Ladakh, India, a personification of exquisite natural beauty, is a land characterized by bewitching landscapes, sparkling valleys, snow-covered peaks and unimaginably picturesque lakes. This dreamy abode, tucked away from the rest of the world, is any traveller’s paradise. Situated at an altitude of 9000 ft., this cold desert is guarded by the mighty Karakoram and Himalayan mountain ranges in the North and South and flanked by the Ladakh and Zanskar ranges on either side. Well-known for its cool summers and cold winters, Ladakh is the perfect getaway, especially during the hot summer months.
Offering a plethora of experiences, from traditional cuisine and local culture to panoramic sights and serene escapes, the Land of High Passes as Ladakh is sometimes known, is bound to leave you awestruck. With even more to do like river rafting, off-road adventures and biking along the highest mountain passes Ladakh boasts a thrill that can seldom be matched and this utopia is sure to leave you with a sense of rediscovery and fervour.
What are some of the places to visit in Ladakh?
Ladakh’s immaculate landscape offers an array of places to explore with something for everyone.
Khardung La Pass
Khardung La Pass, located at an altitude of about 17,900 ft. is not only one of the highest motorable passes in the world but also one of the most riveting. It showcases amazingly scenic views of the valleys and neighbouring mountains that are exceptionally popular among tourists as it leads to the beautiful Nubra and Shyok Valleys.
One of the most beautiful lakes in Ladakh, Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake as it is known, is famous for its crystal clear waters in every breathtaking shade of blue and green imaginable. Set on a backdrop of white mountains, a part of this lake stretches into China and is known for its spectacular view of the sunrise. This aquatic haven and treat for the eyes has also made numerous appearances in movies.
The Shanti Stupa is one of the finest examples of Buddhist architecture. A symbol of world peace, this impressive white-domed structure is also stylised with numerous panels depicting the life of Lord Buddha. Moreover, it offers a panoramic view of Leh and the sunset!
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
At an altitude of about 12000 ft., Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is located a short drive outside Leh on the Leh-Kargil road. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib was built to mark Guru Nanak’s first visit to Ladakh and this regal structure is regularly visited by tourists and followers of Guru Nanak.
Magnetic Hill is one of the most popular tourist spots in Ladakh. Known for its mystical magnetic properties that can pull metal uphill, it is situated just outside Leh on the Leh-Kargil highway and has an amazing view of the surrounding landscapes.
One of the most important destinations in Ladakh, Diskit Monastery is another fine example of Buddhist architecture. Standing atop a hill, it overlooks the Shyok river with a stunning view of the surroundings. It is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in the Nubra region and is home to an enormous statue of Maitreya Buddha.
The sand dunes of Hunder are an essential part of things to do if you are planning a trip to Ladakh. Famous for the distinctive, glittering sand dunes, this arid desert is located in the Nubra region. It is also known for the double-humped bactrian camels that are found here.
War Memorial Hall of Fame
The Ladakh War Memorial Hall of Fame, located just outside the city of Leh stands in memory of the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives for India during the Indo-Pak wars. Built by the Indian Army, this museum stands as a reminder of the sacrifices made by our soldiers.
What are some of the other attractions in Ladakh?
While a trip to Ladakh is sure to leave you awed, here are some of the things you can do to make the trip more thrilling than ever.
Biking around Ladakh
Ladakh’s terrain is amongst the most adventurous in the world. Riding a bike around Ladakh through the numerous mountain passes and endless scenery offers an unparalleled thrill.
ATV Ride at Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley has an off-roading experience that is perfect for thrill seekers. The ATV ride over the silver sand dunes is truly an exciting indulgence.
Whether at Nubra Valley or Pangong Tso, star gazing is an absolutely beautiful experience. Few places in India offer such an enchanting view of the clear, unobstructed night sky that is sure to leave you spellbound.
Camel Rides at Hunder Dunes
A truly unique experience, Hunder Dunes offer rides on the rare double-humped Bactrian camels which are only found in this region.
Sangam, the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers
The confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers, better known as Sangam is one of the most exceptional places in Ladakh. The magical sight of the blue Indus waters and the green Zanskar waters merging is a surreal experience.
Hiking or Trekking
Ladakh offers numerous hikes and treks that are amongst the most adventurous and scenic you will ever find. An abundance of treks for beginners and experts, they are known for their majestic views of the snow-capped peaks, pristine valleys and crystal-clear lakes.
What is the best time to visit Ladakh?
The tourist season of Ladakh is between May and October. The summer months see the roads clear up from the winter snow and while the nights are still cold, the days are bright, sunny and cool. Depending on the places you wish to visit and sights you want to see, you may be looking to enjoy some snow, in which case the winter months are perfect, however the temperatures during the winter months are substantially more extreme sometimes below freezing.
Either way, whenever you do choose to visit Ladakh, you can be rest assured that you will be privy to its unbelievable natural beauty.