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In Search of the Snow Leopard

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In Search of the Snow Leopard - Exodus Travels
In Search of the Snow Leopard - Exodus Travels
Excellent
15 reviews
Starts
New Delhi
+5 Destinations
Kashmir
Ends
New Delhi
Map

Highlights

Start and end in New Delhi! With the hiking & trekking tour In Search of the Snow Leopard, you have a 14 day tour package taking you through New Delhi, India and 3 other destinations in India. In Search of the Snow Leopard includes accommodation in a hotel as well as an expert guide, meals, transport and more.
Age range
16 to 80 year olds
Accommodation
Hostel
Max Group Size
16

15 Reviews

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  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 1
    Written on July 15, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A memorable winter holiday, superbly organised and led.  We went for the winter walking, the Buddhist monasteries, Leh out of season and of course the snow leopards, but even had we seen none of the latter this holiday would have been a delight.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Matho Festival, when, after a day of golden sunshine and intense blue skies, joyous crowds and masked dancers, we watched one of the state oracles appear right in front of us and then leap to the rooftop wall and stand, silhouetted against the backdrop of snow and moon, mountain and crag.  And I loved walking on the frozen river! And I loved hearing wolves howling round the valley in the night!And oh, the starry starry skies! What did you think of your group leader?Valerie Parkinson is, without doubt, the best leader we have had on a group tour.  Her knowledge and skills were excellent, her care for the group was superb, and her care for individuals within the group was wonderful.   Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take the best cold-weather camping equipment you can afford to buy.  We took Rab Expedition down bags, and down sleeping mattresses with built in pumps.  Neither of us were cold at night though the tents were thin and the temperatures very very cold.  We also took microspikes for our boots and these made walking on the frozen river a real pleasure.In Leh we were all given the opportunity to have our own guide/porter (for an additional payment).  We decided to do this and it made the holiday even more special.  We could go where we liked, when we liked because of having our own guide, who kept in touch by radio with the main group guides so could get us to snow leopard sightings very quickly.  We usually plan our own holidays and enjoy being on our own, so this was wonderful for us, like a tailormade within a group holiday.  By the way the group members were all very very pleasant and friendly. Is there anything else you would like to add?We saw four out of the nine snow leopards in the area.  An amazing tally, considering the number of people whom we met who had seen none, and that, in some cases, on more than one visit.  However we would have loved the holiday even had we had no sightings!  And would we return - well yes we might, we would try to have extra time in Leh, and we would love to take our grandson with us.

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 2
    Written on July 15, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A memorable winter holiday, superbly organised and led.  We went for the winter walking, the Buddhist monasteries, Leh out of season and of course the snow leopards, but even had we seen none of the latter this holiday would have been a delight.What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?The Matho Festival, when, after a day of golden sunshine and intense blue skies, joyous crowds and masked dancers, we watched one of the state oracles appear right in front of us and then leap to the rooftop wall and stand, silhouetted against the backdrop of snow and moon, mountain and crag.  And I loved walking on the frozen river! And I loved hearing wolves howling round the valley in the night!And oh, the starry starry skies! What did you think of your group leader?Valerie Parkinson is, without doubt, the best leader we have had on a group tour.  Her knowledge and skills were excellent, her care for the group was superb, and her care for individuals within the group was wonderful.   Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take the best cold-weather camping equipment you can afford to buy.  We took Rab Expedition down bags, and down sleeping mattresses with built in pumps.  Neither of us were cold at night though the tents were thin and the temperatures very very cold.  We also took microspikes for our boots and these made walking on the frozen river a real pleasure.In Leh we were all given the opportunity to have our own guide/porter (for an additional payment).  We decided to do this and it made the holiday even more special.  We could go where we liked, when we liked because of having our own guide, who kept in touch by radio with the main group guides so could get us to snow leopard sightings very quickly.  We usually plan our own holidays and enjoy being on our own, so this was wonderful for us, like a tailormade within a group holiday.  By the way the group members were all very very pleasant and friendly. Is there anything else you would like to add?We saw four out of the nine snow leopards in the area.  An amazing tally, considering the number of people whom we met who had seen none, and that, in some cases, on more than one visit.  However we would have loved the holiday even had we had no sightings!  And would we return - well yes we might, we would try to have extra time in Leh, and we would love to take our grandson with us.

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 3
    Written on March 21, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A very rewarding trip to one of the more remote parts of the Himalaya, with great scenery, a great crew, and overall a great experience!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Hearing first-hand about the work of the Indian Wildlife Service, and how the local population are protecting the snow leopard in Hemis rather than persecuting it as in other parts of its range. Support for local communities, in the form of homestays with local families, as well as employing local guides and staff, is a central part of the ethos behind this trip. As a result of this support, and encouraged by the revenue available from sustainable tourism, poaching in the park has been reduced to zero. In a world of environmental bad news, this is surely an inspiring example of how people and wildlife can coexist for the benefit of both.What did you think of your group leader?Valerie is a fantastic leader, but it was also brilliant to see how the local guides were so enthusiastic about the wildlife of the park and it was great to see them warm to the different personalities in the group over the course of our stay. Once animals were spotted, the local guides were just as keen to get time at the spotting scopes and take photographs. And they are good at finding the animals. Quite how they can spot a leopard curled up on a ledge high on a rocky mountain side is amazing to the untrained eye. As a result we were treated to several hours of sightings of a number of animals which far exceeded everyone’s expectations.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Although the trekking days on this trip are neither long nor arduous, extremes of temperature and the effects of altitude can combine to make it more challenging, so I would say that this trip is towards the tougher end of grade B. A super-warm sleeping bag is vital, as is lots of high-factor sunscreen.Is there anything else you would like to add?Many of the group, on hearing of a snow leopard sighting, decided to pay for an extra excursion in the park rather than attend the Matho Festival. For me, the festival was a fantastic experience and a highlight of the trip. While acclimatising by ‘gompa stomping' around monasteries may not be to everyone’s taste, visiting a festival is a great opportunity to see first-hand the importance of religion to local life in this part of the Himalaya. Watching the monks entering a deep trance was enthralling, as were their daring runs along the edge of the roof...

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 4
    Written on March 21, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    A very rewarding trip to one of the more remote parts of the Himalaya, with great scenery, a great crew, and overall a great experience!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Hearing first-hand about the work of the Indian Wildlife Service, and how the local population are protecting the snow leopard in Hemis rather than persecuting it as in other parts of its range. Support for local communities, in the form of homestays with local families, as well as employing local guides and staff, is a central part of the ethos behind this trip. As a result of this support, and encouraged by the revenue available from sustainable tourism, poaching in the park has been reduced to zero. In a world of environmental bad news, this is surely an inspiring example of how people and wildlife can coexist for the benefit of both.What did you think of your group leader?Valerie is a fantastic leader, but it was also brilliant to see how the local guides were so enthusiastic about the wildlife of the park and it was great to see them warm to the different personalities in the group over the course of our stay. Once animals were spotted, the local guides were just as keen to get time at the spotting scopes and take photographs. And they are good at finding the animals. Quite how they can spot a leopard curled up on a ledge high on a rocky mountain side is amazing to the untrained eye. As a result we were treated to several hours of sightings of a number of animals which far exceeded everyone’s expectations.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Although the trekking days on this trip are neither long nor arduous, extremes of temperature and the effects of altitude can combine to make it more challenging, so I would say that this trip is towards the tougher end of grade B. A super-warm sleeping bag is vital, as is lots of high-factor sunscreen.Is there anything else you would like to add?Many of the group, on hearing of a snow leopard sighting, decided to pay for an extra excursion in the park rather than attend the Matho Festival. For me, the festival was a fantastic experience and a highlight of the trip. While acclimatising by ‘gompa stomping' around monasteries may not be to everyone’s taste, visiting a festival is a great opportunity to see first-hand the importance of religion to local life in this part of the Himalaya. Watching the monks entering a deep trance was enthralling, as were their daring runs along the edge of the roof...

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 5
    Written on March 20, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    I'd wanted to go in search of snow leopards and experience a major Tibetan Buddhist festival since reading Peter Mathiesen's The Snow Leopard while in Lhasa in 1984. This trip exceeded my expectations in every way!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?For me there were two amazing moments. The first was at the Buddhist festival at Matho, when after hours of watching masked dancers and musicians, surrounded by expectant crowds of Ladakhis, the oracles appeared and raised the event to a very different level. The second unforgettable moment was when we were sitting on a ridge in the Husing valley and got a message to say that a snow leopard was visible from down in the valley. We sprinted down the mountainside and got to the spot where we saw a snow leopard going up the hillside and over a ridge - but not before he turned round and looked straight at us. This was both something I'd never expected to experience, but had also in some way been waiting for for 30 years. We saw snow leopards on two other occasions: once when stalking (unsuccessfully) a blue sheep; and the other when after watching it sleep, stretch, sleep for hours, it finally roused itself and walked slowly across the mountainside across the valley from us. I managed to switich my camera to video, and the 3 minute film I took is on YouTube.What did you think of your group leader?Valerie Parkinson is the best leader I've ever had - or could hope to have. Her knowledge and understanding of Ladakh, Tibetan Buddhism, wildlife and 'people' is immense, and she shares it with generosity and enthusiasm. She had lots of difficulties to cope with, and did so with complete professionalism, but also with calmness and reassurance.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared to take life very easy when you first arrive in Leh. It's quite an altitude jump from Delhi, and most people need a couple of days to acclimatise. It's cold in winter, so take as good quality warm gear as you can afford. And a set of light-weight crampons (Kahtoola microspikes) was really useful on the frozen rivers. In our group there were people with super cameras and others with compacts. The super cameras produced some amazing photos, and even those with compacts managed to get some shots. But I took a Panasonic Lumix 'bridge' camera (FZ150) which was light, robust and easy to use, and gave me some brilliant photos and video footage. Oh, and snow boots were really good for keeping my feet warm - as we spent a lot of time sitting and standing and waiting.Is there anything else you would like to add?If you think this trek might be about suffering, forget it!  Even camping up in the mountains you get bed tea and hot water to wash in; huge breakfasts and dinners; lunch served at 14,000 ft; and even a snow leopard cake. So you won't lose any weight!We were extremely lucky to see the snow leopards - but we also saw blue sheep, urials, wooly hares, a red fox, picas, and lammergeyers, golden eagles, griffon vultures, chukars, snow finches and robin accentors. So I'd like to think that I wouldn't have been disappointed even if we hadn't seen any snow leopards. And, in fact, there's a perverse bit of me which wishes we'd just left them as mythical, unseeable creatures of the snow peaks!

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 6
    Written on March 20, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    I'd wanted to go in search of snow leopards and experience a major Tibetan Buddhist festival since reading Peter Mathiesen's The Snow Leopard while in Lhasa in 1984. This trip exceeded my expectations in every way!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?For me there were two amazing moments. The first was at the Buddhist festival at Matho, when after hours of watching masked dancers and musicians, surrounded by expectant crowds of Ladakhis, the oracles appeared and raised the event to a very different level. The second unforgettable moment was when we were sitting on a ridge in the Husing valley and got a message to say that a snow leopard was visible from down in the valley. We sprinted down the mountainside and got to the spot where we saw a snow leopard going up the hillside and over a ridge - but not before he turned round and looked straight at us. This was both something I'd never expected to experience, but had also in some way been waiting for for 30 years. We saw snow leopards on two other occasions: once when stalking (unsuccessfully) a blue sheep; and the other when after watching it sleep, stretch, sleep for hours, it finally roused itself and walked slowly across the mountainside across the valley from us. I managed to switich my camera to video, and the 3 minute film I took is on YouTube.What did you think of your group leader?Valerie Parkinson is the best leader I've ever had - or could hope to have. Her knowledge and understanding of Ladakh, Tibetan Buddhism, wildlife and 'people' is immense, and she shares it with generosity and enthusiasm. She had lots of difficulties to cope with, and did so with complete professionalism, but also with calmness and reassurance.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Be prepared to take life very easy when you first arrive in Leh. It's quite an altitude jump from Delhi, and most people need a couple of days to acclimatise. It's cold in winter, so take as good quality warm gear as you can afford. And a set of light-weight crampons (Kahtoola microspikes) was really useful on the frozen rivers. In our group there were people with super cameras and others with compacts. The super cameras produced some amazing photos, and even those with compacts managed to get some shots. But I took a Panasonic Lumix 'bridge' camera (FZ150) which was light, robust and easy to use, and gave me some brilliant photos and video footage. Oh, and snow boots were really good for keeping my feet warm - as we spent a lot of time sitting and standing and waiting.Is there anything else you would like to add?If you think this trek might be about suffering, forget it!  Even camping up in the mountains you get bed tea and hot water to wash in; huge breakfasts and dinners; lunch served at 14,000 ft; and even a snow leopard cake. So you won't lose any weight!We were extremely lucky to see the snow leopards - but we also saw blue sheep, urials, wooly hares, a red fox, picas, and lammergeyers, golden eagles, griffon vultures, chukars, snow finches and robin accentors. So I'd like to think that I wouldn't have been disappointed even if we hadn't seen any snow leopards. And, in fact, there's a perverse bit of me which wishes we'd just left them as mythical, unseeable creatures of the snow peaks!

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 7
    Written on March 19, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    the trip is amazing, hard going but so rewarding.Valerie parkinson 's abillity and personallity are fabulous and she makes the trip easier in some respects,her organisation and easy going nature are a credit to her, and i would say, probably the best guide ive ever had! What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?my most inspirational moment was easy.....the first time i squeezed the shutter on my first snow leopard...hoping it wasnt going to be my last.....but it just got better!!!1then our final sighting was to become an epic....4.5-5hrs sat watching a majestic male as he walked,stopped,stretched,yawned...walked...all the time....shutter was firing, recording his every move.ive been privilaged to see big cats thru africa and asia, but seeing this wonderful majestic cat is a sight to behold!! What did you think of your group leader?Valerie parkinson was as prviously stated , probably the best guide ive ever had, Do you have any advice for potential travellers?the only advice that could be passed on, is .....enjoy !!!!!its very hard work scrambling with adrenalin pushing you to get to sightings, then its just amazing!!!on a technical front, i would certainly advise any one else doing this trip to take crampons, as the walks incorporate crossing many frozen streams/rivers . walking poles and gaiters are also necessity.just be prepared for very cold temperatures at night, so the best mat/ sleeping bag would certainly help!!!the advise given from Valerie is priceless. 

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 8
    Written on March 19, 2013
    5.0 - Excellent

    the trip is amazing, hard going but so rewarding.Valerie parkinson 's abillity and personallity are fabulous and she makes the trip easier in some respects,her organisation and easy going nature are a credit to her, and i would say, probably the best guide ive ever had! What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?my most inspirational moment was easy.....the first time i squeezed the shutter on my first snow leopard...hoping it wasnt going to be my last.....but it just got better!!!1then our final sighting was to become an epic....4.5-5hrs sat watching a majestic male as he walked,stopped,stretched,yawned...walked...all the time....shutter was firing, recording his every move.ive been privilaged to see big cats thru africa and asia, but seeing this wonderful majestic cat is a sight to behold!! What did you think of your group leader?Valerie parkinson was as prviously stated , probably the best guide ive ever had, Do you have any advice for potential travellers?the only advice that could be passed on, is .....enjoy !!!!!its very hard work scrambling with adrenalin pushing you to get to sightings, then its just amazing!!!on a technical front, i would certainly advise any one else doing this trip to take crampons, as the walks incorporate crossing many frozen streams/rivers . walking poles and gaiters are also necessity.just be prepared for very cold temperatures at night, so the best mat/ sleeping bag would certainly help!!!the advise given from Valerie is priceless. 

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 9
    Written on March 3, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    This was a trip into a remote area in the winter to search for what we all thought was unattainable. We expected cold,  camping at altitude and rough walking. We got all of that but we did not expect hot water bottles every night!!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Surrounded by steep sided snow covered mountains it seemed impossible that anything could live in this terrain , until we saw tracks and scrape marks of a snow leopard.  Expectantly scanning the mountainside and intently watching for any unusual movement of blue sheep (snow leopard fodder!), added to the excitement. We all hoped, but no one really expected to see a snow leopard, after all, we all knew that film crews had staked out areas for months before getting footage of them. Then after hot footing it up a steep snowy mountain track, there it was high on the mountainside but visible through binoculars. When it decided to move, the full length of its powerful sleek body and equally long tail was fully shown. We were so priveledged!It was not all about snow leopards though as this area is stunningly beautiful with other plenty of other wildlife and prolific birdlife. However when the second snow leopard was sighted 2 days later, late in the afternoon, with it snowing gently, it just could not get any better!None of this would have been acheived without the experience and knowledge of our superb wildlife guide - Khenrab -he was inspirational! 

  • In Search of the Snow Leopard reviewer 10
    Written on March 3, 2012
    5.0 - Excellent

    This was a trip into a remote area in the winter to search for what we all thought was unattainable. We expected cold,  camping at altitude and rough walking. We got all of that but we did not expect hot water bottles every night!!What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?Surrounded by steep sided snow covered mountains it seemed impossible that anything could live in this terrain , until we saw tracks and scrape marks of a snow leopard.  Expectantly scanning the mountainside and intently watching for any unusual movement of blue sheep (snow leopard fodder!), added to the excitement. We all hoped, but no one really expected to see a snow leopard, after all, we all knew that film crews had staked out areas for months before getting footage of them. Then after hot footing it up a steep snowy mountain track, there it was high on the mountainside but visible through binoculars. When it decided to move, the full length of its powerful sleek body and equally long tail was fully shown. We were so priveledged!It was not all about snow leopards though as this area is stunningly beautiful with other plenty of other wildlife and prolific birdlife. However when the second snow leopard was sighted 2 days later, late in the afternoon, with it snowing gently, it just could not get any better!None of this would have been acheived without the experience and knowledge of our superb wildlife guide - Khenrab -he was inspirational!  What did you think of your group leader?Valerie Parkinson was the best!. She had such knowledge of this area and it was obvious she loved being there. The local team and the organisation was brilliant which is why all went so smoothly.Do you have any advice for potential travellers?Take the very warmest sleeping bag, lots of layers and a good pair of binoculars.. The altitude is something to consider as its immediate when you fly into Leh, though this trip gave good opportunity to aclimatise by spending a few days around Leh before moving higher. This is not a holiday with mod cons so don't expect them. Just enjoy the shower when back in Delhi.Is there anything else you would like to add?will remember this as one of the most priveledged experiences I have had.

Itinerary

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  1. Introduction
  2. Expand all
  1. Day 1: Start Delhi.
  2. Day 2: Fly across the Himalaya to Leh (3500m).
  3. Day 3: Full day at a monastic festival.
  4. Day 4: Visit Shey, Thikse and Stakna Monasteries.
  5. Day 5: Drive to Jinchen; trek to Husing (3700m).
  6. Day 6: Return to Leh.
  7. Day 7: Fly to Delhi.
  8. Day 8: Free day in Delhi for individual sightseeing.
  9. Day 9: End Delhi.

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Snow Leopard - Ladakh

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    Destinations

    Covering a total distance of approx 1,523 km.
    • New Delhi (India)
    • 617 km
    • Leh (India)
    • 13 km
    • Shey (India)
    • 13 km
    • Leh (India)
    • 132 km
    • Hemis Shukpachan (India)
    • 132 km
    • Leh (India)
    • 617 km
    • New Delhi (India)

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