A land of mysteries and intrigue, Ladakh never ceases to amaze travelers with its breathtaking and awe-inspiring beauty. Popularly known as “Little Tibet”, the destination is bestowed with stark towering peaks and snow capped Karakoram and Himalayan ranges. Dotted with colorful gompas adorning fluttering prayer flags, rugged terrains and tiny settlements, Ladakh is the dream destination and Mecca for all adventure lovers.
So whether you’re an avid adventure seeker looking for frills or thrills or someone who wishes to soak in the idyllic beauty of Mother Nature, here’s presenting a comprehensive guide to help you plan a comfortable trip whenever you plan to visit Ladakh!
Places to Visit in Leh-Ladakh
The erstwhile capital of kingdom of Ladakh, Leh is one of the coldest deserts in the world. Regarded as heaven for backpackers, the magical land is bestowed with numerous trekking trails, picturesque valleys and lakes. Renowned as the land for monasteries and monks, Leh is a place like no other.
So, if you think you can survive in thin oxygen levels along with some hardships on a holiday, brace yourself for a fun-filled roller coaster ride in Leh – Ladakh!
Places of Worship
1. Lamayuru Monastry
Maintained by the Red Hat sect of Buddhism, Lamayuru Monastry is the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery. Situated at a distance of 127 kms from Leh, you will be amazed by the rich collection of wall paintings, murals and scriptures available here.
2. Diskit Monastry
A 14th century structure, Diskit Monastry is the oldest monastery in the Nubra valley. The monastery comprises of 106 ft tall structure of Maitreya Buddha in its prayer hall.
3. Thiksey Monastry
Situated in the Indus Valley, Thiksey Monastry is just 18 kms away from Leh. This 12 storied monastery contains 10 temples along with the living quarters of the monks, a nunnery and an assembly hall.
4. Hemis Monastry
Largest monastic organization in Ladakh, the town of Hemis is famous for its monasteries. Regarded as one of the richest monasteries in India, Hemis monastery is known for its rare and exquisite antiques collection.
1. Royal Leh Palace
A nine-storied structure, Royal Leh Palace was built in the 17th century by King Sengge Namgyal. The structure offers a panoramic view of Leh, the mighty river Indus and Stok Kangri. The place also has a museum which displays rare collection of traditional dresses, jewelry, ceremonial crowns, etc.
2. Magnetic Hill
Magnetic Hill or gravity hill as it is sometimes known as is no less than an inquisitive natural phenomenon. Falling on the national highway from Leh to Kargil and finally Baltik, the hill can magically pull any vehicle up to its steep slope with the ignition of the vehicle turned off.
3. Zanskar valley
One of the most isolated places to visit in Ladakh, Zanskar Valley is beautifully nestled between the Zanskar mountain ranges and great Himalayan ranges.
4. Nubra valley
Popularly known as the valley of flower, Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 150 kms away from Leh. The journey to the spectacular valley will take you through the Khardung La pass which is the world’s highest motorable road.
5. Shanti Stupa
A fairly new addition to the landscape, the pristine white structure, Shanti Stupa was built by the Japanese Buddhist organization in order to commemorate the celebration of 2500 years of Buddhism.
Lakes in Leh – Ladakh
Situated at an altitude of 14,270 ft. Pangong Lake is about 134 km in length. The blue waters of the lake magnificently reflect the surrounding mighty snow capped mountain ranges. The scenic beauty and serene environment of the place appears to be almost unreal for every tourist who visits Pangong Lake.
2. Tso Moriri
Situated at an altitude of 15,000 ft. the famous Tso Moriri Lake is known for its fresh waters, unlike the Pangong Lake which has saline waters. Journey from Leh to this magnanimous lake reveals a sudden change in landscape from rugged terrains to lush green lands.
1. Yak Safari
Yak safari in the deserts of Ladakh is a treasured experience you will cherish your lifetime. Yak safari offers you the opportunity to enjoy the pristine and serene beauty of the land with its crystal clear lakes, sprawling green valleys and snow capped mountains, standing tall on all sides.
2. Camel Safari
Camel trekking was one of the most common mode of transportation in Ladakh region around 3-4 centuries ago. This mode of commutation is practiced even today in the Nubra valley from Hundar to Diskit. This is the only region where you will find double-humped camels. The camel safari tours which are organized here have become quite popular amongst the tourists visiting Ladakh.
3. Indus River Rafting
Originating from Mansarovar Lake in Tibet and Mt. Kailash, the Indus River runs right across the desert region of Ladakh. Don’t forget to experience the thrill of a sudden adrenaline gush by going for river rafting in the mighty Indus River. You can deluge in the mesmerizing beauty of nature while rafting as the river takes you through various gorgers in Zansar and Ladakh ranges.
Experience the kick of excitement and joy by paragliding in Ladakh. The famous adventure sport is mainly carried out in the Khardung La pass, where adventure lovers love to take a flight owing to calm weather conditions offered by the place.
Abundance of steep slopes and breath-taking snow clad mountain ranges invites skiers from all across the country and abroad to enjoy skiing in Ladakh.
Also known as cyclers delight, Ladakh offers numerous trails where you can visually treat your senses with the nature’s beauty while cycling on its quiet roads.
Shoppers Delight: Things to Shop For
1. Copper Samovars
Traditional tea kettles, Copper Samovars are used for heating water by burning coal beneath within a hidden container.
2. Prayer Wheel
A cylindrical cylinder wheel which has a spindle attached to it, this holy symbol of monks has the words – “Om Mani Padme Hum” inscribed on it.
Soft and fine cashmere wool, extracted from Pashmina goats, these exclusive shawls will provide you extreme comfort and warmth in winters.