Vikander International Photography Expeditions Brian Vikander International Photography Expeditions

ZANSKAR: The Hidden Kingdom & Festival at Karsha
Summer 2014
20 Days

The Zanskar region of Jammu-Kashmir State, in northern India, remains one of the most arresting geographical realms found anywhere in the Great Himalaya. Zanskar is so isolated that it can only be reached by road coming from the north or by foot from the other three points of the compass. The track over which we travel is one of the most rugged and demanding found anywhere and the scale of the scenery is simply unprecedented. Witnessing the ferocity of the Suru River brimming forth into the verdant valley expanse, bespeckled with idyllic villages, established at the foundation of sky-directed heights of the 23,000 foot Nun-Kun massif, will forever remain etched in your memory. The vertical nature of this world is alarming and the journey seems timeless before the landscape widens at Padum. Zanskar is purely exceptional!

Ladakh lies within the specter of the most massive mountain ranges on Earth ... the Karakoram ... the Ladakh ... the Zanskar ... and the Himalaya. This region is a high-altitude desert plateau that is of great interest to people who are fascinated by the world's high places and the history of Tibet. As the cradle of Buddhism, the religion spread to Tibet. Today, it is only here that the tradition of Tibetan Buddhism is found as a living, thriving religion. And where, a visitor has the opportunity to witness times past, through the thronged festivals at the Phyang and Karsha Gompas.


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Please Contact VIP Expeditions for Further Information On 2014 Zanskar Itinerary!

Printable Short Itinerary- Word Document (.doc)

DAY 1 June 27, 2014 Saturday Fly to NEW DELHI
This evening, we depart from JFK aboard Air India, on our flight to New Delhi.

DAY 2 June 28, 2014 Sunday Arrive in INDIA
Late evening arrival in New Delhi and transfer to the LE MERIDIEN HOTEL.

DAY 3 June 29, 2014 Monday Sightseeing in DELHI
Sightseeing around old and the new Delhi. LE MERIDIEN HOTEL

DAY 4 June 30, 2014 Tuesday Fly to LEH
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, lies between the Stok Mountains and the Ladakh Range to the north. Afternoon, walk around the old town. SPIC 'n SPAN HOTEL

DAY 5 July 1, 2014 Wednesday Sightseeing in LEH
The morning is at leisure. Afternoon visit to Shanti Stupa, built to promote world peace through Buddhism. SPIC 'n SPAN HOTEL

DAY 6 July 2, 2014 Thursday Sightseeing in LEH VALLEY
Today we visit Thiksey Gompa and Spituk Gompa. SPIC 'n SPAN HOTEL

DAY 7 July 3, 2014 Friday Drive to ULETOPKO
Traveling to the northwest, to the magnificent setting Likir (Water Spirits) Gompa and then a pleasant walk to Ridzong Gompa and the chomolling (nunnery).

Day 8 Lamayuru GompaDay 8 Suru RiverDAY 8 July 4, 2014 Saturday Drive to LAMAYURU then KARGIL
The oldest religious site in Ladakh is Lamayuru Gompa, dating from the 10th century. Then on to Mulbekh, the last vestige of Buddhism, before heading into the Muslim dominated areas of Kargil and beyond. KARGIL HOTEL



Day 9 Suru ValleyDAY 9 July 5, 2014 Sunday Drive to RANGDUM
Today, we venture into the Suru Valley. Visit the villages of Panikhar and Parkachik, sitting in the presence of the handsome Nun Kun Massif (23,400' and 23,250') Then onto Rangdum Monastery. PRIVATE TENTED CAMP

Day 9 RangdumDAY 10 July 6, 2014 Monday Drive to TUNGRI
Visit to Rangdum, venture south into the Stod River Valley, Shafat Glacier and Darung Drung Glacier. Late afternoon arrival in Tungri, the end of the Zanskar Valley, for the next 4 days.

DAY 11 July 7, 2014 Tuesday KARSHA FESTIVAL
Karsha Gompa , where we will witness a traditional celebration, in Zanskar. The festival will bring Buddhist pilgrims from all over the mountain regions to witness the drama dances of Buddhism. PRIVATE TENTED CAMP

Day 11 Karsha FestivalDAY 12 July 8, 2014 Wednesday SANI and BARDAN GOMPAS
Visits to Sani Gompa, which recalls the most ancient monastic foundations of the Himalayas and Bardan Gompa which is perched atop a cylindrical cliff, above the Zanskar River.

Day 13 Stongde GompasDAY 13 July 9, 2014 Thursday ZANGLA and STONGDE GOMPAS
Two other remarkable monasteries in Zanskar Valley are Zangla and Stongde. We often visit the former Zanskari king. PRIVATE TENTED CAMP

DAY 14 July 10, 2014 Friday Drive to SHAFFAT
Begin our drive back up the Zanskar Valley and Kargil. Eexplore with the spontaneity that the day offers. We have our private camp waiting for us about half way up the valley at Shaffat. PRIVATE TENTED CAMP

Day 15 ParkachikDAY 15 July 11, 2014 Saturday Return to KARGIL
Continuing north to Kargil, we visit the villages of Panikhar and Parkachik. During the afternoon, there will be a delightful (non-strenuous) optional walk along the ridge from Parkachik to Panikhar. Late afternoon will find arriving in Kargil for our overnight stay. KARGIL HOTEL

DAY 16 July 12, 2014 Sunday ALCHI GOMPA - Return to LEH
Briefly walk the streets of the Kargil before starting the drive back to Leh. We will drive back past Mulbekh and Lamayuru and stop a t Alchi Gompa, the finest examples of 11th century Indian Buddhist art found anywhere, in the world.

DAY 17 July 13, 2014 Monday PHYANG GOMPA
Today, we visit Phyang Gompa, one of the ancient marvels in the world of religion. Built in the 16 th century, this gompa houses hundreds of sacred icons. SPIC n SPAN HOTEL

Day 18 July 14, 2014 Tuesday Fly to DELHI
In the late morning we board our flight to Delhi. This evening we will enjoy a special Indian meal and classical dance show. LE MERIDIEN HOTEL

DAY 19 July 15, 2014 Wednesday In DELHI
Today is at leisure to explore the fascinating city of Delhi.

DAY 20 July 16, 2014 Thursday Return USA
Our flight back to the USA departs Delhi early in the morning and arrives back in USA, mid-afternoon.

TRIP PRICE: $9,150.00 for Ladakh land portion only (based on 6 participants)

INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE via Air India round trip NYC-New Delhi approx.:
$1,800 + tax Economy
$4,300.00 + tax Business

DEPOSIT $1,000.00 PER/PERSON due by 5/19/14
Fill out Application and Make a Deposit on Trip
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This price includes: all accommodations based on double occupancy; all meals; tea or coffee, ie. beverages presented as part of or taken with the daily meals; all land transportation; sightseeing and tours; all internal flights and domestic airport taxes (flights within the India); all model fees including the private models and private performances; all domestic transfers and ground transportation; all porterage in hotels and airports within India; and all entrance fees, service charges and taxes. This price covers all gratuities to guides and drivers throughout the trip. We will travel in private 4WD Tata-Sumos or jeeps. Each photographer will have 2 seats and ample room for their equipment. Our professional, hand-selected, national guide will travel with us throughout the trip to enhance our daily photographic opportunities and our appreciation and understanding of the country.

Please note: Occasionally the ground operator passes along an increased charge. Generally, VIP Expeditions absorbs these costs. However, sometimes they must be passed along to our clients. While we do not expect this, you must be aware of the possibility.

TRIP PRICE DOES NOT INCLUDE: Passport fees; India visa fees; U.S. airfare, roundtrip airfare from the East Coast; vaccinations; inoculations; international departure taxes; items of a personal nature, eg. laundry, telephone, alcoholic or personal beverages, etc.; personal tips; trip cancellation, travel delay or baggage insurance; charges incurred as a result of delays beyond the control of VIP Expeditions; and excess baggage.

CAMPING: Our camping arrangements will be the best available for this part of the world. We will be in a permanent-tented camp for a total of two nights. These facilities have beds, mattresses, quilts (you will need your own sleeping bag), common toilets and dining tent. There is a complete staff to handle everything in camp. A true diversity of cuisine is not available in this part of the world. However, we will have the best possible meals prepared for us three times per day. We have five nights in a mobile camp that will set-up and maintained for our group only. Tents will be walk-in with cots and bedding (I still recommend a sleeping bag). There will be a kitchen tent, dining tent and toilet tents (with chemical toilets). Warm wash water will be available for tidying-up when you need it ... each morning and evening. Showers are not available. This is a wonderful camp that you will thoroughly enjoy!

Brian Vikander will lead this once-in-a-lifetime experience. He is an internationally recognized photographer whose work has appeared in virtually every publication that deals with the world of exotic travel, including: 1) National Geographic publications; 2) New York Times Travel; 3) the Getty Conservation Trust; and 4) Smithsonian, among others. Brian has conducted more than 60 photographic trips, on six continents, over the years and has an excellent feel for the destination, as well as the requirements of trip participants. His goal is to have you better understand the manner in which you can capture your impressions.


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