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  • Ladakh is a region blessed abundantly with the most scenic vistas of the rolling hills, barren landscape and colourful Buddhist prayer flags fluttering along the roadside, therefore offering the best festivals of Ladakh. The region experiences the best climate of cold winters with snow all around forming a picturesque white desert and a pristine summer making it ideal to roam about freely in warmer temperatures to even get a view of the beautiful Buddhist region and Indus Valley from high up in the passes. Also known as ‘Mini Tibet’, Ladakh is an abode for the Buddhist culture and way of life in India and has a number of monasteries to testify to this. 

    These monasteries perched atop, with large and intricately built Buddha statues and ancient scriptures a sight to see from even far away. The rich cultural heritage here along with the pompously celebrated monastic festivals of Ladakh attract visitors from all over the globe to come experience these unique and joyous celebrations. The festivals of Ladakh are a living testament to the enclosed and solitary life of the monks, but when they celebrate the whole village and region is decorated and set up to welcome the festivities. Monks and priests perform the sacred masked dances and offer prayers up to the deities, sometimes even sacrifices and food offerings are presented to the Gods.

    A distinct tradition of these monastic festivals are the oracles who are young monks or local people chosen to live a while in solitude and deep meditation after which they are possessed by the spirit of the Gods. The Ladakhi people firmly believe in their power of predictions against any natural calamity or event to take place in the near future. With dance performances by the priests and even local people, a lot of sports event also takes place during this time. Sports like Archery and Polo are organised for the men and they participate in it with great zeal and fervour to win the cup. The women take part in dancing and traditional folklore songs to keep the event lively and entertaining, dressed in vibrant colours and heavy silver jewellery. 

    These festivals take place according to the Tibetan Calendar and are a great way to understand the culture of Buddhism in India. So when you plan your visit to Ladakh make sure to attend the famous festivities of the monastic culture as they are a great learning ground and will give you an enriching experience of a different way of life in India. We have listed below the best festivals in Ladakh that will give you a better insight into this awe-inspiring and deep Buddhist culture.

    Here are some of the best festivals to enjoy in Ladakh:

  • 01Hemis Festival

    The Hemis Gompa being the largest and richest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh hosts its annual Hemis festival on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month. Celebrated to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. 

    During the festival, the locals and monks dress up in traditional clothes, where men wear cummerbunds and women wear vibrant headgears and ample jewellery. During the monkey year, which comes in a cycle of 12 years, the four-storey thangka of Guru Padmasambhava is hung in the courtyard with other precious thangkas out on display.

    The Lamas perform the sacred masked dance known as Chaam while being accompanied by musical drums, longhorns and cymbals. The mystic mask dances performed here to form an important part of the Tantric tradition. Synchronisation of the dances with traditional instruments in the background makes the festival a lively and entertaining affair attracting tourists and Buddhism believers from all over the world, even in harsh and cold conditions.

    When is it celebrated: It is a 3-day festival that is celebrated from the 9th - 11th June.

    Where is it celebrated: It is celebrated in the Hemis Gompa or Monastery located 45 km towards the south-east of the main city of Leh.
  • 02Losar Festival

    The Losar festival goes on for a month during which the Gods, deities, ancestors and even animals are fed scrumptiously prepared food. It is celebrated as the New Year two months ahead of the Tibetan New Year. In the early 17th century, King Jamyang Namgyal decided to lead an expedition against the Baltistan forces in winter; therefore he decided to celebrate the festival two months before. 

    Later it became a tradition and being celebrated in the eleventh month. People illuminate their houses and offer sacrifices and offerings during these celebrations. The pictures of an Ibex are put up as an auspicious symbol with walls of the kitchens being dotted which are believed to bring prosperity in the coming year. 

    Then a procession of fire or Metho is organised with people chanting slogans to chase away ghosts and evil spirits. Some villages also keep up the tradition of making snowmen, which lasts for a week. People of all ages celebrate this festival with family members getting together and the tradition of drinking a cup of tea with their name on it, these cups are made even for members who are absent and that makes it one of the best things to include in the package during planning tour Ladakh tour.

    This festival is very entertaining and sees the enactment of a lot of ancient rituals like stage fights between good & evil, the dance of the Ibex deer, dramatic battles between the Kind and his ministers. Sees the re-enactment of a lot of ancient rituals as a part of the celebrations like the stage fights between good & evil, a dance of the Ibex deer, dramatic battles between the King & his ministers etc.

    When is it celebrated: The Losar festival is celebrated in the eleventh month of Tibetan calendar, two months ahead of Tibetan New Year, either in the month of December or January.

    Where is it celebrated: It is celebrated in all of Ladakh.


  • 03Sindhu Darshan

    Sindhu Darshan is a three-day festival organised on a full moon night in the month of June to commemorate the river Indus as a symbol of communal harmony and unity in India. Whilst promoting tourism in Ladakh, it is also revered as a proud salute to the brave soldiers who have been fighting bravely for our safety. When you are on your Ladakh road trip expedition this festival is must attend. 

    Local artists from all over the country perform unique dance performances and people from different religions, castes and religions become a part of this festival.

    The most distinct part is that people bring water from their own state in a pot and immerse it in the Sindhu River. On the first day of the festival, a reception for all the participants takes place, organized on the banks of river Sindhu at Shey. 

    Prayers are also offered on the banks of the rivers by the 50 senior lamas who reside here. A bonfire also takes place at night. On the second day, a cultural program and sightseeing trip is organized, which is further followed by a Puja. The third day remains jam-packed with many tourists as some grand celebration takes place on this day.

    When is it celebrated: Sindhu Darshan is a three-day festival held from 1st to 3rd June, in Shey Manila around 8 km.

    Where is it celebrated: It is celebrated on the banks of River Sindhu.
  • 04Phyang Tsedup Festival

    The Phyang Tsedup Festival happens on the 2nd and 3rd day of the 6th month of the Tibetan Calendar which usually falls in the months of July or August and these months are ideal for Leh Ladakh bike trip tour. During the Phyang Tsedup festival celebrations, you’ll see monks wearing colourful brocade robes and masks to perform traditional dances with rich costumes to venerate and worship their deity. 

    The festival is especially marked for the enthusiasm, energy and their constant smiling faces of the monks throughout the festival which uplifts the air and aura of the place. A huge Tibetan Buddhist painting on cotton, or silk appliqué, usually depicting a Buddhist deity, scene, or mandala also known as a Thanka of Skyoba Jigten Gombo, founder of the Degungpa way of teaching and the Dringumpa Monastic Dynasty, is hung in the courtyard during the festival. 

    This Thanks to the Jigten Gombo is worshipped which marks the triumph of good over evil. Ritual offerings are also burnt and sacrificed on the second day and the Stroma is also burnt to conclude the procession. People from all different parts of India and abroad throng the grounds to celebrate the Phyang Festival with great pomp.

    When is it celebrated: The Phyang Tsedup Festival is held on the 2nd and 3rd day of the 6th month of Tibetan Calendar which usually falls in July-August.

    Where is it celebrated: It is celebrated in Phyang Monastery in Ladakh (19.1 km from Leh)
  • 05Dosmoche Festival

    The Dosmoche Festival is an annual two-day event that is celebrated as the last festival of the Tibetan New Year celebrations, initially started by the royal families in Ladakh to eradicate evil around them. It is celebrated in the Leh, Likir and Diskit Monasteries, however, the Leh Dosmoche festivals of Ladakh is the most well known. 

    Monks from different monasteries take part in this celebration by performing Chams or the sacred dance every year in turns. These traditional dance performances take place in the chapel below the Leh Palace where traditional offerings are burnt.

    The monks of the Takthok monastery prepare offerings of thread crosses that are believed to ward off all evil and guard the place against any natural disaster. Senior monks who have the expertise and skill in tantric practices make the intricate thread crosses to trap evil spirits, hungry ghosts and demonic forces. 

    Generally, this festival falls between November and March. And the main highlights are the decorations of the Leh Palace, the alluring music of the drums, a masked dance that show drama and the unique rituals performed by the lamas.

    Where is it celebrated: It is celebrated in Likir (lower Ladakh), Leh (Leh Palace) and Nubra Valley’s Diskit monastery, but the Leh Palace celebration is the grandest and best of all.

    When is it celebrated:  It is celebrated on the 28th and 29th day of the 12th Tibetan month i.e., mid of February which marks the beginning of the Dosmoche Festival.
  • 06Saka Dawa Festival

    The important and famous festivals of Ladakh is noted to be one of the holiest Buddhist holidays. It is celebrated on the fourth month in the Tibetan calendar which comes in June, it is said to be the month when Buddha was born and received spiritual awakening or Nirvana. 

    The word ska means month and data means star which is strongly associated with the full moon of the fourth lunar month. On this very day, every year, the lamas of nearby monasteries change the Tarboche flagpole, that is located in the South of the mountain, Kailash Kora. It is believed that if after the pole is changed, it does not stand erect, it is not auspicious by Tibetans.

    The people refrain from doing certain things on during this festival like the killing of animals, instead, they set them free for the day. You will even notice lamas chanting the mantras 'Om Mani Padme Hum’ which means hail to the jewel and the lotus. 

    During this festival of Ladakh, they follow Dharma practices like reciting mantras, performing sadhanas, offering mandalas, taking precepts and saving animals to commemorate the prestigious enlightenment of Sakyamuni.

    When is it celebrated: Saka Dawa is celebrated on the fourth month in the Tibetan calendar which is held during the month of June, on a full moon night.

    Where is it celebrated: It is celebrated in all of Ladakh.

  • 07Tak Tok Festival

    The Tak Tok Festival is celebrated at a cave of the Tak Thok Gompa and is among the major festivals of Ladakh. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and fanfare and locals as well as tourists from far-flung areas storm the place on this occasion. 

    It is celebrated on the 10th day of the 5th and 10th month of the Tibetan Calendar which the birth anniversary of  Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism and the patron saint of Tibet.This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm by the locals and visitors to the city, and being in the month of May, sees a large majority attending the celebrations.

    This Tak Tok festival is held in the Gompa situated at Tak-Tok. It is commemorated by the dances of lamas, the mask dance and the religious offerings that are made to the Lord. Prayers are offered in the early morning hours.

    A lot of cultural programs are organized throughout the day and as the day ends with, a feast is organized for all. Visitors to this city are treated as the guests at the festival.You can also take part if the festivity by wearing ethnic clothes. This festival is celebrated with lots of devotion and fun.

    Where is it celebrated: The festival is celebrated and organised in the Tak Tok Gompa in Leh.

    When is it celebrated: It is celebrated on the 10th day of the 5th & the 10th month of the Tibetan Calendar which also marks the birth anniversary of Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism and the patron saint of Tibet.
  • 08Matho Nagrang Festival

    The Matho Nagrang Festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan Calendar, which is a 2-day event. This monastery is the only gompa in Ladakh that belongs to the Sakya Sect or School of Tibetan Buddhism. During this festival masked danced performances are put up by the monks of the monastery wearing colourful silk brocaded robes and masks in the form of different Gods and Goddesses.

    The main highlight of this festival is the presence of two oracles who attend the festival after completion of one month in solitude and deep meditation. The two oracles appear in the courtyard accompanying the masked dancers and have the power to predict future events that would befall the place or people.

    Locals even from faraway places come here so that they can get an advice regarding rituals that need to be performed to warding off disasters

    When is it celebrated: This festival of Ladakh is celebrated on the 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar, the Matho Nagrang festival is a 2-day event.

    Where is it celebrated: It is celebrated at Matho Nagrang Monastery which is situated on the banks of the Indus River about 20 km south of Leh.
  • 09Ladakh Festival

    The Ladakh festival is a blend of various cultures of Central Asian, Tibetan and Northern India, which are all found in Ladakh. Held from the 1st to 15th  September in the town of Leh, this a large scale celebration where the locals showcase their zeal and enthusiasm.

    The Ladakh festival brings you the festive ambience of a sports and cultural ambience full of immense warmth and joy, where hundreds of visitors from across the globe come here to witness the grand procession. The procession sees a large number of cultural troupes from different parts of Ladakh as they pass through the markets and streets singing and dancing to traditional tunes.

     The procession includes local leaders, school kids and dancers who perform assorted dances on the conventional tunes played by the orchestra. While the local lads and women wear breathtaking outfits to divert your attention and walk in a line to give you a complete carnival-like feel.

    The highlight of the fest includes wild lion and yak dancing to music presentations and craft exhibitions to yummy dining and tasting intoxicating barley beer called Chang. Finally, the procession ends at the polo ground where interesting folk songs and dance performances are staged like non-stop musical concerts, lama dances and folklore ceremonies. The best part of this festival of Ladakh is the Archery and Polo competitions held which are fun and interesting to watch.

    When is it celebrated: The Ladakh Festival is held for a duration of 15 days from the 1st to 15th of September.

    Where is it celebrated: This festival in Ladakh is held in the town of Leh and its various villages.

  • 10Stok Guru Festival

    Beginning on the 9th and 10th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar, the Stok Guru is annual festival hosted in Stok Village, the present seat of the Ladakhi Royal Family. The Buddhist monks show immense faith and zeal in this festival in Ladakh, as they perform sacred masked dances mainly featuring priests from the Spituk monastery.

    The festival also sees the presence of oracles who are laymen trained by priests to receive the spirit of the deities and the predictions made by these oracles are firmly believed by the local people of this region.

    A lot of exhibitions and fiestas are also organised during this time and the Ladakhi people take pride in all the celebrations as they joyously come to watch and be part of each event.

    When is it celebrated: This Ladakh Stok Guru festival is celebrated in the 9th and 10th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar every year.

    Where is it celebrated: The Stok Guru Tsechu is celebrated in a small monastery called Gurphug, about 20 km south of Leh a subsidiary of the Spituk Monastery.

  • 11Yuru Kabgyat Festival

    In the month of July or August, the Lamayuru monastery or also known as Yuru Gompa hosts an annual two day festival of celebration and devotion. The Yuru Kabgyat festival of Ladakh is a wonderful opportunity to see a wonderful and ancient place beaming with a lively environment and celebrations.

    During the festival, the monks perform mask dances, prayers and rituals in order to ward off any kind of disaster and to bring peace in the world. 

    Going by the holy scriptures, the mask dance dates back to 8th century and is performed to protect the people from natural calamities, and epidemics. Lamas dance in a circle formation on the beats of the drum, with long pipes and cymbals. The festival is of cultural importance not only in India but also for people in China, Japan and Bhutan who participate in it.

    When is it celebrated: This festival in Ladakh takes place in July or August annually. It is a 2-day festival celebrated with great pomp by the local people and 200 lamas residing in the monastery.

    Where is it celebrated: The Lamayuru monastery hosts the Yuru Kabgyat festival around 125 km from the city of Leh


  • 12Ladakh Harvest Festival

    The Ladakh harvest Festival is a major event organised in Leh by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department, from 1st September and lasts until September 15th. It is a colourful celebration of the rich and cultural diversity of the Ladakhi people. 

    Week-long festivities are held all over the region where various cultural troupes and villages participate in this extravaganza of ceremonial costumes, skilful dances and traditional songs. You can also enjoy the entertaining polo and archery competitions held for the local people to participate in. 

    Archery competitions only allow the entry of males while there are various dance opportunities and competitions for the women. A polo tournament by the name of "Ladakh Festival Cup" is also hosted, and a Central Asian trade mart is held in Leh Bazaar. The monks perform the masked dance and the festival concludes with a final carnival parade passing through the streets of Ladakh.

    You can also be part of and watch various theatrical performances and wedding ceremonies being blessed the traditional way with great pride and celebration during this auspicious time.

    When is it celebrated: This festival of Ladakh generally starts from 1st September and continues till 15th September and thus, it lasts for 15 days.

    Where is it celebrated: It is organised and set up mainly in Leh where it sees a strong influx of tourists and hordes of locals attending the festivities.


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 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.

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Nubra Valley

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

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

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

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

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

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

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Khardung La

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

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

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

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

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

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Tso Moriri Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Shanti Stupa

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

History

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

Structure of the stupa

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

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

Timings: 05:00 am to 09:00 pm

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


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Magnetic Hill

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Chadar Trek

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Hemis Monastery

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

History

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

Structure of the monastery

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

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

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

Entry fee: INR 100

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


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Markha Valley Trek

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Stok Kangri 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 splendour 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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