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Tso Moriri Lake, Ladakh

  • Tso Moriri – Everything You Should Know 


    Also known as the Mountain Lake, Tso Moriri is one of the two most popular lakes in the Leh region of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. While Pangong Tso is the more popular out of the two, it’s Tso Moriri which manages to take the breath away of the visitors with its tranquil beauty.

    Located at an altitude of a whopping 4595 metres above the sea level, Tso Moriri is a calm and serene high altitude lake in Changtang Wildlife Sanctuary. It runs up to 28 km in length and is 100 feet deep in average. Since it is located in a wetland reserve, you cannot pitch your tent in the area but can choose an accommodation in the camps opposite the lake, giving you a mesmerising view of the lake.

    While the reflection of snow-clad mountains immersed in the pristine waters of the lake calm your soul, the exotic migratory birds flying above the majestic lake will make you fall in love with nature. The lake is surrounded by high mountains, making it a hidden gem in the cold desert land of Ladakh. It is an ideal travel destination for offbeat traveller as well as those who wish to explore the untouched beauty of Ladakh.

    Witness the changing hues of the lake and fall in love with nature all over again with a trip to Tso Moriri. Pack your bags, pick up your camera and set off to Tso Moriri to live and capture the frames of a lifetime. 

    Best Time to Visit Tso Moriri: Tso Moriri is located in the Changtang region of Jammu and Kashmir, which experiences freezing temperatures during the winter months. While the lake remains frozen between the months of November and April, the summer months are the best time to visit the Tso Moriri to enjoy the beauty at its peak.

    Altitude of Tso Moriri: Perched atop a whopping height of 4595 metres (15,075 feet) above the sea level, Tso Moriri is a high-altitude lake located in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

    Distance from Leh to Tso Moriri: The distance between high-altitude Tso Moriri and Leh town is approximately 220 km, and the drive will take at least five hours in normal conditions.

    Permits required to visit Tso Moriri: Since April 2017, the Indian government has made it mandatory for visitors (non-residents of Jammu and Kashmir) to procure Inner Line Permit to visit the protected areas in Ladakh. The Inner Line permit can be obtained online by visiting http://lahdclehpermit.in/ and visiting the “Issue” option, followed by “Domestic client” option on the website. The permit fee is INR 400 (environmental fees) per person, with an additional INR 20 as Inner Line fee. 


    How to Reach From Leh


    Route 1: Leh to Tso Moriri via Chumathang

    The greatest reason the popularity of this route is owed to is its length. This is the shortest route to cover the journey between Leh and Tso Moriri. The total length of the route is somewhere between 220 km to 240 km. Since the road is in good condition, the journey can be covered in a duration of 6 to 7 hours. However, if you take too many halts for the sake of landscape photography, it may take longer than that.

    After starting your journey on Manali – Leh Highway, you can take your first halt at Upshi and relish on some snacks as the next place where food is available is away in Karzok. At the bifurcation at Upshi Market, take the left turn towards Mahe. Once your reach Mahe, head towards Karzok. Before reaching Karzok, you will come across some great vantage points, apt for landscape photography. A halt at Kiagar Tso is recommended as most travellers prefer to take a halt here.Resume your journey and soon you will come across another bifurcation. Do not take the tar road, rather keep going straight because that is the way to Karzok. That is where Tso Moriri is located.

    The route map is given below:
    Leh – Shey – Karu – Upshi – Kumdok – Kere – Chumathang – Mahe – Sumdo – Namashang La – Karzok

    Route 2: Leh to Tso Moriri via Tso Kar and More Plains

    If you opt for this route to reach Tso Moriri from Leh, you will have to cover some extra miles. The total distance of the route is approximately 260 km. The journey normally takes somewhere between 7 to 8 hours. But again, the duration of the journey depends upon how many halts you take and how long they are. Moreover, there is probability that the condition of the road will be worse too.

    However, the route is quite scenic with open landscapes and views of mighty Himalayan peaks covered in snow, so you will not regret taking this route. This route also lets you see Tso Kar. The initial part of the route is the same as the Route 1 mentioned above. From there, you do not have to take the turn that leads to Chumathang, rather head towards Rumtse on Manali – Leh highway. After you leave Rumtse behind, the ascent to Tanglang La starts. Then you will proceed towards Debring. You can take a short halt here to rest and to click some photographs, however, there is not much for a shelter.

    As you ride further on Leh – Manli Highway, you will see a road diverting to left. If you are hungry or in a need for some refreshment, there are a few options in the form of roadside dhabas here. Exit the Leh – Manali Highway here by taking the left road. The first lake that you will come across on this route is approximately 22 km ahead of this diversion. 

    The route map is given below:
    Leh – Shey – Karu – Upshi – Rumtse – Tanglang La – Debring – Tso Kar – Polo Kongka La – Puga – Sumdo – Namashang La – Karzok

    Route 3: Leh to Tso Moriri via Pangong Tso and Chushul

    If you are looking for some serious adventure, you may take this road. The route takes you to remote regions with hardly any travellers or locals in sight. Owing to the scenic vistas one gets to witness while travelling on this route including the renowned Pangong Tso, it is considered as one of the best routes to reach the breathtakingly beautiful lake, Tso Moriri despite being the road least travelled. The round journey that starts from Leh and takes you to Tso Moriri via Pangong Tso and ends at Leh may be 650 to 700 km. The distance between Leh to Pangong Tso is almost 160 km.

    There are various routes to cover this journey. The first stretch of the journey will take you to Pangong Tso from Leh. After Pangong Tso, you are supposed to head towards Chushul, which is a small village located on the border area. The distance between Spangmik to Chushul is almost 50 km, and since there is no metalled road, you will have to ride on a dirt track. You will have to produce your permits at Merak en route Chushul.

    Proceed towards Mahe located at a distance of 77 km from Chushul. You can take a halt here and then ride towards Karzok covering Sumdo and Namashang La en route. The distance between Mahe and Karzok is approximately 63 km.

    A few things are to be kept in mind before taking the trip. Firstly, the route is only open for Indians. So, if you are a foreig national, you cannot take this journey without a Protected Area Permit.Secondly, there are no fuel stations for long distances, so make sure you have plenty of spare fuel with you before you embark on the journey. 

    The route map is given below:
    Leh – Sakti – Chang La – Tangtse – Spangmik (Pangong Tso) – Man – Merak – Chushul – Tsaga La – Tsaga Village – Loma – Nyoma – Mahe – Sumdo – Karzok (Tso Moriri)


    Places to Visit and Things to Do in Tso Moriri


    Tso Moriri Lake View Point

    Enjoy the panoramic view of the majestic Tso Moriri from the viewing point near the lake. Witness the changing colours of the lakewaters as beams of sunlight fall on the lake, creating a colourful canvas of nature in the pristine lakewaters. The reflection of the mountains surrounding the lake add to the glory of the lake, the view of which is unmissable!

    Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve

    The Tso Moriri is sacred to locals. Realising the importance to protect and conserve the delicate ecosystem at the place, the lake has been identified as a wetland conservation reserve. Apart from taking initiatives to preserve nature, the reserve also has an information centre for the visitors to collect useful information and conduct educational programmes for the locals. 

    Korzok Monastery

    Located on the northwestern bank of Tso Moriri, the Tibetan-Buddhist Korzok Monastery is a must-visit tourist attraction on your visit to the lake. The monastery was founded kunga Lodro Ningpo some 300 years ago. Allow yourself a serene and spiritual experience at the Korzok Monastery as it overlooks the lake with changing hues. 

    Birding

    Bird-watching at Tso Moriri will make you fall in love with the wildlife as exotic, migratory birds like bar-headed goose Anser, Great crested Grebe P. Cristatus and black-necked Grebe Podiceps nigricollis. Revive the nature lover and wildlife photographer in you by bird-watching at Tso Moriri.

    Wildlife Excursions

    While bird-watching will excite bird lovers, there is a lot in store for wildlife enthusiasts too! Set off on a journey to spot blue sheep, foxes, woolly hare, pikas and weasel amongst others during your excursions.

    Hotels Around Tso Moriri


    1. Tso Moriri Lake View

    The Tso Moriri Lake View offers unparalleled views of the lake from the hotel rooms. The 26 rooms in Tso Moriri Lake View are well furnished and have attached bathrooms with hot and cold water and facilities like laundry. The hotel also has a multi-cuisine in-house restaurant for you to enjoy delicious food on your trip. 

    2. Hotel Padma

    Your stay at Hotel Padma is will make you fall in love with the place. After a tiring excursion all day, return to enjoy a filling meal in the multi-cuisine restaurant at Hotel Padma. Relish a comfortable stay in the well-furnished rooms, which are complemented by facilities like a library, doctor on call, internet facilities and more in 

    3. Greenland Hotel

    Located on Changspa Road, the Greenland Guest House, the Greenland Guest House offers facilities like free WiFi, attached bathrooms with hot/cold running water, laundry service, doctor on call, parking and taxi on call amongst many others. This budget property is located at 5 km Leh Airport. With spacious rooms, Greenland Guest House is the ideal accommodation on your visit to Tso Moriri.

    4. Hotel Bimla

    If you are looking for an accommodation near Tso Moriri that characterises a perfect combination of comfort and budget, Hotel Bimla is among the most recommended hotels.  Located in Agling Village on Boulevard Road, this hotel is known for the cozy rooms and homely meals that can be availed here.

    5. Hotel Khayul

    Offering all basic amenities to make your visit to Tso Moriri pleasant and memorable, Hotel Khayul is an excellent stay option for all kinds of travellers. Spacious rooms with heating system and food that will please your taste buds – this hotel located in Chilung is among the top options in the region. 


    Camps in Tso Moriri


    Nomadic Life Camp

    Offering the best of adventure and nature while keeping you close to the scenic Tso Moriri, Nomadic Life Camp is among the most sought after camps available near the lake. Spacious tents with bathrooms and medical facilities are available at reasonable prices, ensuring you have a comfortable stay.

    Tsomoriri Camps and Resorts

    Getting yourself a tent at Tso Moriri Camps and Resorts is probably the best way to enjoy the spellbinding charm of Tso Moriri. Located in Changthang area, these camps give the best of comfort while keeping the guests connected with nature. Whether you like astrophotography or you want to enjoy a bonfire session, this is where you get to do it all,

    Golden Mark Camps

    Soak in the divine beauty of the towering mountains standing behind the azure waters of Tso Moriri by spending the most happening pat of your trip to Ladakh at Golden Mark Camps. From airy tents with all basic amenities to fresh cooked delicious meals, a stay at the camp will become a memorable experience for you.

    Norling Camp

    Located in the scenic realm of Karzok, Norling Camp is among the best options for camping near Tso Moriri. Whether you are travelling in group or you are travelling solo, the camp is suitable for all guests owing to customisable facilities. The scenic beauty that surrounds the camp is truly breathless.

    Yak Camp Tsomoriri

    Nothing can amuse you on your visit to Tso Moriri more than a stay experience at Yak Camp, located close to the lake. It is one of the most recommended camping options where all modern facilities are available at tariffs that are even low enough for budget travellers. 

    Other Essential Info


    Mobile connectivity

    There is no mobile connectivity at Tso Moriri. The nearest mobile connectivity is available at Chumathang, which is located at a distance of 70 km from Tso Moriri. Enjoy your visit to the lake without getting interrupted by mobile phone notifications and immerse in its enchanting beauty. 

    Medical facilities

    Tso moriri is a high altitude lake, and you must prepare yourself well to acclimatise with the thin air up there. While the nearest place with medical facilities/health centre will be a available Korzok Village, you may get the basic oxygen cylinders at the camps and hotels nearby the lake

    ATMs

    You will not find any ATM near Tso Moriri lake. The wisest thing to do is to carry cash because there is no internet connectivity too at Tso Moriri, disabling you the benefits of internet banking. 

    Petrol pumps

    The nearest petrol pump from Tso Moriri is at Karu, which is located at a distance of 24 km. It is advisable to get your vehicle fuelled from Leh. In case you're exiting from Leh Manali Highway, you must ensure you have enough fuel to reach Tandi. 

    Food joints

    The food joints and stalls are available in Korzok Village. However, you may also get food and authentic local cuisine at the camp and home stay you may choose near Tso Moriri for your accommodation. 

    Minimum duration for visiting Tso moriri

    If you are visiting Tso Moriri, it is best you reach there before evening and spend your night in one of the camps. While the nights are pitch dark, wake up to witness a beautiful sunrise the next morning and click pictures as the lake changes its hues. 


    Frequently Asked Questions

     
    1) How do I get to Tso Moriri?

    Tso Moriri is a high-altitude lake located in Leh region of Jammu and Kashmir. You can easily take a flight to Leh and drive to Tso Moriri, which is at a distance of 220 km from Leh. Vehicles on rent and cabs are also available in Leh. You can also take a bike trip to leh-ladakh. Here's our full guide on srinagar to leh road trip
     
    2) Should I halt for a night near Tso Moriri?

    Being a wildlife reserve area, you cannot pitch your own tent near the lake. However, you can always book a camp/hotel opposite the lake for a night stay. Enjoy the morning views of the lake and wake up to a beautiful sunrise as nature displays its best hues in the morning.
     
    3) What are the other names for Tso Moriri?

    Tso Moriri is a sacred lake for locals. It is also known as Lake Moriri or Mountain Lake by locals as well as visitors thronging the place.
     
    4) Who protects the lake and the surrounding areas?

    The Tso Moriri and its surrounding regions have been declared as a wetland conservation reserve. The State Department of Wildlife has, besides setting up a check-post near Mahe Bridge, taken initiatives to educate the locals on the conservation and set up an information desk for the tourists. While it is illegal to shoot the wildlife here, one also needs an Inner Line Permit to visit the lake.
     
    5) How high is the Tso Moriri Lake?

    Tso Moriri is a high-altitude lake in the Rupshu district of Jammu and Kashmir. The lake is situated at an altitude of a whopping 4595 (over 15000 feet), surrounded by high mountains on all its sides.
     
    6) What is the colour of Tso Moriri?

    The water in the lake is crystal clear, allowing it to embrace the colour of the sky and the background. While the lake waters change it hues with the changing colours of the sky, the lake also reflects the imagery of the mountains in the background which surround the lake on all sides, making it majestic sight.

    7) What are the activities to do near Tso Moriri?

    The Tso Moriri is a high altitude lake, and photography lovers will have the frames of their lifetime as they click the majestic lake with the firm mountains in the background. There is a lot in store for wildlife enthusiasts too as the lake is a breeding ground for migratory birds. Book your date with exotic wildlife and feel close to nature by visiting Tso Moriri. You can also go for trekking in  ladakh

    8) What are the other attractions near Tso Moriri?

    On your visit to Tso Moriri, visit nearby attractions like Tso Moriri view point for the best view of the lake, Tso Moriri wetland reserve, Korzok Monastery which is located in Korzok Village and Tsokar Lake, which is located at a distance of 85 km. If you're travelling from delhi, here's our full guide on delhi to leh trip

    9) Should I skip Tso Moriri if I am visiting Pangong Tso?

    It depends on the time you have at your hand and your preferences as a traveler. While the Pangong Tso is more popular and visited a lot by tourists, the Tso Moriri is a remote lake which is less visited, serene and calm owing to its location. If you are an offbeat traveler and would like to set off on a journey of self-discovery far from people, a visit to the lake is a must.

Attractions

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Pangong Lake

Rather, the most sought after tourist destination is Pangong Tso in Ladakh region. It is the highest among the high altitude lakes in India which is filled with saline water but provides some awe-struck moments to the visitors with the unbelievable phenomenon of changing colours quite a number of times a day.

The reflections of the towering Himalayan peaks in the water add more charm to the lake. Currently, Pangong Tso is the favourite location for tourists as the banks of the lake give soothing bed to relax and the nearby places are enhanced by the beauty of this particular lake. The quiet lake is 134 km in length and 5 km in width is situated at an altitude of 14270 meters. But the major share of the lake lies in the area of China. Now, its recognition is spread everywhere in the world because it is termed as a wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention.

The highly saline water does not accommodate any water species not even micro-organisms. But the banks of the lake give space for several birds and animals very rarely seen in the other parts of India. It is an important breeding ground for many migratory birds as well.

Height: The lake is located at an altitude of 4250 meters above sea level.

Location: Pangong Tso is easily accessible as it can be reached after a five-hour drive from Leh and the travel would be on a rough and dramatic mountain road. You will cross the villages of Shey and Gya during the tour and go through Chang La as well.

Best time to visit: The months from May to September are the ideal time to visit the lake as the other seasons may cause challenges due to the heavy snowfall.

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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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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.