Wanderlist Discover: Ladakh, India
High up in the northern-most parts of India, the desert plateau of Ladakh is nothing short of spectacular, with its jagged mountains, picture-perfect monasteries and awe-inspiring vistas. Blessed with ethereal beauty, Ladakh was once an important link on the Silk Road, the trade route that connected Central Asia with the Middle East and Europe. Over the years, it has become a wanderer’s dream destination, with enormous lakes, high altitude mountains and visually stunning trails. Ladakh is one of those very few places in the world that can offer travellers almost everything they can desire, ranging from adventure activities such as mountain biking, river rafting, and trekking to deep philosophical pursuits such as finding their spiritual side and perhaps, even the meaning of life.
A COUPLE OF ACTIVITIES YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
- High Altitude Safaris : You can explore the local flora, fauna and landscape by undertaking some of the best safaris in the Ladakh region. One of the fastest ways to take in the sights of Ladakh is by Jeep Safari, which takes you to places, which are otherwise difficult to reach, including Nubra Valley, Tsomori-Ra and Dan Hanu. If you want to enjoy a traditional means of transport, you can even take a camel safari, or perhaps even a yak safari, if you are lucky enough to find one. Despite the cold climate, you can enjoy some distant valleys, where you will see some of the flora and fauna are quite unique to the region, such as the Black-necked Crane, the nyan (the largest sheep in the world), and the Tibetan Sand Fox.
- Adventure Sports : Despite its quiet nature, Ladakh has several activties for adrenalin junkies. Pick from river rafting in the cold dangerous waters of the Zanaskar River; biking on the highest motorable road in the world, the Khardung-la Pass; camping in bone-chilling temperatures under the starlit night skies around Thiksey Monastery and in the Spiti Valley. With so many activties you can attempt in Ladakh, you will be spoilt for choice.
- Visit the Monasteries : The tranquil monasteries in Ladakh, or gompas, are some of the most popular attractions of the region. In most cases, the monasteries in Ladakh are perched on a hillock, above a small township, and give the town the local name. The monasteries are not only spiritual and healing, but are also architectural beauties to watch. Many of them were built over 300 or more years ago. Many of them contain old Buddhist paintings and other Tibetan cultural relics and artifacts that are truly worth a watch. You can rest assured that even a single visit to one of these monasteries, can be considered as theraputic and a step towards attaining spiritual nirvana. Defintely visit the Hemis Monastery, which is the biggest monastery around, and is famous for its large Thangka paintings. Some of the other monasteries worth a visit are Namgyal Tsemo, Likir and the Shanti Stupa.
Best Time To Go: June to September
June to September is the best time to visit Ladakh, when the snow melts enough to allow the mountain passes to open up, and allow travel to resume.
Where in the world:
Ladakh is a high-altitude plateau, located in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, and shares part of its eastern borders its borders with Tibet.
Ladakh is popularly known as ‘Little Tibet’, as it is highly influenced by Tibetan culture and its several Buddhist monasteries play home to many Tibetan Buddhists.
- Language : Although the local language is Ladakhi, Hindi and English are spoken by many people, especially those dealing with tourists.
- Currency : Indian Rupee (INR); 1 USD roughly equals 64 INR.
- How to Get Around : Depending on how long you plan to stay in the Ladakh region, it may be a good idea to have your own hired vehicle that takes you to Ladakh from the closest metros. This is especially true if you are travelling in a group. You can hire an Indian all terrain vehicle that will take you from Ladakh from Delhi, Srinagar, or other big cities. Alternately, you can hire a local taxi or motorcycle in Leh, the biggest town in Ladakh.
The Discover Series by Wanderlist
Discover less explored destinations & places that have never been on your travel radar with our Discover Series. Every week we will share a beautiful underrated city you should add to your travel bucket list.