Ladakh - Land of High Passes
There are few places left in the world like Ladakh, where, the forces of nature conspired to create a land of fantasy & reality... a landscape of extremes... desert & blue waters... burning sun & freezing winds... glaciers , sand dunes , mystic culture and magnificent monasteries .
Ladakh lies at the border with Tibet at the most eastern corner of the State of Kashmir, bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram. Ladakh is a mysterious land shrouded in myths and legends. Much of its ancient history is known only through the mythology of its people as its written history is of very recent origin. Known for centuries as the 'land of passes' (La-pass; Dakh-land), Ladakh was described by Fa-hian, who travelled across its inhospitable terrain in 399 A.D., as 'The land where snow never melts and only corn ripens'.
People of Ladakh are mostly Mahayana Buddhists belonging to the sect of the Red or Yellow Lamas. The faces and physique of the Ladakhis, and the clothes they wear, are more akin to those of Tibet and Central Asia than of India.
Ladakh offers an amazing journey of exploration, learning & understanding!
Nearest Airport : Leh Airport is connected with direct flights from Delhi.
By Road : Leh is connected by road from Manali (430 Km) and Srinagar (420 Km).
Best Time to visit and climate:
The best time for this trip is May - September. October onwards is winter when Ladakh becomes extremely cold and some of the higher passes get blocked by snow frequently.
|Best Time to Travel|
Short Trip : https://www.monkfoot.com/tours/glimpse-of-ladakh
Longer Trip : https://www.monkfoot.com/tours/ladakh-roof-of-the-world
Places to visit in Ladakh
Ladakh has hundreds of places worth visiting. Whether you are a motorbiking or trekking enthusiast, seeker of culture or admirer of beautiful landscapes Ladakh has many options to enchant you.
From mesmeric high altitude lakes to the world’s highest mountain passes to ancient monasteries, mesmerizing landscape to unique Ladakhi culture and landscapes, please find below the major attractions that you should consider keeping in your plan.
Leh City : Leh the capital city of Ladakh is located in the Indus river valley at a crossroads of the old trading routes from Kashgar, Tibet, and Kashmir. Its importance as a trading town slowed down with the partition of British India, It's a small town, easy to get to most places by foot. The old town is directly to the east of the main market area.
The historic Old Town of Leh is generally called Kharyog (mKhar-yog), referring to the residential houses and community spaces directly below the seventeenth century Leh Palace. The palace stands as a dominating figure along the edge of the hill with other houses built along the gradient, in order of the importance of positions held by each family in the royal court. The Old Town bears testimony to the architectural heritage and socio-cultural history of Ladakh.
Tso Pangong : A 135km long deep blue stretch of water trapped in the middle of a stark mountain landscape at an altitude of 4300m. The highest salt water Lake in the World, shared by two countries India and China.
Despite having seen it in pictures, having read a great deal about the landscape of the region and fully knowing what to expect, its expanse and beauty still takes everyone by awe and surprise.
The lake keeps changing its shade as the day progresses. It has deepest hues of blue when the sun is high, with a turquoise shade near the bank and deeper hues in the middle of the lake.
Tso Moriri : The Tsomoriri (approximately 19 km long and 7 km wide) Lake is a beautiful mountain bounded expanse of water. Even though Tso Moriri is smaller than Pangong Tso and fewer people come here, it is more beautiful in some ways.
In summer, the surrounding mountains retain a little bit of snow lurking on their peak, adding a nice bright contrast to blue and brown landscape. On the bank of the lake is a wide stretch of lush green grass like you would see nowhere else in the desiccated Ladakh. Horses graze unattended along the greens. The area surrounding Tso Moriri is a wild life reserve and one can see Tibetan wild ass (Kiang), marmots and quite a few migratory birds.
Next day drive to Tsokar (dry lake) to Leh via Taklang-la (5300m) (world's second highest motorable pass). Halt at top of the Taklang-la pass for few minutes to enjoy the panoramic view of awesome landscape of Rupshu valley.
Nubra Valley : From Leh, a road runs north over the Khardung La (5,359 M), the second highest motorable pass in the world. Beyond the pass is the wide, flat Nubra Valley , crisscrossed by the winding channels of the Shyok and Nubra Rivers. This is a one-of-a-kind place. A desert at 3,000 mtr above sea level, surrounded by craggy brown mountains with snow-covered peaks. On the Shyok (pronounced Shayok) River, the main village, Diskit, is home to Diskit Monastery. Hundar was the capital of the erstwhile Nubra kingdom in the 17th century, and is home to the Chamba Gompa. Between Hundar and Diskit lie several kilometres of sand dunes, and (two-humped) bactrian camels graze in the neighbouring "forests" of seabuckthorn.
Dah Hanu: Drokpa Village : Drogpa areas ( villages of Dha Biama, Darchigs, Garkon, Batalik ) which are entirely populated by last remaining remnants of the Dards in Ladakh. Dards are considered as last race of Aryans confined to Indus Valley. These villages have considerable anthropological and ethnographic importance. Chhopo sRubla, the harvest festivals is the most popular festival in this area. These are considered rare and eventful the year of Drogpa in which all the people of these villages come out in their colourful traditional dress and festival moods to celebrate the festivals.
Turtuk, a little hamlet, flanked by Nubra valley on one side and Baltistan on the other, lies along the shores of the Shyok River is a curious little settlement of 4000 people a delightful oasis covered with blooming apricots and walnuts, along with the usual poplars and willows. Turtuk is the last northernmost village before Pakistan – Occupied Kashmir. Turtuk was part of Pakistan – Occupied Kashmir up until 1971 when Major Chewang Rinchen got the village under India’s command. However, initially, villagers were skeptical of India, as many have relatives on the other side. This is where Baltistan region starts and has its own history and culture.