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 NOMADIC CULTURE, TEXTILES, LANDSCAPES

SOLD OUT
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Kashmir and Ladakh - India

April 23 - May 1, 2024

May 1-May 9, 2024

 Tour info session recording

Two show-stopping regions, from nomadic culture to the lure of pashmina

Kashmir

“Heaven on Earth” is no exaggeration. For millennia, Kashmir’s stunning vistas have captivated all manner of visitors and invaders. At the crossroads of ancient Central Asian trade routes, Kashmiri craftspeople have honed exquisite weaving and embroidery techniques on the finest of fibres: pashmina. 

Ladakh

Cut off from the world for most of the year, Ladakh is a place where modernity has yet to intrude. Tucked into the rocky landscape are huge Buddhist monasteries, flying prayer flags to the chanting of monks. On the plateaux, nomads tend to their Changthangi goats and harvest wool. A life so simple, yet it feeds the desire for the one of the world’s most luxe and softest fibres. 
 

We invite you to explore a new way of life and question yours.

 ** A leisurely 17 days deep-dive **

Small group as always. . . SOLD OUT  write us to be placed on waitlist!  

From past tours 

I am so glad I got to see India with you. We were both completely blown away by the artisans and textiles. What a trip!!  Monique I, Ontario

Shila uses local contacts to arrange ‘insider’ experiences that the average tourist would either not know about or would not be able to find. A huge advantage that Shila understood Indian culture and language, and could explain interactions and encounters with empathy and understanding. She was a wonderful cultural bridge for those of  us who were from different backgrounds.  Val MacDonald, Toronto

 

Shila, my Friend, which you must be from here to forever, I think today was possibly one of the best days of my life (and feel free to use that on your promotional materials). What magic you have wrought for us in India!  Chey Davis, Michigan 

Do you know your pashmina from cashmere? How to tell if it's real pashmina? Read on.

COST 

Kashmir only: USD 3150 pp double occ./ $1020 single supplement

Ladakh only: USD 3450 pp double occ./ $980 single supplement

Kashmir and Ladakh: USD 6200 pp double occ./$1855 single supplement *** SAVE $400 and $175 

Trekking Option in Ladakh - see Costs below

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Pasture to Loom

Trace the trail of pashmina from Ladakh's Changha pastures where semi-nomads roam,  to the looms of Kashmir which clothed emperors and aristocracy of the world. One, a life so simple, yet it feeds the other's desire for the softest of fibres.

Image by Divya Agrawal
Newly reopened Kashmir

Explore the winding alleyways of 6th CE UNESCO “Creative City” of Srinagar, marvel at walnut wooden architecture, and shop teeming bazaars. Venture further out to the beauty of Gulmarg and Pahalgam with visits to saffron fields, orchards, and willow cricket bat workshops. 

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Craft Skills 

In Kashmir, studio visits with award-winning artisans and demos in hand spinning, designing, washing, dyeing, kani weaving, and sozni embroidery on pashmina. Learn about the painstaking process behind the creation of a single pashmina shawl.

In Ladakh, demos in carding, spindle spinning, and lap-loom weaving. 

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Hands-on workshops

Hands-on workshops in Kashmiri papier mache, miniature painting, and crewel embroidery.

In Ladakh, take in a hands-on workshop in natural dyeing of cashmere from a local women-run cooperative. 

Deepen your understanding at every stage of the process. 

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Museum tours and heritage walks 

Spend time with expert locals at Bait ul Miraas, a repository of Kashmiri culture and heritage in Srinagar. In Leh, heritage walks of the ancient city of Leh, once a stop for Silk Road caravans. Private collection visit and audience with premiere Ladakhi designers and visionaries. 

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Buddhist monasteries 

Explore ancient monasteries tucked away into rocky hillsides festooned with prayer flags. Partake in ritual pujas alongside chanting monks and enjoy sipping butter tea amidst the splendour of the Himalayas. Ladakh's Buddhism, allied to Tibetan Mahayana, is filled with imagery, colour, pageantry, and symbolism!

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Up close and personal

Two day ethnographic foray into the Changthang plateau in Ladakh to interact with Kharnak nomads. Learn about their harsh lifestyle and indomitable will that allows them to brave exceptionally harsh conditions to deliver one of the finest fibres to human touch. 

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Culinary Beats 

From royal chefs of Kashmir comes the renowned Wazwan cuisine using the bounty of the valley. Taste food cooked to slow perfection on wood fires in clay pots. Explore the innovative cuisine being forged by young Ladakhi chefs headlining trending culinary news feeds. Warm your hands around offerings of smoky Kashmiri kehwa chai and delicious butter tea. Food has never tasted this good. 

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Houseboat stay

No stay in Kashmir is complete without a night or two gently rocking to sleep on an impossibly romantic shikhara. Awaken to a steaming cup of kehwa while contemplating misty lakes reflecting the world's highest mountains reaching for the sky. On this tour we stay in a premium deluxe houseboat on beautiful and relatively uncrowded Nigeen Lake. 

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Support for co-operatives and textile NGOs

The way of life for artisans in Kashmir and Ladakh is under greater threat with each passing year. We will visit and support several women's cooperatives as well as interact with Chinar Kashmir to help rebuild communities affected by years of unrest.  

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Hosted by Shila, owner and founder, e.y.h.o. tours 

I have waited a long time to share Kashmir with you. I last visited before the region closed to outsiders, and was so struck by Kashmir's natural beauty that I vowed to return. Through long pandemic lockdowns, I began to unravel the thread of pashmina's history, and social and cultural impact, and ended up metaphysically in Ladakh. I realised Kashmir's story without Ladakh is incomplete and Ladakh without Kashmir is only half the story. This exploration of two inextricably linked yet uniquely different regions will go far beyond predictably spectacular vistas . It will delve into one lifestyle completely predicated by natural phenomena, and another by human construct.  Join me for an unparalleled opportunity to learn, and question our world. 

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