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  • A Kargil to Leh trip has been attracting adventure junkies, travel freaks, and bike riders for years. It is one of the most celebrated trips in North India. The beauty of Jammu and Kashmir including Leh Ladakh regions, Kashmir areas, and other important locations, is always an admirable sight. This road trip offers enchanting views of the rugged Himalayan mountains though the road is very strategically important to India. Since it is located close to the LOC, you will come across a large army unit when you travel from Kargil to Leh.

    When you plan to take up a Kargil to Ladakh trip, you should know about a lot of things regarding Kargil to Leh distance, the weather, the road conditions, the routes, the available stay options, and more. A 218-kilometer long road from Kargil to Leh makes this trip memorable. And among this 218 kilometers, 29 kilometers is National Highway 1D. This magical journey will take around 4 hours and 55 minutes to complete.

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    The Kargil to Leh highway goes alongside the beautiful Indus River as well as through certain barren terrains including the Namika La, Zozi La, and Fotu La passes located at a greater altitude. Anyhow, this road trip rewards you with breathtaking sights of the untouched landscapes and historical constructions in some places. In short, it becomes a dream come true for travelers.

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    Usually, the Kargil-Leh Highway remains closed during winter as chances are high that road will be blocked due to heavy snowfall. Even if the roads are opened for a while, they won’t be good enough to have a smooth drive along or the risk factors are numerous. Hence we would suggest you not to plan a Leh Kargil trip anytime during winter.


    It is likely to remain closed until March- April. And historically, that is the ideal time Kashmir-Leh roads will be at its best welcoming travelers in large numbers. Likewise, NH 1 D, the highway that connects Kargil to Ladakh is a mix of roads which are in good condition as well as roads which are bumpy.

  • Routes to Reach Leh from Kargil

    There are two major routes one can take to reach Leh from Kargil. One is Kargil- Mulbekh- Lamayuru- Saspol- Leh and the other one is Kargil- Batalik- Dah- Leh. The route offers plenty of nice sights that can be cherished a lifetime.

  • 01Route 1: Kargil- Mulbekh- Lamayuru- Saspol- Leh

    Starting from Kargil, Mulbekh comes first and it is located around 45 kilometers east of Kargil. Mulbekh is quite famous because of the Maitreya Buddha statue of 9 meters height along with a 2-stories gompa around it.

    From Mulbek to Lamayuru, you will come across a twist on the highway as it winds through two wonderful passes known as Namika La and Fotu La which are situated at a height of 12200 feet and 13479 feet respectively. With a number of adventurous ascents and descents, the passes make a person skip his heartbeats at times. The mountain stretches covering the deep valleys give away a spectacular view of the entire region.

    Kargil to Lamayuru is the most happening trip that shows a lot of monasteries, glistening mountains, and very bumpy roads. Lamayuru is 85 kilometers away from Kargil. As you all know, Lamayuru monastery is the biggest attraction in Leh region and if you take a halt at Lamayuru on your trip from Kargil to Leh, it will give you a chance to explore the undeciphered beauty of Lamayuru monastery. After Lamayuru, one needs to cover another 114 kilometers to reach Leh with plenty of attractions that cannot be missed out on.

    Leh-Ladakh is a region full of adventures and natural beauty. Explore this place with best tour packages to Leh-Ladakh.

  • 02Route 2: Kargil- Batalik- Dah- Leh

    The route that covers Batalik and Dah seems very sensitive route as it parallelly goes with Line of Control. Batalik is situated at a distance of around 54 kilometers from Kargil.

    Click here to check out the list of the best hotels in Leh-Ladakh for a wonderful stay during your vacation.

  • Places to Visit From Leh to Kargil

  • 03Kargil War Memorial

    Located very close to the Drass War Memorial, Kargil War Memorial says to be a must visit place. If you take a taxi from Drass to Kargil, it is the best way to reach the memorial. People who visited have mentioned that one will feel patriotism and national integrity at the first sight of the memorial.

     Along with sandstone walls erected in honour of the soldiers who lost their lives during the Kargil war against Pakistan, you can see the photos of the war and the soldiers who took part in them. It is during the summer season people usually visit the memorial as it is easily accessible during the months from May through September.

    Don't forget to check out the Delhi to Leh guide before you start planning your next trip.

  • 04Best Offers on Ladakh Tour Packages: Enquire Now

  • 05Mulbekh Monastery

    With two major gompas named Drukpa and Gelugpa Monasteries, Mulbekh Monastery in Kargil is one of the most important attractions you will come across on your journey from Kargil to Leh. It is located at a distance of 45 kilometres from Kargil and at an altitude of around 3000 meters above sea level.

    The gompa showcases perfect craftsmanship with 9 meters tall statue of Maitreya Buddha. The statue was built around 8th century A.D, and people call it Chamba.  Though the statue is of Lord Buddha, many scholars have pointed out that it resembles Lord Shiva as well.

  • 06Phuktal Monastery

    Built into or around a cave on a clifftop, Phuktal Monastery in Kargil looks like a honeycomb. The monastery is located at a corner space in Lungnak Valley. Visiting this place will give you a vibrant effect as it is a marvelous creation and people often call it by another name that is cave monastery.

    Those who love peace and calmness would eventually fall in love with the interiors of the monastery. Moreover, from the altitude, you will be able to get a clear picture of the spreading landscape in front of your eyes. One more information regarding the monastery is that it is the only one in the region that can be reached by foot.

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  • 07Namika La Pass

    Ladakh and the way from Kargil reaching Leh are blessed with an ample number of small and large passes and one of the major on the route is Namika La pass located at a height of 12198 feet. Since it poses an adventurous ride, travelers love to take a ride through Namika La pass especially the adventurers who are on their Manali Leh Srinagar bike expedition. A plethora of natural attractions can be viewed from the top and this is very close to Srinagar-Leh highway as well.

  • 08Fotu La Pass

    Being the highest point on your Kargil to Ladakh trip, Fotu La pass is quite famous among the Himalayan travelers. It is located at a height of about 13478 feet above sea level.

    As the travelers get to see the rugged mountains and the bumpy roads, Fotu La pass ride is considered to be a must-have during a Leh-Ladakh road trip. There are a number of sharp bends and curves as you cross the pass.

  • 09Alchi Monastery

    Centuries-old monastery located in Alchi Village is Alchi Monastery. The village has a lot of mind-blowing structures and attractions apart from this famous monastery. It is said to be built between 958 and 1055 AD and one of the oldest buildings in Ladakh region making it one of the best places to visit in Ladakh.

    With structures such as Dukhang or Assembly Hall, the Main Temple, Manjushri Temple, and Chorten, the monastery imposes peace and a cherish-able view of the mountains surrounding it. All the buildings in the monastery are ornamented with minute paintings and carvings. Along with them, you will find many statues of Buddha standing inside the monastery. 

  • 10Likir Monastery

    Likir monastery which is a Buddhist monastery is located around 52 kilometers to the west of Leh. The picturesque serenity in the background is what makes the monastery so adorable. As it is said, the monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and believed to be established in the year of 1065 by Lama Duwang Chosje.

    Currently, there are around 120 Buddhist monks in the monastery and it has a school which consists of about 30 students. The view of the Likir Monastery with the huge spread of the Himalayan mountains in the back is the best thing you can ask for when you take a trip of Kargil to Leh.

    Check out the best trekking trails in Leh-Ladakh and feel the adrenaline rush on most adventurous trails.

  • 11Indus and Zanskar Confluence

    One of the best sights that cannot be missed out on during your Ladakh trip is Indus and Zanskar river confluence. The merging of attractive blue with the green is an epic view. Both the rivers originate from the tremendous Himalayas.

    Both the of them join at a pristine land called Nimmu in Ladakh region offering a brilliant feeling to the viewers. During summer time, you will be able to see the gushing waters of the Zanskar and a gentle flow of the Indus river and in winter, the scene is just the opposite.

  • 12 Magnetic Hill

    Magnetic Hill is a place every Himalayan rider would wonder about, located at a distance of about 30 kilometers from Leh city. It is a short stretch that makes people believe gravity can be defied. And the reason behind it is that it pulls upwards a vehicle in neutral and so the name Magnetic Hill.

    The hill is located at an altitude of 14000 feet on the Leh-Kargil National Highway. Sindhu river is on its east and the mountain range surrounding it makes the entire place a mesmerizing sight to watch. There you can see a yellow box drawn on the road where you are supposed to keep your vehicle stationary and then you watch it moves upwards. People from all over the world have stunned looking at this phenomenon that can’t be explained clearly. This place welcomes many adventurers who are on their bike expeditions to Leh-Ladakh.

  • 13Lamayuru Monastery

    Located in Lamayuru at an altitude of 11520 feet above sea level, Lamayuru Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. It is one of the most important monasteries in Ladakh region to visit. It is famed as Tharpa Ling meaning the place of freedom.

    People are lured to the monastery with its charm and for the views of the mountains from the clifftop. Nearly 150 monks are in the monastery among which 30 to 50 are belonging to the Red-Sect of Buddhism.

  • 14Leh

    The most beautiful city you will come across on your trip is Leh that is dotted with old structures, the unending Himalayan mountains, gompas, and Tibetan style places and art structures. With the green barley fields on one edge,

    There are a lot of places to visit in Leh like- shops, bazaars, monasteries, mountain passes, and many beautiful streams flowing. Along with them, you will find Ladakhi style homes and ancient palaces that give warmth to every traveler reaches Leh.

  • 15 Hall of Fame

    Hall of Fame is a famous museum in Leh that was constructed to commemorate the brave Indian soldiers who fought in the Indo-Pak war. As it is very close to the Leh city, those who visit Leh can’t miss out on this museum built by the Indian Army. It is a reminder of the sacrifices made by the soldiers to protect and save India.

    The museum consists of two floors with the weapons, and various other arms and things the Indian Army captured during the wars. You can also find the pictures of the Kargil war in the museum.

  • 16Pathar Sahib Gurudwara

    Located at a distance of around 40 kilometers from Leh, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara is yet another magical attraction you should visit on your journey to Leh. It was constructed as a tribute and in the memory of Guru Nanak in 1517. Not just Sikhs and Hindus come to the Gurudwara, Tibetan Buddhists also pay tribute here. It will be open from 06:00 AM to 07:00 PM all days.

    Click here to check out the best lakes in Leh-Ladakh which will make you fall in love with nature.

  • Places To Stay in Kargil

  • 17Hotel Baru La

    One of the luxury hotels in Kargil, Hotel Baru La is a wonderful choice if you want a stay space on your trip to Kargil. It is located in the laps of Baru Mountain with a focus on extending amazing Ladakhi experience to each customer it gets. The hotel is situated in the midst of pure greenery away from the hassles of the highways and other roads that lead to Leh.
  • 18Hotel Silk Route Inn

    This hotel is located at a distance of about 1.6 kilometres from the City Centre in Kargil offering a nice stay experience to the guests. It also gives away the magnificent views of Suru River and the serenity attached to it.

  • 19 Hotel Chutuk Heights

    Located very close to Suru River, Hotel Chutuk Heights is yet another important hotels welcoming Leh Ladakh travelers wholeheartedly. The untouched beauty of nature can be felt while you stay here. With all the modern amenities, it has well-maintained rooms, outdoor cafe, free wi-fi, a multi-cuisine restaurant, and lot more.

    Manali to Leh guide is what you need for a hustle free Leh-Ladakh trip.

  • 20 Hotel Royal Inn

    Hotel Royal Inn situated at a distance of around 3 kilometres from the main town claims to have the best rooms that overlook Suru River flowing through the city. The peace and serenity it offers are commendable. Authentic Ladakhi experience can be extracted from this hotel along with its delicious food and the full-fledged rooms it possesses.

  • 21Hotel the Kargil

    Claimed to be the best hotel in Kargil, Hotel the Kargil was established in order to give an exquisite stay experience to its customers. This hotel is owned and run by the Bagh family. People who take a trip to Kargil will choose Hotel the Kargil for its impeccable services and hospitality. It consists of Superior Suites and Premium Rooms with most modern amenities to serve its guests at its best.

    Click here to check out the best campsites in Leh-Ladakh for a peaceful and wonderful stay during your vacation.

  • Things To know On Your Kargil-Leh trip

  • 22Petrol Stations

    A Kargil-Leh trip poses many challenges and fuel is one of the most important ones. The major thing you need to remember that the petrol stations you find on the way are not the ones with long queues or perfect service. Hence whenever you find a petrol bunk on your way and if you are in need of fuel, don’t hesitate to fill the tank up. Because if you linger on thinking about reaching the next petrol station, you might get disappointed.

    In between Kargil and Leh, you can find petrol stations in Kargil, Mulbekh, Wakha, Khalsi, and in Leh. 
    There are HP and Indian Oil petrol pumps mostly on this route. But still, it is suggestive that you take extra fuel from Kargil itself just in case your vehicle tank gets emptied en route.

    Pangong lake is a must visit places for people who are on their Leh-Ladakh trip. This place will make you fall in love with nature.

  • 23ATMs

    -Apart from the ATMs available in the main cities like Kargil and Leh, there are other ATMs at Shargol and Saspol.

    -However, it would be better if you carry enough cash in your hand as the ATMs at these places can run out of money very often.

  • 24Mechanics

    -There are many mechanic shops situated on the way. If you face any major difficulty you can only get the help of expert mechanics either in Kargil or in Leh.

    -Other than that, for all small problems your vehicles have can be checked and resolved at mechanic shops at Mulbekh and Nimmu.

    -It's advised that you acquire some skills to prepare your vehicle during your trip.

  • 25Mobile Connectivity

    -As per the rules and laws of the state, mobile connectivity to prepaid numbers is not available in Kargil to Leh route.

    -
    Postpaid connections are better on this route. Hence travellers suggest that those who wish to take this trip should transfer their mobile connection postpaid before the trip itself.

    -BSNL is the best connection available though there are some remote areas where you lose that connectivity as well. But it will be reinstated when you are near to a village or town.

    -And Airtel seems another good mobile connection you can rely on. Other than these two it is pretty difficult for other services to have a proper connection throughout the route.

  • 26Things To Carry

    Unlike many other trips you take in India, Kargil-Leh trip should be considered as the most adventurous trip and you need to prepare very well accordingly. Here are the most important things you should carry on your trip to Leh from Kargil.

    To start with, you need a lightweight backpack with all the essential elements you need for the trip according to the number of days such as:

    -Extra clothes
    -Undergarments
    -Sweaters
    -Socks
    -Towels
    -Water bottles
    -Essential medicines like Diamox
    -First aid travel kit
    -Sunscreen lotion
    -Sunglasses
    -Hats or caps
    -Lip Balm
    -Moisturizer or any body lotion
    -Personal essentials like toothbrush, toothpaste, soaps, and toilet papers
    -Glucose or glucose mixed water
    -Charges for your mobile and camera
    -Extra batteries
     
    Moreover, it would be really helpful if you take nuts, dry fruits, biscuits, chips, etc in your bag to feed you whenever you need energy on your trip.
     
    Apart from these, you need to carry your Govt issued ID card and a couple of copies of it, medical insurance copy if you have one, flight ticket copies, hotel reservation slips, and a list of immediate relatives in case your mobile stop working you should be able to contact them via land phones.
     
    If you are taking a self bike trip, you need to carry extra fuel with you in order to meet the unexpected requirements on the way. Along with that, you should carry a basic toolkit including a screwdriver, hammer, puncture repair elements, spare tube, feviquick, etc.
  • 27Safety Tips and Guidelines

    -It is highly recommended to take this trip after winter especially during the months of July to September as the roads are in good condition and the chances of landslides will be nil.

    -Mostly, Kargil- Leh trip is considered to be safe during the tourist times and the safer period is during Independence Day.

    -In spite of the fact that there can be bandhs and hartals in the state often, people come in large numbers to visit Leh, Kargil, and Srinagar. Still, it is always advised to take a trip like this after following the news about Kashmir.

    - Also, as Leh and Kargil and the other areas connecting them are situated at greater altitudes, you should get acclimatized once you reach the starting point.

    -Keep your body hydrated always, avoid taking too many halts in between Kargil and Leh, carry essential medicines to prevent AMS, avoid sleeping during the daytime, try keeping your body warm by having rich carbohydrate food items.

    -Furthermore, never underestimate the rugged terrains and the bumpy roads on the route. If you are taking a solo bike trip or self-drive trip, you should be well aware of the fact that the trip can be very tricky and test you throughout.

    Know more about the roads from expert travelers and other experienced people before you plan a trip. Also, don’t go for this trip without an inner line permit and we would talk about it in the following passage.

    Click here to check out the festivals of Leh-Ladakh and witness the cultural beauty of this region.

  • 28Inner line Permit and How To Obtain It ?

    As you all know despite being the most charming place in Jammu and Kashmir, Leh and other parts connected to it are very sensitive due to the wars between India, Pakistan, and China. You can see heavy army units in most of the areas in Ladakh, Kargil, Srinagar, etc. And of course, many of the tourist places come under the jurisdiction of Inner line. Hence, if you need to visit the places, you need to get an Inner Line Permit.

    -An Inner Line Permit is an Indian government issued document to certify a person from outside the state is eligible to visit the tourist places in Jammu and Kashmir.

    -It will give you permission to restricted areas for a scheduled period of time. You need this document to visit places situated near LOC and LAC.

    -However, those who are residents of J&K and children under 12 years of age need not obtain this permit.

    -You can apply for getting an Inner Line Permit online on a portal launched by the authorities.

    -You can receive it from the city’s DC office that will be open from 09:00 AM to 05:00 PM from Monday to Saturday.

    -ILPs will be issued between 10:00 AM and 03:00 PM. You need to submit a photocopy of your identity proof along with the application form. ID card can be your Voter ID, Driving License, Passport, Pan Card, Aadhar, etc.

    -The ILP costs around Rs.400 per person including environment tax, wildlife protection fee, and a charity towards a Red Cross society.


Attractions in Ladakh

Trekking in Ladakh

Camping in Ladakh

Tents in Ladakh

Wildlife in Ladakh

Cycling in Ladakh

Attractions

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Pangong Lake

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Nubra Valley

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

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

Height: 3048 meters above the sea level

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

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

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

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Khardung La

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Lamayuru Monastery

The high elevation where Lamayuru Monastery is located at amuses every traveler comes here. Existing on Leh-Srinagar Highway, around 15 kms east of the Fotu La, the monastery is perched on a height of 3510 meters. The murals, frescoes and the images of Buddha have created an interesting setting inside this famous Buddhist temple.

History

Lamayuru Monastery was originally the monastery belonged to Bon and the name means Swastika which symbolized eternity. The history says that an Indian scholar named Naropa caused a lake to dry up and there founded Lamayuru Monastery. Seng ge Sgang is the oldest building surviving which is dedicated to the builder-monk, Rinchen Zangpo.

The structure of the monastery

There were actually five buildings in the beginning and still one can find the remaining of the four buildings located in the corner. In the past there, were up to 400 monks and currently there are 100 monks residing in the monastery. There is a small temple can be seen which is dedicated to Avalokiteshwara.

Location: The monastery is located at a distance of 127 km from Leh in the Lamayuru region. You can reach the monastery via road by bus or jeep.

Timings: It is open on all days from 06:00 am to 06:00 pm.

Entry fee: INR 30 per person

Highlights: There will be two annual Mask Dance festivals happen which is the most suitable time to visit the monastery.

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Alchi Monastery

After the endless mountain peaks, green valleys, high passes, monasteries in Ladakh are the prime factors behind the huge number of visitors to the paradise every year. Alchi Monastery, a group of Buddhist shrines is now a remarkable landmark and a must visit tourist attraction in Leh. The rugged valleys, uneven mountain terrains etc are creating a flamboyant view from the monastery and make the travelers feel elevated. Alchi is a part of the three villages that together constitute to the Alchi Group of Monuments.

History

Alchi Monastery and its current guardians are grateful the great translator Rinchen Zangpo who was the reason behind the construction of the monastery. He built it in the AD 1000 and there were 32 wood carvers and sculptors from Kashmir to help him. But when the Gelug sect decided to shift the activities to Likir Monastery permanently, it turned to be the administrative shrine of the Alchi Gompa, officially.

Structure of the monastery

Alchi Monastic Complex has three principal shrines named the Dukhang or Assembly Hall, the Sumtseng and the temple of Manjushri. Chortens have a special space inside the complex. The wall paintings seen inside are dating back to the spiritual and artistic nuances found in Buddhism and Hindu Kingdoms. Like we seen in other monasteries, here also, you will find the huge statues of Buddha and several wood carvings and art works appearing in Baroque style.

Location: The monastery is located in Alchi Village in the Leh District, 70 km from Leh.

Timing: May to September on all days: from 10:00 am to 01:00 pm and from 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm.

Entry Fee: For Indians: INR 25, For Foreigners: INR 50

Highlights: The views from the monastery have attracted a lot of film production sets. Good photographic location as well.

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Royal Leh Palace

A nine storey high building displays the influence of Potala Palace in Lhasa is the famed Royal Leh Palace that stands with its head high on a cliff top overlooking the ravishing Leh town. Leh Palace is a must visit during anyone’s tour of Ladakh region as it has been standing there as a symbol of the old glorious days of the royal family lived here. The top floors accommodated the members of the regal community and the low floors were occupied by stables and stores.

History

In the 17th century, King Sengge Namgyal led the construction of Leh Palace and it gained fame in a short span of time. Later, it was termed as an architectural icon and the symbol of pride and glory of Leh. The history says that during the time when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh, Leh Palace was abandoned and the members of the family were asked to move to Stok Palace. The Archeological Survey of India has restored the valuable ruins of the palace and opened to the public as a remarkable tourist attraction.

Structure of the palace

There is a monastery behind the palace which is a part of the palace and there you will find the statue of a seating Buddha in there in the monastery behind the palace. On the walls of the palace, you will see the old pictures and paintings including Tibetan thangka.

Timings: The palace is open to the public on all days from 07:00 am to 04:00 pm

Entry fee: For Indians: INR 20 and for Foreigners: INR 100

Location: Leh Palace is closely located to the town. Visitors can reach the palace by walking from Leh town as it is about 5 kms away from there.

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Zanskar valley

The Zanskar Range is the mountain range in Jammu and Kashmir that acts as the separating line between Ladakh and Zanskar. The Zanskar Range is a part of the Tethys Himalayas, formed with weakly transformed sedimentary series. The average height of the Zanskar Range is 6000 meters. It is an inevitable spot for adventure lovers during their adrenaline rushing trekking trips to the Trans Himalayas every year.

On the way to Zanskar Valley, one will come across the incredible Suru Valley which puts forth a decent trekking experience to adventure lovers. Zanskar is alluring always with its brightly shining mountain peaks and the presumably attracting villages, sometimes, it looks overshadowing the relishing Changthang Region as well. Tourism has caused a great enhancements on the economic side of the region like education flourished and the lifestyle of the people has changed but it took its toll on the fragile mountain environment.

Nevertheless, Zanskar is the favorite tourist destination still because of the vast area that is made beautiful by multiple hues, the distinct flora and fauna and the extremely variant climatic conditions. There are two main branches of the Zanskar River; one is Doda which has source near Pensi-La and flows south eastwards to reach Padum and the second one is formed by two tributaries called Kargyag River and it has source near Shingo La.

Height: The valley is situated at an average height of 6000 meters above the sea level.

Location: It is located at a distance of about 464 kms from Leh and would take around 10 to 11 hours to reach. Buses are available from Leh to reach the valley.

Best time to visit: The months of June, July, August and September are suitable to visit the Zanskar Range as the other months will cause heavy snowfall and the roads will be blocked.

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Hemis National Park

Around 4400 sq.km is the area the prime attraction of Ladakh spreads into. We are talking about the renowned Hemis National Park named after the popular monastery in the region that is Hemis Monastery. The very rare species of wildlife is the reason behind its global recognition. Bharal and snow leopards are examples for the unseen animal collection found in Hemis National Park. The park is located on the west bank of the Indus River. 

The animals, the flora, the birds and the nature in the park and its vicinity are coming under the highly protected areas and this is the only place in India where the protected snow leopards are seen in abundance. The Rumbak and Markha catchments were found to be protected with the discovery of the park in 1981 and it grew into 4400 sq.km in 1990 and becomes the largest national park in South Asia. Argali or the Great Tibetan Sheep, Shapu etc are the supporters of the prey base for the predators in Hemis. Asiatic Ibex, the Tibetan Wolf, the Eurasian brown bear and red fox are some of the endangered species found before and some are still present in the park. The crucial problem faced by the park is the regular animal-human conflicts because over 1600 people are living inside the park boundaries, mainly pastoralists living with poultry farming, goats and sheep.

Height: The elevation at which the park exists is 3000-6000 meters above the sea level.

Location: The park is located about 5 kms from Leh and Leh Airport is the closest airport to the park.

Best time to visit: To reach the park there are a number of trekking routes opened from Mid-June to Mid-October. But the best season to spot snow leopards is of course, in late winter.


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Spituk Monastery

Spituk Monastery in Ladakh has another name that is Pethup Gompa, very famous among the locals. It is located at a distance of 8 km from Leh and there are 100 monks inside the gompa. The major attraction at the monastery is the giant statue of Goddess Kali. The Buddhist monastery is at a site which was blessed earlier by Arhat Nyimagung.

History     

Spituk Monastery was founded by Od-de. He was the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. When he came to Maryul, he built the monastery and introduced the monastic community. But Lotsewa Rinchen Zangpo on his arrival said that an exemplary religious sect should be there and thus the name of the monastery was changed to Spituk which meant exemplary.

Structure of the monastery

There are three chapels in the gompa with numerous statues of Buddha and several thankas as well. The Dukhang Hall is the highlight and the two rows of seats running to a throne at the end are also something unique found here. Visitors will come across the beautiful sculptors and chortens.

Location: The monastery is perched on a thrilling hill top near Indus and about 8 kms away from Leh on Srinagar road. It is at an elevation of 3307 meters.

Timings: It is open on all days from 08:00 am to 01:00 pm.

Entry fee: INR 20 per person

Highlights: Gustor Festival held from the 27th to 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan Calendar and it is for two days with mask dance and prayers. Usually, the festival falls on winter time which guarantees the presence of natives in large but the number of tourists would be comparatively lesser.


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Visit to the Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame is a proud displayer of Indian Army simultaneously acts as the symbol of those dark days of India’s war against Pakistan. The museum that showcases seized arms and weapons of Pakistan army is located in Ladakh, the paradise of adventure lovers lying in the beautiful Himalayas. Moreover, the museum is considered to be a tribute to the brave soldiers who lost their lives during the war. To make it more appealing, the Indian Army has kept the photos and the things of those soldiers inside the museum. Also, the arranged items related to the history and culture of Ladakh, wildlife and vegetation have importance and amuses the visitors definitely. 

There are things which enhance every Indian’s patriotic feelings as well as they let us appreciate the bravery shown by every Indian soldier during the wars, from the heart. Different quotes, letters written by the soldiers, the tools, aircrafts, weapons, tents and what all the soldiers have used during the period are preserved which give every visitor a minute to think and pay tribute to those brave hearts who lost their lives to help every one of us sleep in peace. Located next to Leh Airfield, the museum is opened on all days. Every day, visitors will be able to watch a detailed documentary on Operation Vijai or Kargil War screened.

Entry fee:  For Indians: INR 10, for Foreigners: INR 50

Timings: 09:00 am to 01:00 pm and 03:00 pm to 07:00 pm

Highlight: Evening parade or march is a major event happening here

Location: 4 kms from the main town, on the way to Magnetic hill via Leh Srinagar Highway.

Tips: Camera and video are allowed inside but at an additional cost.


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Rohtang Pass

Rohtang Pass is quite famous among Ladakh travelers but the unpredictable avalanche and severe climatic conditions make it scary some times. Nonetheless, it had made adventure seekers’ tour of Ladakh mind-blowing. A high mountain pass at an elevation of 3978 meters above the sea level, Rohtang is just 51 km from Manali. It is a part of the proud Pir Panjal Range of the mighty Himalayas.

It acts as the connecting link between Kullu Valley and Lahaul and Spiti Valley. Being an ancient trade route, it was well maintained by the natives. The generic name of the pass suggests that either the pass was the oldest and the most used pass. With the increase of visitors every year, the fragile mountain ecology will be in threat, environmentalists worry.

But the exciting beauty of the mountain terrains seen from the top of the pass is indescribable and flamboyant. The Indian Government started building a tunnel which is 8.5 km long to bypass Rohtang pass in order to reduce the travel time and distance to Keylong, Lahaul and Spiti and Leh.

The tunnel promises to reduce the distance by 50 km and the time by five hours between the south and north faces of Rohtang pass. Currently, the time taken to ascend and descend the pass itself is 5-6 hours.

Height:
 Rohtang Pass is located at an altitude of 3978 meters above the sea level in the Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas.

Location:
 The pass is located about 51 kms away from Manali and you can reach the pass if you take Leh- Manali Highway.

Best time to visit: 
The pass will be open from the months of May to October as the snow starts melting and the paths will be cleared.

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Lachulung La

Apart from Khardung La or Baralacha La, Ladakh has numerous other passes at great heights which stand as Ladakh’s pride for centuries now. The glitters of other passes may be diminished by Khardung La mainly but all the other passes are equally important. Lachulung La is a single example.

The elevation of this pass is 5059 meters above sea level which is considered to be a dangerously exciting height for any pass after Khardung La. Lachulung La is on the border of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Also, it separates the valleys of Tsarap Chu and Tozay. If you take Leh-Manali highway, you will be able to cross this pass that has other names such as Lachalung La, Lungalacha La etc. 

A fact that to be remembered before you head to visit this pass is, it is open only for four and a half months during summer. Any traveler should be prepared not to fall sick during the conquering of Lachulung La because its geographic status, the height, the rugged pathways and the remote villages it goes through may cause dramatic influence on your body. Being one of the most adventurous passes in Ladakh, Lachulung is a favorite stop avid adventure lovers.

Also, the surroundings are quite fictional as the towering Himalayan passes and the nature lying in correspondence to them are creating soothing visuals. Trekkers should be very careful while climbing the altitude up as altitude sickness is assured at the top and keep hydrated to maintain your body conditions with respect to the climate. But the descent is smooth and easy so that you will feel overjoyed till the end.

Height:
5059 meters

Best time to visit:
May to October

How to reach:
Take Leh-Manali highway, from Sarchu 54 KM and from Pang, 24 Km

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Tanglang La

Tanglang La is a high mountain pass, the glorious pride of Ladakh, the favourite tourist spot for bikers and trekkers. 5328 meters above the sea level is the dream like height of this pass which happily poses some threatening adventure to those who try to climb up the top. The road leading to the pass on Leh-Manali highway, from Upshi to Tanglang La is completely paved. A 500 meter long section of the road is the only part which is unpaved. Tanglang La is also beautifully paved to the make the climb easier. 

There are a lot of confusions existing regarding the position of Tanglang La in the list of world’s highest motorable passes and the world believes it to be the second highest which is proven to be wrong. The local sign on the top of the pass shows the altitude of the pass is 17582 feet or 5359 meters. But now, it is said that the sign board gives a wrong impression but the original height of the pass is 5328 meters. The pass is made beautiful by the innumerous Buddhist prayer flags despite the fact the road is tough to conquer and any type of traveler will fall for the scenery at the pass and adventure lovers would love to try their energy level by climbing up to the top. But remember, the oxygen level will be decreased as you cover the altitude and reaches to the half of what you feel at sea level.

Height: 5328 meters of 1248 feet

Best time to visit: May to October

How to reach: The pass is close to Leh-Manali highway and can be reached via 21 Gata loops

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