The Hermit Kingdom - Ladakh
Ladakh has two districts - one being Kargil and the other being Leh. The picturesque mountainous landscape and beautiful valleys beckon one to Ladakh. It is thus a sought-after place, favorite among the visitors. The mesmerizing beauty of the rough and rugged mountains simply spell wonders. It is a place that can satisfy one’s appetite for adventure.
The diverse culture that one is faced with just makes one happy and overjoyed. Ladakh just helps you escape from the monotonous routine of life. One can also see rare tribal cultures in a few of the villages. The physical features of the Ladakh landscape are spectacular. The religious and cultural heritage of Ladakh stems from the settlers from Tibet, Dards, Muslims etc. It is from here that Buddhism spread from central India to Tibet and China. Ladakh was an established trade route that was taken by travelers and merchants.
the season is duly recognized for being a comfortable period to pay a visit to Ladakh. The month of June to September witnesses the temperature ranging between 15 to 30°C making it pleasant and comfortable for the visitors to explore the region. Winters in Ladakh are cold with temperature ranging from 0°C to temperatures going well below 0 degrees to reach up to -30°C that makes the place too hostile to pay a visit to.
There are a number of beautiful places and sites to explore like - Lamayuru, Tso Moriri Lake, DhaHanu, Zorawar Fort, Magnetic hill, Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso Lake and other elegant places. The magnificence of the picturesque places and sites leave ever-lasting memories that one savors for life.
During the summer season: 15-25°C
During the rainy/monsoon: 10-20°C
During the winter season: -30°C
Things to do in Leh Ladakh
One can leisurely stroll in the markets of Leh Ladakh. One can find the Tibetan handicrafts and wares, silver and stone Jewellery, Pashmina shawls, woolens and other stuff. There are a number of famous markets in Ladakh. Visitors can shop from Main Bazaar where a number of handicrafts, antiques, Ladakhi Jewellery are available. Then there is a Tibetan handicraft emporium, it is situated at Main Bazaar Road.
Dalai Lama Charitable Trust handicraft emporium caters to the art and craft materials made by the local artisans. One may also find shawls, woolens, paintings, handicrafts and artifacts displayed for the connoisseurs. The Moti market is also famous for the local items. One who has an appetite for apricots can visit Ladag Apricot Store. The store has dried, fresh, Jam, and oil of apricots.
One having an adventurous bent of mind can go trekking. There are a number of Trekking options available like- Chadar Trek, Markha Valley Trek. The Markha Valley Trek offers one to explore the beauty of Gandola La and Hemis National Park. The best time for this trek spans from the month of May to September.
Then there is Stok Kangri Trek which is considered to be the toughest trek as the trekkers need to climb up to the highest peak in the region. One having a keen interest in camping can go to Camel Resort Camp, Camp Water Mark, Bikamp at Leh and Nature’s Nest Camp at Pangong Lake.
One can indulge in rock climbing also that will bring more adventure to one’s visit as the sport demands one’s mental and physical presence. One of the most loved sports activities that one can enjoy is Ice Hockey. There are a number of campsites that offer such activity. Interested in water sports then one can indulge in river rafting in Indus and Zanskar rivers.
Quad biking is yet another adventure in Nubra Valley to enjoy. One can enjoy the ATV ride on the highest motorable regions. There are a number of beautiful sites to pay a visit to like- Lamayuru, Tso Moriri Lake, DhaHanu, Zorawar Fort, Magnetic hill, Nubra Valley. Thus amazing as it is, Ladakh offers many more amazing and beautiful sites for curious visitors.
Tourist Places in Leh Ladakh
1. Zanskar Valley
The Zanskar Valley is one of the most visited tourist places. The apt time to visit the valley is between June to September. During these months the road is clear of snow and the temperature is also quite friendly and pleasant so that one can easily opt for a visit to this place. The valley is one of the bleak places in the Himalayan range of this region.
2. Spituk Gompa
Monks and Monasteries, in the land of Ladakh, are well known. Spituk Gompa is considered to be the most visited place in Ladakh. It is situated atop a hill. Its location is such that it gives a beautiful and soothing view to its visitors visiting it.
During the night's bone-chilling winds really make the place hostile for its visitors. Therefore it is advised that people deciding to come here must have some extra warm clothes with them. Another name of Spituk Gompa is Pethup Gompa. It is a Buddhist monastery.
3. Pangong Tso Lake
Pangong Lake is the most popular among tourists. It is a very beautiful lake which makes it picturesque as it has azure water which makes it look pleasant and beautiful. The shooting of Bollywood movie 3 Idiot was picturized over here. Tourists coming to visit this Lake can discover a number of migratory birds and can indulge in photography and bird watching. This Lake is located about 214 km away from Leh.
4. Khardung-la Pass
Nubra and Shyok Valleys can be accessed via Khardung-la Pass which forms a gateway to these beautiful valleys. One coming to Ladakh should plan, for sure, a visit to this place. People seeking adventure will find this place irresistible. The Pass is under the able management of the Border Roads organization. The best months for visiting this place are in the months of May to September.
Leh is located at an altitude of 3524ft and 434 Kms from Srinagar. Leh is the fine blend of adventure and spiritual places. Some of the prominent spiritual places to visit are- Matho Monastery, Alchi Monastery, Hemis Monastery, Spituk Monastery and Thiksey Monastery, visitors coming can also pay a visit to Zorawar Fort, Stok Palace and Jama Masjid. Tourists having an adventurous bent on the wind can indulge in mountain Biking and Trekking. Leh is the most visited place and is known for the scenic beauty that is held.
Kargil is located at India – Pakistan border. It is connected to the Zojila pass. It is located in the Ladakh region. Tourists visit Kargil for adventurous activities like Trekking, Camping, Rafting, and Mountaineering. Tourists can trek to Pensi- La Lake and Suru Valley. A visit to Kargil can be a thrilling experience for tourists.
Hemis is a small village located on the bank of the river Indus. It is situated at about 45kms away from Leh. Hemis is famous for its monastery and a National Park. It is spread over an area of 600sq Km and is a house for Bharals and Snow Leopards.
Hemis Monastery is seen to be the largest monastery in Ladakh. In the month of June or July Hemis festival is being organized making it an apt time for visiting this place.
8. Shanti Stupa
If one is in search of peace and tranquillity in this materialistic world, then Shanti stupa is the place where one will find them. The hill at Chanspa, which is in Leh is where Shanti Stupa is majestically located. Being a Buddhist monument it obviously offers peace due to its tranquil aura. Sunrise and sunset views are an added attraction of this place. The picturesque surroundings just lure the people to it.
Lamayuru is a small village which is known as the Moonland of Ladakh. The village Lamayuru has a large number of old and large monasteries in Ladakh. It is an ideal stop between the Kargil – Leh route. The monastery at Lamayuru is known to be the oldest Gompas of Ladakh.
10. Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is situated in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir at about 140 Km from Leh. The region is under military supervision as the road leads to the Siachen base camp which is the highest battlefield in the World. Visitors visiting this valley need to take the Inner line permit and submit the photocopies of the travel permit to the soldiers in the Khardung La Pass. The valley is known for the Bactrian camel rides.
11. Royal Leh Palace
The Royal Leh Palace is located in Leh. Royal Leh Palaceessentially resembles the Potala Palace of Lhasa. It is located on the cliff. The beautiful town of Leh is spread beneath the cliff giving a mesmerizing view to anyone. The glory of the olden days can be gauzed by just walking around in the palace.
The Palace Museum has a good collection of crowns, ceremonial dresses, ornaments and Jewellery. Buddha statue at the back of the palace gives a happy surprise to the beholder. The preferred time for a splendid visit to the palace is definitely in the month of August.
12. Tso Moriri Lake
The Tso Moriri lake is situated in the Changtang wildlife sanctuary. This lake is also named Mountain lake. Its location is in itself so beautiful that it simply is awe-inspiring. There are snow-capped mountains in the background that add to the beauty of the place. Tourists paying a visit to this splendid lake can find a number of beautiful birds like Brahmin duck, brown-headed gull, bare-headed goose and great crested grebe.
DhaHanu is the name of two villagesDha and Hanu. Drokpa tribes inhabit these villages. Tribe culture can be witnessed by the tourists visiting the villages. The ornaments and headgear that form the attire of these tribal people are peculiar and worth seeing. One can pay a visit to these villages during the months from June to October.
14. Zorawar Fort
General Zorawar Singh attacked and conquered Ladakh. He was so much overjoyed by his victory that he built a fort here. The event occurred around 1930. The fort is located in such a way that it overlooks the beautiful city of Leh.
The architecture that has gone in to make the fort is surprisingly beautiful. The local clay available was utilized for constructing the fort. One can even see the sun-dried bricks and stones used in the construction of the fort.
15. Magnetic Hill
One can satisfy one’s curiosity regarding the tales prevalent about the Magnetic hill. The interesting thing about this hill is that the vehicles moving uphill require no burning of fuel in the carburetor. One can climb uphill in their vehicle with vehicles ignition off but to come downwards one needs to accelerate their vehicle.
16. Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary
This wildlife sanctuary is at an appreciable height of approximately 4k to 9k feet above sea level that holds it apart from the other sanctuaries. There are lakes that cater to the water availability to the flora and fauna of this natural reserve.
These lakes are Pangong Tso, Tso Kar and Tso Moriri that are the highest lakes. It is rich in flowers, a variety of plants and animals. The sanctuary also has a monastery, the Korzok Monastery which just makes it an important place that requires a visit.
17. Mulbekh Monastery
The monastery is located on top at a height where its location is so marvelous that it just makes one happy. The monastery is somewhere about 260 km from Leh. The monastery has two Gompas. Drukpa Gompa and Gelugpa Gompa are architecturally magnificent sites. It is a Buddhist monastery. Peace engulfs the place.
18. Hall of Fame
The brave soldiers who laid down their lives for the country during the Indo-Pak war have their memories that is what is all about the Hall of Fame Museum. The Museum is dedicated to these brave heroes. The story of the bravery of the Indian soldiers is depicted in the photo frames hung in the museum. The arms and ammunition used in the war by the soldiers have been displayed here. One's head naturally bows down to the martyrs for their great act of velour.
Where to Stay in Ladakh
There are a lot of hotels available in Ladakh, Leh and Kargil that are known for their hospitality. One can choose from budget hotels to luxury hotels, as per one’s budget. These hotels may be booked online or one can book them with the help of the travel agencies who give a detailed location and the facilities available.
Famous Food of Ladakh
There are a number of Ladakh cuisines that may open one’s taste buds to a new dimension and will certainly be an experience typical to the region so unique and different. The culture and practices set the food apart from the rest of the cultures of India. Some of them are- Cholak, Butter Tea, Mokthuk, Kahwa, Holkur, Thukpa, Chhupri.
How to Reach Ladakh
The nearest airport to Ladakh is KushokBakulaRimpochee airport which is situated in Leh. It is directly connected to some major cities such as as- Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu, Mumbai and Kolkata. One can board Air India, Jet Airways, Go Air. International tourists can directly board a flight from Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi to reach Leh airport. After reaching the airport tourists can hire taxis to reach anywhere and any place in Ladakh.
Tourists can board JKSRTC bus to reach Ladakh. Ladakh is almost 434km from Srinagar and 494km from Manali. Tourists can trip to Leh on the bike from Srinagar, Manali, or Chandigarh. Ladakh is connected to 2 roads- Leh-Srinagar National Highway and Leh-Manali road. These two open only in summer months and in winters the road is closed due to the closure of passes-Zoji La, Rohtang Pass, Baralacha, Changla.
The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi which is well connected to important cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Kolkata. From the railway station, one can reach the desired destination by hiring a taxi, which will be more convenient and time-saving.
Best time to Visit Ladakh
The summer season is in a way more convenient to pay a visit to Ladakh. June to September are the summer months that provide a comfortable time for the tourists. During these months the temperature ranges between 15 to 30°C. These months have tolerable weather that is quite pleasant for the tourists can comfortably explore the splendid place.
On the contrary, winters pose difficulties for tourists. Winter temperatures range from 0 to -15°C and may even go to -30°C. Summers are a boon to the tourists as it provides opportunities whereby one can observe and take part in the number of festivals that are celebrated like Hemis festival, Yurukabgyat and Sakadawa festival.