A NOTE ABOUT HIMALAYAN OVERELAND JEEP SAFARI TOUR
When somebody discusses the most pined for Hill towns of the state of Himachal Pradesh, it could be none other than Manali, which turns into the most commended special first night spot when cruel Indian summer begins disentangling itself as the earth changes its situation on its pivot. In any case, there is something more the place is identified with which no one but adrenaline junkie can endeavor to take Jeep trip from Manali to Leh. Add to it the enjoyment of trekking and here it turns into the most courageous activity amid the period of May or June to mid October when mountain passes are clear from snow.
Your Himalayan Jeep Safari tour starts from New Delhi, however your experience of adventurous Jeep Safari tour on barren and winding roads starting from the town of Manali. Going through Rohtang Pass and Baralacha La the mountain road takes to Sarchu, lastly to Leh, yet this is only the start. As the separation is eaten up by the Jeep, there are different shades of the travel industry in the way of life and religion of the changing scene of all the little and huge villas, towns, town and urban communities. Religious communities of Shey, Thiksey and Hemis are a permanent nearness of an trip to Leh.
On arrival at Delhi airport, proceed downstairs and pass through the immigration area, collect your baggage off the carousels, load up your trolley , and go through Customs inspection via the Green Channel at the centre of the customs inspection counters. If, however, you have something to declare check through any one of the counters manned by inspectors in white uniforms, proceed on and exit right to the melee of people waiting to receive passengers. Look for your name and our representative will transfer you to your hotel.
If you somehow miss or cannot find our representative, return to the hall you have just left and book a taxi, for which you normally have to queue. The man behind the counter will ask you for the Zone you wish to travel to, for which you will have to check the sign-board above the counter window. He will then ask you for the fare and issue you with a ticket. Go back to the waiting area and ask for the Taxi number on the ticket, and one of the drivers will collect you. Retain your taxi ticket until you reach your destination and on arrival give the ticket to the driver - this is his cheque to collect his fare. The Taxi fare you have incurred will be reimbursed by our representative.
On arrival at the hotel inform reception that you are booked with the agent as addressed on the following pages and the hotel will check you in. Normally you will be picked up at the airport by our representative and transferred to your nominated hotel and, you will then be briefed as to the days ahead. Your guide will brief you on the "Dos & Don'ts" while on the Safari and in Delhi and issue your Discovery Travel Pack, which is yours for the duration of your trip. After this you will be taken on a short sightseeing trip of Old Delhi. Delhi is divided into Old and New Delhi. Old Delhi is the 17th century city of narrow crowded alleys, and some gates of the old wall remain. Of particular interest are the enormous Red Fort, the Jami Masjit mosque and the famous street, the Chadni Chock. The streets are teeming with life, and you can watch peddlers hawking their wares in the age-old traditional style of India.
New Delhi was constructed by the British and inaugurated in 1911. It is a planned city of wide streets and spacious parks centered on the great circle of Connaught Place. Here you can see modern India, as it is a functioning, organized and cosmopolitan city. The contrast of old and new is one of the most fascinating aspects of Delhi, as you observe the old ways co-existing with the most up-to-date fashions and technology.
If you arrive independently, check into the Hotel and meet the group. The rest of the afternoon and evening are free for sightseeing or relaxing or preparing for your trip.
There is so much to see in this exciting city, that it would be impossible to list all its attractions, so we will give you a selection of interesting places to see in Delhi and due to limited time only part of these places may be covered depending on the time of your arrival in Delhi, the time of the year and the special events and festivities that may be taking place at the time.
Sights covered during half day combined or full day tour of Old and New Delhi are :
Lakshmi Narayan temple, India gate + President’s house + Parliament House (out side visits), Qutab Minar – inside visit, Hamayun’s Tomb – inside visit, Red Fort – time permitting inside visit, Jama Mosque – inside visit, Rajghat.
Qutab Minar; One of the earliest remains of Imperial Delhi, (13th century AD) and the tallest monument of early times.
Rashtrapati Bhavan; Standing on Raisina Hill, it was built by the British as the residence of the Viceroy of India. It is now the official residence of the President of India. The massive building is surrounded by 330 acres of parkland and has one of the finest gardens in the country.
India Gate; The 42m high arch was raised as a memorial to soldiers of The Great War (W.W.1) and is now a monument to The Unknown Soldier.
Jantar Mantar; This unique observatory with masonary instruments, was designed by the astronomer-king Sawai Jai Singh II of Jaipur in 1724 AD.
Lakshmi Narayan Temple; Built in the Orissan style, this is a fine example of modern Indian temple architecture.
Red Fort; Built of red sandstone, the fort is one of the best surviving Moghal monuments. It was built by Emperor Shah Jehan in 1638 AD.
Jama Masjid; The largest mosque in India, also built by Shah Jehan.
HumayunÌs Tomb; This fine monument is believed to be the forerunner of the famous Taj Mahal of Agra.
Shrine of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auli; This marble tomb was raised in honour of a Sufi saint, Nizamuddin Christi, who died in 1325 AD.
Bahai Temple; This white lotus-shaped temple, recently completed by the followers Oof Bahai, signifies the purity and universality of the Lord and the equality of all religions.
Raj Ghat, Shanti Vana, Vijay Ghat, Shajti Sthal and Kishan Ghat; These are all monuments raised to leaders of modern India.
We take one of Indiaís fastest train Shatabid Express Train, to the city of Chandigarh with its population of 1 million people, and the India's youngest planned city by the famous French architect Le Corbusia. It is well known for its planning and architecher, quality of life, high educational level, pollution free environment and low crime rates. The city is under the direct administration of the government constituded as a state with it's own legislative assembly. A union teritory is like the district of Colombia in the U.S.A.
Travelling through the Himachal Pradesh with its alpine playground of Manali, situated at an altitude of 2050m on the West Bank of Beas River; with its fertile valleys, imposing forests and Lush Orchards, fast flowing rivers and tranquil lakes such a Nehru Kund and Brigh Lake set against the backdrop of snow-capped 6000m peaks, makes an idyllic stop before heading on over the Rothang pass to the barren mountain landscapes beyond. The temple of antiquity like Hadimba Devi temple and newly built Manali Gompa, and its busy market where innumerable handicrafts, both local and from other states, available with tradional woven shawls, kullu cap and the slippers being the most popular buys, make Manali a popular resort for all travellers.
Early morning drive to Rohtang Pass at 3978 mt., at a distance of 51 km from Manali offers a variety of sports-skiing, sledging etc in winter between December to February when most of the high passes are closed. Each year on the 20th Bhado (September) the villagers from Manali area walk up to the Dashir Lake situated near the Pass for bathing and festivities. It is also the gateway to Lahaul, Spiti Keylong, Sisu, and other touristic sites. We continue our drive to Sarchu. There are a number of interesting features with serene and beautiful landscapes, a delight for photographers who are looking for high rise mountain ranges, bearing water bodies and centuries old eco-system of soil erosion, which clearly indicate that the area was under water a few million years ago. Brisk and hauling wind in the cold of the desert ìRupusuî , an extension of Changthang plateau of Tibet. at this end of sub-continent, and travelling through the sparsely green landscape make the journey all the more adventurous.
Manali-Leh highway is the most popular and spectacular approach to Ladakh with its scenic beauty and rugged terrain which is only motorable between the months of June to mid-October . After crossing Rothang Pass (3978m), the road crosses high mountain passes of Nomika La and Lachalung La to reach the Tourist Camp at Sarchu (4253 m), in the Pang Valley (4253m), which borders the states of Himalchal Pradesh and Jammu and Kasmir (Ladakh).
Early morning, we set off for Leh (approx. 6-8 hours) from Sarchu driving over the second highest motor-able pass in the World - Tanglang La (5415 m). At the pass, one can appreciate the magnificent scenery of the peaks of high Himalayas. The mountains here offer excellent views and have a barren, moon-like terrain.
Thus this area is also known as Moonland. We may meet some of the nomadic ìChangpasî shepherds on the way, who engage in trade and work in caravans in Ladakh, Spiti and Lahaul. The area is also rich in wildlife such as the red fox and rare endangered snow leopard. After descending from the pass, we will enter Ladakhi civilization at Ramse.
We have two full days to explore and acquire the unique experience that Leh has to offer. Leh, the capital of Ladakh whose doors opened to Tourists only as recently as 1974, is situated in a small fertile valley at the North of upper Indus valley. For centuries it became an important crossroad for ancient trades and pilgrimage. Caravans of spice and silk Traders between Central Asia, Tibet and the Indian sub-continent passed through here and the pilgrims who thronged their journey along the Indus Valley to Holy Mount Kailash. It is also an important strategic centre for India. The large military presence is a reminder that the region of Ladakh is situated along India's sensitive borders with both Pakistan and China.
Leh's altitude is 3500m. and atop which stand the 7 Storey Leh Palace
towering above as a sentinel over its medieval city. At one time it was considered a model for Potala Palace in Lhasa, in Tibet, Exploring the halls and alleyways of the palace, one can feel bygone days as it resonates the prosperous and thrieving royalties of the Namgyals sect. Still going higher we approach the Victory Fort and Maitriya temple that affords an encompassing views across the Indus valley to the stole mountains and Tso Khan and Tso nori Lakes. The other highlights in Leh are Thiksay Gompa which is actually a complex of buildings on a crag rising in the tier upon tier above the village. The temple was dedicated by his holiness the Dalai Lama in 1980 and houses an immense image of Maitreya Buddha. Drive further to visit the famous Hemis Gompa, founded in 1630ís by stag-tsang-ra-pa under the royal patronage of Sengge Namgyall, Hemis is one of the largest and the richest gompas of Ladakh. The two day festival of monastic dance in June-July has given Hemis a particular reputation. The festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava. Time permiting we try to cover as may historical and interesting places as possible such as Stock Palace & Museum ñ the present day royal residence of the King of Stock. The museum has a rich collection of Ancient Ladakhi artifacts which includes old Thankas, precious stones, arms and armories, the Queens necklace and the crown of the King of Ladakh among others things.
Morning transfer to the Airport in time to board flight for Delhi. Arrive Delhi/Met upon arrival and transfer to the hotel
Time to fly home. Please make sure that you have collected all your valuables from the security deposit and settle all your Hotel bills. Co-ordinating with your flight time, the Discovery's representativeís transport staff will pick you up and take you to the International Airport.
PEOPLE WHO CARE ON YOUR TRIP
Your most important member of staff is the GUIDE, who is in overall charge of the overland expedition and, more importantly, looking after you ! He or she will also look after you in Delhi before and after your Trip and is the person that you should see if you have any problems or questions. All our Guides undergo extensive training to ensure that they are completely knowledgeable in all aspects of conservation, high altitude medicine, first aid, emergency procedures and other associated fields. They are full-time professionals and are selected for their empathy and knowledge of India. Discovery has a policy of employing local Guides, after all, who better to show you the Himalaya than the people who live there! Discovery Full Circle Tours and its representative's self-contained, experienced teams can take you anywhere in India from the lowlands to the highest or most remote. Your Holiday is an opportunity for you to spend time with the locals and many travellers find that the close contact and insight into their lifestyle is one of the delights of travelling in the Himalaya. They may be a little shy at first meeting so many new people, but a smile goes a long way and you will find them excellent company and great fun to be with.
Communicating with Staff: If you have a problem, complaint or concern about any aspect of your trip, please take it to the Guide on the spot. If you let it fester until you return to Delhi, a minor irritation may well become a huge, unsolvable problem, which could spoil your holiday. Your Guide/Escort is a professional, caring person, but s/he is not a mind reader.
Please Note: our staff are not allowed to drink alcohol on duty i.e. anytime on highland Safari, trek, rafting or tour. Please don't offer them alcoholic drinks, as they will feel they have offended you by refusing
Each day is different, ruled by a number of factors from the weather, road conditions, distance & destination of any particular days. Exact timetables cannot always be followed and would in fact destroy the free and easy atmosphere of the overland journeys that you have come along to enjoy. Therefore the following schedule is a guide only.
You wake at around 6.00 or 6.30 am to the sound of our Guideís greeting, " Good morning .......! ì Pack your gear into your Duffel bag, and all your belongings, and put everything outside the room before breakfast, which is next on the agenda.
After a hearty breakfast we are usually on the road by around 8 am and have a few hours drive, lunch around 12.00 or 1.00 pm. This break is around 1 hour and allow time for the staff lunch as well.
When there are short days, lunch may be at the lodge/hotel, at 1.00 or 2.00 PM which allows plenty of time for exploring the fascinating villages nearby. On longer days, afternoon drive usually finish around 5.00 PM or perhaps later such as on the drive to Manali which could be as late as 8 p.m. again all these depend on road conditions. When you arrive early, side trips, games or other activities are generally organized by the Guide or you can opt to take it easy reading, writing letters or postcards, sunbaking, chatting with the staff or your travel companions or dozing comfortably in your room.
Dinner is served around 7.00 PM and afterwards the evenings are generally filled by long discussions, card playing or singing and dancing with the staff or local people depending on when and where you are and at what time of year you are there. Most travellers remember these activities as one of the highlights of their Tour.
Water bottles can be filled at any meal stop as we the hotels boil and treat far more water than is required for tea/coffee consumption.
WHAT YOU GET
Your Trans Himalayan Overland Safari Adventure includes the following:
# International Arrival/Departure transfers.
# Full board Accommodation in Hotels, Lodges. Camps during
overland tour from Manali to Leh;
# Hotel accommodation on a twin-share on Bed/Breakfast in Delhi
* All group transport by private vehicle
* Sightseeing & tours as listed in the itinerary
* Entrance fees for monuments/mosques/temples
* Leh/Delhi air ticket
Cost does not Include:
* Items of a personal nature such as postage and laundry
* Alcoholic beverages
* Additional local optional excursions
* Airport taxes
* Travel Insurance
* Tips & Gratuities
* Any items and materials not listed in the trip inclusions above
FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD
At Discovery Full Circle Tours we try to vary the food as much as we can during your Trip and the Cooks in the Hotels and Lodges enroute from Manali to Leh are masters at preparing food under less than ideal conditions! We mostly have a delicious mixture of Indian and Western food, and you have a chance to sample some Tibet food in Leh as well. As much as possible we ask our nominated hotels to use locally bought fresh vegetables, etc. but you must be aware that such variety is sometimes not available in remote areas and we must rely on pre-packaged products.
Discovery was a pioneer of ecologically sound trekking in India and continue to impress others in Nepal, Tibet & Bhutan to adopt similar norms and practices. We ask that our guests follow environmentally acceptable procedures while with us in India in the fragile mountain environment as it is being damaged by careless or ill-informed Travellers.
We recommend that each traveller keeps and uses a small rubbish bag, besides a waste bin we provide on your vehicle. Burnable material can be disposed of at hotels/camps but all other rubbish such as bottles and batteries must be properly disposed at the hotels/lodges. Under no circumstances should rubbish be thrown onto the ground.
All washing should be done away from rivers and streams using bio-degradable soap. Never tip soapy washing water where it will run directly into watercourses.
In the Hotels and Lodges rubbish bins are available and use them to dispose the waste. You must use this when available. During the drive, though there are lodges enroute, and when there are none, ensure that toilet stops are far off the roads, all waste is buried at least 150 cm and all toilet paper burnt.
Sanitary napkins and tampons should only be disposed of in the Hotel/Lodge Disposal facility.
We feel that we can't stress our environmental concerns strongly enough.
Please help Discovery in keeping India beautiful.
As your Trans Himalayan Overland Safari Adventure takes you above 3,500 meters, Discovery's schedule has been carefully designed to minimise the effects of altitude. Our itinerary gain altitude slowly and surely allowing for safe acclimatisation. Headaches and breathlessness are common at altitude and this is known as Benign Mountain Sickness which in itself is nothing to worry about. In rare cases, this may worsen so a close watch is kept on all travelers by the Guide who is trained to recognise symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS): severe headaches; nausea; lethargy; and in extreme cases, ataxia (loss of co-ordination) and serious breathlessness at rest. If any traveller shows any of these signs they will be evacuated to a lower, safe altitude immediately. The Guide's decision on removal to a safe altitude is final.
The worst affect of altitude is worrying about altitude! As long as you keep your body fluids maintained by an adequate fluid intake of four or five litres per day, ascend according to the itinerary and are adequately fit, you will most likely have no problems apart from the normal breathlessness on hills. Remember; you must inform the Guide of any symptoms of the effects of altitude and do not medicate yourself, without first informing him/her.
Your Guide/Tour Escort can advise you more thoroughly regarding altitude problems. If you wish to know more about acute mountain sickness please refer to any of the Travel books in our Recommended Reading list.