Leh Ladakh does not need an introduction for all the travel aficionados out there. This incredible place is nestled in the Himalayas, and travellers have been spinning tales around this wonderful land for quite some time now.
The moment you step there, you will be greeted by the snowy peaks, winding roads with specks of greenery, and rugged landscapes. Although, some areas may seem barren it almost always adds to the beauty and allure of the place. Some of the most attractive places which draw tourists are Pangong Lake, the Magnetic Hill, and the monasteries, in general. Moreover, adventure tourists also love the spot for its trekking and hiking routes. If you want a dose of religiosity, then you can head to the Buddhist centers there. Add to it the mighty Zanskar Valley, which will give Kashmir a run for its money. It is needless to say that Leh Ladakh is one of the most dramatic places on the Indian map.
Background of Leh - Ladakh
The place is synonymous with the ‘land of High Passes’. Before you venture into the moon land’s realm, it makes sense to know about the backstory. Some people called the place Maryul, while others called it Kha-chumpa. You will be fascinated to know about the oldest immigrants or inhabitants called Dards and Mons.
The Dards entered from Gilgit, while the Mons entered from Himachal Pradesh. They were an Indo-Aryan race. Buddhism also spread its roots in Ladakh on its way to Tibet. In the 16th century, Islam had also penetrated the nation.
But the Mongol invasion was quick and overpowered the early entrants. Ladakh has seen war happening between the Tibetan empire and China. You will be amazed to know that Leh was one of the most remote areas there. Today, it is connected by one single highway, which connects it to Srinagar and Tibet. The Dogras eventually lay control over Ladakh in 1834.
Popular Tourist Attractions of Leh - Ladakh
Ladakh is situated at a very high altitude, with barren slopes and rugged landscapes. There are very few trees, yet you will never hear of a water shortage in Ladakh. The snow that melts from the peaks in summers supply water to various households in Ladakh. You can visit this all-season tourist spot at any time of the year. In the summer, you will be able to witness the waters of the pristine lakes. The Tso Moriri Lake is one of the most popular lakes that tourists talk of. The Pangong Lake stretches across two countries and is spread across 100 km.
If you happen to visit the spot in the winter months, you will find snowfall and the rivers will have frozen. It is at this time, of the year, that the Zanskar Valley freezes into a white kingdom. It is not only the beauty of the place, that beckons people. You can also blame the culture. The people of the valley are extremely welcoming. You will find the culture resembling Tibetan culture, in many ways. It is a place, which is never devoid of festivities. You will find some festival or the other one, at various times of the year. The Buddhist festivals are big attractions.
Some of the must-visit places there are:
- Pangong Lake
- Magnetic Hill
- Zanskar Valley
- Khardung La
- Nubra Valley
- Tso Moriri
- Shanti Stupa
- Thiksey Monastery
- Stok Palace
- Hemis Monastery
- Likir Monastery
- Diskit Monastery
- Leh Palace
Activities That You Can Indulge In Leh - Ladakh
You will find many bike enthusiasts from around the country, travelling to this magical wonderland on bikes. However, it is just one of the interesting activities that add to the aura of the place. There is something for all ages right there. It is a place which is not limited to adventure sports.
Jeep Ride – You can head to Leh in a jeep from Manali. It will offer you the panoramic views of the exquisite landscape and scenery. While you are travelling from Manali, you can click the most awe-inspiring pictures of the place. You should also visit the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary on a jeep. Here you will come across wildlife inhabiting altitudes of 4,000-9,000 feet. Snow leopards are often spotted on such high terrains, so keep a look out for them.
Trekking – It is one of the activities that draw the adventurists and fitness enthusiasts. It is a challenging experience due to the harsh and rough terrain. The weather can go awry at any moment. Be prepared with all the snow-arsenal, and you will surely make it. There are quite a few trekking trails, and that includes the Chadar trek and the Spituk Gompa trek.
Camel Safari – You can also embark on the camel safari, atop the two-humped camels. Watch the mysteries unfold before your very own eyes, while these Bactrian camels take you for an eternal ride. Apart from camels, you can also ride the yaks.
Skiing – It is another activity that will see you wading through the snow, uninhibited in the winter months. Heliskiing is also quite famous in the Zanskar Valley.
River Rafting – This is another activity, that will provide you thrills and excitement. The river rafting adventure from Phey to Nimmo is a delight on its own. There are various difficulty levels, and your trainer will decide, what suits you best.
Motor Biking – If you want to explore the streets of Ladakh, you have got to do it on a bike. June to September is the best time to do so. The tour will take you through some of the top routes from Leh to Sham Valley, Nubra Valley, and Pangong Lake. A road captain will lead you.
How To Spend a Few Days in Leh - Ladakh?
Located at a high altitude of 8,370 feet, you cannot understand this wonder unless you are there. You will find unspoiled beauty in this rugged and majestic place. You can visit the place during the months of April and May, which is the ideal time. Lake Pangong is the spot, where a scene from the movie 3 Idiots was shot. Thus, making it all the more famous. You can even camp there, with your family and friends.
Thiksey Monastery is also quite popular today. It is a 12-storied complex that houses over 500 monks. You must visit the place for some enlightenment. Khardung La Pass is one of the highest motorable passes, which you can visit. The pass acts as the gateway to Nubra Valley and Shyok Valley, which are wonders in their own right. Take a Cruiser to cross the mountains and valleys. Nubra Valley is famous for its white sandy deserts and the Bactrian camels. The confluence of the Shyak and Siachen rivers is also located at Nubra Valley.
The Tso Moriri Lake is what dreams are made from. It is located at an altitude of 15,000 feet above sea level. The blue waters of the lake are a spectacle in itself. If you have a penchant for wildlife, you should head to Hemis National Park. These are a few of the places, while there is more.
How To Reach Leh?
You can reach the place through two main ways.
You can take the road trip from Manali or Srinagar.
If you are interested in air travel, you should take a flight to the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airport, which is 4 km from Leh city center. If you travel by air, you will be able to enjoy the stunning aerial views of the place.
You can also disembark at Jammu Tawi station, which is 700 km from Ladakh. Hire a cab to reach Ladakh from there.
Places to Stay at Leh - Ladakh
The people of the Union territory are very hospitable. You will not find a dearth of homestays, lodges, hotels, and resorts there. The Grand Dragon Ladakh is one of the best places, you can stay at. Apart from that, there is The Zen, Hotel Shambhala, and Hotel Ladakh Palace, to name a few.