh airport and transfer to hotel, rest of the day free for acclimatization. Evening visit the Shanti Stupa for a sunset view of Leh. Later visit the market and walk back to the hotel. Overnight at hotel
post breakfast we proceed for the indus valley monastery tour including shey, the ancient capital of ladakh, thiksey an impressive complex rising tier upon tier on a hill above the village and stok palace – the present residence of the royal family. Enjoy packed lunch at sindhughat. overnight at hotel in leh.
Post breakfast we will drive to chilling which will take about 2 hours from Leh. We will start our trek after taking a walk around Chilling which is a very unique village. A gradual ascent followed by a steep climb gets one to the Ganda la (4900m). From here views extend south to the Zanskar range and distant summits of the Himalayan range. This is followed by a long descent to Shingo village. From Shingo the trail heads into a narrow gorge leading towards Skiu. At Skiu there is a confluence of the rivers coming from Markha valley and Shingo. Overnight stay at the camp/homestay in skiu.
It’s a very pleasant hike, up the Markha valley and well known for its trail crossing numerous streams. Markha is a quaint village with a deserted fort and a small village. Overnight stay in tents/homestay.
From Markha the country changes and the warm, relatively heavily wooded sections of the lower Markha is left behind. One will be required to cross the river several times as there are no bridges here. Hankar, enroute, is the highest village in the Markha valley. Overnight stay in tents/homestay.
Trek starts on a good path with several small inclines and a series of grassy ridges. There are a series of Mani walls (walls carved with Buddhist prayers) and chortens en route. This is one of the most beautiful high valleys in Ladakh and is dominated by the Kangyaze peak. Overnight stay in tents/homestay.
Today you will cross to the north of the Markha, climbing to the top of the highest of the three passes, the 5,306 M Kongmaru La, with its wonderful views from the top. There are snow peaks in every direction and on a clear day the giants of Karakoram, including K2, can be seen on the north-western horizon. The trail descends to the Martselang valley, following the Martselang stream to the village of Sumdo. Overnight stay in tents/homestay.
Today you will make an easy descent along the Martselang to where it broadens into the valley of the Indus at Martselang village. Board the awaiting jeeps. Visit Hemis monastery and after that drive to Leh via Shey and Thiksey monastery. Overnight stay in a hotel/homestay.
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Those who visit Ladakh are usually adventure-seekers looking for the next high-altitude thrill, but we wanted to focus more on the zen side of things. Rich in culture, scenery and history, Ladakh is a treasure trove of wonders hidden away in a remote part of the world. After a start in Delhi, we’ll visit mountain villages, valleys, and Hindu and Buddhist temples along the road to Leh. If you’re looking to break a sweat after all, try rafting or hiking amongst other pulse-racing activities, but we totally understand if you’d rather just lay back and let the culture of the region soak right in.
Duration: 7 - 20 days
Best Time: June to September
Highlight: People, Village, Wildlife and High Passes
Physical Challenge: Moderate to challenging
Moderate: suitable for most hill walkers and generally involving shorter days at moderate altitude, on good paths and tracks. However, a reasonable level of fitness is required as these treks can involve considerable amounts of ascent and descent and the occasional difficult day.