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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 Tours in Leh
Trekking in Leh Ladakh is the most popular way of exploring the region, and the many grand trails offer an assurance of great and memorable experiences. Some of the best trekking tours in near Leh include:
The most popular jeep safari tour is the 472 kilometres long Manali to Leh tour. The tour generally covers famous sights like Khardung La pass, Keylong, Jispa, Darcha among others.The tour can take anywhere from 5 to 10 days, depending upon your sight-seeing desires. A Manali to Leh jeep safari tour will cost you between 25,000 INR to 40,000 INR per person, depending upon your tour provider. The jeep tour can also be extended to include other popular spots like the Nubra Valley.
Another popular jeep safari tour is from Srinagar to Leh. This tour generally covers famous spots like Sonamarg (the Meadow of Gold), Kargil with its views of Tiger Hill and Tololing, the statue of Maitreya Buddha, and several monasteries among other sights. Some tour providers also provide a trip to Nubra Valley. The tour takes approximately 4 to 5 days, and costs approximately 15,000 to 25,000 INR per person.
A motorcycle tour of Leh Ladakh is one of the most adventurous activities you can engage in. The tour incorporates all the major sights in and around Leh and Ladakh Nubra Valley, Jispa, Khardung La Pass, Keylong, Baralacha Pass etc.
There are many ways in which you can engage in such an expedition. First, you can choose to rent your own bike and pay a daily rental. Depending on your point of departure, your daily bike rental can cost you 800 INR to 2000 INR. Alternatively, you can choose to take advantage of a package by a tour provider. Such a package will include your itinerary, a bike, and hotel or camping provisions. The package, lasting between 8 to 20 days, will cost between 25,000 INR to 50,000 INR per head depending on your tour provider.
A comprehensive and leisurely tour of Ladakh, which allows you to experience the region peacefully, will take at least 8 to 10 days. Your trip can also extend to 20 days if you wish to stop and carefully explore the area. The number of days will also extend depending on whether you wish to stop and visit famous places en route to Leh from Delhi, Manali, Srinagar etc.
Yes, there are many exclusive packages offered by a range of tour providers for women only. Such tour packages generally start from Delhi, Chandigarh, Manali and Srinagar, and include transportation, hotel stays, camping provisions where needed, breakfast and dinner, first aid provisions, toll taxes, and oxygen cylinders. Sightseeing costs and the costs of adventure activities are also included in the packages. Tour guides are also arranged when the occasion calls for them.
Costs of such women-only exclusive tours in Leh vary based on the tour provider and the length of the tour. Slight variations based on starting points may also be expected. Keeping all this in mind, a tour to Leh Ladakh costs anywhere between 17,000 INR to 50,000 INR per person.
The Indus River flows across the north west to the south east, passing through Ladakh before it flows into Pakistan. This river is a major rafting hub in Leh Ladakh, especially during the summer months from June to September. Though the Indus river in Ladakh mostly consists of grade I or II rapids, there are places where the grades can also go up to III to V. This allows rafters to engage in some great rafting. The most popular river rafting spots on the Indus river in Ladakh include-
The approximate cost of river rafting in Ladakh is 1500 INR to 2000 INR per head. Costs vary depending upon the route you choose and the activity provider you choose.
Yes, a bike trip from Leh to Srinagar is not only a viable option, it is also quite a popular one with bikers. The route is a fantastic one, and the sights you will see are among the most magnificent in the world. The route is pleasant and easy to navigate, and if you are an experienced biker, there should be no difficulties on the route. Some things need to be kept in mind before you start, however.
The distance from Leh to Srinagar is approximately 434 kilometres. It is no trifling distance, and driving through the mountainous terrain can be exhausting, especially if you are not very experienced on mountain roads.
The climate is another challenge you might have to overcome. Ladakh is located at a great height, and oxygen shortage is a real problem there, especially to those used to low-lying terrains. Make sure you carry an oxygen cylinder on you at all times and take frequent breaks if you feel the need.
Since the landscape is so rough, you can also expect landslides blocking your way. Carry food supplies to keep you energised in case you face an unexpected derailment due to the terrain.
Most tours around Leh which can be covered in a jeep or bike can also be covered on a cycle. Cycling has the added advantage of being pliable on dirt tracks so you can explore roads less travelled too. There are several ways in which you can enjoy a cycling tour of Leh Ladakh.
Firstly, you can choose to rent a bicycle in Leh and bike up to the famous points around Leh including the Khardung La, Tanglang La and Baralacha La passes, Keylong, Jispa, Nubra Valley etc. Day trips to these spots will allow you to enjoy Leh Ladakh in a relaxed manner, and you can always return to the comfort of your hotel in the evening. You can also choose to make a circuit of all the famous spots around Ladakh and camp on the road at night.
Alternatively, you can choose to start your bicycling tour to Leh from Manali and Srinagar. This is a challenging tour and it is advisable that only advanced cyclists undertake it. The route is extremely scenic but also very tricky, and riding a bicycle in the mountainous terrain is a hard task. If you wish to undertake this tour, preface with it some strong preparation and do not jump headfirst into it.
Any cycling tour in Leh Ladakh should involve several pit stops which will allow you to reenergise yourself. Pushing your body beyond its capacities can prove life-threatening too since the landscape of Ladakh with its low oxygen is a challenge in itself. Take many breaks, carry adequate food and water supplies, and always have an oxygen cylinder with you.
The Markha valley trek in Ladakh is one of the most famous trekking routes in the state, and also one of the most difficult ones. The trek takes place over a distance of 75 kilometres, and is not one that beginners should undertake. During the trek, you will pass through some magnificent spots such as Yurutse, Ganda La Pass, Kongmaru La Pass, Hemis National Park etc. The trek will reward you with several stunning views of the majestic Kangyatze Peak too.
The Markha Valley trek takes approximately 8 to 9 days to complete. The first few days are spent in slow acclimatization after which the trek picks up speed and difficulty.
The Stok Kangri Trek is one of the most difficult treks around Ladakh. Its greatest difficulty is its height. The Stok kangri trek is the highest trekkable summit located at a height of about 20500 feet, and it can take anywhere between 9 to 18 days to complete the trek. The distance of the trek is approximately 40 kilometres, and you will have to deal with minus degree temperatures frequently. The entire route is full of spell-binding sights of the Himalayas and the valleys laid out below. Once you reach the summit, you will be able to see the whole of Zanskar and the Indus Valley below.
The best time to trek this route is from June to August when the summer is at its highest.
The Leh Ladakh Cultural Tour takes approximately 4 to 5 days in total and covers several famous cultural spots around the region. Monasteries, handicraft sites, temples and villages are the most frequented spots on these tours.
Visits to the Shey, Thiksey, Hemis, Alchi and Likir monasteries are common as are visits to the oracle of Sabu, Tibetan handicraft centre, Japanese temple and Zanskar village.
The places you visit on such a tour vary depending upon the tour organizer.
Yes, camel safaris are common in Leh and you can easily enjoy safaris over the sand dunes in Diskit and Hunder valley. Camel safaris in Hunder (Nubra Valley) are in fact world renowned as you pass through enchanting landscapes that are difficult to explore in a car or jeep.
Leh Ladakh is a fantastic honeymoon destination. The mighty sights and the beautiful treks around the region are nature’s gifts to honeymoon couples. Honeymoon tours of Leh Ladakh include visits to the most famous spots around the region including Keylong, Khardung La Pass, Jispa, Pangong Tso Lake, Nubra Valley among others. Camping options are also included in these tours. Adventure activities like Camel riding in the Nubra Valley and river rafting in the Indus are also included in some packages. The number of places included in your Leh Ladakh honeymoon tour depends upon the amount of time you are able to commit. A good tour package will last between 5 to 20 days.
Buddhism reigns supreme in the high altitudes of Ladakh and this fact has given birth to several grand monasteries in the region with their own unique identities. Most of these monasteries have been around for several centuries and their ancient has are full of a serenity that engulfs the visitor. Some of the best ancient monasteries you can visit in Leh Ladakh include,
The Chadar trek, or the Frozen River Trek, in Ladakh takes approximately 8 to 15 days to complete. It is 75 kilometres long.
Ladakh has a rich variety of local and national festivals which keep a spirit of joy alive in the region all year round. These festivals add colour and vibrancy to the local culture by celebrating the diversity of Ladakh. They are a great way to interact with the locals and gain insights into the lifestyle of Leh Ladakh. Some of the best festivals to enjoy during your tour of Ladakh include,
150 kilometres north of Leh lies the “Orchard of Ladakh”-the beautiful Nubra Valley with its lush grasslands and scenic mountain views. Mind-numbingly cold in the winters, the valley is a source of unending joy to travellers in the spring-filled summer months.
Exploring the dune-like valley in the summer months on a camel or on a bicycle is delightful, and the gazing upon the star-spangled night skies is awe-inspiring. Camping in the Nubra Valley is also a very special activity.
A tour of the Nubra Valley also includes visits to the Khardung La pass, the Diskit Gompa, Hunder village, Sumur village, Panamik, Terisha Tso among others. Trekking around the valley is an easy but rewarding experience. The range of beautiful experiences that Nubra Valley can provide travellers makes it a very special place in India. It is best explored between June and August.
The Hemis High Altitude Wildlife Sanctuary is a world-famous spot for snow leopard viewing. The sanctuary has the highest concentration of snow leopards in the world, and the magnificent animals can be spotted frequently in the wild here.
Though the sanctuary is open throughout the year, the best time to view snow leopards is from December to February. The sanctuary offers several good trekking routes from mid-June to mid-October.
Yes, you can definitely go on a solo backpacking tour to Leh. The region is a peaceful one and the locals are friendly and hospitable for most part, so you will not face any troubles on that account. However, a solo backpacking tour of Leh Ladakh, while rewarding, is also a tricky trip, and several cautions need to be kept in mind.
The climate and the terrain of Ladakh is the most challenging aspect of a trip to the region, but it should be of especial concern to a solo backpacker. Make sure you are well prepared to tackle any difficulties that come in your way. Always carry plentiful food and beverage supplies to keep you energised, and keep a first aid kit and oxygen cylinder with you at all times. But don’t carry too many things with you since traveling light is easier than lugging many bags along the road.
The height and remoteness of the landscape also means that you are likely to lose your phone connection at many points. It would be wise to keep several operational sim cards on you, preferably by different providers, so that you have maximum chances of being connected to the world. Creating a detailed itinerary and handing over a copy of it to your loved ones is also a good way of ensuring that you are prepared against emergencies.
Safety measures like pepper sprays and nail cutters should also be kept on hand just in case.
Apart from this, a solo backpacking trip in Ladakh is a wonderful experience so enjoy every bit of it.
The diverse range of places where you can indulge in exotic camping and the variety of awe-inspiring sights that can be experienced here add to the magnificence of camping in the region, and make it a memorable experience. Some of the best campsites in Ladakh include,
Traveller Tales From Leh
05 October 2017
First, I would like to say thank you to firstname.lastname@example.org for their coordination and cooperation.The trip was well planned and executed extremely well by the tour operators, I am very happy with ...
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 foll...
27 November 2015
The beauty of the landscapes of this destination is something that blew my mind the second I landed. Coupled with the chill climate this was the perfect trip! The people I met were amazing and the guid...
26 September 2015
Great trip! The rooms were good and so was our food. We covered all the places as mentioned in the package. We also visited some of the monasteries which revived us all at once. The sight of Nubra vall...
30 November 2015
Fantabulous time spent in the lap of the mountains, our entire cycling group had gone together and we enjoyed immensely. The cycling trip was really difficult at some time but the feel of it was reall...
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 pro...
21 July 2014
Two days of the Markha Valley trekking was spent for acclimatisation. Although, it is really boring, it was very crucial for a hale and healthy trek ahead. In this particular time, we visited unravel m...
10 March 2015
Rougher dirt tracks needs to be covered. Along with this we also made some very tough climbs. The descents were gut-wrenching yet interesting. If you think that it is very stressful, the distance we co...
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 b...
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