KLTT is not just a travel outfit catering to tourists. It is a centuries-old tradition of Kashmiri hospitality and expertise in planning and handling enjoyable and trouble-free tours and expeditions. The KLTT family has been in this trade profession since 1872, arranging expeditions, safaris and tours through the length and breadth of the valleys in Kashmir, Ladakh and beyond the Tibetan and Balti plateaus.
Mr Sajid Rashid, a descendant of the family carries the tradition forward. A bright student of the missionary school Srinagar, his traditional knowledge of the tourist trade was reinforced and enhanced at this school which espoused the same culture of exploration and adventure. He was associated with the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. Sajid has led many difficult expeditions and trekking tours in the company of persons like Tenzing Norgay not only in the Himalayas and Karakorum-Ladakh ranges but across the Himalayas Garhwal, Darjeeling and Sikkim. He has escorted tours to Rajasthan, Gujrat, South and Central India and has intimate knowledge of these areas.Sajid now heads the KLTT and has a group of trained and experienced staff to look after his guests.
Kashmir is the principal region in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, the other two being Ladakh and Jammu. The valley of Kashmir is bounded by two major ranges, the Pir Panjab and the Great Himalayas and has the gift of a ravishingly beautiful landscape. Legend has it that Kashmir was once a vast land-locked lake. An abominable demon lived in the lake. With the help of sage Kashyap and other gods the lake was drained and the demon killed. Hence the name Kashmir.
Unlike the rest of India Kashmir experiences distinctive seasons. The symphony of seasons evokes myriad moods and melodies of sheer natural beauty. In winter (December-February) when snow carpets the valley you can go skiing and sledging on the slopes of Gulmarg. Come spring and summer (April-September) the flower-carpeted meadows, glimmering lakes and blue skies beckon you to taste the crisp, fragrant air. Enjoy the relaxing boat rides on the lakes or walks on the salubrious surrounding hill-sides. For the adventurous the high-altitude valleys offer endless Trekking Routes through gorgeous alpine valleys, past glacier-fed lakes, tarns, flower meadows, woodlands and awe-inspiring mountain passes with panoramic views. Autumn (October-November) brings a nip in the air and the colours change to yellow, chestnut and deep blues. The honey-dewed orchargds droop with the weight of their fruit and a soothing mellowness pervades the valley. A time to relax and watch.
Srinagar is the summer capital of the state. At 1738m the city is surrounded by the Dal Lake in the east and the Nigeen and Anchar lakes in the north. Various canals and water ways connect the lakes. The Jhelum river girdles and cuts through the city and many old, vintage bridges bearing the name of their builders still span the river. Old buildings in distinctive architectural style built in wood and bricks rise picturesquely from the river front. Spires of shrines and pagoda-like roof-tops of mosques enliven the sky-line. Two hills, Shenkracharya and Hari Parbat stand out above the city-scape and their tops offer kaleidoscopic views of the city and the valley. The unique feature of Srinagar are the House-Boats, lined along the edges of the Dal and Nigeen lakes. The serene and tranquil lakes are imperceptibly abuzz with activity. Vegetables and fodder-laden canoes and Gondolas-like Shikaras paddle noiselessly past floating gardens and islands in the lakes. A ride in Shikara is a soothing and rejuvenating experience. Srinagar and its environs offer enjoyable day tours and excursions.
HOUSE-BOAT. Built entirely in cedar wood with elaborate carved panels, partitions and intricate tongue-and-groove ceilings, it is also furnished with walnut furniture and Perso-Kashmiri carpets. Most of the houseboats have two to four bedrooms with attached baths, a spacious sitting room, a dinning room and attached pantry besides balconies and roof-top decks over looking the lakes. A peaceful stay, far from the maddeing crowd combined with the luxury of personalized service and warm hospitality make it an unforgettable experience. Vendors, selling Kashmiri shawls, wood-carving items, paper-macie artifacts and local jewellery pay your a courteous call at you convenience and comfort. Most houseboats are accessed in a Shikara.
A two hour boat ride takes you on a relaxing sightseeing tour of interior parts of the calm and placid waters of Dal Lake. Nice vignettes of life on the lake.
Meticularly laid out by the great Mughals a visit Chasma Shahi (Royal Spring); Nishat Bagh (Pleasure Garden) and Shalimar Bagh (The Abode of Love) is a must.
Optional : SHANKARACHARYA TEMPLE The 8th century Shankaracharya Temple atop on a thousand feet hillock on the bank of Dal Lake offers panoramic views of Srinagar township with its lakes, Hari Parbat Fort and the Jehlum River.
Gulmarg bosts of the highest golf course in the world. Have a spectacular view of the towering mountains including Nanga Parbat and other peaks. In winter Gulmarg offers top-class skiing activities.
Optional: GONDOLA RIDE Take a cable car ride to the top of apharwat hills. View nomdic Gujjar Huts dotting the hillsides.
Pahalgam an alpine valley along the Lidder river is 98 kms from Srinagar. Enroute visit the impressive ruins of Stone Temple built by King Avanti Varman in the 10th century AD.
Optional : ARU, MARTAND TEMPLES Aru a deep high altitude sphered valley.
Martand Temples, 15 km detour. Magnificent 9 century sun temple in black granite.
Sonamarg is 80 kms. North-East of Srinagar and at an altitude of 2743 meters. Popularly known as the “Golden Meadow”), it is a wild and virgin valley of meadows and woodlands.
1. Manasbal : Enroute to Sonmarg visit an idyllic lake at Manasbal, said to be the deepest lake in Kashmir.
2. Baltal : Two hours drive to Baltal to view the Labrynthine road going upto Zojilla Pass (3,500 mtrs.) on way to Ladakh.
3. Thajiwas Glacier : From Sonamarg take two hours side trip by ponies or car to Thajiwas Glacier dipping down into the valley of birch forest.
Ladakh beckons you to a journey of discovery and a lifetime experience like no other. The beauty of Ladakh, the little Tibet, lies in its vast rugged wilderness; in its inaccessible mountains primitive culture preserved in the deep-freeze of prolonged isolation; and its imposing monasteries-standing monuments to their faith and way of life.
Bounded by two of the worlds’ mightiest mountain chains, the Great Himalayas and the Karakoram and further hemmed in by the ranges of Ladakh and Zhanskar, the spectacular valleys of Ladakh, Zhanskar, Nubra and Rupshu have nurtured unique ethnic groups. The remote valleys were accessed by ancient trails, once famously known as the Silk Route. Today, two of these ancient routes from the South are now motorable. Some of the world’s highest road passes fall on these routes. Khardungla near Leh town, is the highest road pass (5,565m) in the world.
The faces and attire that a traveller to Ladakh encounters may be of Tibetan origin but, there are areas and side valleys where the Dardic, an Indo-Aryan race retain their characteristic features and culture. Dah-Hanu valley harbours the Drok-pa, said to be the purest Indo-Aryan race.
Ladakh was an independent kingdom ruled from Tibet and it reached its glorious period under the Namgyal dynasty. During the early 19th Century, Zorawar Singh, the Dogra general marched on Ladakh over some of the most difficult passes (a feat sometimes compared to Hannibal) and annexed Ladakh to the Jammu and Kashmir state.
Budhism came to Ladakh as early as the 3rd centry B.C. during the reign of Ashoka. As part of the Tibetan Kingdom, Lamaism and the Tantric form of Budhism became the practicing religion of the Ladakhis from 9th century onwards. The monasteries are the focus of Lamaistic Budhism.
Leh (3,460m), the capital of Ladakh, once an important stop on the old caravan route, is today abustle with tourists. It is a fascinating town with its winding lanes and alleys dominated by the Leh Fort. Leh is the base for visits to some of the important monasteries and day (or overnight) excursions to the newly-opened areas like the Nubra valley and Pangong and Tsomoriri Lakes. Leh is also a base for adventure activities like trekking and river rafting.
Monasteries in Ladakh can be broadly classified to those belonging to the 10th, 11th and early 12th Centuries and the others built from 15th till the 18th Century. Alchi and Lamayuru (Old Temple) belong to the earlier period. Later monasteries like that of Likir, Stok, Thikse and Hemis are built on hill tops or secluded mountainsides which in the past also served as fortresses. The monasteries are full of icons, tangkas and canonical murals. They are also the hub of village life and a venue for colourful festivals and mask-dances.
Chortens, Mani-walls and prayerflags adorn and herald the entrance to a village or a monastery. Chortens are reliquary mounds; Mani-walls are made up of countless stone slabs inscribed with the mantra Om Mani Padme Hum.
A secluded valley South of Leh, Zhanskar remains cut off from rest of the world for eight months. The only road access during the summer months is from Kargil. Zhanskar is geographically divided into two broad valleys of Suru and Doda rivers besides the narrow Zhanskar river valley. Padum is the head-quarters of Zhankskar as also a central point for trekking routes originating from Kishtwar, Lamayuru, Darcha or, Markha Valley. The easier way to visit the area is by jeep or coach with overnights in tents. Rangdum, Karsha, Zangla and Sani are some of the important monasteries / gompas.
Mid June / Mid July to
Ladakh and Zhanskar offer some of the most fascinating and challenging trekking routes. Trekking in these areas gives the opportunity of an intimate insight into the life of the people, their culture and the terrain so exotic, dramatic and awe-inspiring. Some of the trekking routes stretch for three or more weeks over glaciers and high passes of 5,500m. A less challenging trek like the Markha valley trek operates from ground level of 3,600m to 4,200m. It is a ten day leisurely trek starting from Spituk, through the Markha valley and terminating at Hemis. Markha Valley Trek an intimate introduction to hinterland of Laddakh, villages, mini valleys, desert pastures and remote Gompas.
Day walks and easier pleasurable treks are also available in and around Leh.
Visited 300 times, 1 Visit today