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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.
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
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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What You Should Know More About Things To Do in Leh
There is plenty to do in Leh. With so many places of attraction and activities to participate in you will have a busy time during your trip to Leh. The major attractions to visit are:
Participate in activities like:
Adventure in this region has its own taste. Leh Ladakh is blessed by high passes, high altitude ranges, scenic trails, massive lakes, deep valleys and these creations of nature make a perfect platform for a great variety of adrenaline pumping action. Enjoy innumerable adventure sports like:
Get into the spirit of adventure among the mountains and valleys of Leh. You must explore their sheer beauty whether you are a newbie trekker or a pro. There are routes to suit all needs. Here's presenting some of the best treks in Leh:
A good way to celebrate this beautiful world is to camp far away from the madding crowd, live under the open sky and taste the adventure of a lifetime. The mesmerizing landscapes of Leh - Ladakh make it a romantic camping destination. With fluttering prayer flags all around you, enjoy a holiday that will be completely different from every possible holiday you have been on. Camping across the various destinations here can sure prove to be a great way to explore the beauty of the unadulterated nature here. Vendors will arrange for you to camp at:
The Leh Ladakh bike trip is a must in every biker’s wish list. The roaring engine, echoes amidst the barren hills, the challenging roads and the gust of the chaste breeze striking their faces makes every rider’s spine tingle.
Embraced by the arms of the gigantic snow-capped mountains of the Himalaya, the mesmeric vista of Leh is an ideal destination for a bike trip. On your way witness not only the exotic views but also the immaculate culture amidst the quaint villages and monasteries.
Taking a road trip to and in Leh gives you an opportunity to explore some of the highest traversable mountain passes in the world.
You can make this trip through:
Between Manali and Leh you will come across:
In Leh you get to see:
Various road routes leading to Leh attracts all adventure seekers. Replete with a number of shades of nature’s beauty this route can test any adventure junkies patience and determination. If you are a person who seeks a certain level of comfort along with thrill then a jeep safari is ideal for you. Various road routes for Jeep Safaris can be undertaken. Contact your operator and choose one of these:
On your way enjoy stopovers and drink in the beauty of
River Rafting is one of the most exciting adventure activities that can be undertaken in this region. Choose the grade of rafting depending on your skill and experience. The two rivers you can traverse are:
There are several operators who can give you this thrilling experience between several points in and around Leh. As far as the raft is concerned, it is best to go for the medium one as it is both challenging and fun. Choose between the several points on offer:
You may need to pay anything between Rs. 1500/- to Rs. 1800/- or a little more depending on the operator and the facilities provided.
The scenic beauty that one finds in Leh is awe-inspiring and the best way to experience Leh Ladakh and feel like a local is to travel on camel back like in early times. Camels were considered one of the best modes of transport and were used by merchants and traders for the 'silk route’. Taking a camel safari in Leh is a definite activity to indulge in. It is the best way to explore the marvel of this region. Travelling on a trotting camel through the clean black roads and the huge mountains is a marvelous experience which you are never likely to forget. Just close your eyes and imagine yourself riding on a double-humped camel through the Nubra Valley amidst the breathtaking beauty of Leh. It is the most magical experience you can ever have. Taking a camel safari in Leh would ensure that you experience the surroundings just as they are. Vendors offer a number of camel safaris but the most famous route is Nubra Valley via the Khardung La pass.
Every year, millions of people from all corners of the world swarm to various monasteries in search of inner peace. They are considered to be one of the most holy and sacred places. Buddhist monasteries are the most spectacular. In India, these monasteries are mostly located in the northern or eastern part of India. They depict the life and teachings of Buddha. The Leh Ladakh region is popular for its incredibly beautiful monasteries! They tell us about the rich culture of Ladakh through their architecture, ancient texts, and paintings. Nowadays some of monasteries in Ladakh have started to offer staying facility for tourists.
Visit at least some of the following if not all:
Within the modest landmass it occupies, the Cold Desert of Kashmir Leh Ladakh is not without its share of natural, visual marvels and lakes are a big part of its landscapes. Each of its lakes is more awe-inspiring than the other. Very few of us know that the Pangong Tso changes colour with every hour and turns from emerald green according to the various hues of the sky. The best time to visit these lakes is in summers because, during the winters, they are frozen and become so solid that they are better used as roads. Make sure you visit these:
The game of Polo was introduced to Ladakh from neighboring Baltistan from its country of origin Persia. Every village in Ladakh has a polo ground and this game is an integral part of the Ladakhi culture. It is an important part of the fortnight-long Ladakh Festival held in September. While the British rules of Polo have become refined, the game in Leh Ladakh continues to be rough and tough and one of the most popular games.
During the seventeenth century, Sengge Namgyal, the King of Ladakh laid the first royal polo ground in the Murtse garden below Leh. The present polo ground in the center of Leh adjoining the Deputy Commissioner’s office is the venue for Exhibition and tournament matches.
Winter is the time in Leh when you get to see the genuine beauty of the roof of the world. Though most people would wonder at the advisability of visiting Leh during winter but if you want to experience the place close to its people this is the best time. Also the adventure freaks among you who want to experience natural ice skating in the frozen lake or river must make use of this opportunity. Try out these:
The ranges of Leh is every mountaineer’s dream. With the region divided into segments of the Karakoram and Zanskar mountain ranges, mountaineering in Ladakh is one of the most thrilling experiences. The climate, environment and topography of Ladakh make the climb physically demanding yet for all the mountaineers out there, Leh with its natural charm and beauty, is the place for you! With a variety of beautiful, interesting and challenging climbing routes in this region Leh attracts people from all over the world. Listed below are some of the most mesmerizing ones:
Those adventure lovers who enjoy a trip to the mountains must take the opportunity of quad biking in Leh. Go with friends or alone don’t miss out on this adventure. Make the most of quad biking in:
Trekking amongst the beautiful and majestic regions of Leh is every adventure lovers dream. Depending on your abilities choose between the challenging and easy treks. If you have the stamina go for these:
Even if you are first time trekker don’t hesitate to try out trekking while in Leh. Make the most of your visit take the challenge and try out the easy treks.
Trekking in Leh during the winter months is definitely not an easy job. However those who enjoy an adrenaline rush at the name of adventure venture into the area to enjoy trekking. Make these treks:
For those who prefer a comfortable weather and enjoy trekking go for a trek on the following routes:
The brackish water of Pangong lake has sparse vegetation and is no aquatic life except for small crustaceans. It is a haven however for bird watchers. Currently, in the process of being identified as an acclaimed wetland under the Ramsar Convention, it acts as an important breeding point for several migratory birds such as Brahmini ducks and Bar-headed goose. The waters of Pangong Lake changes its colour in many shades of blue and green with the changing position of the sun in the sky. Interestingly, only 1/4th of the lake lies in India and the rest flows into the Tibet region of China. Spangmik Village which is located about 7 kilometres along the southern shores is the farthest village of Pangong area. From here, one can enjoy spectacular views of the Chang-Chenmo range. So if you are an avid bird watcher or nature lover there is much in store for you.
Safety among wild animals depends on your own behaviour. Therefore going on the Snow Leopard trek would involve the usual precautions. The Snow Leopard Trek is one of the popular winter treks in the Ladakh region. It lies in a territory which has a wild stretch of rugged mountains dotted with animals like snow leopards.
The Chadar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is definitely a winter trail. Located in the Zanskar region of Ladakh it becomes the only path to travel in the area during the harsh winter months. The trail which is really a necessity during the freezing winter months has also become popular with Indian as well as international adventure tourists. Since it serves as the only means of travel even during the winters it can be availed of at other times of the year too.
Once you have reached Nubra Valley in Leh you can choose from among plenty of activities. You may choose activities in the valley itself or a little away too. Take your pick from among visits to:
You can also go on a
Shop for mementoes and curios in Leh, to take back for friends and family. Woollens, Pashmina, Tibetan handicrafts – there is a huge choice laid out before you. Go to local markets or individually owned shops to get a huge variety of things to buy. You will get shops selling
There are various restaurants to satisfy your needs but the best would be to try out the local dishes sold at small outlets. You can have your mutton and chicken preparations anywhere at all but you must try out
One of the most interesting things you can do in a cold desert is to take a dip in a hot spring. A visit to Leh remains incomplete if you don’t take a dip in the hot water springs and even cook your pasta there. If you are in Leh do visit the Panamic Village hot springs.
The terrains of Leh Ladakh and the waters of the lake make it a paradise for wildlife. You can meet snow leopards and migratory birds. In fact, the Snow Leopard Trek is named that way since the trail can bring you face to face with a snow leopard. Visit the Hemis National Park for the best wildlife experience. It is the only national park in India north of the Himalayas, the largest notified protected area in India. It is home to a number of species of endangered mammals including the snow leopard. There is a breeding population of snow leopards, especially in the Rumbak catchment area. Other than that you will also come across the
Traveller Tales From Leh
18 February 2016
To start with I had the most adventurous ride of a lifetime. Bike trip allows you to experience the best just in front of your eyes and Manali to Leh was one of my dream destination. The word that follows will be a huge WOW. Be it the surroundings or the roads the highway connecting Manali to Leh is brilliant. The roads are quite tedious, but that also means that more the adventure and more the fun. Everything was well organized from our accommodation to food. I went with my 2 friends and once we reached there we were provided with our bikes. Another best thing was that the fuel was included in the package. This is a must trip for the bikers.
29 October 2015
I think it was one of the best trips which I had in last 4 years. Our trip from Manali to Leh was of 12 days and it was an adventurous one. We were provided with all the facilities. Our bikes were provided to us and also a mechanic for our trip. Most of all your fuel is included in this package which is super good. We covered all the amazing passes like Keylong, Khardungla pass etc. The sight around the Pangong Lake was one of kind. And ya we did click a lot of pictures. This trip is a must do for the bikers as well as the nature lovers.
09 November 2015
It was a truly amazing experience as we rode on our bikes from Manali to Leh. From the snowy mountains to the vast green trees covered with snow makes everything perfect for us. We also had a back up bike and 01 backup jeep to carry luggage and mechanic. While riding my bike broke down near the Tsomoriri Lake. But the backup mechanic was real in dealing with the issue and it was good to go again. While riding you will be riding at a speed of 120-130 on the highways. Also, be careful while you ride in the roads of Leh passes. It was really an unforgettable experience for us.
31 March 2015
This trip was awesome. I had the best biking experience ever with this trip. It was so brilliant. The drive through was mind boggling. I loved it totally. If you are a biker, then it is a sin, if you have not taken Ladakh bike trip. Visited almost all the famous of places of Leh. I had an amazing 7 days in the paradise of bikers. The whole trip was very well organized.
12 July 2013
I had a nice and an awesome time while trekking and walking in the frozen ice path of Chadar mountains. The walk on ice trek in Chadar was the best trek that I had ever taken.
19 May 2016
This was my second trip on the leh passes. I would like to say, the more number of times i go here, the more i want to come back soon. Really the most amazing and enthralling bike trips destination of India. Proud to be an Indian.
09 February 2016
One word - Fantastic. It was my dream to cover Leh on a bike and finally thanks to Thrillophilia I gt my preferred dates. Amazing experience. Brought out the biker in me. Perfect place - perfect expedition what else you want?
06 March 2017
A pure learning experience throughout. It is a golden chance to meet different types of people and their attitude towards a precious location. A magic destination worth spending your money and time. Leh Ladakh won’t disappoint you but gives you a lot of tricky challenges on the way. My dream come true was this trip to Leh. Booking through Thrillophilia helped me forget all the worries about the package. I am from Delhi so it was so easy for me to find the service providers. I would thank them for giving us a nice transportation. From Manali to Leh and return, everything they arranged was neat and tidy. As a traveller I was looking for decent service than a luxurious one and in these places you will not find posh things. I had the best time of my lives. But had to go through some tough roads and places and the journeys were all long. Some time I felt that it was only travelling. If there were something like trekking or similar, the trip would have been much better. The bike ride they provided in between was incredible. As a whole, I have less complaints about the package and more good memories.
06 March 2017
It was my dream come true. I have been planning to do a Himalayan ride for last two three years. Finally I found something interesting here on this site. Rather 12 days would make you tired, but the scenery will not disappoint you. You will understand why people are keeping Ladakh as one of the dream like destinations. I thought I will fall down many time during the trip but thank God I came back home without much bruises and wounds. But if you follow a steady pace and keep calm, you can enjoy the side views, many of them are pekans and top areas. There was a bus service from Delhi to Manali but I directly went to Manali to join the team. The guides gave us one route map and an instruction kind of thing. So the route was not confusing. Then, they were always with us. It is very easy to feel altitude sickness at many locations, you will heavy inside your head. But once you get familiarised with it, then you will ok. Also, it was cold throughout. But as a whole, it was an awesome time in the Himalayan valleys.
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