Roof of the World - Ladakh to Kashmir

India

Culture

Experience dramatic Himalayan scenery, Buddhist and Islamic cultures

14 days Ask us for pricing This is the price per person for a private tour (based on 2 people travelling) excluding international flights. Contact us for pricing for other group sizes including individuals.
Intro, Dates & Prices

Intro

Start your adventure in the Buddhist heartland of Ladakh in India's northernmost state. Visit its colourful monasteries, drive along one of the highest motorable roads in the world and explore the enchanting scenery of the Nubra Valley. Visit local villages and get an insight into rural Ladakhi life. Continue your journey along the Himalayan high road past dramatic landscapes to Kashmir, where you’ll take a shikara ride on Srinagar's sublime Dal Lake. Sleep in a traditional houseboat and learn about the rich Islamic history in this part of Kashmir.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Visit Buddhist monasteries
  • Highest motorable road in the world - the Khardung La Pass
  • Stunning drive through the Himalayas
  • Houseboat stay on Dal Lake, Srinagar

Places Visited

Delhi - Leh - Nubra Valley - Uleytokpo - Tar village - Hepti village - Lamayuru - Kargil - Sonamarg - Srinagar

What's Included

Airport transfers
Ground transport with driver
Accommodation
Some meals (refer to itinerary for meal plan)
Sightseeing activities with local guides
Entrance fees to sites (one-time entry)

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Please confirm your humanity

Itinerary

Hemis Festival only takes place on June/July departures. If travelling outside this period, optional walks and monastery visits can be arranged.

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Day 1 : Arrival

On arrival in Delhi airport you would be met by our representative and transferred to the hotel. Rest of the day is at leisure or you can take a walking tour of Hauz Khas village.

Let us know if you would like to arrive earlier for a pre-tour of Delhi or to visit other places in India.

Meal plan: n/a

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Day 2 : Flight to Leh

On arrival, you will be met and assisted at Leh airport by our representative and transferred to the hotel. It is important to acclimatise in Leh so the day is at leisure. Enjoy lunch with views of the mighty Indus river or amidst the apricot orchards. Afternoon is at leisure, and at sunset, take a walk along the Indus river or through Matho village. Return to the hotel for dinner.

Overnight in Stok Palace, Leh

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 3 : Leh

The morning will be at leisure to explore the local surroundings so you can acclimatise yourself at the high altitude. After lunch take a gentle village walk up to the Stok Palace for prayers at the Royal temple, visit the  museum and walk through the Royal Palace. You can also get an amulet made if you wish by the priests. Return to the hotel for dinner.

Overnight in Stok Palace, Leh

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Leh is at an elevation of 3500m above sea level, situated in the Ladakh province. The stunning Leh Palace is modelled on the Tibetan Palace in Lhasa. some of Ladakh’s most famous and spectacular religious sites, including Sindhu Ghat where you can take a stroll by the bank of the River Indus. From there we move on to Thiksey Monastery, one of Leh’s most architecturally impressive structures clinging to the cliff-face and containing numerous stupas and murals of Lord Buddha.  The former home of the Ladakhi royal family, Shey Palace and Museum is situated on a hillock and houses an impressive 7.5 metre gold statue of Lord Buddha.  Hemis National Park is India’s largest national park, and the only park found in the northern Himalayas. It is home to a number of endangered species and the 400-year old Hemis Monastery.

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Day 4 : Leh

After breakfast, you will be driven to Thiksey village, to attend the moming prayers at the striking Thiksey monastery perched on the side of a cliff wiith majestic views. As the echoes of prayers still linger, we descend to a farm for a local Ladakhi breakfast. After breakfast, visit a textile workshop to witness the process of local natural dyeing and weaving. Enjoy a packed picnic lunch or live barbeque in the valley. Return to Leh with the evening at leisure. You can take an optional stroll around the local bazaar. Dinner at the hotel.

Overnight in Stok Palace, Leh

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 5 : Leh - Khardung la Pass - Nubra Valley

Early start to the day for your tour of the Nubra Valley via the lesser-travelled Wari La Pass (5300m). This must be one of the world`s most spectacular journeys with sublime views of Ladakh`s valleys. Despite its altitude and barren mountains, the landscape is dotted with lush greenery, the winding River Indus, sporadic wildlife and snow-capped peaks. If you are lucky you might spot pikas, marmots, red foxes, wolves and/or golden eagles. Be one of the few to travel the highest motorable road in the world. At 18,380 feet, Khardung La Pass literally is on top of the world. Arrive for lunch at the retreat and afternoon is at leisure. Early evening take a stroll in the silver Sumoor Sand Dunes. 

Overnight in Lchang Nang Retreat, Sumur

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The Nubra Valley is full of spectacular landscape contrasts and silver sand dunes are set below snow peaks, with sublime views of Ladakh’s valleys. Here you can cross the highest motorable road in the world at 17,582 feet (5,359 m) and see how Khardung La Pass is literally on top of the world. It is also the home of the shaggy double-humped camel. Not to be confused with the ubiquitous one-humped dromedary, the Bactrian is a fine animal, and - existing only on the cold central Asian plateau - the rarest camel species on Earth.

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Day 6 : Nubra - Trisha Tso - Nubra

In the morning you can take part in an optional yoga session.  After breakfast, you will be driven to the secluded lake of Trisha Tso where you can visit Ensa monastery and the largest petroglyph site in Ladakh at Murgi village. After your visit, enjoy a packed picnic lunch. In the afternoon take a walk and visit Kyagar village. Return to the hotel for dinner and relax in front of the bonfire. Ladakh is one of the best places in India to enjoy dark skies, so you can do stargazing from the terrace.

Overnight in Lchang Nang Retreat, Sumur

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 7 : Nubra - Aghyam - Nubra

Early breakfast at the hotel then set off for Aghyam and visit the 400-year-old Khungru Monastery. Continue on to Diger via Tsati (Rongdo village), which is where the trader caravans used to cross in ancient times. Hike up to a large Buddhist relic and visit an old polo ground. After lunch, enjoy the rest of the day at leisure, taking in the vistas of this narrow junction which connects Leh and Changthang to Nubra. Dinner is at the hotel.

Overnight in Lchang Nang Retreat, Sumur

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 8 : Nubra Valley - Uleytokpo

After breakfast, you will be driven to Alchi village driving via the Khardung La Pass (5,359m). Visit the 11th century Alchi temple complex adorned with Gandhara art. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant where you can interact with the chef who will introduce you to Ladakhi fusion food. Drive back to the hotel. Evening is at leisure or you can take a walk through the village. Dinner at hotel.

Overnight in Nimmu House, Uleytokpo

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

The village of Alchi is most known for its monastery which is the oldest Buddhist monastery in the Ladakh region. It is famous for its wall paintings depicting Hindus Kings of the time and are some of the oldest paintings in the area. It also houses huge statues of Buddha, elaborate woodcarvings and artwork that is often compared to the Baroque style. 

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Day 9 : Day hike to Tar village

Early breakfast then do the short hike along the stream up to the beautiful hamlet of Tar. Enjoy a packed picnic lunch by the stream then hike back to the base and return to hotel. Evening is at leisure and dinner is at hotel.

Hike details:
Duration: 2-3 hours
Type: moderate
Altitude: 9,754 - 10,955 ft
Total distance: 11km

Overnight in Nimmu House, Uleytokpo

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 10 : Day hike to Hepti

Early breakfast then hike up to the scenic Hepti Village where you will get sublime views of Ladakh's terrain. Have a packed picnic lunch and then hike back to the base and drive back to your accommodation. Evening is at leisure.

Hike Details
Duration: 3-4 hours
Type: moderate
Altitude: 9,801 - 11,465 ft
Total distance:  8 km
 

Overnight in Nimmu House, Uleytokpo

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

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Day 11 : Uleytokpo - Lamayuru - Kargil

After breakfast enjoy the scenic drive to Kargil visiting the otherworldly landscapes of Lamayuru where you can visit the monastery. Have a packed picnic lunch then proceed to visit the Mulbek Maitreya Buddha statue (9m tall). Arrive into Kargil where evening is at leisure.

Overnight in Hotel Kargil Heights, Kargil

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Lamayuru is a medieval monastery that is built on top of a near-vertical cliff. Towering over a small cluster of mud-bricked houses, it was founded by Rinchen Zangpo in the tenth and eleventh centuries. However, the place itself is thought to have been sacred well before Buddhism when the local people followed the shamanistic Bon cult. It is known for the being one of the largest gompas or monasteries in the Ladakh region with 150 monks permanently residing there. It hosts two masked dance festivals in the second and fifth months of the Tibetan lunar calendar when all the monks from the surrounding gompas gather together to prey.

Lying on the banks of the Suru River, Kargil is the second largest town in the Ladakh. Before the Partition of India in 1947, the town was part of the Baltistan region of Ladakh and was a sparsely populated area with diverse language, ethnic and religious groups living in the isolated valleys. The town has a unique mix of architecture with the older mosques built in Tibetan and Iranian styles and the more modern mosques built with Arabic influences.

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Day 12 : Kargil - Sonamarg - Srinagar

Early morning set off on your drive to Srinagar. En-route, stop in Sonamarg, situated at the foot of the stunning Zojila Pass and Baltal hamlets, famous for its rugged snow-covered meadows. Stop for lunch midway and after completing state border formalities, continue your drive to Srinagar. Upon arrival, you will be taken for a shikara ride (Kashmiri boat) on Dal Lake. After an enchanting evening on the lake you will be escorted back to Sukoon Houseboat where a delightful dinner on the deck awaits you. Retire to your room on the boat for the night.

Overnight in Sukoon Houseboat, Srinagar

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Zojila Pass is a high mountain pass connecting Srinagar and Leh. It’s one of the most dangerous roads in the Himalayas because it is narrow and has vicious winds due to a funnel effect. The second highest pass on the Srinangar – Leh Highway, it provides a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir. 

Translated as 'meadow of gold', Sonamarg is a hill station. With a backdrop of snow-clad mountains, the hill station had historical significant and was a major gateway on the ancient Silk Road connecting Kashmir with China. The area surrounding the hill station is full of bewitching natural beauty as the great Himalayan glaciers, Kolhoi Glacier and Mohoi Glacier, lay in its vicinity.

Surrounded by snow capped mountains, Dal Lake is one of the most beautiful urban lakes in India. It's the second largest lake in Kashmir and has many orchards dotted along its shores. The lake is part of a natural wetland including its floating gardens which cover the surface in lotus flowers during July and August. Called the 'jewel of Kashmir', the best way to view the stunning scenery is to take a colourful shikara ride across the tranquil waters.

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Day 13 : Srinagar

Breakfast will be served on board the houseboat. Proceed for a full day sightseeing of Srinagar visiting the Mughal Gardens, the Chashme Shahi (Royal Spring), Nishat Bagh (Pleasure Garden) and Shalimar Bagh (The Abode of Love) and the Shankaracharya Temple. Lunch will be at a local Kashmiri restaurant. Early evening return to the houseboat where you will have dinner and relax at leisure.

Overnight in Sukoon Houseboat, Srinagar

Meal plan: Breakfast, lunch & dinner

Situated on the banks of the Jhelum River, Srinagar is the summer capital of Kashmir. It is well known for its beautiful gardens, lakes and houseboats as well as dried fruits and Kashmiri handicrafts. Known as ‘the Kashmiri Venice’, the city has a unique blend of cultural heritage which is reflected in the city’s many religious buildings, such as Keer bhawani and the Hazaratbal Shrine, which is the only domed mosque in the city.

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Day 14 : Departure

Breakfast will be served on board the houseboat. You will then be transferred to Srinagar airport at the appropriate time to board your flight to Delhi. Connect on to your onward flight home or if required, an additional night's accommodation can be arranged if your flight is the next day.

Alternatively, tour extensions in other parts of India can be arranged.

Meal plan: Breakfast

Accommodation

Accommodation

All accommodation subject to availability. Final accommodation choices will be confirmed after booking.

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Stok Palace

Leh (3 nights)

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Lchang Nang Retreat

Sumur (3 nights)

Lchang Nang is a destination created for travellers in search of peace and tranquility. Combining comfort and simplicity, it pays homage to its local heritage via its links to the local community and the local culture. Our library, still at a budding stage, offers a unique collection of archives on the local fauna, wildlife, Buddhist culture and Silk Route history.

Lchang Nang aims to play a role in reducing Ladakh’s carbon footprint. The retreat is fully solar powered and plastic containers are kept to a minimum. In the coming years we plan to grow and source most of our operational needs locally. Lchang Nang also maintains a vision for a sustainable future through eco-conscious initiatives. For example, the property is primarily powered through solar energy, which is plentiful in sunny Ladakh. We also offer our guests filtered glacial snowmelt for both drinking and bathing purposes, reducing our reliance on single use plastics.

Visit hotel's site
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Nimmu House

Uleytokpo (3 nights)

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Hotel Kargil Heights

Kargil (1 night)

Surrounded by views of the Hathi-Matha hills, Hotel Kargil Heights is a small, well-appointed property. The hotel is located in Kargil Town and is on the banks of the River Suru. Rooms come standard with tea and coffee facilities, wifi (subject to availability) and ensuite bathrooms.

Visit hotel's site
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Sukoon Houseboat

Srinagar (2 nights)

Moored on the waters of Lake Dal, Srinagar, with views of the surrounding waterways, and beyond them, the Himalayas, Sukoon Houseboat offers guests a unique living experience. Standard rooms and suites are available, and all are of a simple style with colonial furnishings for a touch of history. Guests may dine in the boat's on-board restaurant which serves traditional Indian and international cuisine. The houseboat is also well situated for the exploration of Srinagar's abundant natural landscape.

Visit hotel's site
Extensions

On The Tiger Trail (9 days)

On the tiger trail through Bandhavgarh and Kanha

The Golden Triangle (5 days)

Marvel at India's most incredible forts and palaces

Kolkata & Sunderbans (6 days)

Discover colonial Kolkata and the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve

Wildlife of Tadoba & Pench (9 days)

A real life Jungle Book.

Kolkata & Darjeeling Snapshot (7 days)

Ideal extension to Bhutan

Himalayan Extension: Ladakh to Kashmir (5 days)

Travel across the spectacular Himalayan Highway

Beaches (1-7 days)

After exploring the busy cities, there's no better place to relax than one of India's paradisiacal beaches

Treks & Walks (1-12 days)

Himalayan treks, village walks and more

Hill Stations & Mountains

Escape the city and unwind among some of the most breathtaking mountain and hill scapes the world has to offer.

City Extensions (1-4 days)

Visit the must-see sights and the hidden depths of India's most vibrant cities.

Monks, Tribes & Rhinos (20 days)

Himalayan mountains, unseen tribes & amazing wildlife

Journey through the Indian Himalayas (20 days)

Travel through the Himalayan foothills via Shimla & Amritsar to Ladakh

Classic Bhutan & Assam Cruise (18 days)

Experience Bhutan's rich culture, colonial Kolkata and rural life in Assam

Glimpse of India & Nepal (16 days)

Golden Triangle and the Himalayas

The Himalayan Silk Road (16 days)

Travel India's Silk Road from Kashmir to Ladakh

Textile Tour of India (16 days)

Textile tour of Gujarat & Rajasthan including the Mewar Festival

Taste of South India (15 days)

Experience the flavours and exotic spices of South India

Treasures of Maharashtra (15 days)

Mighty sea fortresses, rock-cut cave temples, and verdant hill stations

Kerala Calling (15 days)

Tropical mountains, tea & spice plantations, and backwaters

Best of Bhutan & Bengal (15 days)

Experience the culture and landscapes of India & Bhutan

Assam & Nagaland Hornbill Festival (15 days)

Wildlife, tribes & rural life in Assam and Nagaland

Journey Through Rajasthan (15 days)

Discover Rajasthan's forts, palaces and rural villages

Big Six of India (15 days)

Spot tigers, lions, leopards, buffalo, rhino & elephants

Best of Assam & Meghalaya (14 days)

Wildlife, diverse cultures & rural life in hidden North East India

Birds & Wildlife of Rajasthan (14 days)

Uncover the regal wildlife of Rajasthan

Hampi and Beyond (14 days)

Discover Karnataka's stone temples, wildlife and coffee farms

Taj, Tigers & Temples (14 days)

Perfect mix of classic sights and off-beat places for first-timers to India

Spirit of South India (14 days)

Temple towns of Tamil Nadu to backwaters of Kerala

Big Cats of India (14 days)

Experience the thrill of the Indian jungle ...

Himalayan Wildlife of Ladakh (14 days)

Track the Himalayan brown bear & snow leopard on a once-in-a-lifetime trip

Heart of India (14 days)

Take in the highlights of central India

Delicacies of North India (14 days)

Discover the huge diversity of North India's cuisine

Wildlife of North East India (14 days)

Diverse wildlife in Assam and the Sunderbans

Tribes of North East India (14 days)

Remote tribal cultures in Arunachal Pradesh, Assam & Nagaland

Kerala & Karnataka Explorer (14 days)

Idyllic backwaters, tropical forests & ancient temple towns

Tribes & Temples of Eastern India (14 days)

Visit remote tribal villages of Orissa & Chhattisgarh

Roof of the World - Ladakh to Kashmir (14 days)

Experience dramatic Himalayan scenery, Buddhist and Islamic cultures

Best of Bengal & Sikkim (14 days)

Colonial Kolkata, Darjeeling toy train & Buddhism

Kerala - Trekking the Western Ghats (13 days)

Explore this UNESCO biodiversity hotspot on foot

Maha Kumbh Mela Festival (13 days)

Once in 12 years - the largest gathering of humanity on earth

Gujarat's Tribes & Wildlife (13 days)

Gujarat's Asiatic Lions, Salt Flats & Textile Villages

Glories of Gujarat (13 days)

Tribal villages, temples, salt flats & the world's last Asiatic lions

Hidden Rajasthan (13 days)

Rural villages, grand forts & wildlife

High Indus Valley of Ladakh (12 days)

Attain lofty heights over soul-soothing Ladakh

Glimpse of India (12 days)

Golden Triangle, tigers & exotic Kerala

Markha Valley Trek (12 days)

Set foot in Ladakh's hidden Himalayan valleys

Essential Rajasthan (10 days)

Discover the forts, palaces, villages and desert of Rajasthan

Living Bridges of Meghalaya (7 days)

Waterfalls, hills and living bridges in North East India

Classic Kerala

Tea, spices, backwaters & beaches

Reviews

Travel The Unknown tailormade our extensive itinerary to meet our specific requirements and we couldn't have been happier. The trip went like clockwork! The individual guides and drivers were excellent and the variety of unique accommodation was outstanding. The rough roads of Ladakh were worth it to experience first-hand the majesty of the towering Himalayas. So much to see in India - need to plan another itinerary!

Laurel & Paul Smallwood , Tailormade India

A wonderful trip! Great nature, stunning landscapes and very interesting itinerary. Recommended to anyone looking for spirituality and breathtaking experiences! A big Thank You to our excellent guide who was able to make a huge difference to our trip.

Annalisa & Chiara , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

I have been on 3 tailor made trips with Travel The Unknown and have found them to be knowledgeable and reliable. We`ve stayed in some wonderful places and have had some unusual and satisfying experiences that go beyond the standard tours.

Joan Edmunds (USA) , Tailormade India

I would highly recommend Travel the Unknown to anyone visiting India. The service we received both prior to, during and following our travels was always timely and excellent. We were able to customize our trip to our liking and to enjoy a wide variety of activities. The guides in every location were outstanding! Honestly. Having travelled through much of the world I can truly say that we have never been more impressed with the quality of the guides arranged for us in each location, as well as the service we received. Similarly, the hotels were excellent and allowed us to live very comfortably while, at the same time, enjoy an authentic Indian experience. If you haven`t already booked your trip with Travel the Unknown, then either do so now....or at least give them a chance to show you what they can offer.

Tracey & Gary , Tailormade India

Thank you Travel The Unknown for an unforgettable experience.

Sue Holden , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

Another great trip from Travel the Unknown. I would recommend this company to anyone who wants to move outside the boundaries of the usual tourist itinerary.

Catherine Crawford , Kashmir & Ladakh Explorer, India

Thanks for organising such a great trip to NE India Rahul - everything went seamlessly! We loved the fact that we could book an individual tour but still have flexibility with our itinerary once we were there, enabling us to take in the Si Donyi Festival at Daporijo and also be the first guests to stay overnight in a local village hut with our hosts in Papi, which was fantastic. Our guide was super. He had a wealth of knowledge and a great sense of humour! It’s hard to pick a highlight as the whole trip was both fascinating and at times, humbling. We’ll never forget the amazing people, scenery & culture we experienced whilst there and are glad we had the opportunity to visit such an intriguing part of the world. We would certainly consider travelling with you again in the future.

Hazel Fairall , Tribes of North East India, India

We went on the Spirit of South India Tour and had a great time on our honeymoon. There was a good variety of places visited and the hotels, drivers and guides were all very good. We would definitely recommend this tour.

Rachel , Spirit of South India, India

This was my first experience of using Travel the Unknown having enjoyed small group adventure holidays for many years. I was attracted to the company because it seeks out the more unusual and lesser known areas of a country and I was not disappointed by my visit to Assam and Arunachal Pradesh. There is a clear contrast between the people and the scenery of these two regions and we saw very few western tourists particularly in Arunachal Pradesh. The tour was well organised with plenty to see and do.

Keith Lewis , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

This was a very varied and interesting trip to a forgotten part of India. If you like off the beaten track travel it is definitely worth the effort but go with an open mind and keep a smile on your face.

Richard Williams , Monks, Tribes & Rhinos, India

Thank you for organising our holiday in Kerala. I certainly wouldn`t have had the time or the knowledge to put together such a trip. Munnar was my favourite and the accommodation throughout was excellent.

Vik , Kerala Calling, India

A really well planned trip. We experienced life in Northeast India in just the way we wanted to. We loved the game reserves and saw a rock python which thrilled our guides as it is even rarer than the tiger! We visited villages and were able to interact with local people and loved the busy markets in Delhi and Calcutta. A special highlight was the Hornbill Festival in Nagaland; shown to us by our very own Naga guide Kezo. Kezo accompanied us for 15 days of our trip and ensured that we had many very special experiences - even taking us to the home of one of his Aunts where we spent a couple of hours sitting by the bonfire chatting.

Ann Holgate , Tailormade India
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