Ladakh is the largest province of Jammu and Kashmir in India. For it’s beautiful landscapes, barren cliffs and plateaus, elegant Himalayan mountains, high altitude desert and suitable spots for adventure sports, the place is extensively preferred to be visited by tourists from all over the world. Adventure lovers never want to miss the chance of trekking, rafting, hiking, mountaineering and white water rafting here. The Indus and Zanskar Rivers offer awesome opportunities for rafting, the later making it difficult yet exciting. Trekking options involve short terms as well as day long walks for visiting monasteries and monuments.
Celebrating numerous monastic festivals and annual events during winters, beauty of the place invites tourists from all over the world to explore the centurion old culture. Another lovely thing about the place to notice is the folk heritage and depth of the culture. Those who want to witness exciting archery contests, exclusive art performances and
Polo Cup love to plan a trip here. This outstanding tourist spot full of monasteries offer you the chance of spending your holiday in lots of calmness and pleasure.
When To Go:
Ladakh welcomes travelers all around the year, still the best time to visit for trekkers and tourists is from June to October. Heavy rainfall during November becomes the reason for closing of most of the mountain routes; only sham trek lovers will enjoy this period. On the other hand, those who are interested for Chadar trek should plan a trip there between January to March.
Temperature varies widely in summer and winter; the extreme temperature in winter is -20 degree Celsius while in summers, the highest temperature is 30 degree Celsius. April is the most favorable months when tourists like to visit Ladakh; most of the restaurants also start opening up this time.
Here is a rundown of all the exciting
things to do
in the valley of Ladakh…
Drass War Memorial
If you want to witness the sacrifice of the Indian Army during the Kargil War,
is a must go place. The most important thing to know about this special place is that you will feel proud to have safeguards like the Indian Army. Atmosphere is so patriotic and cool. As the Kargil war was fought here, the memorial has been built in the memory of the soldiers who died in the war. A solider there has been allotted at the Amar Jawan Jyoti point can tell you the whole story of war. Good food is available in the restaurant and cafes nearby.
If you are willing to shop, a store is there to offer winter wear and memorabilia. A small museum is also there to showcase a wide range of weapons used during the war. A documentary on the war is shown there that lasts for 45 minutes. Visiting to this place, you will realize the sacrifice of those soldiers who safeguard their people 24×7. The experience of troubles of those soldiers gives rise to shivering on your body and mind. The history, facts and stuffs from the war are well preserved in the museum making it a nice place to see.
Pangong Tso (Pangong Lake)
This is the place where some shots of the famous Bollywood movie ‘3 idiots’ have been taken. When you take a top view of this place, it looks like a painting. Mountains in this place are also different from other places making it unique and amazing. The only negative point to know about this place is that the oxygen level in this place is lesser than the normal so people who have breathing problems should not go to the
. This lake is nothing lesser than a paradise for photographers. The water of the lake is salty and not suitable for bath.
This place is extensive for the reason it changes colors every time with passing rays of sun and clouds. Temperature is not tolerant so cover yourself with warm jacket and winter wears. The pleasure and experience you will have here cannot be described in words that can be only felt by watching the natural beauty around the place. Undefined glimpse of blue rays on the lake make people desperate to visit their faster after reaching to Ladakh. This long and narrow lake freezes fully during the winter season; it is in the process of being identified as a wetland of international significance. This will become the first trans-boundary wetland in south Asia. Covering more than 600 kilometer square, this lake has its 60 percent in Tibet.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
Situated in the army region,
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
is a well maintained religious spot in the army area. Many army officers working in the Leh region have donated for development of this Gurudwara. Langar carried out here is fantastic for delicious meal and good servings. According to the local tale, a demon used to live here over the hill in ancient time and was killed in this place. Located on the Leh Kargil Highway, this Gurudwara also represents the story of a Sikh monk who used to meditate here and the devil threw a huge stone on him during meditation.
As per natives’ belief, the stone was melted in the shape of a body by the heat of the monk’s body. This place is maintained well by the Army. Army officers themselves prepare food for Langar every Sunday here. Although, maintenance of the building in this remote area is not easy still the Army work in an awesome manner to keep the place clean and peaceful. This place is nice for meditation. This beautiful place is enjoyed by people for the delicious feast and elegant surrounding. You will be able to bring memorable moments from this place back.
When you plan to visit to Leh,
is the kind of place not to be missed. This elegant Gompa is unique for beautiful wall paintings. The Stakna Monastery is situated on an isolated hill where landscapes are delightful. Although, there are also other Gompas in Leh, but this one is exceptional for its fantastic designing. Despite of being smaller than other Gompas, this Gompa has something special to be loved by tourists. Looking like a mysterious jewel, this building attracts peoples’ attention from far distance. This place is must visit for those who want to be in a fertile ground for realization for tantric adepts and initiates. This Gompa doesn’t charge any entry fees but wins people’s heart for donation.
You will need to cross the holy Indus river to reach there. Regarding interior, catchy murals have rich detailed design while the master statues are very ancient. Stupas with holy relics are good example of historical artwork. This well maintained monastery offers feast to everyone who visit there. A Bhutanese Scholar and saint, Chosje Jamyang Palkar established this monastery in the 16th century, the name of which means ‘tiger nose’. Actually, this monastery has been built on a hill with a shape of tiger’s nose, that’s why the name is Stakna Monastery. Representing marvelous scenic beauty, this monastery surprisingly has a 4 year old Lama who stays at the top floor. He meditates, recites books and mantras. Tantra pooja also takes place here on special dates.
, a well known lake in Leh is beautiful but not more than the road that leads to the lake. This hidden gem in Ladakh has not very good places to stay but you can opt for cheap homestays which are not very much comfortable. People having breathing problems can suffer with altitude sickness here so take care about it. Amazing views, refreshing environment and calmness of the place makes it simply outstanding. You will feel to be connected with super natural powers here, achieving lots of positive vibes. Some souvenirs shops are also there from where you can purchase local honey and other items.
As nights are so cold here, don’t forget to carry warm clothes with you. Catch the best time in morning to snap beautiful photographs. From the scenic route to breathtaking views at the top, everything is good about this place. A Tso Moriri Camp and resort is there where you can find the place stay but this place is protected as migratory birds habituate here for summers. You can walk down towards the lake from this resort. Apart from the natural elegance, the wild life makes the place more attractive; Kiang, red fox and various birds are there to catch your attention. Even sitting idle at a place and watching nomadic shepherds covering the height of 15K feet is a new experience for tourists.
The last chapel in the Alchi temple complex,
Manjushri Lha Khang
is a beautiful landmark to see in Ladakh. Showcasing four images in different colors, this place is surrounded by unique wildlife. Whether you talk about the strange looking elephants there or snow lions and local birds, all of them are good to be snapped for cherishing nice memories of your Ladakh trip.
There are four statues of deities, all of which are beautifully decorated and represent the power of the God of wisdom. Lovely location, ancient temple and colossal statues together make this place the first choice of tourists who want to see something new. A stunning image of Manjushri i.e. the Buddha of wisdom is the most wonderful thing you can see there. Elegant route that leads to this place is full of shops from where you can shop stones and bowls signing, statues, Buzios and Japs.
Sand Dunes Leisure Park
If you are in search of lots of fun and pleasure with promise of entertainment, nothing can be better idea than visiting to the
Sand Dunes Leisure Park
. This is one of the leading attractions for visitors to the Sumoor Nubra Valley. Situated at the extreme northern part of Ladakh, this cold desert is nothing but a wonder of nature. A variety of fun activities such as mountain biking, food and drinks, camel safari, nature walks and cultural programs are offered there to make your trip mind-blowing. Camping lovers also will not be disappointed here.
As the name suggests, you will be able to see sand dunes here which are rarely seen. Natives conduct ethnic cultural programs to entertain tourists and the conventional instruments there use for playing music are really unforgettable. The sheet of white sand all across the land is there where you will find way to ride over the two humped Bactrian camel. The temperature here is comparatively higher than Leh. Crossing Khardung La Can makes people suffer oxygen deficiency if they are not physically fit. However, the road is lovely and full of natural views. Sand Dunes Leisure Park offers a promising view to become an everlasting memory for you.
is a nice collection of heart catchy monastery paintings that depict the whole energy of Buddhism and showacases their meanings and symbols. A huge assembly hall is there where large group of monk prays, services, carry out rituals and teachings. In the central location of the monastery, this prayer hall bears the main shrine of the building.
A small courtyard is also there where people worship and do prayers. Mantras and rituals carried out in these kinds of places are very strong as they are results of real and tough spiritual practices. Western tourists never want to miss a visit to this place. Puja, a ritual of Tibetan Buddhism is followed with great dedication here which means going from strong inner journey by chanting mantras, interference instruments with high sound and pleasing statues as the form of God.
Hall of Fame
A brilliant museum,
Hall of Fame
is maintained by the Defence Department to offer respect to the thousands of military men who fought against enemies in the border bravely especially in the Kargil war. Travelling around this place helps you to know more about the fauna, flora, border and surrounding regions here. This is how you can know more about border area, fights there and duties of soldiers which they carry out with great sincerity.
You will not stay without saluting the Indian army after watching this place and also you will feel lots of respect for those brave Indian soldiers who fight in border so that we can sleep nicely at our places. Checking documentary of the war, remarkable weapons and details of soldiers who died in the Kargil war will increase your knowledge. The military style building also exhibits café area and obstacle course which is really inspiring.
Another lovely part of the Alchi complex,
Lotsawa Lha Khang
is something that represents a lovely picture of Sakyamuni Buddha in the central part and different mandals. It has been dedicated to Rinchen Zangpo, the great translator. The acochegante atmosphere, beautiful carvings and deep devotional feeling people experience here remains whole life in their heart as a sweet memory.
Energy of this mysterious temple is all dedicated to the master. Ultimately, you will experience a strong power of devotion in this temple. The ancient temple has two elegant statues of Manjushri and Shakyamuni. Wall murals depict mandals and bodhisattva images. You can hire a native guide for understanding iconography but remember that photography is banned inside.
Namgyal tsemo Gompa
This ancient styled Tibetan castle is a beautiful place where you can reach after a 30 minutes steep walk. From the top, you will be able to catch a nice view of the whole city and Indus valley. Wandering on the Stok Kangri Mountain is really something you won’t ever forget about the trip to Ladakh. This place is worth visiting to secure the panoramic view of Leh and watching the Leh palace from the top. Going inside in
Namgyal tsemo Gompa
is not possible without extensive arrangement for the same. Although, you will have to walk up a long distance to reach there but this will not disappoint you after watching the breathtaking view of the whole city. The place is not maintained well and lack of lighting, slippery steps, dampness and lack of guides make it uninteresting for many travelers. Walls are so old and their upper layers are peeling off. A flutter of prayer flags at the top makes the view spectacular with fabulous wall paintings. Assignment of an authority for safeguarding and maintenance of this place ill definitely improve the site. This ‘must go’ place represents magical energy all over the valley and mountains. Walk should be taken easy and enjoyed if you want to avoid tiredness.
In this way,
offers you to catch lovely natural views of mountains, valleys, treks, monasteries, lakes and mountain desert area. You will also get an opportunity to see the wildlife in mountainous regions. Remnants of ancient time are still available in some spots there; ancient temples and old statues bring the past years back to you for some time. Learning more about the Buddhism religion and mountainous culture is the best deal you can win by visiting to Ladakh. So are your ready to add one more precious gem in the collection of your beautiful memories about journey to fantastic places?