Ladakh ("land of high passes") is a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir that lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent.It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir. Leh, the capital of Ladakh is situated towards the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir. It lies on the crossroads of the historic 'Silk Route' from Sinkiang to West Asia and to the plains of India. The landscape of Leh also provides for a number of adventure activities such as Mountaineering, White Water Rafting and Trekking in Ladakh.
Leh and Ladakh can be the amazing places that you can visit mainly after the onset of summers. This is the mountainous region which is rich in landscape beauty as well as the holiday at this place can be completely off from the complete civilization.
PLACES TO VISIT
This is one of the famous attraction is the Leh Palace which was built in the seventeenth century. This palace reflects the architectural expertise as well as skills of those times. From the top of the palace you can enjoy the splendid view fot he surroundings.
There are many Buddhist monasteries in Leh city which are very ancient. Some fot he Gompas as well as monasteries comprise of Namgyal Tesmpo Gompa, Shanti Gompa, Sankar Gomba, Hemis Gompa, Shey Gompa, Sankar Gompa as well as Matho Gompa.
Hemis National Park:
This national park is located around forty kilometers from Leh mainly on the banks of Indus River. It is spread over a large area and it is an adobe for Leopard, Tibetan antelope, ibex, serow as well as some kinds of birds.
The Khardung La Pass at 18,380 feet, is the highest motorable road in the world, and a gateway to the Nubra Valley. The beauty of the Nubra valley is that it allows you to look over the Indus valley in the south and the mountain ridges of the Zanskar. You will get to see some rare and interesting plantations, quaint hamlets and high altitude desert landscapes. You will find the Siachen Glacier to the north of the valley and the Sasser Pass to the northwest of the valley.
It’s difficult to choose the best amongst so many beautiful monasteries in Leh-Ladakh. If you want your touristy dose of seeing monks on orange robes performing quaint rituals, a visit to the Lamayuru monastery is a must. It is one of the oldest and largest monasteries of Ladakh, located approximately 127 kms from Leh. You will love seeing the beautiful caves carved out of the mountains at the monastery. You could also consider going to the Stok, Hemis, Thiksey, Spituk and Shey monasteries if time permits.
To visit this lake which is the world’s highest brackish lake at 14,256 feet (above sea level), you’ll have to undertake a 160 kms journey from Leh. Starting from Thicksey village, you will start crossing large mountain ridges that just don’t seem to end. And by the way, once the mountains start, even crossing distance worth 10 minutes can take you hours. The topography is harsh but breathtaking. Once you finally arrive at the Pangong Lake, you will be lost in seeing the deep mesmerizing blue color. Don’t expect boating facilities here!
The Zanskar mountain range covers an area of 7000 sq. kms and is without a doubt, one of the most desolate places in the Himalayan range. Zanskar is known for its awesome scale. The tributaries of the Zanskar River are famous for seasonal white river rafting. Deep gorges, snow glaciers and a number of small religious spots dot the Zanskar valley. Be careful of the time of the year you choose to visit Zanskar. It’s closed for a significant time due to extreme snowfall and winter.
Located on a hill in Chanspa, Leh, the Shanti Stupa is one of the most magnificent and peaceful Buddhist monuments you could possibly see in the extreme north of India. Did you know, the Shanti Stupa was enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself? It has relics of Buddha at its base. It’s amazing to know that the Shanti Stupa was built to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. What’s more, it also offers panoramic views of the landscape around it.
HOW TO REACH HERE
Indian Airlines www.indian-airlines.nic.in operates 3 flight in a week between Leh and Delhi, 2 flights in a week from Jammu and once in a week from Srinagar. Jet Airways www.jetairways.com also operates six flights in a week between Leh - Delhi and Go Air www.goair.in operates daily flight Between Leh - Delhi.
The J & K State Road Transport Corporation (J&K SRTC) operates regular Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Srinagar and Leh on this route with an overnight halt at Kargil. Taxis (cars and jeeps) are also available at Srinagar for the journey. Groups can charter Deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zangskar) from the J & K SRTC at Srinagar.
Manali to Leh - Since 1989, the 473 km. Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second overland approach to Ladakh. Open for traffic from around mid-June to early October. This high road traverses the upland desert plateau of Rupsho, altitude ranges from 3,660m to 4,570m. A number of high passes fall enroute among which the highest one known as Taklang-La is world's second highest motorable pass at an altitude of 17,469 feet/5,235m. Himachal Pradesh Tourism, HRTC and J & K SRTC operate daily Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Manali and Leh. The bus journey between Leh and Manali takes about 19 hours or two days with an overnight halt in camps at Serchu or Pang. Maruti Gypsy and jeep taxis are also available, both at Manali and Leh at quite reasonable rates.
Srinagar - Leh - 434 Km
Manali - Leh - 473 Km
Srinagar - Kargil - 204 Km
Delhi - Leh - 1047 Kms
Leh - Kargil - 234 Km
Kargil - Padum (Zanskar) - 240 Km
Leh - Deskit (Nubra Valley) - 118 Kms.
The cheapest way to travel within the region is by public buses, which ply on fixed routes according to fixed time schedules. The most comfortable and convenient though expensive mode of travel, however, is by taxi, which are available for hire on fixed point-to-point tariff. For visits to the newly opened areas of Nubra, Dah-Hanu, Tsomoriri, Tsokar and Pangong Lakes it is mandatory to engage the services of a registered/recognized travel agency for making all the requisite arrangements including internal transport.