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  • The mighty mysterious and magical Ladakh is best known for the amazing sceneries it offers at each and every step. The greenest fields, majestic mountains, clear skies, and beautiful lakes of Ladakh are best enjoyed while trekking. The Lamayuru to Darcha trek is one of the most popular treks of Ladakh with the maximum number of passes to offer. Even the ancient Buddhist kingdom of Zanskar which is hidden deep in the western ranges can be discovered in this amazing trek. 


    The beautiful villages, the never-ending mountain ranges, and the ancient monasteries are seen throughout the trek. This challenging and rewarding trek offers oneself, the serenity and spiritual solace of a whole lifetime at once.

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    Best time for Trek:
    The most optimal time to carry out this amazing trek journey is from Mid-June to Mid-September. Around this time, one can find help for food and accommodation easily and the lakes are also not frozen around this time.  

    Difficulty level: The Lamayuru to Darcha Trek is a fairly challenging and rewarding trek on the whole. The trek involves crossing passes at high altitudes and descending steeply to the river valleys which make it an irresistible trekking adventure in the Himalayas.

    Trek Duration: The Lamayuru to Darcha trek takes around 20 days to complete. One can also complete the trek in lesser days depending on the amount of time you spend at each place. 

  • 01Things You Should Know

    - At high altitudes, there is a lesser amount of oxygen so one needs to be prepared and should take the elevation gradually.

    - One should carry an extra pair of woolen clothes and sweaters because it can get too cold at times.

    - If traveling from outside India, you need to have the required permits and passport with you all the time.

    - The main language spoken in Leh region is Boti while there are other languages too, so having a guide can always help.

    - Take care of the highly sensitive ecology of the region during the trek.

    Leh-Ladakh is a dream come true destination. A vast landscape of enchanting and unspoiled natural beauty and the best way to explore this beauty is a trip to Leh-Ladakh.

  • 02How to Get There?

    By Air: One needs to take a flight from Delhi to Leh and then, take a taxi to Lamayuru. The distance between Leh and Lamayuru is 125 km and is only a 4 hour drive by taxi.

    By Rail: Kalka is the nearest available station to Leh. From Kalka, one can hire a taxi or take a bus to reach Manali via Shimla and from Manali, regular taxis are available to take you to Leh.

    By Road: This adventurous road trip can be planned on a motorbike, jeep, bus or a car via two routes. One can take the route to Ladakh via Manali or the route via Kinnaur. Both the routes offer picturesque views to soothe your eyes.


  • 03Things to Carry

    Permits (if you are a foreign tourist)

    • Sleeping bags

    • Tents (optional)

    • Dry rations and bags

    • Another set of clothes

    • Trekking shoes  

    • Headlamp

    • Hand Sanitizer or soap

    • Medicines

    Check out the Srinagar to Leh guide and start planning your dream trip.
  • Attractions of Ladakh

  • 04Pangong Lake

    Located at an altitude of about 4350 m (14270 feet) in the Himalayas, the Pangong Lake tops the bucket list of most of the adventurers and travel enthusiasts out there. This beautiful 134 km long lake extends from India to China and when you visit the lake, you sure are enchanted by its charm.

    Ogling the ever-changing lake is the main activity there. This mesmerizing lake is best visited in summers because it freezes completely during the winters despite being saline water. Camping at Pangong lake gives you a peaceful experience, which is an unforgettable one.
  • 05Nubra Valley

    Located to the northeast of Ladakh valley, the Nubra is a tri-armed valley with an altitude of 3048 m (10000 feet). The valley offers tremendous scenery at a large scale which makes it a prominent part of the trek. Camping at Nubra valley is a calm and peaceful experience.

    Also, the low altitude of the Nubra valley compared to the higher altitudes ahead during the trek helps tremendously in acclimatization. Some of the picturesque sites in the valley include Diskit Gompa, Khardung La, Pon Khar, Giant Chamba statue and much more. May to August is the peak season to see the monasteries, sand dunes and green oasis villages of the Nubra valley. And it is this valley only which will give you the experience of camel safari on a double-humped camel


  • 06Khardung La Pass

    Located at an altitude of 5359 m (17582 feet), the Khardung La is a mountain pass which lies north of Leh in the Ladakh region. The pass is a strategically important pass to India. It is one of the world’s highest motorable road and serves as the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. 

    This breathtaking road offers amazing views of the valley and the mountain ranges. The weather is highly unstable at the pass so you might need to camp. The scenic vistas and the clean air definitely give you the feeling of being at the top of the world.

    Check out our best selling Manali Leh bike trip and Manali Leh jeep safari packages and start the real adventure.


  • 07Tso Moriri Lake

    Located at an altitude of 4522 m (14836 feet), the Tso Moriri Lake is a mighty magical lake with jaw-dropping astounding beauty. Also known as the Mountain Lake, the lake is the largest of the high altitude lakes entirely within India and is located in the Ladakhi part of the Changthang Plateau.

    The Tso Moriri Lake measures about 28 km in length from north to south and is a mind-numbingly calm and sacred lake. The lake is fed by springs and snowmelt from the nearby mountains. The clear, beautiful and pure lake will make you feel blessed like never before. One cannot miss this place if they are planning for a Leh-Ladakh road trip.
  • 08Shanti Stupa

    The Shanti Stupa is one of the magnificent Tibetan structures ever built. It is a white-domed Buddhist stupa on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh. The stupa is situated at a height of 3,609 meters (11841 feet). 

    It was built by the Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu, Gyomyo Nakamura and part of the Peace Pagoda mission in 1991. The stupa holds the relics of the Buddha and has a major religious significance. However, the picturesquely located stupa has become a tourist attraction because of the panoramic landscapes surrounding it.

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


  • 09Royal Leh Palace

    Located on the top of the deserted Tsemo Hill, the Royal Leh Palace was built in the 17th century by the King Sengge Namgyal. This nine-storey building was the highest building in the world in 1553. The palace was modeled on the basis of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. 

    It offers spectacular views of the mountain of Stok Kangri and the Ladakh mountain range. It is now one of the major attractions in Ladakh due to its historical background and the amazing views of the mountains and the town.


  • 10Magnetic Hill

    The mysteriousness of Ladakh can be best experienced in the Magnetic Hill. The Magnetic Hill lies on the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National Highway and is located at an elevation of around 14000 feet above sea level. 

    It is claimed that the hill defies gravity because if you park a car there, it starts moving forward on an uphill road even when it is in the neutral state. This mystifying phenomenon is actually an optical illusion created due to the surroundings but it surely is an unbelievable experience and a must one. This small stretch of road continues to mystify people till date.


  • 11Zanskar Valley

    Zanskar is a sub-district of the Kargil district. The Zanskar range separates the district from Ladakh and also Kinnaur district from Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. The Zanskar valley is about 20 km south of Rangdum and is nestled in a remote corner of Ladakh.

    It is so isolated that it is not even accessible by road during winters due to heavy snowing. The magnificent valley of Zanskar will make your definition of beautiful change. The greatest attraction of this majestically rugged Ladakhi Buddhist valley is merely getting there. Visiting the Zanskar valley during a trek is an unforgettable experience which everyone must have.
  • 12Lamayuru Monastery

    Located at a distance of 127 km from Leh and at an elevation of 3510 m (11520 feet), the Lamayuru Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Lamayuru. The Drikung Kagyu tradition is best reflected in this part of Ladakh. 

    Around 300 monks are present in the administration of the monastery and there are more than 50 monasteries under the leadership of this monastery. Dating back to the 11th century, the Lamayuru Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Leh. The amazing moonland views in Lamayuru have made this place one of the most favourite spots in Leh.


  • 13Alchi Monastery

    Also known as the oldest Buddhist monastery, the Alchi Monastery is located at a distance of around 70 km from Leh and at an elevation of around 3100 m (10200 feet). It was built by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055. 

    The monastery has a total of 3 major shrines in it which are the Dukhang (Assembly hall), the Sumtseg and the Temple of Manjushri and all of them date back to the early 12th and 13th centuries. Being on the bank of the Indus River, this monastic jewel of Ladakh has become a major tourist attraction in the past years not just because of its religious significance but also because of its picturesque location.


  • 14Diskit Monastery

    Diskit is located within the Nubra region of Ladakh at an altitude of 3144 m (10315 feet). The Diskit Monastery is situated on the hill above the floodplains of Shyok River. The monastery was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo in the 14th century. 

    The monastery is the oldest and the largest monastery in Nubra Valley. It is under the management of the Thiksey Monastery near Shey. The monastery also runs a school for the Tibetan children. A 100 foot high Maitreya statue stands near the monastery. It has become a prime tourist spot because of its beautiful location and the spiritual air it has to offer especially for adventurers who are on their Leh-Ladakh bike expeditions.


  • 15Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

    Situated at a distance of 25 miles from Leh, the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is the place where it is believed that Guru Nanak, the founder of the Sikh religion fought a demon who attacked him while he was meditating. 

    The legend states that the demon was vanquished there by him. A lot of Sikh religion enthusiasts visit the Gurudwara to worship the holy stone on which Guru Nanak was meditating. It isn't just famous because of its religious significance but also because of the beautiful majestic landscapes surrounding it.

    Click here to check out the list of hotels in Leh-Ladakh which will offer you a comfortable stay.


  • 16Sangam Point

    Sangam Point is the spectacular location where one can see the two diverse rivers- the Indus and Zanskar meeting. There aren't any religious or spiritual backgrounds attached to it but the views offered by the confluence are divine. 

    The scene is best enjoyed from an elevated point. The different coloration of the rivers due to temperature, acidity, and velocity results in an amazing view when the rivers meet. This is why the Sangam point has become a famous tourist attraction and is a must to see. This place welcomes many adventurers who are on their Manali Leh Srinagar bike expedition.


  • 17Hemis Monastery

    Located 45 km south of Leh, The Hemis Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery (gompa) which belongs to the Drukpa Lineage. It is the largest monastery in Ladakh and is located in the Hemis. The monastery is believed to have been existing before the 11th century. 

    It is constructed in relation with Naropa, teacher of the translator Marpa and the pupil of the yogi Tilopa. Also, the monastery was re-established by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal. The Hemis Festival is celebrated at the monastery and is dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava and one of the biggest cultural festivals celebrated in Leh Ladakh region

    The spiritual connection, the distinct style of architecture and the prime location attract a lot of tourists at this location.


  • 18Hall of Fame

    The well preserved and well presented Ladakhi history and culture can be clearly seen in the Hall of Fame museum which is located near the Leh Airfield. The museum also maintains the memory of Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the Indo-Pak wars. 

    A serene Buddha statue with heavy armament is erected at the exterior of the museum. There are a total of two floors in the museum. The ground floor displays the information about brave soldiers and the first floor preserves the artifacts from various wars. The national sentiment attached with the museum is very strong and surely gives its visitors a patriotic feeling.

    Looking for cheap places to stay in Ladakh? Click here to check out the best homestays in Leh-Ladakh for a comfortable stay.



Trekking 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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