Plan your trip to Ladakh
Nestled between the Kunlun Mountain Range in the north and the primary Great Himalayas in the south at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level, Leh is a tiny but busy town. Being Ladakh’s biggest town, Leh enjoys the greatest tourism. It does not connect one of the district’s sleepy hamlets and valleys but is also one of South Asia’s few surviving Buddhist spots.
This arid terrain is experiencing dramatic climate changes as a cold desert. Temperatures are so extreme that while one experiences temperatures ranging from 0 degrees to-28 degrees in winter, temperatures such as 3 degrees to 30 degrees can be faced in summers. Because the temperatures are varied and the altitude only increases, it is suggested that travelers have preventive medication for altitude sickness before starting their voyage.
What to see
The Leh Palace, which has eight stories behind the primary market, is comparable to Lhasa’s Potala Palace and still belongs to Ladakh’s royal family. The renowned Chamba Temple, a one-roomed shrine with an enormous icon of Maitreya, the Buddha to come, is just ahead of the palace. Because this temple cannot be discovered readily, in the second row of stores it is vital to inquire about it.
You can also see the Jama Masjid in the village, at the top of the road. This was colored in green and white. Another place to visit is the Sankar Gompa, located in the town and one of the oldest buildings in the town. This monastery welcomes only a maximum of twenty monks at one moment and is quite active. The monks here are also highly hospitable, offering yak butter tea to those who visit the monastery at all times.
A visit to the renowned monastery of Thikse is also a must. This temple is the biggest such structure in central Ladakh and is mainly known in its Maitreya Temple for its magnanimous monument of Maitreya (future Buddha). This statue is 15 meters (49 ft) elevated and is Ladakh’s largest statue. Here, the Buddha is depicted as sitting in the lotus position rather than as standing or sitting on an elevated throne in his usual depictions.
What to do
The Tibetan Refugee Market, which is an optimal location to shop in Leh, exists on Old Leh Road. For their metal-ware, Tibetan markets are popular. Visitors here who have an eye for creative items would discover nine metal sonorous bowls such as cymbals, ornamental brass, and copper trumpets. Besides, there are also cymbals with religious topics used in meditation.
Also, if you love jewelry, you can discover appropriate products such as unpolished silver and turquoise jewelry and chunky shell bangles worn by females from Ladakhi. A variety of great rugs and carpets with traditional Persian and Kashmiri topics are also available. The indigenous Thangka paintings, jewelry made of semi-precious stones, tiny prayer wheels, shawls, stoles, and music bowls are some other attractions of these markets. You can also discover Afghanistan’s lapis lazuli and Burma’s rubies.
What to know
State buses are the cheapest way to travel within the region, which ply on fixed paths according to set schedules of time. However, the most comfortable and convenient but costly mode of transport is a taxi, which can be hired on a set point-to-point tariff basis.
For visits to the newly opened Nubra, Dah-Hanu, Tsomoriri, Tsokar, and Pangong Lake regions, it is compulsory to engage the services of a licensed and recognized travel agency making the necessary agreements including inner transportation.
How to reach
By highway, The overland route to Ladakh is roughly 434 km from Kashmir Valley via Kargil, which stays open for traffic from early June to November. The most spectacular aspect of this road trip is the ascent of the Zoji-La, the pass in the Great Himalayan Wall, which serves as the gateway to Ladakh, 11,500 feet elevated 3,505 m.
Road trip to Ladakh
There is also a 473 km long motorway between Manali and Leh. Manali-Leh Road served as Ladakh’s second overland strategy. This high road, open to traffic from around mid-June to early October, crosses Rupsho’s upland desert plateau, where the altitude ranges from 3,660 m to 4,570 m. The largest one known as Taklang-La is the second-largest motorable pass in the world at an elevation of 17,469 feet/5,235 m. The regular deluxe and normal bus services between Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh are operated by both Himachal Pradesh Tourism (HRTC) and J&K State Tourism (SRTC). It requires about 19 hours to travel between Leh and Manali. Ladakh and New Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar are well linked by air.