Magnificently rough and arid, Ladakh is all about exceptional delights! Surrounded by dramatic mountains, it is a land of charming lake, picturesque Buddhist Gompas adorned with murals, fluttering prayer flags spreading the spiritual messages, fascinating trekking routes, ancient civilization, traditional houses, lovely people, and glacier-melt mountain streams. Whether you wish to sit pretty in the lap of Mother Nature or plunge into adventure activities, Ladakh is the perfect choice. It is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir which is known the world over for its extraordinary beauty. Ladakh derived its name from the high altitude mountain passes. “La” means passes and “Dhak” means many, hence, Ladakh means a land of many passes.
It is the largest town of Ladakh located at an altitude of 3,505 m above sea level. The wonderful Zanskar River flows through it. Some of the famous attractions in Leh are Leh Palace, The Victory Tower, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa and The Shanti Stupa.
It is a charming valley which once served as the trading route that connected eastern Tibet with Turkistan via Karakoram Pass. According to the local scholars its original name was Ldumra (the valley of flowers). Diskit, headquarter of Nubra Valley, offers tranquility in plenty. Diskit Gompa, Zimskang Museum and Khardung La Pass.
This mesmerizing lake surrounded by towering mountains is located at an altitude of 4,350 m above sea level. It is undoubtedly the most popular attraction of Ladakh. It’s a blue-blackish lake is 5-6 km wide and around 144 km long with half of it running to the other side of the Indo-China border.
It is the second largest town of Ladakh located along the banks of the Suru River (Indus) at an elevation of 2,676 m. It is also called the Apricot city as it’s famous for its apricots. It offers great opportunities for trekking, mountaineering, camping and river rafting. There are two famous imambaras in Kargil namely, Trespone and Sankhoo.
Adventure activities in Ladakh
Ladakh is a heaven for adventure enthusiasts. There are many wonderful passes here which makes a road trip in Ladakh an adventure. Khardungla pass is the highest motorable pass in Ladakh, situated at the height of 17,582 feet. Other adventure activities you can enjoy are trekking, mountaineering, camel safari on a two-humped camel, archery and white water rafting.
Buddhism in Ladakh
Buddhism is the religion of Ladakh and it is dotted with many beautiful monasteries where Lord Buddha and his various incarnations, known as Bodhisattvas are worshipped. Many tourists come here to learn about the ancient Buddhism. The Buddhists of Ladakh regard His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as their supreme spiritual leader and as living incarnation of Buddha.
When you are in Ladakh do try its local food which is nutritious and mildly flavoured. The meat dishes are usually accompanied with vegetables such as potatoes, pumpkins, beetroots, and beans cooked in different ways. Thukpa, a thick soup with vegetables and momos stuffed with vegetables or meat are the popular dishes.
Shopping in Ladakh
Explore the markets of Ladakh for a variety of amazing handicrafts such as Pashmina shawls, stoles, woolen garments, Thangka paintings, Tibetan jewellery, traditional Ladaki jewellery, Buddhist masks, prayer wheels, carpets, rugs, etc.
How to Reach
The airport is located in Leh which operates flights to major cities of India like Srinagar, Delhi and Chandigarh. The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi (700 km from Ladakh) which is well connected with Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. Ladakh can also be reached by road through two main highways, one is Manali – Leh highway and the other is Srinagar - Leh Highway.