Ladakh, the erstwhile Buddhist kingdom is spectacularly jagged. Arid mountains, dramatically crowned rocky outcrops, picturesque gompas, meditational mani walls and multi hued flags are few of the many sites that exemplify the beauty of Ladakh. The well balanced traditional society of Ladakh has much to offer the West in terms of ecological awareness.
Ladakh is a magnificent and an unexplored wonderland of the Himalayas. It is one place that is considered as a heaven by everyone who is on a lookout to satiate their indomitable love for adventure. Besides trekking in Ladakh, you can indulge in a series of adventure sports such as biking, water rafting, safaris, etc. Also known as the ‘Land of Passes, Ladakh forms an alluring part of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India.
Situated at an elevation of 2750 - 7672 meters above sea level, Ladakh is indeed blessed with incredible topography that comprises of hilly terrains, high altitude peaks and the lush green grasslands. Adventure fanatics from across the globe visit Ladakh as there are plethora of trek trails and trekking options available here. Set amidst snow capped hills, Ladakh is the center of Tibetan Buddhist culture. It is dotted with a number of colorful monasteries. Some of the popular tourist hotspots in Ladakh include Alchi and Nubra Valley. Apart from this, Ladakh is also a land that is popular for the rich heritage and culture. It is home to the rare wildlife including the Tibetan antelope, ibex and yak. Still unadulterated by modernity, Ladakh is where you’ll experience life coming to a standstill when you directly communicate with the nature and serenity around.
History of Ladakh
Earliest inhabitants of the region were Indo-Aryans. Ladakh was under the rule of Kushana Empire in the 1st century AD and Buddhism spread via Kashmir and eventually to western Tibet. In the medieval period, due to several Muslim invasions several Balti people converted to Islam. Dogra Zorawar Singh invaded Ladakh in 1834 and annexed the area to the Sikh Empire. The region was divided into two district of Leh and Kargil in 1979.
Stok Kangri Trek is an ideal summit trail for adventure seekers and avid mountaineers. Held every year in the summer season, this 8-day trek allows breathtaking views of glaciers and Zanskar Range. In the month of January, hundreds of trekkers reach Leh to explore Chadar trek in the Zanskar region which remains cut off by road. Suru Valley and Markha Valley is one of the most rewarding trails in Ladakh.
Bike Trip to Ladakh
Riding a bike to Ladakh is a dream of many. From Manali or Jammu, one can drive all the way to Leh, depending on the weather and road conditions. Crossing mighty mountain passes and small villages with unique culture is a major highlight of a bike trip to Ladakh. Upon reaching Leh, one can plan expeditions to Pangong Lake, Tso Moriri, and Nubra Valley by bike.
While riding from Manali, one can explore Keylong, Sirsu, and Tanglang La mountain pass to reach Leh in about 2 days. Whereas, on a bike trip from Srinagar to Leh, one can ride past places such as Zoji La, Kargil, Dras, and Lamayuru. Rated among the many dangerous pathways, a drive to the Khardung La and further down to the Nubra Valley, acknowledging well about Leh Ladakh tourism also calls for some serious aldosterone rise. A ride through the agape valleys run riot by the tributaries of Shyok and observe the improbable sand dunes of Hunder inviting the visitors with appreciating historical myths. A walk towards the ancient monasteries of Diskit and Samthanling is known to unfold many legendary anecdotes.
Ramble up to the world’s third highest pass of Chang La to witness the ravishing view of the Pangong Lake and experience the true thrills and shrills about Leh Ladakh tourism. Ladakh is well decorated with numerous silt stupas across many depreciated halts, however, topping the recommendation list of Leh Ladakh tourism, the city dots with many monasteries like Hemis, Thiksey, Tangtse, Stok, Spituk, Naropa Photang and a few more.
Interesting facts about Ladakh:
Ladakh is the highest residential point in India and it is situated along the banks of the Indus River.
It is also the least populated area in India.
Despite being a dry place, Ladakh is home to more than 200 species of birds.
It is home to the world’s highest optical, in-framed and Gamma ray telescopes.
The twin-humped camel can only be found in India in Ladakh.
Have you heard of the Magnet Hill? This ‘gravity hill’ located near Leh creates such an optical illusion that the downhill road actually seems to look like it is going uphill. Objects, especially cars when left in neutral, appear to roll ‘uphill’, defying norms of gravity.
The Khardung La Pass at 5,359 meters is the world’s highest motorable road.
Ladakh tourism helps bring out the best of the land showcasing its rugged and stark beauty to all those who visit these lands. Plan a sojourn here and fill your memories with Ladakh famous places and experiences.
Timings: Best Time to Visit
There are those who swear by winters in Ladakh and then there are those who prefer summer. At the end of the day, it depends on your preferences – the region offers unprecedented beauty and thrilling experiences whenever you visit. While winters are harsh, the region brings to life adventures and exhilarating experiences that are one of a kind. Winter is also when there are fewer crowds, allowing you to enjoy the hills and valleys at your pace.
Undoubtedly, summer is when tourism in Ladakh is most exciting as the city is buzzing with more activity. The district explodes with colours and warmth. You have more access to every corner and the beauty of the place is simply breathtaking. Winter is from mid-October to March when the temperatures drop to sub-zero, and most hotels and sightseeing places are closed. Summer, or the peak tourist season, begins from April and goes on till July. You can also visit from mid-September to mid-October when the true beauty of Ladakh can be experienced.
How to get to Ladakh
By Road - Ladakh is at a distance of 434 km from Srinagar and 494 km from Manali, and it is quite convenient to hire a cab or a jeep from either of the two cities. You can also book a seat on a JKSRTC bus. If you are feeling adventurous, you can bike to Leh from Srinagar, Manali or Chandigarh. Winters might not be a good idea for this as the highways are shut due to heavy snowfalls. If you do have to take the road, May to September is the ideal time.
By Rail - You can take a train up to Jammu Tawi (700 km from Ladakh) from most of the major stations in India, such as Delhi, Kolkata or Mumbai. From there you can hire a cab or once again, board a JKSRTC bus to head further on.
By Air - Leh is the nearest airport and has good connectivity to Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar, Chandigarh and many other major cities in India. From Leh, you can book yourself a cab to any of the places that you are interested in visiting.