Basgo Monastery, Ladakh:With a humble mud-brick facade, Basgo Monastery isn’t as popular as other monasteries in Leh. But those making an effort to visit will be treated with colorful wall murals from the 16th century and a 14-meter-tall copper idol of Maitreya Buddha. It’s the oldest surviving religious structure of its kind.
Pangong Tso, Ladakh:It’s not easy to visit Pangong Tso — it’s a rough five-hour drive from Leh and a permit is required. But the breathtaking views of the blue lake sitting at the base of the Himalayas make the journey worthwhile. The lake, spanning 134 kilometers and sitting at a height of 4,350 meters, is a natural border between China and India.
Dal Lake, Srinagar: Known as the “jewel in the crown” of Indian-administered Kashmir, Dal Lake is a Srinagar must-visit. Lined by beautiful gardens and snowcapped mountains, the lake is best toured while riding a traditional wooden shikara, Srinagar’s version of the gondola
For first timers Ladakh leaves them spell bound. There is such a vast cultural difference between Ladakh and other regions people are taken in by that. Ladakh has an amazing history too. The land of lost Shangri la is mysterious enough and its several monasteries and local stories intrigue the listener even more.he culture of Ladakh is pretty influenced by the Tibetans.
Buddhism is the main religion followed here. The first population to be here was Monks from Tibet and Kullu. Drads came later and started to live in lower Ladakh. The best time to come to Ladakh is during the summers. Winters here are only for the ones who can manage to enjoy the chill with stunning views of the snowcapped Himalayas and frozen lakes.
Located in the Indus river valley in Jammu and Kashmir, Leh is the largest town of the region and the capital of Ladakh. Leh is the hub of Buddhist monasteries and historical monuments. There are two roads – Srinagar-Leh Highway and Manali-Leh Highway to reach Leh. Leh is also connected via air to major metro cities like Delhi. Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, soma Gompa and Shati Stupa are the some popular Buddhist temples and tourist attractions of Leh. The best time to visit in Leh is from May to September.
The second largest town of Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India after Leh. Kargil attracts a lots of adventure enthusiasts to trek its high mountain trails. Suru Valley, Panikhar and Drass are some beautiful landscapes of Kargil. Best time to visit in Kargil is from May to July.
Located in north of Leh, Nubra Valley also known as Ldumra (the valley of flowers). The main attraction in this area is the Bactarian Camels around sand dunes of Hunder. The best time to visit in Nubra Valley is July to September and you have needed to cross Khardung La pass from Leh town to come around here.
Долина и озероPangong Tso
Pangong Tso valley is located in tehsil of the Kargil district. The main attractions in Zanskar are the ancient Tibetan-style Buddhist monasteries including Zongkhul, Bardan, Stongde, Karsha, Phuktal and Suni Palace. And trekking is one of the most popular activities in Zanskar. The best time to visit in Zankar is June to September.
One of the largest lakes in Asia, Pangong Tso is located about 170 KMs from Leh town. The multi shades blue colure lake widely popular after the shooting of the movie 3 Idiots. The Lake changes its color in many shades of blue and green with the changing position of the sun in the sky. May to September is the best time to visit in this place.
Leh lies at an altitude of 3.524 metres and due to the strong influence of Tibetan Buddhism, the city is also known as Little Tibet or the Land of Lamas. Although not as high as some of the passes across the Leh-Manali Highway, the atmosphere and especially the sky is exceptional. You’re closer to heaven and not only can you see, but feel it! Leh radiates something I can’t quite nail down. Something peaceful and mysterious at the same time. We felt like staying in an old western town with a gold-rush mood… the next three days would let us explore this amazing town and the beautiful surrounding Gompas.
Religious Tolerance And Respect For Cultures.
Even today the Jammu and Kashmir region is often in the news due to religious clashes. The dispute actually dates back to August 1947, when the partition of the Indian sub-continent led to the formation of India and Pakistan. Because of its location, Kashmir could choose to join either India or Pakistan. The ruler of Kashmir, Maharaja Hari Singh, was Hindu while the majority of the population were Muslims, therefore he wasn’t able to decide whether Kashmir should join India or Pakistan. In the end, Kashmir remained neutral. But his hopes of independence only lasted until October 1947, when Pakistan sent in Muslim tribesmen to Srinagar. The Maharaja then appealed to the Indian government for military assistance. In return, he signed the Instrument of Accession, which stated that Kashmir would join India on October 26, 1947, with a portion of it having passed to Pakistan’s control.
Since 1947, India and Pakistan have fought three wars and only this January, thousands of civilians have fled their homes, due to the clashes along the 200-kilometre stretch of the border. It’s unclear for how long this battle will continue.
But on the brighter side, Leh radiated a sense of calmness. At least we had that feeling. Here you can hear the muezzin, as well as the buddhists chantings. You’ll come across mosques, before passing a Tibetian prayer wheel. The architecture in the town also shows both Buddhist and Muslim styles. So what is it, that makes it possible for Muslims and Buddhists to leave peacefully side by side? Whether this is just the calm before the storm remains a mystery…
The Himalayas Lie At Your Feet.
Leh isn’t very big and most parts can be navigated on foot – which is the best way to explore any city anyway. There are many excellent guesthouses and mid-range hotels to choose from, as well as numerous restaurants serving great Indian, Tibetan and Western food. Best food place in town is definitely World Garden Cafe, where we actually ate something after three days of crackers and rice (it’s not India without a little vomiting). The most dominant structure is definitely Leh Palace built in the same style as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. But also worth a visit is Shanti Stupa and Namgyal Tsemo Gompa. This monastery is the highest point in Leh with a fantastic birds eye view of the city. But be aware that if you’re still struggling with altitude sickness, the additional 200 metres can become a real challenge…
From just about everywhere in Leh, you can see a sweeping panoramic view of the Himalayas rising above town. Maybe it’s the vibes of these great mountains that make Leh such an incredible place!
Chadar Trek, Ladakh:Dubbed the world’s wildest hike, Chadar Trek is a route formed by the frozen Zanskar River, connecting the isolated Zanskar village with Leh, Ladakh region’s capital city, during winter. The dangerous trek is lined with dramatic landscapes, from frozen waterfalls to half-frozen rapids and caves. READ: Chadar: Is this the end for the ‘world’s wildest trek’?
Rays of reflected sunlight can be harsh for people such as this monk at Zanskar’s Karsha Monastery. Even so, in winter, the sun becomes one of the villagers’ most treasured commodities.
The Chadar achieved a level of noteriety after receiving coverage in documentaries, especially the BBC’s 2011 series “Human Planet.”
Guidebooks picked up where TV and video left off, building and cementing the route’s position as the ultimate adventure destination.
What was once a sacred crossing for the Zanskaris became for the world the “wildest trek.”
The Chadar became big business — a cottage guiding industry developed.
Selling the adventure was easy.
After all, there aren’t too many walks that pass through a dramatic gorge with frozen waterfalls, or where the route covers a road of ice that becomes a mirror for the sky.
The ever-present sense of danger of the ice giving way, and the primal thrill of sleeping in caves hewn by gushing water over centuries, not to mention subzero temperatures, does make it an eminently “do before you die” journey.
Which is how it almost turned out for me in 2007.
That year, with the weather warmer than usual, the river remained liquid at many stretches.
More than halfway through the journey, we faced an unusually large patch of thaw.
Progress meant a climb up the gorge walls.
“Duck-walking” on ice for days meant my legs were wobbly on solid ground.
They gave way 60 feet (18 meters) above the river.
I tumbled all the way down.
Tashi and Tundup’s generation could well be the last to walk the Chadar.
On the heels of tourist popularity have come the compulsions of government security.
An all-weather road through the gorge is nearing completion.
The road, once it opens, will end the Zanskaris’ forced annual exile and enable them to hang up their walking shoes for good.
On the flipside, there’s the problem of overcrowding.
Chadar bookings have shot up in the past three years, according to Abdul Quayoom, who runs Altitude Adventure, a travel agency in Leh.
“The going’s extremely good,” he says. “But I can’t help wondering how much the river can take.
“To think, it’s going to be crazier once the road opens and carloads of tourist descend on Zanskar.”