Thursday, January 7, 2010

Leh Ladakh – Himachal Pradesh

Leh Ladakh – Himachal Pradesh
 An Exotic Destination 

Leh, (3505 m) the capital of Ladakh is a fascinating destination. Age-old monasteries, quaint lanes, colorful markets and stunning views of the Himalayas, make Leh an exotic destination. Leh is where your adventure in Ladakh begins. You can go trekking through the mountainous terrain of Ladakh, enjoy a game of polo in a high altitude arena or watch an archery contest where local residents compete in a contest that remains unchanged by time.
The two of the world’s most powerful mountain ranges – the Karakoram and the Great Himalayas – make Ladakh a much preferred adventure destination. Mountaineering, white water rafting and wildlife tours are other adventurous attractions of Leh Ladakh India. With all its majesty and amazing sceneries, Leh valley attracts tourists from all over the world, to its lap all through the year…

Leh is the capital of Ladakh, which is a district of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh is located in the state of Jammu & Kashmir in the extreme north of India. The valley of Ladakh is situated at quite a high altitude, which varies from one place to the other. Infact, the geographical location of Ladakh ranges from 9,000 ft high at Kargil to 25,170 ft high at Saser Kangri, in the Karakoram Range. Due to its high altitude, Ladakh experiences a very cold climate, where even the summer temperatures rarely exceed 27 deg C.
Best time to visit Ladakh June to October

Route Map:
View Larger Map

How to Reach:

Indian Air Lines operates regular flight to Leh from Delhi, twice a week between Leh to Jammu and once a week from Srinagar. Jet Airways Operates daily flight between Leh to Delhi.

There are two overland routes the Srinagar to Leh road remains open from early June to November. The Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation operates regular deluxe and ordinary bus services.


The Taxi ( car/gypsy) are available for hire on fixed point -to-point tariff, For visit to the newly opened areas of Nubra, Changthang and Dah-Hanu , it is mandatory to engage the services of the registered /recognized travel agency for making all the requisite arrangements including internal transport.

Places of Interest:
There are a number of places to see in Ladakh. Some of the Prime Attractions are

It’s a well known tourist spot with an airstrip, above 50 kms from Upshi.The roads leads to Khardung la (in north) and to Kargil (in west). Tourism, H.P. SRTC and J&K SRTC operate Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Manali and LEH. The bus journey between Leh and Manali takes about 19 hours or two days with an overnight halt in camps at Serchu or Pang. Gypsy and jeep taxis are also available, both at Manali and Leh.

The Nubra valley:
The Nubra valley lies in the north of leh and is accessible over the Khardungla pass, 5600 Mtrs, which is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. The valley is on the trade route from leh to Khangar via Samsar and Karakoram passed. Apart from unparraled trekking opportunities, the valley has several Buddhist Gompas.  Diskit Gompa is 350 years old and is situated on the highest point near the village in which there are about 120 Resident Buddhist Monks.

Kargil, 204 kms from Srinagar in the west and 234 kms from Leh in the east, is the second largest urban centre of Ladakh and headquarters of the district of same name. Kargil serves as an important base for adventure tours in the heart of Himalayas. It is also the take off station for visitors to the erotic Zanskar Valley. Kargil mainly serves as an ideal base station for adventure activities like trekking, mountaineering, camping, river rafting etc. In high Himalayan Valleys.

Zanskar Valley:
This main valley is approximately 300 kms long and is ringed by mountains. This is an isolated Buddhist land, wedged between the main Himalayas and the Zanskar range.. Access to it is therefore over one of the high passes. Zanskar Valley presents the World with Buddhist monasteries, mountain passes, glaciers and breathtaking landscape. This region can be visited by Trekking, but this is not easy. The treks are often rough & steep, the passes high and the climate - extreme. There are some strenuous treks starting from Lahaul Valley through the Zanskar region and ending in Padum or further to Lamayuru and Leh.

Drass Valley:
Drass Valley is an enchanting valley formed by the Drass River which rises in the Machoi glacier near the famous Zojila Pass. The river is joined in its course by many other rivers and streams flowing in from snowfields. The river Shigar flowing in from the north drains into the Drass River. As the snow melts in summer the volume of this river rises considerably The terrain is characterized by rock and stones with the occasional greenish patches formed by willow and groves. The short summer season in the Drass Valley begins in May.

Indus Valley:
This valley is located at a height of 3500 m, and  is sand-witched between the Zanskar Range on its South and the Ladakh Range on its North, This is the geographical backbone, and the historical heartland of Ladakh. The bulk of the population resides along the Indus. Its main attraction is the numerous Buddhist monasteries, quaint villages, fairs, festivals and bazars.

The Pangong Lake:
This route takes the visitor past the picturesque villages of Shey and Thikse, and turns off the Indus valley by the side valley of Chemrey and Sakti. The Ladakh range is crossed by the Chang-la (18,000 feet / 5,475 M) which despite its great elevation is one of the easier passes, remaining open for much of the year even in winter, apart from periods of actual snowfall. Tangse, just beyond the foot of the pass, has an ancient temple

Rohtang Pass:
Manali is the starting point of this dramatic journey and Rohtang Pass(13,000 ft/3,978 m), 51 kms away is the first important milestone on the Manali - Leh road as it is the gateway to the Lahaul and Spiti valleys.

Sarchu is at the other base of Baralacha - La (4892mts.), the end point of Himachal Pradesh and located on the way to Leh - Ladakh.. There are various trekking routes to Spiti, Chandertal and Zanskar start from here. The strategically important base for the Indian army and the cold desert with moonscape remains open for just four months in a year.

Tsomoriri Lake:
This is a Mountain Lake situated in the middle of the elevated valley of Rupshu. This valley is inhabited by a small scattered population of -Changpas- nomadic shepherds who also engage in trade and work in caravans in Ladakh, Lahaul and Spiti. The Area is rich in wildlife .

An expedition to this area takes the trekker to the picturesque villages of the Drok Pa people. Though Buddhist in religion, they are distinctly different, both racially and culturally. Two of their villages Dah and Biama may be visited. The route following the Indus after Khalaste goes past the attractive villages of Domkhar, Skurbuchan and Achinathang, set amidst fields of ripening crops and orchards of fruit trees.

Shanti Stupa :
The Shanti Stupa was built by a Japanese order and was opened by the Dalai Lama in 1985. From the top, one can view the exotic locales nearby. The stupa is located at a distance of 3 km from the Fort Road.

This is the  most beautiful camping in the Ladakh region on the way of Spituk Monastery, which is just 5 kms from Leh town. Alchi Choskor is the only monastery in the Ladakh on flat ground, around 69 Kms west of Leh

Shylok Valley:
The Shylok Valley is the valley of the river of death - Shylok River. Rising from the Khumdang glacier this can be approached from Shylok. The river freezes in winter forming an easy access between the Khaplu and the Nubra valleys. In summer, as the snow melts in the uplands, the river overflows its banks and inundates the surrounding plain for many kilometers, at times creating a vast marsh. During this period, the Shylok River has to be crossed on rafts of inflated skin.

Salt Valley:
The Salt Lake Valley is one of the widest open areas in Rupshu. It can be approached from Leh across the Tanglang La pass. The valley has a length of about 20 km and a maximum width of about 7 km. Its average elevation is 5,000 m.

Padum is 464 Kms. From Leh and 234 Kms away from Kargil. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Zanskar valley, today it is the administrative headquarter of the region and probably the most populace settlement of barren Zanskar region. There is a tiny market along the main road.

Shey Palace And Gompa:
 Situated on a hillock 15 Kms upstream from Leh, it was once the residence of the royal family. According to tradition, it was the seat of power of the pre-Tibetan kinds.             A 7.5 mts high copper statue of Buddha, plated with gold and the largest of its kind, is installed here.

Stok Palace and Museum:
The palace of the banished royal family, Stok has a museum which displays fabulous period costumes and jewelry of the royalty along with exquisite Thankas representing the life style of Shakya Muni. Interesting historical objects like coins, armor, weapons, precious jades and porcelain too can be seen here.


Leh is one among the few trekking places in north India that offers wonderful trekking trails. You can hit the route to Markha Valley from Spituk or take the Lamayuru gompa to Chilling trek along the Zanskar river. The another popular trek that can be taken is from Likir to Temisgam. June to October is considered to be the ideal time for trekking in Leh Ladakh.

The Yak milk chocolates and butter or a Buddhist bell is very famous.  A tourist can choose from a number of items from the local market that typically depicts the culture of Ladakh people in its best.

Where to Stay:
Finding accommodations in Ladakh, India is quite easy. There are various residential options available to suit everyone's budget. Ranging from hotels to paying guest accommodation, there are a number of places to stay in Leh Ladakh. Some of the best stays are

Where to Eat:

Restaurants in Ladakh offer many kinds of cuisine including Tibetan, Korean, Chinese, and Western dishes. Enjoy a culinary adventure on tours to Ladakh with Leh Ladakh, India.
Himalaya Café                        - for good Tibetan fare
Shangri La                              - offers Korean cuisine
Budshah Inn                          -  offers Chinese and Kashmiri cuisine
Dreamland Restaurant           - offers Tibetan, Kashmiri, Indian and Italian food.
Penguin Bar and Restaurant - has a German Bakery with a wide choice of baked goods         Mentokling Restaurant        - offers pizzas cooked over a traditional wood-fired oven
Pumpernickel German Bakery - offers lasagna and a fixed-price breakfast, as well as picnic meals.

Mountain Climbing   Cycling      Jeep Safari Tours     Yak Safaris      Mountaineering
Ladakh Trekking

Travel Tips:
·         All visitors must ensure that they are physically fit.
·         The best is to take plenty of water
·         It is an absolute must to carry skin creams, lotions and chapsticks.
·         One should also carry Sun Glasses, hats, Scarfs, thick cotton trousers / jeans for day use, wollen sweaters/ jackets, sports shoes, sandals with straps for rafting and evening wear and gloves.
·         Films and batteries for cameras should be carried in quantity, because re-supply is not assured.
·         A powerful flashlight is a must for those interested in studying monasteries, as the interiors are dimly lit.
·         Photography of bridges, airfields and military installations is strictly prohibited.
·         One should carry regular medicine for Diarrhoea, Gastric, Acidity, Headaches, Fever, Cold and Congestion.

Happy Journey!!


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  2. Hey Jay,
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