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Ladakh Tourism And Travel Guide
-19.6° C / -3.3° F
May to September
5 to 8 Days
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (3 kms)
Jammu Tawi (680 kms)
Nestled amidst the Great Himalayan range and the Kunlun range, Ladakh is the largest province in Jammu and Kashmir. As its name suggests, Ladakh is truly a land of high passes and arid mountains. The spectacular blue lakes, the vast valleys of the Indus, Zanskar and Nubra, the fluttering colorful prayer flags across the sky and the many monasteries, stupas, and mosques make up unforgettable tourism in Ladakh. Some would even say it is paradise. And we do agree, as described in this short travel guide to Ladakh below.
How to Reach
One can reach Ladakh via Srinagar in the Kashmir Valley. Moving through the Zoji-La pass, this route is approximately 435 km to Leh. A night halt in Kargil is recommended to adjust to the increasing altitude. There are several deluxe and ordinary buses running on this route on a daily basis. One can also hire cars, jeeps or take taxis from Srinagar. The Manali-Leh road of approximately 475 kilometers is an alternate route to reach Ladakh. The route encompasses numerous high passes including the highest motorable road in the world, the Taglang-La pass. Several deluxe and ordinary buses run on this route starting from Manali with a night stay in Sarchu or Pang. Taxi services are also available.
The Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport has direct flights from Delhi on a daily basis and from Srinagar and Jammu on a weekly basis. There is a fixed schedule but they are subject to change depending on weather conditions.
The closest railway station is in Jammu, with trains from Delhi and other parts pouring in on a daily basis. One can either take flights from here or use the road route from Srinagar.
Best Time To Visit
Given that the average altitude is around 3000 meters, Ladakh can get really cold. It is basically inaccessible during the winter that lasts for 5-6 months every year. The ample snowfall causes the highways to close along with all local business. But Ladakh is very pleasant and inviting during the months of May, June, July, and August. Although the nights in May and August might get a little chilly, days are very pleasant with temperatures going up to 16 degree Celsius. During June and July Ladakh is bustling with activity. The treks start around this time of the year and most of the events and festivals happen during these months too.
Things To Do
In Ladakh one can truly experience the wonders of Mother Nature; the sheer magnanimity of the place is overwhelming. The entire landscape is decorated with mountain ranges, passes, lakes, monasteries and other monuments that are sure to take your breath away.
Nature at its best:
The Zanskar and Ladakh mountain ranges will definitely leave you spellbound. The sparkling snowy peaks, steep terrain and the sound of the gushing waters make for a magical experience. Not to mention the numerous passes and the many adventures they offer. The Khardung-La pass is known by the fact that it is the highest civilian motor road in the world paving the way for a unique riding adventure. There are a variety of treks for amateurs and professionals alike. The Trek to Drang Drung glacier and the Chadar trek on the frozen Zanskar River are a few that would leave you enthralled. While the frozen Zanskar River is awakened during the summer, one could even try white water rafting.
Ladakh is blessed with lakes so serene that time just ceases to exist. The endless Pangong Tso Lake made famous in the Bollywood film 3 Idiots is a fitting example. The lush green pastures beside the vivid blue Tsomoriri Lake lined by mountains is everything one can ask for while seeking a soothing experience.
The Freak Ladakh:
The Nubra Valley brings the Arabian Nights experience to Ladakh. The Valley is covered by magnificent sand dunes dancing to the rhythm of the wind and is what's left of an ancient ocean bed from before the tectonic plates shifted to give rise to the Himalayas. The two-humped camel too can be spotted here.
The magnetic hill takes the craziness to a whole new level. Leave your car at the base of the hill on neutral and watch the vehicle slowly roll uphill. Well, magic does exist!
Ladakh is a favorite destination for star gazers and astrophotographers. The night sky in Ladakh will definitely leave you wondering about the vastness of our universe and the grand scheme that we are a part of. Being able to view the Milky Way and hundreds of shooting stars adds to this ‘out of the world’ experience.
What To Eat
The multicultural inhabitants of Ladakh introduce a unique style of cuisines to this terrain. The Ladakhi cuisine includes a lot of cheese and meat. Visitors have a wide variety of food to choose from. There is the famous Stew, the delicious Thukpa, and the steamed dumplings. Do try the Tingmo (Tibetan Bread) when in Ladakh.
There are lots of things you can take back from Ladakh besides the memories. The Pashmina shawls, stoles and other woolen garments are very popular with tourists. There is, of course, the turquoise jewelry crucial to the Tibetan culture of this terrain. Head to the Women’s Alliance, the Cottage Industries Exposition in Changspa and the Ladakh Art Palace for the best shopping experience. The Tibetan prayer flags and prayer wheels are available almost everywhere in Ladakh. The Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom and the Tibetan Handicraft Emporium are some of the many places you can visit.