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  • Part of the Hindu Kush Himalaya, the natural enchantress, Changthang Cold Desert Wildlife Sanctuary encompasses two of the world-famous high altitude water lakes, Tsomoriri and Pangong Tso. The altitude of the sanctuary varies from 14000 to 19000 feet, and the topography is formed of deep gorges and vast plateaus. There are around 11 lakes and 10 marshes in the Changthang Cold Desert Sanctuary, and the majestic River Indus dances through the sanctuary, dividing it into two parts.  

    The snow leopard is the major attraction of this wildlife sanctuary. Rare and threatened animals such as Tibetan wolf, Tibetan argali, Wild Yak, Tibetan gazelle, and the Tibetan antelopes also reside in this vast cold desert landscape. Around 44 species of water birds have been recorded. The endangered Black-necked crane breeds in the marshes here before flying to its winter home in northeast India.

    Flora: More than 200 species of wild plants grow in the higher pasture. These wild plants are mostly edible by animals.

    Fauna: This sanctuary hosts Kaing (Tibetan Wild Ass), snow leopard, lynx, wolf and wild dog. Also, one can spot wild ungulates Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Argali, Blue Sheep, Wild Yak, Ibex, and Ladakh Urial.

    Avian-Fauna: Brahminy Ducks, Brown-headed Gulls. It offers an ideal breeding habitat for Black Necked Crane and seasonal species of migratory birds.

    Best Time to Visit: May to Dec

    Area: 4,000 sq. km

    Location: In the east of Leh (state J&K), located between Ladakh and the Tibet (China) border.

    Things to keep in mind:

    - Prior permission to visit the Protected Area required by the District magistrate Leh

    - It's better to make arrangement of accommodation in advance from Leh

    Other major attractions of Ladakh:

  • 01 Pangong Lake

    Pangong Lake, also known as Pangong Tso, is one of the most spellbinding sites in Ladakh. It is a glacial lake approximately 150 kilometers long which extends into both the Indian and the Chinese territories. The lake is perched at a height of 4350 meters but is in a liquid state even in the deep winters owing to its salinity. One must try camping around Pangong lake to experience the beautiful serenity of the place.

    Pangong Lake is a destination straight out of a fairytale- the still waters of the lake against the background of an intense blue sky are fascinating enough in themselves, but the ever-changing colours of the lake further add to its charm. Visiting the Pangong lake is an activity that you absolutely must undertake when in Ladakh. The lake is only 5 hours away from Leh and transportation to and from it is easily procured.
  • 02Khardungla Pass

    One of the most famous passes in Ladakh, the Khardung La is one of the few high-altitude motorable roads in the world. The might and majesty of its entire setting add to its imposing aspect and make visiting the Kahrdung La an experience to remember. 

    The sights and sounds to be experienced here exceed all expectations- the high altitude (scaling almost 18,500 feet) of the pass makes it a fantastic viewing point from where some of the most awe-inspiring views can be seen. An army canteen near the pass provides tourists with the chance to enjoy a nice hot cup of tea and some snacks as they gaze tirelessly upon the view.

  • 03Tso Moriri Lake

    Another beautiful lake in Ladakh, Tso Moriri is a sight fair seen. It falls on the Ladakhi end of the Changthang Plateau and is fed by sundry streams and the melting snows of neighboring mountains. Surrounded by flourishing mountains on all sides with snow-capped peaks gazing down from far above, this glacial lake is one of the prettiest spots you can visit in Ladakh

    Nature is at its most benign and benevolent in this lakeside landscape, and gazing upon it will make you want to bow your head in reverence for the powers of nature. The lake is situated approximately 250 km from Leh, 8 hours’ worth of drive away, and can be accessed via tour jeeps and rental cars. Also, don't forget to indulge yourself in camping in Tso Moriri lake

  • 04Nubra Valley

    When in Ladakh you simply cannot miss paying a visit to the iconic Nubra Valley. One of the most beloved sites in Ladakh, this valley offers a range of interesting tourist activities to be enjoyed. Camel safaris on sand dunes or visit monasteries in Diskit, village tours around Hunder and Diskit and Turtuk, and a lot more can be enjoyed in Nubra Valley.

    It is one of the prettiest places you will visit in Ladakh and one that will leave you with a whole lot of beautiful memories. You can enjoy Nubra Valley by undertaking a week-long trek or engage in jeep, bike or bicycle safaris. Camping in Nubra Valley is also a fantastic experience so do not miss out on it.
  • 05Shanti Stupa

    Leh is significantly influenced by the Buddhist ideals, and stamps of this influence are to be seen all around the state. The Shanti Stupa in Leh is a landmark site in the city and is an example of this far-ranging influence. It is a white-domed chorten which stands proudly on a hill in Leh and is visible from far off. 

    The stupa is famous for the relics of Buddha that are preserved at its base and have been enshrined there by the 14th Dalai Lama. The views from the top of the hill only add to the beauty of the place and make visiting the Shanti Stupa a must-do activity in Leh.

  • 06Alchi Monastery

    Alchi Monastery is an ancient Buddhist monastery complex in Ladakh that houses many chortens and temples including three major shrines- the Dukhang (Assembly hall), the Sumtsek and the Temple of Manjushri. All three shrines date back to the 12th century and are considered to be of great significance in the Buddhist history of Ladakh.

    Beautiful wall paintings also decorate the monuments of the monastery and reflect both Buddhist and Hindu ideals. Woodworks are also an important part of the monastery art. Alchi Monastery is not just a monastery, it is also a monument to Jammu and Kashmir’s past and as such plays an important role in the region. Its location on the banks of the Indus river only adds to the depth of the experience of visiting the monastery.
  • 07Royal Leh Palace

    An important part of the culture of Ladakh, the 17th century Royal Leh Palace is a palace that stands to overlook the town of Leh. The situation of the palace makes it a wonderful place to look out upon a vista comprising of the small Leh town with the Stok Kangri and Ladakh mountain ranges in the background.

    Though the condition of the palace has deteriorated over the years, it is nonetheless an important touristic attraction in Ladakh, and it also houses a museum with artefacts dating back almost 450 years. Visiting this museum is a great way to get some valuable insight into the history and culture of Ladakh.

    The visit to the building will also provide you with an excellent example of medieval Tibetan architecture, thus adding to the depth of your Ladakh visit.
  • 08Hemis National Park

    Hemis National park is a high-altitude national park in Ladakh and is a wonderful place to explore. Open all around the year, this park offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in nature and enjoy a heightened level of stillness and peace in Ladakh. The national park houses a wide range of flora and fauna and is home to several exotic species of life. 

    But the best claim to fame that Hemis National Park of the park is that it is supposed to be the best place in the world to sight a snow leopard in the wild. For this reason, the Snow Leopard trek inside the park is a favourite trekking trail with adventure lovers in the winter months from December to February.

  • 09Diskit Monastery

    Diskit Monastery is one of the places you cannot miss visiting in Ladakh. Located in Nubra Valley, this monastery is the oldest and the largest monastery in the Ladakh region. A grand 100-foot statue of the Maitreya Buddha is enshrined at the entrance of the monastery and makes an imposing picture as you approach the monastery. A number of other shrines and temples are also to be seen inside the monastery.

    Located on the plains above the Shyok River, visiting this monastery makes for a wonderful photogenic outing. Though the best time to visit the Ladakh is during the summer, the monastery also conducts a “Festival of the Scapegoat" during February- a festival which reflects the spirit of the culture of Ladakh.
  • 10Hall of Fame

    Ladakh has often been on the frontlines of the wars between India and Pakistan, and numerous soldiers have lost their lives in the mountains around the region. In order to honour the memory of these brave soldiers, the Indian army constructed the Hall of Fame- a museum dedicated to celebrating the courage of these war heroes. 

    The Hall Of fame comprises of two floors with the first floor detailing the lives of the soldiers and the second floor featuring a hall which contains several artefacts from the Indo-Pak wars, most notably from the Kargil war of 1999. A souvenir shop is also a part of the museum. Since it is located right next to the Leh airfield, visiting the Hall of Fame is an easy matter and can be accomplished whenever you have a couple of free hours in Leh.


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Wildlife in Leh



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 favorite 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 the 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.


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 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 entre 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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Stok Kongri Trek

Stok Kangri, Ladakh is one of the most popular places for high altitude trekking in India. Although the beauty of Ladakh draws in innumerable tourists and trekkers from all over the country and the world, the Stok Kangri trek isn’t really suited for anyone and everyone.

It is advisable that only experienced trekkers set out on this expedition as the climatic and geographical conditions of the place may not suit novice or amateur trekkers. Nonetheless, Stok Kangri is one of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the country. It is for this reason that the Stok Kangri trek forms an inevitable experience while trekking in India.

The trek begins from Leh, which is noted for its natural beauty as well as the warm and hospitable people. During the first couple of days of the trek, you can move around Leh, go sightseeing and get acclimatized to the weather of the region. These couple of days will prepare you for the trek ahead. You will next be taken to Chang Ma via Stok Village by road.

The journey from Leh to Stok Village takes you to witness the amiable yet fictional setting which includes lush greenery, glistening snow peaks and scenic splendor of the region in this stretch. On reaching Chang Ma, you reach a snow covered region and begin trekking. You will need to climb on for about three hours. From here you will head on to Manokorma, which is at an elevation of 14200 feet.

During the trek, you will be able to view some very beautiful peaks such as the Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, etc. The base camp of the trek is at an elevation of 16, 300 feet. From here, the journey continues till you reach the Stok Kangri. The rewarding scenery from the top is what draws trekkers from all over the world to high altitude trekking in India. The trek back to Leh is a bit arduous and you may need to be careful while climbing down the mountainous terrain.

Best Season: June - October

Difficulty Level: Medium

Max. Elevation: 5000 m

Number of Days: Maximum 10 days of trek can be done here

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