Vacation in Ladakh – The topography of Ladakh borders on the surreal, but the emotions aroused by it in the minds of the viewer are very real. Steep mountains overlook the cerulean waters of the lakes whose origins are shrouded in mystery. The hymns coming from the monasteries, perched precariously on the mountain cliffs, pervade the air with a sense of spirituality.
At an altitude of nearly 3,000 meters, this “land of high passages” constantly surprises you. Don’t look for adventure in places like these, you throw yourself against it. The deserts rest lifeless against the snow-capped mountains, occasionally green spots are overlooked by huge brown mountains, which often appear sagacious. This is the place for visitors who wish to see the pure and harsh face of nature. In this blog, we tell you some of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh, whose memories remain etched in your mind for a long time to come.
Vacation in Ladakh – Leh Palace
Leh Palace, also known as “Lhachen Palkhar”, draws your attention from afar with its gray color that forms a sharp contrast with the blue sky. Built by Buddhist kings in 1553, it once stood out as the tallest building in the world. It shares a striking resemblance to the famous Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet.
While the exterior of the Leh building offers magnificent views of the Stok Kangri and Ladakh mountain ranges, the interiors of the Leh palace are beautifully decorated with old paintings and paintings that include Tibetan thangka or sooth paintings. The interior of the Leh Palace, however, contains an exquisite collection of jewels, crowns and ceremonial clothing.
Vacation in Ladakh – Shanti Stupa a Leh
Shanti Stupa in Leh stands as a commemoration of the 2,500 years of Buddhism and seeks to promote peace and prosperity in the world. One must drive about 5 km from Leh airport to reach this monument, followed by a climb that involves 500 steps. It is a two-level structure, with the first level containing a Dharmchakra and a central image of Lord Buddha, and the second level depicting the various forms of Lord Buddha.
This white domed stupa, also known as chorten, rests on a hill and is one of the famous tourist attractions in the city of Leh. Its beauty is embellished during the night. This structure was built by the Buddhists of Ladakh and Japan, while the Ladakhi offered voluntary work.
Vacation in Ladakh – Leh Market
People who have visited Leh often talk about how wonderful its market is and, during a first visit to the market, one would think that the entire population of the region has gathered there. The narrow streets of the market are flanked by stalls selling everything from local crafts and souvenirs to Pashmina shawls and woolen dresses.
A special attraction is the Tibetan refugee market where all types of locks with unique sculptures and artifacts meet. Older women who exhibit various handicrafts and jewelery are a common sight. However, regardless of whether you make a purchase or not, a visit to Leh’s main market is desirable in itself, because it offers a unique glimpse of the local population and their lifestyle.
Vacation in Ladakh – Jama Masjid
Jama Masjid, located in the middle of Leh’s main market, is an oasis of tranquility amid the lively bazaars surrounding the mosque. Built by Sultan Sikandar in 1400 AD, the mosque is built in the Indo-sarcastic style and houses a magnificent courtyard. On Friday the mosque is full of devotees who gather there to offer prayers.
Jama Masjid was destroyed by fire several times before being restored many times, with the last restoration undertaken by Maharaja Pratap Singh. The mosque, which was created using 370 wooden pillars, is an architectural masterpiece.
Vacation in Ladakh – Chang La Pass
Keep your seats while your car faces curves and dangerous curves in one of the highest mountain roads in the world, the Chang La Pass. At an altitude of about 17.590 feet, this pass is covered in snow most of the time. This pass is located on the road to Leh from Pangong Lake.
Because of its proximity to the Chinese border, this passage is protected and maintained by the Indian army. However, frequent snowfalls often create few problems. Passes like these test your driving skills and tell you the real thrill.
Vacation in Ladakh – Pangong Tso Lake
Lake Pangong Tso was made famous in the movie “3 Idiots”, in which a certain movie was filmed. Located at a height of almost 14,270 feet and 5 km wide at its widest point, this lake is the most famous lake among the other lakes of Leh Ladakh, it is certainly a sight to see. However, it is worth knowing that although it contains salt water, it remains frozen during the winters.
This is the kind of place whose beauty can be absorbed gradually, in stages. Spend a whole day here and you will see the waters reflect the particular moment of the day. The migratory birds that glide over its waters are an enchanting sight. During sunrise and sunset, the lake looks like a perfectly painted portrait.
Vacation in Ladakh – Tso Moriri
The waters of Tso Moriri shine under the sun and the clouds above take on curious formations. Located at an impressive latitude of almost 13,123 feet, the lakes impress visitors as much for its size as for its ethereal beauty. The whole landscape here is fascinating and takes on a romantic feeling.
Lake Tso Moriri is also part of the Tso Moriri Wetlands Conservation Reserve and holds the distinction of being the highest Ramsar site in the world. The lake remains frozen from January to March. Even if the lake is located at a distance of about 250 km from Leh, the fabulous scenes that await you are worth it.
Vacation in Ladakh – Tso Kar
Lake Tso Kar is another of the many tourist attractions in Ladakh. It is also called the “White Lake” because of its coasts covered by salt deposits from its waters. Located at an altitude of 15,280 feet, it is the smallest lake found in this region.
This place is a paradise for birdwatchers, while the surrounding areas are rich in wildlife. The various birds that visit this lake range from the Brahminy duck to the barn-headed geese, with the main attraction being the black-necked cranes. One of the mammals often identified here are the Kiangs, the largest of the wild donkeys. The area surrounding this lake is inhabited by Khampas, a nomadic tribe who lives in large tents during summers and solid stone huts
durante gli inverni.
Vacation in Ladakh – Khardung La Pass
Crossing the Khardung La Pass is the adventure in Ladakh. Located at an altitude of almost 18,379 feet, this passage brings you some of the most incredible places you’ll come across during your trip. It is the gateway to the Nubra and Shyok valleys. Reaching the pace is as dramatic as getting to it. A narrow road, dotted with tight curves, is flanked by steep snow-covered cliffs with boulders carelessly resting on them.
Vacation in Ladakh – Magnetic Hill
How do you defy gravity? Traveling to Magnetic Hill. Located on the Leh – Srinagar national highway, about 27 km from Leh, the hill seems to attract vehicles to it. It is a mystery that, despite many efforts, has remained unsolved.
This gravitational challenge is not limited to vehicles. Water is also drawn to the hill when it is poured on the ground. However, some argue that it is simply an optical illusion caused by the particular disposition of the surrounding land. Whatever the cause, it is certainly a unique experience to live.
Vacation in Ladakh – Indo and Zanskar rivers
The waters of the Indus and Zanskar rivers, the two great rivers of Ladakh, meet in a place called the Nimmu Valley. The emerald-colored water of the Indus river blends with the cerulean water of the Zanskar river, giving an incredible spectacle.
You can’t help but look at this incredible view, greet your eyes and absorb its true beauty takes time. Sure, it’s a photographer’s best delight and lets you capture some lovely memories.
Vacation in Ladakh – The Monastries
One of the places that attracts your attention in Ladakh are the monasteries, with many of them dotting its landscape. This is quite natural, considering that most of the people here are Buddhists. It is also a legacy of the many kings and dynasties that ruled this region over the years.
Some of the famous monasteries in Ladakh are the Hemis monastery, the Matho monastery and the Diskit monastery, as well as others. These gompas are deposits of culture, heritage and tradition. They also host various festivals throughout the year, which is also the time when they attract tourists in large numbers.
Vacation in Ladakh – Pathar Sahib Gurudwara
Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, located 12,000 feet high, is associated with an interesting story. This Gurudwara is visited by the Sikhs and Tibetan Buddhists, who consider Guru Nanak a Buddhist saint with the name of Guru Gompka Maharaj.
It was believed that, between 1515-18, when Guru Nanak was returning to Punjab after traveling to Sikkim, he rested here for a while. The imprint of Guru Nanak’s body and the demon’s imprint, which Guru Nanak is believed to have transformed with his spiritual power, is on display. You may have visited various gurudwaras, but a visit to this one promises to be quite special.
The Nubra valley, located 150 km north of Leh, is one of the most interesting places to visit in Leh Ladakh. Lying 150 km north of Leh, its landscape is both breathtaking and surreal. This place hosts famous monasteries like Diskit and Samstanling, as well as offering unique experiences like a camel safari in Hunder Sand Dunes on camels with two humps.
The villages of Dah and Hanu are located at the meeting points of the Indo and Shyok rivers and inhabited by people belonging to the Drokpa community. Their physical characteristics distinguish them from the rest of the Ladakhi people, since they possess an Indo-Aryan look. Visiting their villages and understanding their lifestyle is an exciting and educational experience. People here practice horticulture and grow apples and apricots that have a taste that is not found anywhere else.
The beauty of the village of Panamik must be seen to be believed. Famous above all for its hot water springs, the village is dominated by snow-capped peaks and a steep landscape. However, once here, you should take a dip in the hot springs, as the waters are believed to have healing properties.
Lamayuru is a lunar land and that term is certainly not an exaggeration. A small village in Ladakh located halfway between Kargil and Leh, the landscape of Lamayuru would make you believe you landed on the moon. Several houses are perched precariously on the rugged landscape and are rather a sight to look down on. The best way to have an incredible view of the village here is to climb the famous meditation hill.
The monastery of Lamayuru is one of the oldest monasteries in the region and fascinates visitors with its murals, Mani stones and prayer wheels, which have existed for a long time. It is the monastery’s prayer hall which is generally accessible to travelers. The monastery can be visited both in summer and in winter. However, visiting it during the winters is a special pleasure in itself.
The Zanskar valley fascinates visitors with its rugged landscape, lush pastures flanked by jagged peaks and the Zanskar river, whose beauty is timeless. It is also the most isolated of all the valleys. The Chadar trek along the frozen Zanskar river is one of the most popular adventure sports in Ladakh.
During the winters, much of the Zanskar river is frozen and most of the river is covered by a thick layer of ice. This is when Chadar Trek is taken along the frozen Zanskar river, a journey full of endless surprises and adventures. The entire stretch of the trek takes you past villages, canyons and gorges. Trekking is challenging as always, but the whole experience is worth it.
Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary
Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary is the only area that represents the “Trans Himalayan Area” of India. Because of the harsh landscape and the scarce vegetation that prevails here, even the wildlife has undergone a huge change due to the adaptation process. Located at an altitude of almost 14,846 feet above sea level, it covers an area of almost 4,000 square meters. Km and consists of plateaus and high-altitude water lakes.
One of the main attractions of the Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary is the Kiang, or the wild Tibetan donkey, along with the rare black-necked crane. The other forms of wildlife found are Tibetan argali, Tibetan wolf, Tibetan gazelle and wild yak.
Hemis National Park
Hemis National Park, also known as Hemis High Altitude National Park, holds the distinction of being the only national park in India north of the Himalayas. It is famous for being the home of the highest density of snow leopards in the world. It is also the highest national park in India.
In addition to the snow leopard, the other animals found here are the Eurasian brown bear, the Tibetan wolf and the red fox, among others. The avian population here includes several Himalayan and trans-Himalayan raptors including the golden eagle, the lammergeyer vulture and the Himalayan vulture.
Indian astronomy observatory
The Indian Astronomical Observatory is one of the most interesting places to see in Ladakh. It boasts the highest sites in the world for optical, infrared and gamma ray telescopes. It is managed by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore and has the third highest optical telescope in the world.
Located at nearly 15,000 feet, this astronomical observatory located in Hanle in Ladakh is a wonder in itself. The second highest observatory in the world is the Chandra class 2m telescope. What makes this place perfect for observing the sky are the clear, cloudless skies and the very low artificial light.