The untold beauty of Ladakh lies in its snow capped mountain ranges extending from the Kunlun range to the Great Himalayas. People from all strata of society want to be able to experience the grandeur of Ladakh. In its serene demeanor, it impresses with its beautiful lakes, snow-capped mountains, bright blue skies and unimaginable terrains which form the perfect location for an adventurous trip.
Located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, Ladakh, is fondly known as the ‘Land of High Passes’ by the Indo-Aryan people who reside in the area. Due to its high altitude, it is one of the last places in India that retains its natural beauty and is home to 225 species of birds such as finches, robins, redstarts and Hoopoe.
How to get there?
The best way to reach Ladakh is to take a flight from Delhi to Leh from some of the major airlines such as Jet Airways and Indian Airlines. If you are planning to travel by road then you can choose between Manali and Srinagar. Your journey will take around 2 days (474 kilometers) from Manali to Leh via Keylong with a night stopover in Sarchu. And if you are taking the Srinagar road to Leh you will be covering a distance of (434 kilometers) with a night halt at Kargil. All the roads generally remain open during the month of May to October. The Pathankot Srinagar highway is generally preferred by bike riders as the elevation is quite less while the road which passes through the Rohtang Pass is usually not preferred as the elevation is quite high.
Best time to visit
It is said that the best months to visit Ladakh are between June and August when summer is at its full bloom and the snow has melted. The colorful Hemis Festival is also held during this time. While a lot of experts are of the opinion that the best time to visit Ladakh is in the months of December to February i.e. during winter when you can experience Ladakh in its raw form, when there are only a handful of tourists. This is the time when you can go on one of the most adventurous treks of the world, Chadar trek- walk on the frozen Zanskar River for almost a week. However, each time of the year has its own perks of travelling to Ladakh.
TEMPERATURE: Maximum 21° C, Minimum 7° C
By early June all the road routes to Leh open up and one can travel to Leh and Ladakh on the SRINAGAR-LEH-MANALI CIRCUIT. If you wish to see ice-covered roads and mountains enroute this is the time to visit Leh and Ladakh. However, for the initial 7-10 days the roads are in an unstable condition due to snow-slides and road blocks. By mid June, the snow starts melting, so on your journey you will come across various water crossings and streams.
Which places to visit in Ladakh?
Ladakh, still largely untouched by human and and technological advancement, boasts of nature’s beauty in its most raw and pristine form. From azure lakes to high mountains, Ladakh is perfect for seeking solace amidst nature. The several Buddhist monasteries and gompas give a glimpse into the rich heritage of the region, apart from blessing the soul with peace. There is certainly no dearth of places to visit and activities to do in Ladakh. Be it white water rafting in Zanskar or watching the river flow beside the sand dunes of Nubra, each corner of Ladakh always has something to keep you captivated.
- Nubra Valley
North of Leh, lies a valley that offers stupendous scenery with lush green villages. The Nubra valley is formed when the Shyok River meets the Nubra River to form a valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram ranges.
It is thought to be one of the most cultivable lands in Ladakh. This valley is a treat to the senses with its beautiful apple orchids and various other organic treats. Nubra Valley stands apart for its vast orchards, the scenic vistas, the Bactrian camels and the breathtaking monasteries. Nubra’s sand dunes lend the valley its intriguing uniqueness.
Diskit, Hunder, Sumur, Panamik and Turtuk are the major attractions of this resplendent valley. This valley comes close to the utopian image of nature’s bounty and urges one to be awe struck by the surreal beauty that is present all around.
Distance from Airport – 121 kms from Leh Airport
- Thiksey Monastery
The largest monastery in Ladakh, the Thiksey Monastery is around 600 years old. The monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism and is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
The monastery houses one of the finest examples of Ladakh’s architecture and art. One of the main points of wonder and amazement is the 49 ft high statue of Maitreya in the Maitreya Temple which was installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970. A visit to this monastery is indeed a treat for anyone who looks forward to a majestic, over powering sight coupled with spiritualism and peace. This monastery is not only for those who seek spiritual calm but for those who are interested in the heritage and culture of the Tibetan Buddhists.
Distance from Airport – 20 kms from Leh Airport
- Hall of Fame
The Hall of Fame is a museum primarily dedicated to the heroic sacrifices of the Indian Army and their brave fight against terror and infiltration. It is also a narrative on the vibrant cultural heritage of Ladakh.
Leh’s War Museum or The Hall Of Fame as it is known brings together the varied worlds that co-exist in Leh. The museum has a training activity ground that gives tourists the opportunity to experience first-hand the strict regime and training that the army officials must go through. The museum is thus not only a center for knowledge but also one where you get a true insight into a soldier’s life and learn about the various hardships that the Indian army has to face. You thus come out with a feeling of pride and admiration for these brave souls who risk their lives to save ours.
Distance from Airport – 1 km from Leh Airport
- Zozila Pass
At an elevation of 3528 meters, the Zoji La is a high mountain pass in the Indian occupied Kashmir. Located on the Indian National Highway, the Zoji La is a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Zoji La was seized by Pakistani raiders in 1948 in their campaign to capture Ladakh. The pass was captured by Indian forces on the 1st of November in a daring assault code named Operation Bison.
The pass is maintained by the Border Roads Association and the personnel are assigned with the task of clearing the snow- bound stretch across Zoji La along the 434 kilometer long Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Highway. One can experience this historically vital pass and experience the breathtaking scenic view of the hills while visiting the Zoji La pass.
Distance from Airport – 307 kms from Leh Airport
- Sumur Vilage
The quiet, peaceful and the lesser known village of Sumur is located in the Nubra Valley of the Ladakh region in the Trans-Himalayan mountain range. The village of Sumur is located at an altitude of around 10,827 feet above sea-level. Situated at a distance of 110 kilometres from the town of Leh, the roads leading to the picturesque village, crosses a bridge near the confluence of the Nubra and the Shyok River, the roads then curves sharply south.
The village of Sumur is famous as it is an important stop since the holy monastery named Samstem Ling Gompa is located close to the village. The Samstem Ling Gompa is the most important monastery of Nubra Valley and one is required to hike for around 45 minutes to reach the monastery. Sumur seems to be a perfect option for all those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life
Distance from Airport – 120 kms from Leh Airport