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India: Ladakh, Heartland of the India Himalaya: June 10-23, 2018



“If there is heaven on earth, it is here, it is here, it is here!”.  These were the words of the besotted Mughal emperor Jehangir 400 years ago and they sound true even today.   A fertile, verdant region enclosed by snow-capped mountains, Kashmir valley’s beauty has been praised for centuries: the capital Srinagar with its labyrinth of alleyways, mosques and intricately-carved wooden houses; the stunning maze of waterways that comprise Dal Lake and its famous houseboats.

Ladakh has often been called Little Tibet because of its historical connection with Lhasa and its predominantly Tibetan Buddhist culture.  Its awe-inspiring landscape has been modified and sculpted into its spectacular shape by wind and water over the millennia. The moon-like scenery is extraordinary: stark and barren but interspersed with isolated settlements of green oasis full of swaying poplar trees, apricot orchards and cultivated farmland. 

Despite the rugged terrain and high altitude, the people of Ladakh exhibit a natural exilaration and their customs and lifestyle are a continuum from the past; these friendly and gentle people.  We hope you will join us on this photo tour that shall prove to be fascinating and memorable! 

Day 1:
(Jun 10)

Arrive in Delhi, hotel check in and an orientation meeting will be that evening.

Day 2:

Fly Delhi to Leh:  We take an early morning flight to Leh from Delhi and are received at the airport by the local support ataff. Transfer from Leh Airport to the hotel.  We use the day for acclimatization at the hotel. We head out to the nearby Shanti Stupa early afternoon to get a better feel of the altitude and also do a bit of candid and landscape photography from this this vantage point. On the way back, we walk downhill and through the nearby Samkar Village before hopping into our vehicles and heading back to the hotel. Overnight in Leh.

Day 3:

After a good night's rest, we head out early in the morning – about 5am – to the Thiksey monastery where we witness a timeless ceremony that sees high monks blowing conches and baritone bugles to herald a new day for the villages in the vicinity. After shooting this little ceremony, we stay back at the monastery and shoot the monks in the prayer hall and while they go about their routines. After our shoot, we head off to the banks of the Indus River to enjoy the views and have the packed breakfast Hot Tea n coffee. Post breakfast, we head to superlatively located Stakna monastery for a portrait session with the monks. Depending on when we finish the shooting, we either head back to the hotel for some rest, or head off to visit a local family, where we have lunch  and have a leisurely session of shooting them in shoot the traditional dresses and the Kitchen in particular and all the lifestyle in general.  A short walk in the village will give opportunity for shooting the villagers activities. Overnight in Leh. 

Day 4:

Today will be an easy day; we drive to Tingmosgang and enroute visit Alchi and Liker monasteries.  While photography is not allowed at Alchi, the sculptures are worth appreciating. Reach the hotel, have lunch and after some rest, head off to Tongtum, a small hamlet at Tia village for shooting village life and slice of life photography. We will have dinner at the hotel. Overnight in Tingmosgang.

Day 5:

Drive to Leh dho village and Skurbuchen village for visiting old houses and families – a trove of traditional costume and agricultural tools.  Drive back to Lamayouru for evening shooting of the lunar landscape and the monastery and the hermitages of the Yogi of the lamayoru monastery. Head back Uletopko for the night. 

Day 6:

Ule to Leh:  A short drive made long because we visit the exquisite ruins of Bazgo, and stop at Pheying and Spituk Monasteries. We reach Leh at lunch time. Afternoon free to catch up on e-mails and to get some rest. Overnight in Leh.

Day 7:

Leh to Tangtse:  Consider this stage 2 of the tour, where we drive over the third highest motorable road in the world to enter the world of Tibetan nomads. As the landscape opens up into the Changthang, we will stop at villages and nomadic camps along the way. After lunch, we drive to Sachukul monastery to witness a ceremony performed to bring good luck and better weather. The friendly monks will also allow us to shoot through the ceremony. The head of the monastery, an old yogi has his experience to share and we will have enough time for shooting.  Then we'll head back to Tangtse. Overnight in Tangtse.

Day 8:

We leave from Tangtse to Kargyam early in the morning and again mid afternoon to spend time with the nomads as they begin and end their day. After the day's shoot, we head off to Pangong Tso, a 144 km brackish lake at 4,500 metres, and on the Indo-China Border. Drive to Pangong in the evening and Topko for the night. Overnight in Tangtse. 

Day 9:

Tangtse  to Pangong:  The morning is reserved for landscape shooting. We will also go to a couple of villages on the far end of the lake and find candid scenes to shoot. In the afternoon, we will shoot the traditional horse races that nomads often indulge in. We will be part of the action, yes, but also part of the rituals that go with such events. Overnight in Pangong.

Day 10:

Pangong  to Nubra: This would be stage 3 of the tour, heading to the north of Ladakh to enter the Nubra Valley. The lowest section of this region, this is a lush valley through which the Shyok and Siachen rivers flow. We can either take the low route or the high route, depending on weather conditions but should enter the valley (Hundar) in about 7 hours. . After checking into the fixed tented accommodation,and getting our some rest, we head out to the famous sand dunes of Hundar for some landscape shooting. Weather permitting, we could also do a bit of astro photography later in the night. Overnight in Nubra.

Day 11:

Hundar: Early the next morning we take a short drive to Diskit the subdivisional headquarters to visit the Diskit monastery for candid and set-up shoots. In the late afternoon, we return to the dunes to shoot the Bactrian camels and the handlers. Overnight in Nubra. 

Day 12:

Nubra to Leh via Khardong Pass highest motor able road several stops for photos. Overnight in Leh.

Day 13:

Today is a free day to explore the market and/or a selection of many other photo opportunites that may entire you. Overnight in Leh. 

Day 14:

Guests are transported to Delhi airport to catch their flights home.


Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl

Karl Grobl, (co-founder and trip leader), is a humanitarian photojournalist specializing in the photographic documentation of relief efforts and development work of NGOs worldwide. Calling upon his superb photography talents, both technically and creatively, he proficiently leads photo workshops and international photo tours (on this website). Beyond his photography attributes, tour clients frequently commend his helpfulness, professionalism and savvy about navigating global travel.

In 2013, Karl relocated from San Diego, California to Siem Reap, Cambodia, where he now lives full time. Karl considers Cambodia the perfect place for his Asia-based NGO work and photography tours and workshops. When ‘deplaning’ from his rigorous international travel schedule, Karl lecturers on photography and photojournalism, works on personal photography projects, and scouts out new off-beat photo tour destinations in Asia. In his free time, Karl says that he enjoys "hanging out at the nearby temples of Angkor, the rural villages and rice paddies, and occasionally getting completely soaked by the refreshing monsoon rains".

Many of Karl’s images have appeared in publications such as Newsweek, CNN, Geo, Town and Country magazine and The Chronicle of Philanthropy, though the majority of his photos appear in the annual reports, newsletters and communications materials of his humanitarian organization clients.  

Over the last ten years, Karl has worked in over 50 countries and has covered and photographed post conflict peace building efforts in Sri Lanka, Afghanistan and East Timor, HIV/Aids issues in Africa and Asia as well as human trafficking in Cambodia and the Philippines. Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, Karl spent more than a month embedded with five different non-governmental organizations (NGO) documenting tsunami relief efforts in India, Sri Lanka and Indonesia.  The international press has taken notice of Karl’s provoking images:  The 2005 Haiti photo-story “City of God” was nominated for a World Press Photo Award. Karl is a member of the Advisory Council of Focus For Humanity, a non-profit organization, whose mission is to provide financial support, resources and training for professional and amateur photographers wishing to work with NGOs.

    “From an early age, my parents instilled in me a desire to explore and learn firsthand about the world around me. Our family vacations and weekend excursions were general education courses disguised as fun. Knowingly or unknowingly they set me on course for a journey that today, is still just beginning. For me, the ongoing quest to document the world’s people and global events that shape our common humanity, have been instrumental in breaking down stereotypes, preconceptions and prejudices. 

I believe that the more of the world we see and experience, the more we understand. It seems people everywhere, share similar goals, aspirations, hopes and desires. It is with a strong sense of obligation that I share through photographs, the people, places and events that have profoundly shaped my vision of our world. By sharing these experiences with you, I hope to make a small, positive contribution to a heightened sense of world community.” -K. Grobl

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Cost Includes: All 13 nights accomodation, airport transfers, all ground transportation including rides in 03 Innova cars (three people per car), all meals, all tips to guides, drivers and luggage handlers; snacks en-route, mineral water, all required permits, all entrance fees and fee for privilege access, accompanied escort (along with Karl) to oversee arrangements and access, all presently applicable taxes.

Cost does not include: International flights, passport & visas fees, travel insurance, vaccinations and medical cover/treatment, meals not specified, and personal expenses such as alcoholic beverages/snacks, internet access fees, laundry fees, etc.

Deposit and Final Payment

A deposit of $800 per person is required at time of booking. Full payment is due 90 days prior to departure.


  • On cancellations more than 120 days prior to departure, all monies are refunded less a $275 administrative fee.
  • Less than 120 but at least 90 days prior, total deposit amount is forfeited.
  • Less than 90 but at least 75 days prior, 50% of trip price is forfeited.
  • Less than 75 days prior to departure, 100% is forfeited.

Notification by phone or email is acceptable, but please follow with written notice. In the unlikely event we have to cancel a tour, a full refund will be given.


Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC and their agents act only in the capacity as agents in all matters pertaining to hotel accommodations, sightseeing tours, and transportation, and are not responsible for any loss, damage, theft, or injury to person or property resulting from a defect in any vehicle, or the actions of any persons who provide services for this tour or for the action or inaction of any third party. Baggage is at the owner’s risk entirely. The tour operator reserves the right to withdraw the tour at any time, to decline any person as a member of the tour for any cause at any time. All prices are based on current rates of exchange and, while every effort will be made to hold them firm, they are subject to change. All participants are required to submit a signed Assumption of Risk and Release of Liability form prior to the tour’s departure.


It is the responsibility of each tour member to inform the tour operator of any possible health problems or handicaps upon registration. By forwarding a signed reservation form and trip deposit, you certify that you do not knowingly have any physical or other conditions of disability that would create a risk for you or other trip participants. Once a trip has been confirmed, medical circumstances will not be considered as exceptions to our cancellation policy. We assume no responsibility for medical care or for special dietary requirements.

Trip Insurance

To allow for any unexpected contingencies, all participants are strongly urged to purchase trip cancellation and interruption insurance.


While Jim Cline Photo Tours LLC endeavors to make the itinerary as accurate as possible, it should be considered as an approximate schedule of activities rather than a rigid schedule of events. Trip itineraries are subject to revision due to weather, ocean or trail conditions, government restrictions, and other reasons beyond our control. The tour leader has the right to make changes in the published itinerary whenever in his sole judgment conditions warrant, or if he deems it necessary for the comfort or safety of the tour.


Country Info



Health Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on the CDC website. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad, consult the infectious diseases section of the World Health Organization (WHO) website.  To see the degree this country is affected by Malaria click here.  The WHO website also contains additional health information for travelers, including detailed country-specific health information.

Money: Indian currency is called rupee. Currency exchange rates

ATMs, Credit Cards, Travelers Checks:  ATMs are widely available in Rajasthan. In major cities it's also possible to get a credit-card advance from a bank. Almost all ATMs take foreign credit cards.   Nearly all hotels exchange foreign currency for their guests. You'll get better rates at banks, but the hassle of waiting in line may outweigh the money-saving. There are also Thomas Cook and Western Union kiosks in all major cities.

Internet Access is widely available, though not always consistently, throughout populated cities in India.    

Electricity: Converters & Adapters required

ENTRY / EXIT REQUIREMENTS: All U.S. citizens need a valid passport and valid Indian visa to enter and exit India for any purpose. Visitors must apply for visas at an Indian Embassy or Consulate abroad before entering the country. Visas are not available upon arrival for U.S. citizens. If you don’t have a valid passport and visa you may be immediately deported. The U.S. Embassy and Consulate General in India cannot assist you if you arrive without proper documentation. Please carry photocopies of the bio-data page of your U.S. passport and the pages containing the Indian visa and Indian immigration stamps. If your passport is lost or stolen, copies will help you apply for a replacement passport and an exit visa from the Indian government. Replacing a lost visa, which is required in order to exit the country, may take three to four business days.

U.S. citizens wishing to visit India are responsible for requesting the correct type of visa from the Indian Embassy or Consulate.  Indian visa regulations change frequently, often with little advance notice, and changes may be poorly advertised and inconsistently enforced. Travelers are urged to check the Indian Government’s Ministry of Home Affairs website before any travel to India to review the most current information.


Packing Ideas

We take pride in our trip testimonials. We hope you’ll take a moment to read those below written by previous participants of a Southern India photo tour led by the same guide (K. Grobl). 

“The trip was fantastic with zero disappointments!   It provided an excellent range and selection of hotels. One of my favorites was the Hotel Haveli Hari Ganga in Haridwar: ideal location.  I LOVED the tented camp at Manvar!

Karl was highly attentive and genuinely committed to helping everyone take their photography skills to the next level. He would routinely stop us on the street or wherever we might be to check what we were shooting, viewing the back of our cameras, and made recommendations to improve our results.  I greatly appreciate that Karl encouraged group reviews of our work almost every night and shared his own work. Seeing his and the other travelers' way of seeing India was instructive and inspiring.

The local guides for the trip were EXCEPTIONAL (DV) and wonderful, very kind and attentive (Sikh fellow). There are many choices for photo tours to India, but I felt this was well priced, the locations were ideal for northern India and Karl's photographic expertise and personality made this THE only choice for me.”  -Barbara C. 2012


“It was a wonderful trip and it certainly exceeded all my expectations from each photo shoot, every hotel, our local Indian guide, Dv, the pace…all contributed to the success of the trip. Best of all, Karl was a most accommodating, patient, instructive, talented, good-natured, entertaining, tireless leader AND definitely well-connected. Cocktails one evening in Delhi at the US Embassy with Ambassador Nancy Powell was an unexpected honor and treat for us all.  My only regret was not going on the extension.  Thanks for everything.”  -Sally B. 2012   

Trip Evaluation Form
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