WOW!! Come to this exotic place and experience a heavenly and blissful feeling, a destination where one can experience serenity, the beauty of nature at its best and amazing destinations. Due to geographical proximity, the region resonates Tibetan culture with a dominating presence of Buddhists. The region is filled with astonishing landscapes of snow clad mountains, valleys, lakes, monasteries.
The region is a ‘ dream come true’ to adventurists, nature-lovers, and leisure-travelers in equal measure with its high altitude mountains, valleys, and lakes. One can also have a first-hand experience of border areas of India with China and Pakistan – ‘so near yet so far!’.
Each trip to Ladakh is sure to leave some lasting memories and urge one to embark on the next trip soon for a repeat ‘once in a lifetime’ experience as there are numerous places to visit in Leh Ladakh.
Top Places To Visit In Ladakh:
- Tso Morori Lake: This lake also called ‘Mountain Lake‘ is surrounded by the Himalayas and is a fresh- brackish water lake. This is the largest high altitude lake in India at an altitude of 4,600 m. It is located within Changtang Wildlife sanctuary.The lake spreads to a distance of 28 Kms from north to south with a median depth of 100 feet and is also a notified wetland reserve. The lake is home to many endangered species like a bare-headed goose, great-crested grebe, brown-headed gull and Himalayan hares. The 19th-century monastery nearby houses Shakyamukhi Visitors can also see nomads and grazing herds of yaks near the lake.
- Pangong Lake: It is close to Chushul mountains and lies at an altitude of 4,350 m. The lake changes color every season from green to purple to violet and blue. The lake is close to Darbuk village which has a memorial for soldiers who lost their lives during Indo- China war of 1962. Various birds such as Siberian crane can be spotted here. The lake is a breeding ground for these birds.
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- Tso Kar Lake: Called as ‘White Lake’. A place of utmost tranquility and the smallest lake in the region. The harsh lands surrounding the lake is home to varied bird species – Ducks, Geese, and Grebes are found in plenty. Breeding ground for black-necked
- Nubra Valley– Nestled in Karakoram range, Nubra is rich in fruit and vegetable production. Rare medical plants of sea buckthorns and alfalfa are found here. Summers are generally warm between 5-40*C and winters are between -14-24*C. During summer a carpet of yellow and pink roses and in autumn wild lavenders can be seen. Sand dunes, Bactrian camels, Panamik Hot Sulphur Springs are the hottest attractions in this region.
- Khardung La Pass– At a height of around 18,380 feet, this is one of the worlds’ highest motorable road and is a gateway to Siachen and Nubra valley. This was constructed in 1976 and was opened in 1988, but to go through the pass one needs to have special permits. The low oxygen levels can cause issues to travelers and in general, one should avoid exertion. There are buses from Leh – Nubra valley on a regular basis, but to admire the exotic flora and fauna of this pass it is preferable to travel by taxi.
- Lamayuru– Lamayuru is one of the oldest historical monasteries hardly with a population of 150 monks. The monastery also has a unique feature of an 11 headed, 1,000- eyed image of a Chenrizeg (Bodhisattva of compassion). Masked dances are performed on the 2nd and 5th month of the lunar calendar. ‘Yangdrung Kabgyat’ festival is organized around 17th- 18th day of the 15th month of the lunar calendar. It is colorful to see people from the lower valley (sham) and upper valley (stod) dressed in colorful attire and attractions.
- Magnetic Hill– At 14,000 ft. this has the unique anti-gravitational force and is one of kind ‘magnetic hill’ in India. It is puzzling to see vehicles parked in neutral gear within an earmarked area move up the hill on its own !! This is surely a place where science makes you thrilled. Sindhu river flows to the east of the hill and mostly a stopover for travelers to Ladakh.
- Chumathang – A high altitude pasture land inhabited by shepherds of Langtang Valley. Barley and wildflowers grow in this region. There are many natural hot water springs in this village on the banks of Indus river. Villagers boil potatoes, eggs, and rice in the hot springs.
- Chang La – At an altitude of 17,600 ft. this is the world’s 3rd highest motor-able road. Additionally, it has the distinction of having the world’s highest operational research center of Defense Research and Development Organization [DRDO]. Due to oxygen drop caused by high altitude, it is safe for visitors to remain here for a maximum of 15 – 20 minutes beyond which they may experience acute mountain sickness which can cause breathlessness. As a precaution, visitors must carry Oxygen cylinders and medical
- Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary: An unique wildlife sanctuary and home to the black-necked crane, Tibetan wild ass. Indus river flows through the sanctuary. Can visit only from June to October.
Can’t Miss: Stok Kangri Trek 2019 (9D/8N)
Must See: Budget Ladakh Bike Trip (6D/5N)
- Hall of Fame Museum: Built in memory of soldiers who sacrificed their lives during India – Pakistan war this is maintained by Indian Army. The museum showcases the arms, ammunition seized from Pakistan army and pictures/biographies of brave soldiers. On display are also equipment, apparel used by Indian army in Siachen glacier which is one of the most treacherous military bases in the world.
Don’t Miss: Manali To Leh Ladakh Bike Trip (10D/9N)
Must Visit: Markha Valley Trek 2019 (9D/8N)
Monasteries In Ladakh Region:
- Spituk Gompa– This has 100 monks and a giant statue of Goddess Kali. It is a beautifully carved region atop a hill. Has a collection of antique arms, icon, masks, Thanka paintings The view of the monastery is truly amazing, the winds at the night may really freeze your bones. Every year ‘Gustor Festival’ is held between 27th and 29th of the 11th month of Tibetan calendar – ‘Mask Dance’ by monks is the highlight of the festival.
Suggested : Pin Parvati Trek (10D/9N)
Do Check : Buran Ghati Trek (8D/7N)
- Namgyal Tsemo Gompa Monastery – Built to signify the visit of Dalai Lama. This place has more influx of Buddhists. Volunteers can stay and assist the daily chores of Gompa as well as enjoy some spiritual and peaceful days here.
Must See : Kasol Kheerganga Trek (5D/4N)
Can’t Miss : Kareri Lake (8D/7N)
- Hemis Monastery– One of the biggest monastery in Ladakh, the annual Hemis festival is organized around July every year. The sacred ritual of masked parade carries a lot of importance, Tsu Chu is called the 10th month of the Tibetan Lunar Calendar. The monastery celebrates a two-day commemoration, of Guru Padmasambhava who is a spiritual reincarnation of Gautama Buddha.
Suggested : Hampta Pass Trek (5D/4N)
Don’t Miss : Kanamo Peak Trek (7D/6N)
- Likir Monastery– Has an exotic woodwork. It also houses a museum which tells the history of Ladakh. Visitors can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the site.
Must Visit: Chandrakhani Pass Trek (2D/1N)
Do Check : Beas Kund Trek (3D/2N)
- Suru valley– The trek to Suru valley to the Glaciers of Drung Drung is a thrilling experience for trekkers. It is one of the toughest treks and only recommended for experienced trekkers.
Can’t Miss : Deo Tibba Base Camp trek (6D/5N)
Must See : Tosh Valley Trek (2D/1N)
- Shanti Stupa– Located on the hilltop of Champa in Leh. A place to find serenity, inner peace, meditate. This place has a good night time view and a meditation around the stupa helps to calm down the mind. This is a white-dome structure dedicated to Buddhism. The structure exemplifies Indo-Japanese relations. This was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomo Nakamura. This structure commemorates 2500 years of Buddhism and has a huge idol of Buddha.
Suggested : Prashar Lake Trek (2d/1N)
Must Visit : Parang La Trek (9D/8N)
- Leh Palace– The stone and wood ruins are a must for anyone who is interested in historical architecture. The place was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century and is 9 stories The top floors accommodate the royal family and lower ones are used as storerooms and horse stables. It gives a panoramic view of the Stok Kangri and Zanskar ranges across the Indus Valley. The palace has a huge collection of relics, paintings, utensils, and cutlery. The palace is now under the control of Archaeological Survey of India [ASI] for preservation and restoration of many artifacts and relics.
Don’t Miss : Langtang Valley Trek (8D/7N)
Check Out : Ghorepani Poon Hill Trek (7D/6N)
- Gurudwara Patthar Sahib: Constructed in memory of Guru Nanak’s visit to Ladakh region. Located at Leh-Kargil road at 12,000 ft above sea level.
Can’t Miss : Sandakphu Phalut Trek (8D/7N)
Do Check : Phoktey Dara Trek (8D/7N)
- Vajra Bhairav Shrine – Located in Spituk and is a part of Indus river valley. Dedicated to Lord Vajra Bhairav considered being a master guardian of protection as per Tibetan Buddhism. Deity is open to devotees only once in a year and on all other days hidden in the sanctum sanctorum due to supernatural The walls of the temple are adorned with 600+-year-old paintings.
- Serzang Temple – Constructed in the 17th century using copper and gold. Has a 30 ft high copper gilt statue of Buddha. Unique paintings are being The temple has a Serzang (Ecstasy of Divine) manuscript copy of the Sacred Tibetan Buddhist Canon featuring silver, copper and gold letters.
- Jama Masjid: Largest mosque in Ladakh. Built by Moghuls in the 17th Symbol of Islamic culture and heritage. Has ‘Shahi Hamdan Memorial’ dedicated to Mir Syed Ali Hamdani, a Sufi Saint. Only men are allowed to enter this holy place.
- Zanskar River: Also known as the ‘Grand Canyon’ of India, trek over Zanskar river is one of the most popular things to do in Leh Ladakh. The Chadar Trek is undertaken in November when the river is frozen. In summer, the sparkling white waters of is best for rafting. Zanskar Rafting expedition ranks among one of the best river trips in the world. The water here is cold all through the seasons. If extreme adventure sports activities are planned then take a ride down the river. Also, it is good to carry first aid kits with essential medicines, energy bars/refreshments, bathing suits and bags to carry wet clothes. It is preferable to undertake rafting in small groups.
- Donkey Sanctuary– The donkey sanctuary is a unique feature of this area that cares for old and sick donkeys. This place acknowledges the use and contribution of donkeys in the region (for carrying loads). This place in Leh is very lively and friendly with lots of humorous posters and scribbled wall drawings.
- Gol Market / City shopping: A small tourist market is a friendly place and a ‘go to’ place for regular items, bags, and camping supplies. The souvenirs and artifacts put up on the roadside are easy to bargain. The Pashmina wool dresses are also good to look out for. For Tibetan jewelry, motifs, carpets, and woolen clothes the city shopping area offer good choices.
Things To Do:
- Watch the sunrise by lake
- Camp in the mountains
- See the majestic Himalayas reflected in the crystal clear skies
- See the confluence of an Indus and Zanskar rivers
- Watch Moonrise
- Be a part of nature and lose yourself
- Pile some stones and make a wish
- Visit a local family for cultural interactions – Ladakh is a very friendly place and locals have many experiences and stories to share. The children and monks are helpful and will make us feel at home and get to know Ladakh better.
- Watch Indian flag flying high in Army posts!
- Pray for Peace!
- Play Ice Hockey
- Play Archery and Polo
- River Rafting
- Meditate in the open monastery
- Spend time with the monks
- Eat hot food in chilly weather!
- Take selfie with camels
- Cook pasta in hot water springs
- Dart in pleasure
- Walk at your pace
- Breathe fresh air
- Watch and enjoy the snowfall
- Go biking on some of the highest motorable roads
- Click photos as much you want
- Watch funny road-signs of ‘Border Roads Organization’
- Sit quietly by the lakeside
- Shop local items and apparel
- Stargaze – Visitors interested in Astronomy can click photos and know the route of stars traveling.
- Watch snow leopards
- Taste regional menu – The region has their own cuisine from Ladakhi Yak Cheese, Momos, Thupka, Qahwa, Butter tea and Kashmiri foods which are quite different from what many of us are used to!.
Shopping and Night Life:
Some of the best shopping and nightlife destinations in Leh Ladakh are:
- Moti market– Shawls, Woollen Garments, Accessories
- Zanskar Arts– Metal items, Handicrafts
- Monastery Market– Tibetan Silver Jewelry, Accessories
- Women’s Alliance Of Ladakh-Pashmina Wool Garments, Ladakhi Jewelry
- Himalayan Pashmina Shawls– Scarf, Pashmina Shawls
- Main Bazaar Accessories-Tibetan Silver Jewelry, Apparels
- Evergreen Arts Emporium-Rings, Necklaces
- Library Road Vegetable Market-Vegetables, Spices, Footwear
- Attend a concert of traditional Ladakhi songs – Held outside the Spituk Gompa – From 5.30 pm onwards.
- Watch Dance Shows – Held close to Leh- Ladakh, the famous dance here is the Jabro dance performed in festive seasons. The dance reflects the rich culture and literature of the place. – From 6 pm
- KC Garden Restaurant- This is famous for parties, merrymaking and just to watch people. Famous for full moon parties. Open from 6 pm onwards – Vibrant and active between the months of May-August.
- Evening streets of Ladakh- Famous for artworks and souvenirs, craft stones and scarf of various kinds. Small cafes serve breweries, tea, and
- Watch wildlife @ night – Go flippant with the wildlife in Ladakh and enjoy animals ranging from Yak- Urial, to some bird species. The National and the Hemis park situated at the Indus river bank includes the catchment area of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak streams.
- Sumptuous dinner – Beans, Beetroot, Potatoes are accompaniments to different meat dishes and an added spicy chilly sauce makes all the more exciting to taste and eat.
- Interested travelers can go to few of the available bars and discos.
Entry Timings and Fees – Places To Visit In Leh Ladakh / J & K):
Entry fee and timings for certain monuments and places of interest are as follows:
|Sr. No.||Monument / Place of Description||Entry Fee||Timings|
|1||Leh Palace||· Indians – Rs.15/- per person
· Foreigners – Rs.100/- per person
|07:00 AM to 04:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|2||Nubra Valley||· Rs.20/- per person (Inner line permit required)||08:00 AM to 05:00 PM|
|3||Shanti Stupa||—-||05:00 AM to 09:00 PM|
|4||Hall of Fame Museum||· Indians – Rs.10/- per person
· Foreigners – Rs.50/- per person
|09:00 AM to 01:00 PM & 03:00 PM to 07:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|5||Gurdwara Pathar Sahib||—-||06:00 AM to 07:00 PM|
|6||Likir Monastery||· Indians – Rs.5/- per person
· Foreigners – Rs.10/- per person
|09:00 AM to 01:00 PM & 02:00 PM to 06:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|7||Magnetic Hill||—-||08:00 AM to 05:00 PM|
|8||Khardung La Pass||· Rs.20/- per person (Inner line permit required)||09:00 AM to 05:00 PM|
|9||Jama Masjid||—-||05:00 AM to 09:00 PM|
|10||Spituk Gompa||· Rs.20/- per person||08:00 AM to 01:00 PM & 02:00 PM to 06:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|11||Namgyal Tsemo Gompa||· Rs.20/- per person||07:00 AM to 09:00 AM & 05:00 PM to 08:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|12||Pangong Lake||· Rs.20/- per person (Inner line permit required)||08:00 AM to 05:00 PM|
|13||Tso Moriri Lake||—-||—-|
|14||Group of Temples, Kiramchi||· Rs.15/- per person (For citizens of India, SAARC Countries)
· Others – Rs.200/ per person
· Free entry to children up to 15 Years of age.
|06:00 AM to 06:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|15||Ram Nagar Palace, Udhampur||· Rs.15/- per person (For citizens of India, SAARC Countries)
· Others – Rs.200/ per person
· Free entry to children up to 15 Years of age.
|10:00 AM 12:00 Noon / 02:00 PM to 04:30 PM – All days of the week.|
|16||Avantiswami Temple, Avantipur||· Rs.15/- per person (For citizens of India, SAARC Countries)
· Others – Rs.200/ per person
· Free entry to children up to 15 Years of age.
|08:00 AM to 06:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|17||Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden||· Rs.50/- per person for adults
· Rs.25/- per person for children
|07:00 AM to 07:30 PM – All days of the week.|
|18||Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Botanical Garden||· Rs.10/- per person for adults
· Rs.5/- per person for children (below 12 years of age)
|09:00AM to 0:700 PM|
|19||Chasme Shahi Garden||· Rs.10/- per person||08:00 AM to 07:30 PM – All days of the week.|
|20||Hazratbal Shrine||—-||09:30 AM to 05:30 PM – All days of the week.|
|21||Pari Mahal – Terraced Garden||· Rs.10/- per person for adults
Rs.5/- per person for children (below 12 years of age)
|07:00 AM to 06:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|22||Dachigam National Park||· Fees for Jeep Safari – As per # of passengers.
· Entry Fee – Rs.25/- per person.
|05:30 AM to 06:30 PM – All days of the week.|
|23||Shri Pratap Singh Museum||· Indians – Rs.10/- per persons.
· Foreigners – Rs.50/- per person.
|10:00 AM to 05:00 PM – All days of the week.|
|24||Mughal Gardens||· Rs.10/- per person||09:00 AM to 07:00 PM – All days of the week, except Friday.|
|25||Nishat Bagh||· Rs.10/- per person||09:00 AM to 07:00 PM – All days of the week, except Friday.|
Undoubtedly, Leh Ladakh is a paradise on earth and is a boon to Indians to enjoy the salubrious climate, unpolluted environment and natural wonders at its best. All of these, make Leh- Ladakh as a preferred destination for tourists. Memories of Ladakh will stay forever!
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