With the scrapping of Article 370, a much beloved travel destination of people all across the world, Ladakh, has become a part of Indian terrain. It has been given the status of a Union Territory. Travellers and explorers, have either already got this place off their travel bucket list or have it on their ‘place to see before I die‘ list. Hence, this news comes as a good one for the Indian tourism industry. However, despite being such a popular travel destination, not much is known about this place.
As Indians, we must take pride in the beauty of such slice of heaven belonging to us. But more than that, we must also know some basic trivia around it. Hence, let get to know everyone’s summer getaway, Ladakh!
Highest Bridge in the world
The Bailey Bridge, perched between Dras and Suru rivers, is the highest bridge in the world. Interestingly, the bridge was originally made to help military men escape quickly through the rivers during wartime. However, over time, a hydro-electric dam got built to the left side of the bridge, which is still functional. There is also a small lake on the right side of the bridge.
Largest telescope in Asia
Here in Ladakh, the Indian Astronomical Observatory has the largest telescope in Asia. It stands tall at an astounding height of over 4500m. So, stargazers and astrophotographers and astronomers, pack your bags for this place located in the remote village of Hanle in Ladakh.
There’s a hill in Ladakh which defies gravity and pulls you upward. Seems impossible right? Don’t worry though, because it’s just an illusion. The Magnetic Hill as it is called, is actually a downhill road and the surrounding slopes are carved out in such a way that it creates an illusion of an uphill road! The place is located on Sringar-Leh highway.
In the Nubra Valley, you may across a rare species of camel with twin-humps rather than a single hump. These are called the twin-humped Bactrian camels and are native to the Gobi desert. As fascinating as they look, there’s another unique feature to their body, which is that they can survive in temperatures as low as -40 degrees.
A land of peculiar practices
Ladakh is a land of many monasteries, monks and lamas. How do these lamas come together for meetings, lunch and prayers? Well, that’s the interesting practice, because unlike our digital connections, these lamas prefer basic non-technology related calls to each other. In Ladakh, if a monk wishes to call his fellow monks for anything, right from the morning prayer to the lunch call, he would simply blow a conch signifying the start for the prayer time or lunch time, or even simply a time to assemble to discuss something important.
Time for some ice hockey
Because of its altitude, Ladakh also boasts of the world’s highest natural ice hockey rink. At 3500 metres, the Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink is used actively and enthusiastically during winters when the subzero temperatures in the region are superior all through the day.
Moon walking can come true
The Lamayuru village in Ladakh situated 130kms away from Leh, has been replicated to look like the white surface of the moon. The landscape of this fascinating village, with an enchanting Buddhist monastery on the top, is a treat to the eyes.
Kung Fu Nuns
The nuns at the Drukpa monastery welcome you, dressed up in pajamas and yellow sashes and even sing for you. This is a thousand year old tradition that they still follow. These nuns also engage in various other unique activities, one of which is the Eco Pad Yatra, where they walk 400+ miles on foot, collect litter and make the locals aware about the importance of clean environment.
A land of cultures and festivities
The festivals of Hemis, Losar and the Tak-Tok are just a few examples of the vibrant culture and festivities observed by the people of this land. Their rituals and dances are a sight to enjoy, offering unending joy and fun.
As you can see, this newly anointed Indian Union Territory has a lot to offer.
Have you been to Ladakh yet? Do you know any such interesting facts about this valley? Let us know in the comments!