Splendid beauty of Ladakh is nothing less than a religious sojourn for a harried soul. This cold desert of India is heaven for adventurists. It is a much desired spiritual recourse for those who seek respite from humdrum of our world. Amidst the lofty Himalayan ranges on one hand and Karakoram on the other, Leh is the city that you must visit once in your lifetime. It is enriched with principles of Buddhism, vast expanses of untouched beauty, pristine lakes and valleys as well as warmth of Ladakhi people. So let us explore beauty of the ‘Land of Passes'.
Did You Know?
When Ladakh was divided into two districts of Leh and Kargil, Leh was given a much bigger share of it. So much so that it is the largest district in India!!!
Historical Places in Leh Ladakh
History of Ladakh is gloriously signified by the serene monasteries and gompas of Leh. It has numerous historical monuments depicting the rich history of this region in J&K. These include Hall of Fame, Leh Palace, Victory Tower, Shanti Stupa, Palace of the King of Ladakh, Stok Palace Museum
Religious Places in Leh
Leh is a religious destination that greets you with its humility. It has more than 35 monasteries existing along with mosques and gurudwaras. Most prominent religious places in Leh are Phyang Monastery
, Likir Monastery, Jama Masjid, Yung Drung Gompa, Hemis Monastery, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Spituk Monastery, Alchi Choskor Monastery, Diskit Monastery, Stakna Monastery, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Samstanling Monastery, Monastero Chemre Gompa, Basgo Monastery, Manjushri La Khang, Lamayuru Monastery, Sankar Monastery, Vajra Bhairav Shrine and many more.
Natural Places in Leh
Nature shows itself at best in Leh. This is a place known to be the most naturally rich region of India. As such, the moment you are here, get ready to be amazed by the beauty of Leh unfolding in front of you. The most astounding natural places of Leh are Tso Moriri, Magnetic Hill, Khardung-La Pass, The Moon Land of Lamayuru, Spangmik et al.
Where to Stay in Leh
For a comfortable stay in Leh, there are many accommodations available to the tourists. These include 4 star rated hotels as well as guest houses. It is huge region to be explored for its beauty and adventures. Hence, people love to stay here for long. Top hotels in Leh are Hotel Jorchung, Hotel Chube, Hotel Grand Dragon, Hotel Lasermo, Gomang Boutique Hotel, Hotel Zen
etc. The city also has tent stay facilities for campers and trekkers. Cold Desert Camp is one of them. You can say in a guest house of Leh for affordable accommodation. Padma, Kider, Oriental, Sia-La, Raku, Asia Guest
house are some of the famous guest houses in Leh.
How to Reach Leh
Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport provides good connectivity to travelers who desire to visit Leh. Air India, Go Air, and Jet Airways are the three flights operating from this airport connecting Leh to New Delhi. People can find flights from Srinagar and Jammu as well to arrive here. There is no train service in Leh. The nearest rail heads are Jammu, Chandigarh
. All stations are situated at pretty long distances which take nearly 2 days to reach by road. Two most convenient routes are available to reach Leh by road, Manali- Leh and Jammu- Leh. Bus and private taxis are available from both towns to arrive Leh. Manali
is 475 km away which takes nearly 12-13 hours to reach. Jammu is 736 km from Leh taking nearly 14 hour drive to reach.
Tourism in Kargil
Kargil is second largest city in Ladakh. It is situated at distance of 204 km from Srinagar. It is one of the most enchanting and challenging places to reach in Ladakh region of Jammu Kashmir. After the conflict of 1999 between India and Pakistan, Kargil rose to attention of many people who were still unaware of this place. It is called Eastern Gateway to Kashmir Valley and is the mecca for adventure lovers.
Did You Know?
The Kargil War took place between May 1999 to July 1999 in the district of Kargil and is famous by another name called 'Operation Vijay'!!!
Places to Visit in Kargil
Kargil offers best trekking and mountaineering routes to you. The city also boasts of old and spiritual monasteries.
Some of them are Mulbek Monastery, Drass War Memorial, Pashkum, Sani Monastery, Rangdum Monastery, Phoker Urgiyan Rzong, Shargole, Phutkal Monastery
and many more.
Where to Stay in Kargil?
Kargil is a less travelled part of Jammu Kashmir. For travelers, it has few hotels and guest houses. But even in these options, you can feel the warmth of Ladakhi culture. Siachen Hotel, Kargil Retreat, Zozila Residency, Hotel Caravan Sarai
and Hotel Greenland
are famous hotels in Kargil.
How to Reach Kargil?
Kargil does not possess its own commercial airport. Srinagar and Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (Leh Airport) are the nearest aerodromes placed at the approximate distance of 210 km. Srinagar and Leh are the major routes through which tourists can reach Kargil. Roads via Srinagar are closed during November and May. However, roads via Leh remain open almost throughout the year. Scheduled bus of state transport and private taxis are available to reach Kargil from Srinagar as well as Leh-Ladakh.
Wildlife in Leh Ladakh
Ladakh is a land of big surprises both in terms of its culture and flora
and fauna. The famous Austrian Paleontologist Ferdinand Stoliczka
studied the Ladakh wildlife in great detail and wrote several books on
it. The fauna of Ladakh is reminiscent of animals and birds found in
Central Asian heartlands and plateau of Tibet.
The Hemis Altitude National Park in Ladakh
The Hemis Altitude National Park
is situated on congregation Point of Indus River.
Stretched in the area
of 600 sq km, it is one of the biggest grasslands that serve as adobe
for many rare species of animals.
While planning trip to this state, try not to skip these sanctuaries to
catch glimpse of rich flora and fauna possessed by Jammu Kashmir.Also Read: Wildlife in Jammu
Glaciers in Leh-Ladakh
Leh-Ladakh has many glaciers attracting adventure lovers from all parts of the world. These glaciers feed the rivers of Jammu Kashmir. They are massive in size and magnificent in beauty. In short, they are an absolute heaven for trekkers and mountaineers. Some of the main glaciers in Jammu Kashmir are:
Siachen Glacier in Ladakh
Siachen Glacier is situated in the valleys of Srinagar amid Karakoram ranges of Himalayan Mountain.
It is the second largest glacier other than polar areas. It is situated at 35.42 Degrees North 77.10 Degrees East exactly near the Line of Control.
River Shyok, Nubra and Indus originate from Siachen Glacier. It is the major source of water for long Indus River.
Snow leopard, ibex and brown bear are occasionally found in the region of this Glacier.
Shafat Glacier in Ladakh
Nun and Kun are two mountain ranges that constitute Shafat Glacier in Himalayan Ranges. It is spread over 14 km in north eastern Himalayas and positioned at the distance of 85 km from Kargil. People can come across through Srinagar
which is 294 km from this place. It feeds water to Suru River which is one of the tributaries of Indus River.
Drang Drung Glaciers
are located in the region of Kargil near the Pensi La mountain pass. It
is placed at average altitude of 4780 meter i.e. 15680 feet from sea
level in Zanskar Range of Himalayan Mountains.
It is major source for
Zanskar River and Stod River which are tributaries of Indus River. These
glaciers are located 206 miles away from Srinagar which is accessible
by National Highway 1D.
Rimo I Glacier in Ladakh
Rimo 1 Glacier is one of the most massive stocks of ice located at the altitude of 24229 feet. Rimo 1 is located near Siachen Glacier as part of Rimo Muztagh, a sub range of Karakoram Range. It is an allured place for mountaineers, many of whom have climbed these steep ranges. Tsewng Samanla, Nima Dorje, Yoshio Ogata, and Hideki Yoshida climbed this glacier in 1988.
Parachik Glacier in Kargil District
Parachik Glacier is a beautiful location situated at the slopes of Nun - Kun Mountains. Its melted water adds in Suru River.
A foot over bridge is constructed in front of Glacier which offers panoramic view of Parachik Glacier.
It is positioned 90 km from Kargil.
Thajiwas Glacier in Sonamarg
Thajiwas Glacier is placed in the back drop of Sonamarg region. It is one of the easily accessible destinations visited by tourists frequently. Trekking is quite popular among visitors and ponies are also available to make trek easy. Glacier is located 7 km away from Sonamarg.
Baltoro Glacier in Ladakh
Situated at the central part of Karakoram Range, Baltoro Glacier is one of the largest Glaciers of Jammu Kashmir.
Spread over the length of 62 km, it is situated in the area of Baltistan.
It can be reached via Skardu region of Ladakh
Nubra Glacier in Ladakh
Nubra Glacier is found in the southern
terrains of Karakoram ranges which fall in Ladakh region of Jammu
Kashmir. This Glacier is part of Siachen Glacier.
Valleys in Leh Ladakh
Leh Ladakh is a state full of natural vistas. Valleys of Leh Ladakh are the real gems that adorn its beauty. The state has some of the most stupendous and lush valleys of the world. The famous valleys of Leh Ladakh are:
Zanskar Valley Ladakh
This valley separates Zanskar region
from rest of Ladakh. It covers area of 7000 sq km and has Zanskar River
flowing through it. It is one of the favorite trekking destinations in
Jammu Kashmir. Phutkal Monastery is the biggest attraction in this
valley apart from its varied landscape.
Sind Valley in Ganderbal
This 65 km long valley connects Ladakh
with the rest of country through Zojila Pass. It has historic significance as gateway for many religious preachers to the valley. It has Sind River and its tributaries flowing through its vast expanses.
Suru Valley in Ladakh
This serene valley of Ladakh is drained by Suru River. Kargil town of Ladakh is nestled in this valley. It houses the famous Rangdum Monastery of Gelungpa sect of Buddhism. In lower parts of Suru Valley, you can witness lush meadows of willow and poplars. The twin peaks of Nun Kun Massif overlook this valley from their elevation of 7000 meters. Apart from tourist bungalows, there are several camping sites as well for staying and enjoying the beauty of Suru Valley.
Nubra Valley in Ladakh
is the most exotic valley in Jammu Kashmir. Diskit is the prime
attraction of this valley that has confluence of Nubra River with Shyok
River. This valley has altitude of 3048 meters and you can reach here
from famous Khardung-La Pass. It is cold desert with Siachen Glacier
lying to its north. While trekking along this valley, you must visit
Diskit Monastery, Hundar, Panamik Springs, Samstanling Monastery etc.
Things to Carry while Travelling to Leh
Leh is termed as a cold desert. It is situated at very high altitude as well. People having respiratory problem or prone to asthma attack must not try this destination. Due to thin atmosphere, people are vulnerable to get sunburn and frostbite at the same time. So be cautious while moving to this region.
As per weather condition, warm clothes, full in size covering complete body along with woolens, are must while going to Leh-Ladakh. Moisturizing cream and sun burn cream should be taken along. Muffler, scarf, gloves, glares, woolen socks, and cap must be included in your travel bag to escape from windy cold. Mostly, the region is explored on ponies or by walking. Hence, clothes must be comfortable to take rides and walk long distances. Additional pair of shoes is advisable while arriving in Leh-Ladakh. Rain coats are also suggested as surprise shower occurs at valley in any season. Emergency kit and first aid box must also be a part of your backpack for Leh.
At Leh, visitors must be aware of climatic updates and current affairs of region. They must take advise from hotel staff regarding tourist attractions which you are about to visit and take valuable guidance for exploration. Transportation available is quite limited and time bound. You must avail schedule of buses and taxis available for particular area. Binoculars and camera with good zoom as well as excellent resolution must be taken to capture magnificent views of Leh-Ladakh region. Hats should be worn while traveling in open to avoid sun burn in day time.