As a vital stop for Silk Road merchants and traders, Ladakh, India is home to generations of artisans creating exquisite garments, furnishings, and liturgical items from an array of fibers. We invite you to join textile designer, Laura Kozaitis, and cultural anthropologist, Monisha Ahmed, on a journey into Ladakh that transcends the typical tropes. We will follow our friends through ancient temples, royal halls, nomadic camps, and the bustling bazaar, and meet the shepherds, weavers, painters, dyers, and designers that continue the region's rich, cosmopolitan cultural heritage. Connect the common threads and unique characteristics of Ladakh's story with your own.
Learn more about this journey on May 18 by registering for our virtual travel event, from 11:30 am EST / 8:30am PST. Register here to attend.
TRIP HIGHLIGHTS are below, click on ITINERARY to see all the details.
About Laura Kozaitis, Our Trip Leader
Laura Kozaitis is the CEO of Silk Road Spaceship, the slow-fashion, a fair-trade-commerce website featuring hand-dyed silk accessories and gorgeous product collaborations with Himalayan designers. Her passion for Himalayan art and heritage began in 1989 when she first traveled to the region to study with a master Ladakhi thangka painter. Four years later, she co-founded the Siddhartha School Project with her Smith College professor, Khensur Rinpoche Lobzang Tsetan, a Ladakhi Buddhist monk.
In addition, Laura wrote Harvard’s Peabody Museum Guide to their collection of Himalayan objects while completing a master’s degree from Harvard Divinity School in world religions with a focus on Tibetan art and religious history.
About Monisha Ahmed, Textile & Cultural Heritage Expert
Monisha Ahmed co-founded the Ladakh Arts and Media Organization (LAMO). She is an independent researcher who has been visiting and writing about material culture, mainly the textile arts, in Ladakh since 1987. Monisha received her doctoral degree in Social Anthropology from Oxford University in 1997. Her dissertation developed into the book Living fabric - weaving among the nomads of Ladakh Himalaya (Orchid Press, 2002), which received the Textile Society of America’s R L Shep award in 2003 for best book in the field of ethnic textile studies. Since then, she has authored several articles on the textile arts of Ladakh and served as Associate Editor for Marg Publications, a subsidiary of Marg Foundations in Mumbai.
About the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation (LAMO)
The cost of this trip includes a donation to support the art and cultural programming of the Ladakh Arts and Media Organisation (LAMO), a public charitable trust established to articulate an alternative vision for the arts and media in Ladakh.
The organization set up the LAMO Centre in Leh, the main town of the region, to provide a space for the understanding and development of the arts. The complex on which the Centre is located comprises two historical houses below the 17th-century Lechen Pelkhar (Leh Palace). The houses were restored by LAMO and converted to an art space with galleries, offices, a library and reading room, a screening room, conference room, and an open-air performance site. The Centre is designed to conduct outreach programs, lectures, film screenings, research and documentation projects, workshops, and exhibitions that showcase Ladakh’s material and visual culture, performing arts, and literature. Visit LAMO's website and Instagram page to learn more.
About Tashi Morup, Your Ladakhi Guide & Historian
Tashi Morup, Project Director of Ladakh Arts & Media Organization (LAMO), is a published author, journalist, editor, and heritage guide in Leh. After graduating from Punjab University, Chandigarh, with a post-graduate degree in Mass Communication, Tashi joined The Pioneer National Newspaper in New Delhi as a staff reporter. Later he became the managing editor of Ladags Melong (Mirror of Ladakh) news magazine before starting a weekly newspaper called the Magpie, running it from 2005 to 2007. Now he works as a journalist writing for various national and state newspapers and journals.
As a heritage-walk guide, Tashi has been taking tourist groups and students to different historical sites within Leh, on which he has also written books. Passionate about the environment, culture, music, and folklore, Tashi has been writing research papers and making films on these topics, presenting both at national and international forums.
LENA is a company co-founded by two Ladakhi women, Sonam Angmo and Stanzin Minglek who produce the finest pashmina products using sustainable methods and helps the local economy by employing local artisans, especially women. LENA has helped revive traditional methods of spinning, weaving, and using all-natural products to dye their fibers.
About Ladakh, India
Once at the crossroads of vital trade routes between China and the Middle East, Ladakh is located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir and became a new Union territory state of India in 2019. Also called the "Land of High Passes," Ladakh's region of high mountains, valleys, and plateaus is famous for its unrivaled splendor and infinite exploration points, offering plenty of cultural sightseeing and outdoor adventure opportunities.
Ladakh region is ecologically and culturally unique and has a topography that is very different from the rest of India and is home to enormous mineral reserves. The extremely fragile cold desert ecosystem of the region has meant that its inhabitants have a very adaptive lifestyle. The population of around 300,000 is spread sparsely over an area of about 60 thousand square kilometers. Its unique geographical location in one of the northernmost regions in India makes Ladakh rich with extraordinary trekking trails for all expertise levels (if you would like to extend your stay with a trek or visit other areas, we can arrange that for you).
About Changpa and the Changtang plateau
The Changthangi or Changra is a breed of pashmina goat native to the Changthang plateau, the highest plateau in the world, and found in northern India, in the Ladakh region. It is closely associated with the nomadic Changpa people of the Changthang plateau. With large twisted horns, this goat breed is raised for food, and the valuable pashmina wool, which is also referred to as cashmere.
About Gya Village
Learn, Serve, Immerse: Global Family Travel 3 Pillars
At Global Family Travels we believe that the most powerful way to learn is through the first-hand experience. We let the country and its people be your teachers and supplement your experiences with reading lists, informal discussions, and a pre-trip orientation which includes information on the culture and history of your host country, helpful words, and phrases, and cultural “do’s and don’ts”.
Learning themes unique to this tour include:
- Ladakhi cultural traditions
- Environmental and social issues affecting the Ladakh region
- Tibetan Buddhist culture and history
- Northern Indian culture and history
About the Alchi Kitchen
Alchi Kitchen offers authentic Ladakhi cuisine served by award-winning chef Nilza Wangmo. Learn how she is promoting women’s empowerment and introducing Ladakhi cuisine to visitors.
Global Family Travels
Much more than a traditional tour operator, Global Family Travels’ mission is to “Learn, Serve and Immerse” through community-based travel programs. In partnership with non-profit organizations and schools, we offer family-friendly and sustainable travel experiences in support of education, gender equality, access to clean water, preservation of local cultures, conservation, and economic growth, all of which foster cross-cultural understanding and global citizens.
Our trips include a unique mix of cultural and educational activities, homestays, and participation in local service projects aimed at improving the lives of people in the communities we visit.
Expect to expand your family circle when you embark on a Global Family Travels trip! Visit our website for more information: Global Family Travels
The Hemis Monastery is one the largest monasteries in Ladakh. Positioned inside a gorge, the monastery was built in the 17th century under the patronage of King Singey Namgyal, and it holds the distinction of being the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh. Belonging to the Drukpa Order (sometimes called either Drugpa or "Red Hat sect”), it stands on the western bank of the Indus River. The monastery also boasts a very rich collection of ancient relics.
About Agra, Fort Agra and the Taj Mahal
Agra was once the capital of the Mughal Empire and is now home to three UNESCO World Heritage Sites and other fascinating examples of Islamic architecture commissioned by Emperors Akbar, Jahangir, and Shah Jahan, including the Taj Mahal and the Red Fort. It is an old city, and it is said that its name was derived from Agrabana, a "forest that finds mention" in the epic. In more recent times, Agra came into prominence when Sikandar Lodi made it his capital city in 1501. The Lodi rule was to end very soon, and Agra passed into the possession of the Mughals. It was during the third emperor, the Great Mughal King Akbar, that Agra came into its own.
Emperor Shah Jahan, who commissioned the building of the Taj Mahal, was imprisoned by his son, Aurangzeb, at the Agra Fort in a room where he had a clear view of the building he had made in memory of his wife. Shah Jahan is said to have died in this room in the Agra Fort.
The Agra Fort is found in the Old City of Agra, dates to the 11th century, and was captured by several rulers before it was rebuilt by the Great Mughal King Akbar in the 16th century.
Nubra Valley Option
Optional Nubra Valley Visit
DAY 13: September 29 - Nubra Valley
After an early breakfast, we will take a spectacular drive over Khardongla, the world’s highest motorable pass, and enter into the northern frontier of beautiful Nubra Valley with high mountains, great monasteries, and white sand dunes and ride on double-humped camels.
We will enjoy a packed lunch en route. Upon arrival, you have the option to ride on a double hump-back camel.
Return to Organic Valley Retreat Camp to relax and have dinner.
DAY 14: September 30 - Nubra Valley
Today, we will enjoy and explore the beauty of Nubra Valley and visit the Disket Monastery.
Diskit Monastery, also known as Deskit Gompa or Diskit Gompa, is the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh, Northern India. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, the founder of Gelugpa, in the 14th century.
Day 12: Visit Red Fort in Agra and return to Dehli for flights home
- Sunrise visit to the Taj Mahal
- After breakfast, we explore Agra on a heritage walk through the Old City.
- return to New Delhi and check into the hotel for rest before long trip home.
- Airport drop-offs for evening flight home
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