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Pangong Lake, Ladakh

  • Pangong Lake, Ladakh- Everything You Should Know

     

    Heaven, Peace, Silence, and Tranquility at one place? Come and spend a few hours at Pangong Lake! A pristine location marked by subtle to high peaks around, crystal blue waters and the vast expansion catches the eye so much, so long as if a magic is happening right in front of the eyes.


    Pangong Lake, also known as Pangong Tso, lies calmly at a breathtaking elevation of 14,270 feet. Interestingly, the lake is 12 km long and marks itself between the laps of India and China. Rather, 60% of the portion is stretching in the neighboring nation and this excites every traveler to be here.


    The surreal clean blue waters are actually brackish or salty in nature and this feature doesn’t let any aquatic life survive in the same. Moreover, the temperature range between -30 to -10 degrees make even this salty lake freeze with thick ice sheets, which is quite opposite in case of salt ridden water bodies.


    This picturesque landscape location enhances its beauty with the arrival of migrating birds every year and attracts many travelers in search of adventure, photographs, bird-watching and chilling experience. Pangong has another unique and catchy feature; when it acts like a chameleon and changes its color from blue to green to even grey at times. The brackish water of Pangong attracts the migratory birds every year during winters.


    There is not a single reason to say No to this beauty once in a lifetime. And if you wish to repeat it again, it’s a blessing!

     

    Essential info:

    Best time to visit: It is amazing to experience the beauty of Pangong in months of May-September. In the rest of the months, winters turn harsh and get a thick coat of frozen sheet. Though the lovers of natural beauty visit the place even in winters to walk over the lake and making their fantasy live.


    Altitude: It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India. The altitude of the Pangong lake is around 14,270 feet above the sea level. Even after this height, fierce travelers reach here for some perfect time and solace.


    Distance Between Leh and Pangong Lake: A marked distance of 225 km or a drive of 6 hours will land one up at Pangong lake.


    Permits: As Pangong lake is settled at a border zone of India and China, Indians need to take Inner Line Permit which can be issued online as well as offline from Tourist Information Center at Leh Market. Foreigners need to take Protected Area Permit which is also available online.

     

    How to reach Pangong Lake from Leh?

    It is said, Journey matters more than the Destination!


    Various routes taking towards Pangong to Leh are filled with adventures and excitement. And in this case, you are lucky as the destination is mesmerizing as well. Check out two possible routes that one can take to reach Pangong from Leh.

     

    Route 1:  Leh to Pangong Tso via Chang La


    Leh – Shey – Karu -Sakti – Chang La -Durbuk – Tangste - Lukung – Spangmik – Pangong Tso



    This direct and shortest route towards Pangong lake from Leh takes you to 6-7 hour journey via Shey, Karu and Sakti and mid-way to Chang La Pass. Amongst them, Shey is nearly 15 km from Leh and has a major attraction as Shey monastery and Shey Palace which is located nicely at the hilltop. 

    Moreover, Shey used to be summer capital of Ladakh in ancient times. Now the palace is lying in ruins but still two festivals take place here every year. At the monastery, one can observe the tall and calm structure of Shakyamuni Buddha along with colorful and catchy murals.


    Moving ahead, at a distance of 23 km from here, you get to meet a small village Karu, where small shops, tea stalls and food joints are present. Moving towards Sakti, a drive of mere 9 km has to be done. You can visit Takthok monastery here which attracts even from a faraway distance. A certain sect of Buddhist Lamas reside here and make this gloomy location look livelier.


    After this, a major stopover can be recorded at Chang La. Chang La can be reached in another 1 hour drive (34 km) and interestingly, it is third highest motor-able road in the world at an altitude of 17,590 ft. Here, you can take another stopover to click pictures and make videos of beautiful scenery around. Enjoy some hot black tea at Army camp here.


    From here, the road gets little messy while driving to Durbuk but later on smoothes up. At Tangste, you can find many shops and hotels once again to sip another pack of tea or coffee and calm the body from cold climate. From here, drive for another few hours hours or 58 km to catch Spangmik village. This village is known for multiple camps that offers view of lake very well. Another 1.5-2 hours drive from here makes you reach Pangong where you can relish the beauty of your ultimate destination.

     

    Route 2: Leh to Pangong Tso via Nubra Valley


    This route is not taken by many travelers due to longer driving hours of about 13 hours and tiredness one might get. But enthusiasts who want to add Nubra Valley and other major attractions like Diskit and Tathok in their itinerary during a short snap and manage their time, take this route for sure.


    The route has another subdivision:


    a. Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Wari La


    (Diskit / Panamik - Khalsar - Agham - Tangyar - Wari La - Tathok - Sakti - Chang La - Durbuk - Tangste - Lukung - Spangmik)



    From Leh, when you take the road to Diskit, you need to drive for at least 4 hours to cover 116 km. Here, Diskit monastery, the oldest and largest of Nubra valley is waiting for you. Surely, it is going to mesmerize anyone with its grandness and beauty of 32 meter tall Buddha, colored wall  mural and unique architecture on hilltop.


    Pass through small village section named Khalsar, Agham, and Tangyar later and cover another major portion of your journey.


    Crossing through Wari La, one of the most difficult passes is an adventure on its own.


    Next you will reach Takthok where Takthok monastery will be waving at you from far hillocks. Rest of the route goes the same way as discussed above.


    The distance of whole route is not more than 250 km but covering them can be little hectic due to rocky roads, steep paths and lot of breaks one need to play with during the travel hours.


    We would suggest that you shall cover this route along with attractions by dividing it a time slot of 2 days.


    It is also best advised to start this journey early in the morning, take properly mentioned permits with your name mentioned so Indian Army doesn’t deject you and carry spare fuel as you may not pass any petrol pumps on the way.

     

    b. Nubra Valley to Pangong Lake via Shyok: 


    (Diskit/Panamik - Khalsar - Agham - Shyok Village - Durbuk - Tangste - Lukung - Spangmik)


    The route is comparatively shorter than the above-described, of about 175 km, but Shyok road is a dusty and boulder loaded trail which is quite risky and challenging. One must take a calculative risk considering weather, driving experience and readiness for any mishaps.


    At this route, you need to take a diversion from Agham village towards Shyok Village. This zone experiences landslides and floods due to Shyok overflow at times. The wet and flowy roads become tricky with sharp stones underneath that are not easily visible.


    After crossing safely, you can continue your route via Durbuk, Tangste, Lukung and Spangmik. You will be surely proud on yourself after being safe and looking at majestic Himalayan tips around.


    Make sure your plans are made only after knowing prior conditions, before you check-out from your hotel at Leh. And Cover the route only when you have expert driving skills.

     

    Accommodations at Pangong Lake


    The beauty and nature is still intact nicely at Pangong lake and one would not be able to find much of concrete hotels or resorts nearby. Mostly, campsites, cottages and small guest houses would support your stay. Along with the same, you also get to enjoy meals, chit-chat with locals, good services and of course, Pangong lake in front of the eyes.

     

    1. Alpine Huts: The wooden cottages facing the Pangong lake are very comforting with insulated rooms and snuggly beds. With ample parking space, one can enjoy the comfort of dining, living and delicious food, here at the cottage site. Take a stroll at night around and enjoy stargazing. The best part is, it is an 800m walk from the Pangong lake. If you are drop dead tired after a long hour drive, just hop in the cottage.

    Tariffs to stay at Alpine huts begin from Rs. 4000 and above.


    2. The Pangong Inn: A deluxe hotel near to the Pangong Lake is ready to welcome you all. Well spaced rooms, awesome views, multiple amenities, dining are all here for a perfect stay. A proper set of hygienic washrooms en-suite and ample parking space are available for luxury. Solar panels can be seen here as well for nature made electricity and they make us realize the worth of nature’s gift to survive in extreme conditions.

    Get your bed or room here starting from the price of Rs.3800.


    3. Hermitage At Pangong: This place is a Wow to look and stay at! These white cottages are settled near the lake and staying here is like staying in the heaven. It is so as the rooms are loaded with panoramic full-length windows, modern amenities, and plenty of spaces. Park the vehicles near and sip some coffee at the verandah.

    The luxury and services at Hermitage can be availed from Rs.13,000 and above.


    4. The Kora Pangong: A beautiful campsite beside the blue lake where Tibetan flags welcome all is Kora Pangong. The tents are comfortable and well marked by cozy beds, thick blankets, parking space, clean washrooms and of course, a view never to be forgotten. A night here would make your stay more lovely with a sight of migrating birds and dense clouds up above in the sky. Excellent service is a cherry on the top. A drive of around 2 hours to the camp will make you reach here easy via Pangong Lake road.

    From Rs.3300 and above, book a comfortable stay.


    5. Camp Whispering Camps: Nestled amidst the bank of Pangong Lake in Spangmik, Camp Whispering Camps has been considered as a heaven for the thrill seekers and the adventurers. Guests get an opportunity to enjoy a spectacular view of mountain range, glittery lake and relish the amenities present while admiring boutique style and decor. Make your camping experience special and perfect with a delightful stay at Whispering camps.

    For a comfortable stay, the price range begins from Rs.5700 and above.


    6. Camp Redstart: A beautiful site that offers its own garden to chill at is Camp Redstart. One can stay in comforting tents with a perfect 180-degree view of the mountains and the beautiful lake. The happy staff and excellent service will make anyone happy to the core of heart. There are new luxurious and spacious Deluxe Tents with attached bath and plenty of parking space to park your vehicles at.

    From a basic price of rs. 4300 and above, you can stay and enjoy at camp Redstart


    7. Pangong Retreat: A perfectly settled camp at a platform overlooking the Pangong lake is here. Pangong Retreat offers all an agreeable settlement giving an essential convenience. This enables one to appreciate- the brilliant grass, the nightfalls, the mountains, and the Pangong Lake. 25 liberally dispersed, peaceful and noteworthy tents are present here which require an impeccable excursion.

    The approximate price starts from Rs 4000 per person.


    8. Camp Martsemik La: 34 carefully numbered tents with joined restrooms welcome all in this eco-camp. One will be able to not only view Himalayan ranges and Pangong lake from here but also enjoy various activities at the open verandah with your group of friends or family. The luxury dining space and comfortable beds with thick blankets are all you need after getting tired from the journey. Dive in the view with Tibetan flags waving at you.

    Book this camp at 4500 Rs. per person and chill near Pangong lake.


    9. Wonderland Camp: Another one of the best camps in Pangong is located in the heart of little town, Spangmik. The pleasing environment is conjoined by excellent services, staff, 24-hour front work area, and wonderful dining that serves delightful delicacies. The best part about Wonderland camp is amazing unobstructed views it provides of mountain ranges and Pangong lake.

    From Rs. 3900 per person, get a camp to stay.


    10. 100 Sky Camp: Luxury and Comfort is all here at 100 Sky camp. This waterfront location gives a catchy view of extravagant virgin natural beauty. All the rooms of the camps are very well built and well maintained, attached with bathroom and 24-hour water running facilities. Enjoy your stay at camps that are well built with all the state of art facilities.

    Tariffs to stay at 100 Sky camps begin from Rs. 4600 and above

     

    Pangong Lake and its Bollywood connect


    A Bollywood buff never misses the most interesting location of the movies. And when you have seen movies like 3 Idiots, Sanam Re, Dil Se, Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Waqt, Tashan, and Heroes; you wouldn’t have missed Pangong Lake at the backdrop.


    All the jaws drop when artists dance, drive their vehicles, spend some quality moments in the frosty space and all the hearts pump high to reach Pangong lake. Any Bollywood lover feels like its another heaven for them. Moreover, Kareena Scooty has gained prominence surely amidst Bollywood movie fans.

     

    The craze has gone so high that you can find many yellow scooters here with the marked poster of movie actress along with some famous actions. People love to get captured in their cameras and post them online to show their Bollywood love.

    In fact, now a days many TV commercials and famous bloggers from around the world love to showcase the natural beauty of Pangong through their camera lenses.


    People also love to visit places where Phunsukh Wangdu from 3 idiots showed his intelligence and love for education. Overall, there is no doubt upon the fact that Pangong Lake has become one of the vibrant places to visit at because of Bollywood’s lenses.

     

     

    The Lake in Winters

     

    During May-September, you can see water with slight ripples and when the sun shines above it, it literally glitters. As the winter arrives, the temperature drops down quick with an extreme of -15 to -30 degrees at times. This makes the lake go freeze like a thick hard sheet which turns white from its turquoise green color.


    The lake is not easily accessible in winters due to heavy snowfall that blocks the roads connecting the location. But army vehicles or local jeeps that travel to connecting towns can drop you nearby. The beauty of Pangong lake in winters is a worth to look at and click some pictures around.


    During the month of mid-January to mid-February, the lake becomes a perfect setting to play cricket or enjoy the chit chat while walking over the surface. Yes, it is like another ‘chadar’ that usually is famous for the name of the frozen Zanskar river. It is actually typical to find anyone here in such harsh winters. But you never know, adventurers can wander any place, any time in search of right solace and perfect peace at the end.


    Also, If you have that spark within to observe world’s another natural wonder, add another activity in your bucket list to visit Pangong lake in winters.

     

     

    Essential Info about Pangong Lake

     

    1.    Mobile Connectivity: Well, we would say why do you need a connectivity of any mobile phone or any connection when you are looking at one of the World’s most beautiful lake, camouflaged with mirror shadow.

    And No! There is no mobile network available at Pangong lake; even if it is a postpaid connection. No BSNL/MTNL or Airtel is going to show it’s head up. And this is rather the best way you can spend some of the best time in heaven.

     

    2. Medical Facilities: The answer is again a big NO! You will not find any doctor or in-house medical facility at Pangong. The only way to reach the nearest medical option is Tangtse village which is 100km from here. You need to drive at least 2 hours or more to reach for any quick medical session.

    It is hence, best advised to carry a basic medical kit with appropriate medicines, bandages etc. Moreover, carry a good pack of warm clothes with yourself to stay away from fever/cold.

     

    3. ATM's: No! And a No! You won't be able to find any ATM either at Pangong lake or nearby to a good distance. From moderate camps to luxury hotels, you will not be able to dispense any money. Even, none of them accept credit or debit cards.

    We recommend you to plan the itinerary and carry extra cash beforehand, apart from the planned one. This is one of the most important task you must keep in mind. Though there are ATMs present in Leh, so you have another option to take your cash from.

     

    4. Petrol Pumps: Well, you will be disappointed here as well. There are no petrol pumps either at Pangong or anywhere near it. Gas filling stations or petrol pumps are only at Leh.

    So, we would suggest you to keep the petrol tank full and enjoy the unhindered ride to and fro Pangong.

     

    5. Food Joints: All the tents, campstays, homestays and hotel at Pangong provides meals to its guests at an added cost. One can also get them customized based on the special needs or dietary requirements.

    Apart from in-house food joints, you can find small stalls nearby that provide tea/coffee, momos, thukpas, lentils-rice too. If you wish to catch a restaurant, go to P3 which is renowned for delicious Tibetan food with an awesome lake view in front. Chhang is an alcoholic beverage that can be found at nearby locations only on festive occasions. If you are lucky, you can find it the time you visit.

     

    6. Minimum Duration for Visiting Pangong Lake: If you are taking a drive from Leh to Pangong, you need a minimum of 6-7 hours from one side only. Considering your stopover for at least a hour, you can return back by late night bak to Leh.

    So, it takes at least 1 day to cover it. We would recommend you to stay there overnight and enjoy the beauty for at least a full day. Moreover, you will be able to cut out your tiredness as well with a stay and carry the rest of the journey fresh and peacefully.


    Frequently Asked Questions : 

     

    1. Why is Pangong Lake Blue?

    This Endorheic lake that cannot drain anywhere out has a color of blue due to few atmospheric reasons. When the sun shine, the wavelength strikes as well. Amongst all the colors, red gets absorbed fast due to longer wavelength but blue scatters. This is the basic law of Physics.

    So, when white light from the sun enters the ocean, it is mostly the blue that gets returned back, making the color look deep blue.

     

    2. What is the depth of Pangong Lake?

    Around 328 feet or 100m is the depth of Pangong lake.

     

    3. Why Pangong lake is salty?

    Pangong lake is endorheic in nature which means that water cannot move out of the lake due to a very low drainage basin. This property has let the salts evolved in water since the time unknown. So, presence of salts, slight evaporation and almost no-drainage has given Pagong a salty nature.

     

    4. Why is Pangong Lake a famous tourist attractions?

    Set amidst beautiful mountain ranges, the blue waters of Pangong are attracting thousands of tourists every year. It is situated at an altitude of 4350m and has an extension towards China.

    Hence, the beauty, serenity, nationality, adventure, calmness; all drive one towards the Pangong.

     

    5. Is camping famous around Pangong Lake?

    Oh Yes! There is a lot of scope of camping around the lake. From basic to luxury tents, cottages to nearby resort camps, one can find variety of camps with different amenities. The only thing common among them is breathtaking view, comfortable rooms, snuggly beds and amazing aura outside windows. Nature can be closely felt without the walls and hence, camps are perfect and famous around Pangong Lake.

     

    6. Can I visit the Lake during winters?

    Well, Yes! The lake gets completely frozen with thick surface at the top during winters and is a worth to look at. The only issue you may face is blockage of roads due to snowfall. But you can still reach here by catching flight to Leh and travel with the help of locals or army or hire a safe vehicle which you are expert at to reach Pangong.

     

    7. Pangong Tso is Tibetan for?

    Pangong lake, also known as Pangong Tso in Tibet, means ‘high grassland lake’. The lake shares its boundaries with China and India and hence carry two various names at one point of time.

     

    8. What is the colour of Pangong Lake and what is the reason behind the colour?

    Well, logically the lake does not changes its color by itself. It is the sunshine, weather, scattering of lights and intensity of sun rays that hit the water surface that make the color of lake look chameleon from deep blue to blue, to greenish and even grey at times.

     

    9. What is the average weather around Pangong Lake?

    The weather at Pangong lake ranges from very cold to mild winters around. The temperature that tills between ranges from -30 degrees in January-February to 23 degrees in month of June-July. So, an average can be taken as cool weather. Hence, one travelling to Pangong must carry good set of woolen clothes, even if it is summer. At night, temperature fall low and gives goosebumps on the skin.

Attractions

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Nubra Valley

Something divine makes Nubra Valley close to heart and it is not an exaggeration but a fact that experienced and shared by the countless tourists visited the paradisiacal location in Jammu and Kashmir. Without touching the spectacular roads of Nubra Valley, a Ladakh tour will not be complete. The tri-armed valley has Diskit Village as its capital. Ldumra, a magnificent name is the original name of the valley as the local scholars insist. Ldumra means Valley of Flowers. The large valley is formed after the merging of Shyok River with Nubra or Siachen River causing the separation of the Ladakh and the Karakoram Ranges. The valley is located 10000 feet that is 3048 meters above mean sea level and those who cross the Khardung La Pass can easily come to Nubra Valley from Leh.

Except for the river beds, every other place in the valley shows scant vegetation and low precipitation levels. Most of the villages in the valley are occupied by Nubra skat speakers and in the villages, one can find lush greenery and farming which happen through the regular irrigation. Diskit is the place where native people are seen in abundance and Diskit Monastery is the centre of attraction as well. The Shyok River flowing on one side of Diskit has a captivating effect on the visitors. Nubra Valley unwinds a lot of surprising sights when you visit it and an unbelievable fact is that the valley was open to the public till Hunder until 2010. Beyond Hunder, it was the greener region in the lower altitude where the Turtuk village exists. Till 2010, the Government did not allow tourists to mesmerize themselves in the magnificent beauty of Turtuk where numerous apricot trees and other vegetation along with the tribal community were preserved as a virgin.

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

Location: The paradisiacal Nubra Valley is located at a distance of 140 km from Leh and the main road access to the valley is through Khardung La pass where you have to show the photocopies of your travel permit to the soldiers camping.

Best time to visit: The months from June to September is the perfect period to visit Nubra Valley

To see the pure, rugged face of nature, One must visit Ladakh once in their lifetime.

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Khardung La

Controversies regarding the proclamation that Khardung La is the highest motorable pass in the world is not yet diminished but Ladakh travelers still believe that it is the highest and most adventurous pass in the world. Despite the controversies, Khardung La keeps on attracting hundreds of adventure seekers every year, be it bikers, trekkers or visitors. Nestled amidst the most reverberating surrounding, the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’ is located at an altitude of 17582 feet. Near to the pass, the collection of awesome valleys will lure you and along with the natural extravaganzas, the Tibetan prayer flags are an additional charm.

The pass was constructed in the year of 1976 and later in 1988, it was opened to public and from then on, the pass was inviting uncountable bikers, trekkers and tourists. It is maintained by the Border roads Organization as the pass is highly significant and important to India because it was once used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Recently, Khardung La became the hot potato of the town with a happy news that a ten member team of visually impaired people is going to conquer the pass through cycling in 2017.

Height: Khardung La is located at an altitude of 5359 meters. But there is an incorrect proclamation on the signboards appear here saying that the height of the pass is 18379 feet.

Location: The highest motorable pass in Ladakh is lying about 39 kms away from Leh. By road, one can reach the pass. The first 24 kms of the road are paved and from there to the North Pullu check post, the 15 kms of the road are filled with loose rock, dirt and occasional rivulets formed after the melting of snow.

Best time to visit: The season between May to October is the best time to visit Khardung La.

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Tso Moriri Lake

It won’t be exceeding at all how much you describe the beauty of Tso Moriri in Ladakh, a highly protected lake in Changthang Region and a significant portion of Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve.  It is the largest of all high altitude lakes in India especially in Ladakh and is located at an altitude of 4522 meters above the sea level. The length comes to 26 km north to south and 3 to 5 km is the width and the water is wholly brackish. 

The water to feed the lake comes from the springs and melted snow from the nearby mountains. There are two major stream systems to lead the water to the lake. One in the north part of the lake and the other comes in the southwest part. Huge, extensive marshes are seen at both the entrances of the lake. Rupshu Valley, a breathtaking area is the guardian of Tso Moriri along with an array of the lofty Himalayan Mountains in the surrounding.

The number of people come to witness the beauty of this splendid lake is lesser when compared to that of Pangong Lake. It is because of the secluded location of the lake. Hence, it is a favorite home town for many migratory birds. They come to breed here especially birds like great- crested grebe, the brown-headed gull and the Brahmin duck. The rare Himalayan hares are also abundantly seen near the lake. Thus, the declaration of the lake as a reserved area is a right option to protect these species from extinction. Less human interference would keep their lives strong.

Height: The lake is situated at an altitude of 4522 meters.

Location: You can reach Tso Moriri via road from Leh. It is 150 kms away from Leh Airport. Kalka Railway station is the nearest one to the lake. You will get buses and taxis from the station as well.

Best time to visit: May, June, July and August are the peak season when tourists come to Tso Moriri in large numbers and other months will be filled with snow and have extreme cold conditions.

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Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a far distance when you are on a tour of Leh. Peace Pagoda got its name like that because of many reasons mainly the silence persists in and around the pagoda always. This Buddhist prayer center is the most beloved attraction in Jammu and Kashmir. At a height of 4267 meters, the two storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the bustling Leh town. The uneven mountain terrains in the surrounding gives the pagoda a remarkable shining. It is at a location which is 5 km away from Leh town and one who visits the stupa has to climb five hundred steps. The exotic view of the Himalayan peaks turns the beauty of the stupa also, a peace lover would dedicate his life to have such overjoying moments.

History

The stupa was constructed by both Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists. The construction was started in 1983, many Buddhists and Indian Government officials have supervised the procedures throughout.

Structure of the stupa

Among the two structures of the pagoda, the first level depicts the central relief of Dharmachakra which has deer on each side and the turning wheel of Dharma also has a golden image of Buddha at the center. The second level displays images which show the birth of Budhha and the death as well. In addition, both the level have smaller images of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence in order to spread the word of peace and harmony among people and it came into establishment as a commemoration of the valuable 2500 years of Buddhism.

Location: Any one can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only 5 kms from the town, a walk of fifteen minutes would require.

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

Highlights: The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably beautiful


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Magnetic Hill

Magnetic Hill is still a mystery yet a famed attraction that pulls the adventure lovers on a large scale toward it. A mystifying phenomenon which stunts the science and fiction together and exists as a magic to the normal people visiting here. Magnetic Hill is a trump card of every Ladakh tour because of the awe-struck moments it would promise the travelers. There is a sign board placed which says that the hill defies gravity completely and inviting everyone to experience the magical phenomenon.

 If you keep your vehicle in neutral at a position marked on the road and wait, you will be surprised to see the vehicle starts moving uphill at 10-20 km per hour. And this is the unexplainable feature of Magnetic Hill that confuses the world of science. It is located on Leh-Kargil-Baltic Highway and on the east, the beautiful Sindhu River is flowing calmly. Near the hill there is a Sikh Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. Due to the natural attraction as well as the human architectural brilliance, the hill has gained popularity in a short term. 

Not just the vehicles hitting the road but the aircrafts and helicopters crossing the radius which Magnetic Hill comes in would feel the same magnetic effect. If the aircrafts are going on a slow pace, then it starts jerking while they are in the circumference of the hill. So the only solution to escape from the clutches of this phenomenon is that the crafts should move at a greater speed.

Height: Magnetic Hill is located at an elevation of 14000 feet above the sea level.

Location: To reach the hill, you can hit the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and it is situated at a distance of just 30 kms from Leh town.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit the Magnetic Hill is from June to October.

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Chadar Trek

For some years, adventure seekers all around the world have been talking about Chadar Trek in the Zanskar Region. Until this year, hundreds of people have experienced the thrill hidden and the mind blowing sights around Chadar frozen river. In fact, Chadar Trek is the most sought after and one of the breathtaking treks in the Himalayas. The winter trek is so special for those who are ready to have adventure at the maximum level. 

The river trek starts from Chilling where the river begins to freeze and mostly, travelers choose February as the best time to cross the frozen river as the ice sheets will be comparatively stable. The precarious snow-flakes would pose severe threats during the trek but in some other time, the challenges would be kind to the trekker. The surrounding of the river are completely vertical cliffs tall up to 600 meters. The Zanskar River is a tributary of the Indus and is 5 meters long. 

A trekker would have to cover 16 kms per day to complete the Chadar Trek. Usually, people opt for 10-15 days of trek depending on the climatic conditions persisting here. The temperature at Chadar will come to the lowest at -35 degree Celsius during winter and thus Chadar Trek becomes more intimidating. Approximate trekking distance one would have to cover in total is 75 kms.

Maximum altitude: 11123 feet is the height at which Chadar Trek would lead you to.

Location: To take part in Chadar Trek, one should arrive in Leh and from Leh, the journey starts and goes to Chilling, the beginning of the Zanskar River in the frozen state. From Leh it would take about 65-70 kms to reach Tilad via Chilling, the base camp of the trek.

Best time to visit: January end to February is the best time suitable for trekking in the frozen river of Chadar. Quality and safe trekking gears and highly warm clothes are required.

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Hemis Monastery

The biggest monastery in the North India is Hemis Monastery, one of the must visit attractions in Ladakh region. Set on the foothills of Indus, Hemis Monastery has 200 branches and over 1000 monks are staying there. It belongs to the red sect Brokpa of Buddhist order. Here the young Lamas are trained for the royal monasteries at Leh, Shey and Basgo.

History

Hemis Gompa came into existence 17th century and it was built by Chapgon Gyalshas and from then on the gompa was getting the royal patronage of Ladakh till now. But there is a saying that the monastery was founded by the first incarnation of Stangsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. After the missing of the head Lama in 1956, a young 12 year old boy from Dalhousie in Himachal Pradesh has been recognized as the head Lama of the gompa.

Structure of the monastery

The biggest monastery in the region has a surprising architecture and the building is quite appreciable. There are a lot of big statues and stupas decorated with stones and also the splendid collection of thankas. The collection of thankas is believed to be the largest and it would be shown to the public once in 11 years.

Location: Hemis Village is located 43 km south of Leh town and it is very easy to reach the monastery by bus or jeep.

Timing: 08:00 am to 01:00 pm and 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm

Entry fee: INR 100

Highlight: Hemis Festival is the prime attraction at the monastery which celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. The tenth day of the Tibetan lunar month every 12th year is the date of festival.


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Markha Valley Trek

Adventure lovers always had an affection to Markha Valley and still it fulfills the dreams of a trekker or adventure seeker with the unrivalled collection of natural spectacle. Long day trekking tours are offered by a lot of tour providers all over India which promise a journey through the most scenic locations and villages. The awesomely exciting feature of this trek is that it will let the trekker cross two high altitude passes in Ladakh; Gandala La at 4980 meters and Kongmaru La at 5276 meters.

 Being one of the diverse treks in Ladakh region, Markha Valley trek offers a lot of adventurous moments throughout. The barren land of Ladakh and the Buddhist temples found throughout the journey make the trek special. The route winds past the Ladakhi villages and it goes to Hemis National Park where the chances to spot some rare wildlife species are comparably high. The nomadic groups of people will be a unique picture to keep in heart. The symbols of Buddhism like ‘chortens’, stupas, multi colored prayer flags and numerous monasteries narrate the story of Buddhist culture embraced Markha centuries ago. Another interesting fact heard about Markha Valley trek is that it is also called ‘tea house trek’ due to the accommodation provided in parachute tents in most of the villages during the tour.

Maximum altitude: 15000 feet is the maximum altitude the trek will cover.

Location: In most of the cases, the trek starts from Leh. The trail usually goes through Chilling, Skyu and then to Markha. From Markha it would take the trekker to reach Hankar and Nimaling and finally return to Leh. The ideal trekking distance is 75 kms and it would be graded as difficult.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August, September and October are recommended as the best time to do Markha Valley trek.