Posted 01 July 2022

Experience nature’s true beauty and best things to do in Ladakh

First of all, Leh and Ladakh are not synonymous. Ladakh is a district of Jammu and Kashmir and Leh is the district headquarters. The highest plateau in the country, Ladakh is a partnership area in northern India. Most of Ladakh are at altitudes above 3000 meters. Surrounded by the high Himalayas, Ladakh is a rain-shadowed region, a cold desert with high altitudes and one of India's most remote and least populated areas.

Ladakh is far beyond Leh. Some parts of Ladakh are so far away that they can only be reached on foot. Most of them are inaccessible to the private sector, and all are located in the highlands of the Himalayas. Therefore, even spending a lot of weeks exploring the entire Ladakh region may not be enough. Don't overload while planning the itinerary for the Ladakh excursion.

As a district headquarters and a meeting place for all tourists visiting Ladakh, Leh town offers the largest tourist facilities close to the material comforts familiar to the city. While enjoying this convenience, remember that Ladakh is a cold, high-altitude desert.

Below are the list of 7 best things to do in Ladakh -

1. Hemis National Park in Ladakh

Hemis National Park, located in eastern Ladakh, is also known as the snow leopard capital of India. Founded in 1981, this national park is best known as the world's densest snow leopard habitat. Another highlight of Hemis is that it is the only national park north of the Himalayas. Hemis National Park is documented to be home to 16 mammals and 73 avian species.

Activities:

  • The Rumbak Valley bird-watching experience
  • Discover animals like the snow leopard while trekking in the park
  • Travellers can also try Markha Valley Trek, which leads to Hemis

2. Diskit Monastery in Ladakh

Places of interest in Ladakh cannot be completed without mentioning the Diskit Monastery. Also known as Diskit Gompa, it is one of the largest and oldest monasteries in the Nubra Valley. The aura is calm and healing, so one only needs to visit to feel enlightened. The Diskit Monastery was founded in the 14th century by the founder of the Gelug School, Je Tsongkhapa's avid student, Chanzem Zellerabzampo.

Activities:

  • Get blessings from the Cho Rinpoche statue
  • Appreciate the 106-foot Jampa Buddha statue on the hill at the foot of the monastery

3. Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh

Located at an altitude of 4,350 meters on the border with Indochina, Lake Pangong Tso is a highly viewed charm of Ladakh. It is one of the biggest salt-water lakes in all of Asia. It occupies an area of about 100 km. 2/3rd of Lake Pangong Tso is in Tibet, but 1/3rd is to the east of Ladakh. It offers a magnificent environment and is only 160 km from the city of Leh. In winter, the lake hardens and the ice-skating festival is held here. For a small fee, the inner line permit can be charged to the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary of Leh.

 Activities: 

  • Join the Ice-skating Festival
  • Enjoy a campfire while staying at the Ladakh Pangong Retreat Camp
  • Take an awe-inspiring sunrise with the camera
  • Enjoy bird watching with seagulls, ducks and vines

4. Chantis Stupa in Ladakh

Built between 1983 to 1991 and about 5 km from Leh, Chantis Stupa is a white dome-shaped stupa on Chancepa Hill. Overlooking the Leh city, it is a highly demanded place to visit. For a depiction of Lord Buddha’s life, gilt panels are installed on the stupa’s walls. One can catch the most picturesque sunrise and sunset from here. The first floor of these two storied structures has a Buddha statue. This Buddha statue is in a sitting position kept on a pedestal and is seen to be turning the Dharma chakra.

Activities:

  • Meditate at the Buddha Hall
  • Go around the stupa
  • Enjoy the picturesque sunrise and sunset and spectacular scenes of the surrounding area
  • See various Buddhist reliefs

5. Royal Palace in Ladakh

The Leh Palace was erected in 1553 AD. The Leh Palace is located on Tsemo Hill and was once the dwelling of the Leh family. The palace is similar to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. It's a little small, made of sand, wood, mud and stone. This nine-storey building is now a gallery displaying all the royal property. It is also popularly known as Lhachen Palkhar and is open daily from 7 am to 4 pm to common people. The view from the palace top is absolutely breathtaking and mesmerising. The Leh Palace is currently under the Indian Archaeological Research Authority (ASI) jurisdiction. In the late 19th century, it was under attack by the Dogra Army and was uninhabited by the royal family who emigrated to Stoke Palace.

Activities: 

  • Admire the stunning views from above
  • Admire the impressive architecture
  • Visit the on-site museum with royal property, jewels, murals, tankers, costumes and more

6. Lake Tsomoriri in Ladakh

The Pristine Lake Tsomoriri, remote from the Himalayas, is popularly recognised as the largest alpine lake in all of India. Situated above 1500 meters above sea level in uneven scenery, it appears to be a gift from nature. Because of the high altitude and difficult journeys, fewer tourists visit this spot. One can see the surrounding shadows in the crystal-clear water of the lake. The terrain of the quiet environment of the snow-capped barren hills looks surreal.

Activities:

  • Camping in the nearby village Corzok
  • Enjoy the wonderful sunrise
  • Click on the unforgettable photo
  • Enjoy the peaceful and beautiful scenery

7. Namgyal Tsemo Gompa in Ladakh

Founded in 1430, Namgyal Tsemo Monastery was and is in the landscape background of the famous Leh Palace. Being such an exemplary view, the monastery enjoys this scenic location and is a highly demanded excursion terminus in Leh. The plains, the snow-capped summits of the Zanskar Mountains and the beautiful scenery of the Indus River are breathtaking. The highlight of the star is the 3-storey high-gold statue of Maitreyan Buddha. The statues of Guanyin Bodhisattva and Manjushri Bodhisattva are some of the other attractions. There is also a large assortment of delightful murals. The walls of the auditorium are festooned with stunning paintings.

Activities:

  • Admire the 3-storey high golden Maitreyan Buddha statue
  • See the beautiful collection of frescoes and ancient Buddhist manuscripts
  • Note the mural paintings in the auditorium
  • Admire the Zanskar Mountains views, the Plains and the Indus River

Read more about: Here are the best reasons to explore Ladakh

How to travel to Ladakh?

By plane and by road, both travel options are available to go to Ladakh. Travelling to Ladakh via railways is not possible because of the absence of a rail network in Ladakh.

  • By plane: The airport of Ladakh is situated in Leh city. There are systematic and consistent flights to Leh; these also include direct flights to cities such as Srinagar and Delhi. If the climate is nice, then one can take a direct flight to Leh for spectacular views of the Himalayas. In the wintertime, when the alpine pass is closed, flying to the Leh city is the only way to arrive in Ladakh.
  • By rail: The railhead closest to Ladakh city is in Jammu. Railroad to Leh is honestly an ambitious project that is announced for future travel ease. Once that's done, it's an engineering wonder which will take several years to complete.
  • Transportation: Public transportation amid Ladakh and any other parts of India runs through Leh. One can roughly plan out a date for the trip to Ladakh, and if the itinerary is flexible, then one can utilize any private taxi booking site to find fellow travellers online and share a ride with them. One can figure out the information about these fellow travellers, specify requirements and discover the ideal travel companions to share the Ladakh ride with, which in turn will reduce travel costs. Car-pooling is also a great help in preserving the environment, especially in such scenic places.

Travelling for tips to Ladakh

  • Leh is the only place where you can get modern conveniences. Stocking up here on what you need for the rest of your trip to Ladakh is a must, including stuff such as a self-driving road trip to Ladakh or fuel for a bike tour.
  • Leh has a hospital only operated by the Indian Army. The hospital has a separate tourism section. Altitude sickness is the most common complaint amongst tourists. A small and portable oxygen cylinder is available in Leh and you can take it with you whenever you leave Leh and travel to higher and remote areas of Ladakh.
  • Ladakh's growing popularity as a tourist destination only means one thing that Leh'saccommodation options are increasing each year. With the rapid penetration of cellular networks and the internet, people in this remote area have connected to the outside world; this gives them a stronger idea of what tourists need. From luxurious hotels to affordable mansions to individually designed host families, Leh has plenty of accommodation for every kind of budget.
  • The foodiesare offered Leh delicacies that make them forget to isolate their whereabouts. From wood-fired pizza to rich Thupkas, Leh has everything. During the stay in Ladakh, the best food item one can go for is the fresh apricot juice. Many recommend the sea buckthorn juice which is good, but apricot’s juice is a unique flavour to try.
  • Cellular and digital communication, especially in remote areas such as Ladakh, has changed significantly in recent years. Therefore, one does not need to take any special precautions like satellite phones to keep in touch.
  • While travelling alone, it ishighly recommended that one joins another solo/group trip. Take it as an opportunity that you would like the company to fill up your car space. Exploring remote areas while budgeting for solo travel is possible this way. Shops and restaurants here usually issue such notifications from fellow travellers.

Ladakh Climate

The desert-like dry climate is emblematic of Ladakh; dry winds all day long and hot and humid summers define Ladakh’s weather. During the Leh trip, one will face a cold desert-like climate, specifically in October-March. In winter, Leh's temperature becomes extreme and drops below freezing. Winter days in Ladakh are sunny and bright. The lowest winter temperature recorded in Leh is -23°C.

Trekkers and mountaineers relish the climate of Ladakh. Given the limbs you are facing here, be sure to wear winter protection, snow boots and woollen clothing. During

December/January, the influx of tourists is relatively low. However, Ladakh's main season begins in April and lasts until mid-May. Therefore, well-planned Ladakh tour packages show great demand in these months.

For the remaining year, the climate is hot in the mountains, with summer temperatures rising to 30°C. Sightseeing is busy during the summer days, but enjoys the cool breeze at night. Leh's rainfall averages 90 mm per year, which is rare in winter.

Best time to travel Ladakh

  • April-June:April-June is the ideal time to visit Leh. The sun shines brightly and keeps the daytime temperature warm. Leh has a beautiful clear blue sky, but remember that the sun here has the strength to give a nose burn for travellers who don't wear layers of heavy sunscreen.

Leh reveals another kind of frozen beauty in April as walking through snow-capped mountains and frozen lakes. Leh feels different when it recovers from the freezing winter.

  • July-August:Landslides and downpours may occur during the monsoon season, from July to August-end.
  • September-October:After September, the light cold begins in Leh, but the sun continues to shine. Trekkers consider this period a perfect time for trekking.
  • November-February: Winter months, i.e. from November to February, are not preferred to visit Leh. The winter of the "Roof of the World'' can be unbearable. Most trekking routes will be closed after November due to heavy snow, Liker to Kahltsey hike being the exception. Chadder trekking is best done from January to mid-March.

Monsoon months (July-end to August-end) and the winter months (November to February) are usually off-seasons.

Conclusion

Be it for a solo visit or a trip with family and friends, Ladakh is an ideal spot. From national park to lake, you can find every element of nature in its highest form of beauty here. To wrap it all, if you wish to visit Ladakh and spend some quality time in the lap of nature, then you can choose to visit it in the months of April-June or September-October. However, it is best to plan the trip well to ensure that you carry everything that you might require to keep you safe and make your stay comfortable.

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