A Guide to Ladakh Travel
Jun 23, 2022
“Traverse through the rugged passes of Ladakh with your travel partners to get an indelible experience!”
“La” means high mountain pass and “Dakh” means a country, thus Ladakh means the “Land of High Mountain Passes”. It is the destination every youth dreams about to go once in their lifetime. Gifted with high mountains, valleys, lakes, high passes, unique wildlife, beautiful ancient Buddhist monasteries on a hilltop, and their chanting prayers, Ladakh offers you an absolutely different culture.
While some call Ladakh “Cold Desert in the Skies” some refer to it as the “Land of Moon”. The nicknames vary depending upon each traveler but the main definition they want to deliver is equivalent to heaven or magic. The terrain is defiantly harsh and dry and very desert and moon-like and it seems there isn’t much to see or do here. But, like the famous quote “don’t judge a book by its cover”, do not overlook this land by its geographical looks. There is plenty to do and see in this very land of Ladakh one must not miss during his lifetime.
Things to See and do in the terrain of Leh Ladakh
Actually, the landscape will force you to return here again and again. The serene Pangong Tso Lake to the valley of flowers, Nubra Valley, and Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world that offers excellent views of the Ladakh range and Karakoram Range are just a few of the few examples. There are Tso Moriri Lake, Sham Valley, clustered with numerous monasteries, and the exotic locales of Zanskar Valley and Padum Valley. For trekkers, Parang La Trek and Kang Yatse offer the most challenging and adventurous trekking routes. At Panamik, the hot springs on the outskirts are a sizzling experience.
More attracted to cultural aspects than natural? Then the famous monasteries in the high passes and ranges of Ladakh are purifying havens where one can find inner peace. The monasteries in Ladakh are magnificent and enchanting structures that still hold the Buddhist heritage alive. Pay the visits to the popular Hemis monastery, Thiksey monastery, Likir monastery, Spituk monastery, Takthok monastery, and many others to learn about Buddhist philosophy and calm your soul.
Also, enjoy that dizzy feeling of seeing miles of white sands spotted the two-humped Bactrian camels lazily toiling through the desert of Diskit. Hundar, another village on the Shyok side of the valley is a place of historical importance and is replete with orchards of apples, peach, and Apricots.
Ladakh is singled out as a unique wildlife destination, which boasts of being home to a number of exotic animals as well as bird species roaming freely in their natural habitat. Watch the wild animals in their natural habitat in Hemis National Park.
Last but not least, you can enjoy shopping for curios and souvenirs in the bazaars and markets of Leh at Tibetan Market, Moti market, Ladakh Art Palace, Tibetan Handicraft Community Showroom, or government-run emporiums, the choice is yours.
The Right Time to visit Leh Ladakh
Ladakh is an unequaled paradise, with clear, stunning views and warm and sunny weather during summers. And, sunscreens are a must! The mountains remain snow-clad and the lakes remain frozen showcasing a different kind of beauty altogether. Keen trekkers should also head to Ladakh during this time only. High altitudes are not a reason for much fear, however, it is better to get some first aid medical attention to acclimatize to the weather. But, there is nothing like the right time to visit for the enthusiasts.
Where to stay During Leh Ladakh Tour?
From Homestays to budget hotels, resorts, luxurious stays to camping in the forests or near the riverside Ladakh offers you all kinds of accommodations. Homestays are a wonderful opportunity to stay with and share the culture of the Ladakhi people in remote villages while trekking through the rugged habitat of the endangered snow leopard. By staying with the locals of Ladakh, you also help them generate income from tourism activities.
How to get to Leh Ladakh?
The motorbike tour is the most famous on the Leh Ladakh route. But even if you are not traveling on your motorcycle, there are plenty of ways to reach this ultimate destination. Leh Airport is connected to the major airport all over India. Buses can also be taken from Manali or Srinagar, a bus ride is worth taking to view the breathtaking beauty of the mountains.
More importantly, the tricky roads of Ladakh are also famous among groups of friends willing to travel via road on bikes. Ladakh is known as the Land of High Passes, so kick off a bike ride through some of the most breath-taking, challenging, and fascinating landscapes found on Earth.
People of Ladakh
Knowing a different culture and mixing well with the inhabitants, is what a vacation calls for. Trek in the rural villages of Ladakh and get exposed to the life and culture of Ladakhi people. The Ladkahis are strong and hardy like the rugged mountain with the kindest heart and sweetest hospitality personality.
They are ethnically and culturally different from people in the rest of India. Their features and physique resemble those in Tibet and Central Asia. The majority of people are Buddhist by faith. Engage in deep conversations with the Chang-pas, sheep-rearing herdsmen, and discover the mysteries of their lives.
An influx of Tibetan people has also led to people of mixed races, in turn, influencing Ladakhi culture and lifestyle. The major inhabitants include Dards, Mons, Baltis, and Archons. So explore their lives and customs in minute detail while trekking to their villages. Make your travel bags ready and the vacation is waiting for you.
Culture of Leh Ladakh
Get a glimpse of Tibetan culture in Ladakh as the culture of Leh Ladakh is quite similar to the Tibetan culture because of the region's close proximity to Tibet. Monastic rituals and festivals engage people throughout the year. The venues for religious feasts are the gompas and monasteries. Buddhist festivals draw crowds of tourists. Ceremonial and public events are accompanied by the characteristic music of Surna and Daman (Oboe and drum).
Get allured with the customs and festivals of Ladakh and seek happiness there! Be a participant in the New Year festival of Losar or witness the vibrant extravaganza of Ladakh during Sindhu Darshan celebrated on Guru Purnima. Dress in colorful attires and dance to the tunes in mask dances by the lamas of Hemis monastery on the festival of Hemis Tsechu or observe the cultural diversity of the various regions during the Ladakh festival.
For the cultural enthusiasts, Ladakh offers a range of festival celebrations centered on monasteries and their rituals sacred dance performances, and chanting mantras. Yuru Kabgyat, Phyang Tsedup, Dosmoche, Matho Nagrang, and Stok Guru Tsechu, are just to name a few! So plan your tour accordingly to be an active participant and seek happiness in the festivities. The colors of the Leh Ladakh will captivate your heart.
Food of Leh Ladakh
It’s good to be greedy when it comes to indulging in luscious food. Ladakh offers you the best exotic local cuisine which will make you drive! The Chhurpi, yak cheese would just melt in your mouth. Or gorge on a hot bowl of fermented bread soup, Tingmo or Skyu, a heavy pasta dish with root vegetables in the chilly mornings with some Khambir, the traditional bread of Ladakh while observing the beautiful mountains.
Evenings can be enjoyed with the pink-colored salty & buttery, Butter tea. And of course, the momos made with mystical spices of the Himalayas with fiery chili sauce is just another addition! Thukpa, the lip-smacking delicacy, Chang, and the indigenous brew of Ladakh are some of the other famous delicacies not to be missed out! The city also serves various cuisines such as Indian, Tibetan, Chinese, and even Korean. For the sweet-toothed, the organic Apricot jam is a must-try as the jam is drool-worthy. The Mokthuk is a delicious concoction of vegetables and exotic spices and is highly recommended to get the most out of mountain food!
The unrealistic beauty of the Leh Ladakh tour will surely keep you charged forever. Ladakh Tourism has always been generous to the tourist and hence, you just can weave the best memories while star gazing. Make your mind and be ready to explore!