Explore Leh Ladakh, a place that spells fun
Envisage Ladakh and perhaps the foremost thing that snaps in thoughts of many are the bike riders, clad in their signature leather jackets touring through the serene and divine lanes of the city. But no matter who you are, a brave biker or a tireless traveller or a passionate photographer, if the mere word “adventure” surges the adrenaline in your veins then you certainly cannot miss this heavenly place called Leh, a major town in Ladakh. Held in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is the highest plateau with umpteen surprises to offer, from mighty mountains to monasteries, lakes and not to miss the Tibetan food and culture. Click here to see a couple of awesome trip itineraries for Leh-Ladakh.
The simplest way to travel to Leh is by air from Delhi, as traveling by other means isn’t really a piece of cake, considering the weather, accessibility to the place or the mountainous terrain. Nevertheless, if you wish to satiate your hunger for sheer adventure even before reaching Leh then perhaps traveling by road through bike or bus or even by train offers a breath-taking view of the landscape as an incentive. We have destination specialists to help you plan your Ladakh Trip. Call: 011-49058399 or, Click to get a Callback.
Make sure you plan a long trip, since there is so much to explore in this corner of the country that your camera may run out of space. However, do not forget to acclimatize yourself to the weather before venturing into the unknown terrains of this beautiful yet delicate place. Here is the list of places I managed to travel in Leh whose memory lingers afresh in my mind.
If you are on your spiritual journey to this mysterious land then you are in the right place. As the name suggests this stupa offers inner peace just by sitting under the shade of tranquil Buddha statue enshrined by 14th Dalai Lama. Built by the Buddhists from Japan and Ladakh in 1991 this place also provides a good Panoramic view of the valley, along with one of the world’s best sunrise and sunset views. A must-go place for photographers and nature lovers.
This whopping nine storey building was inspired by the Potala palace in Lhasa (Tibet) which is said to have held royal families in higher floors, while stables and store rooms were housed in lower floors. Although in neglected state now, this colossal palace can sure take you back to 17th century majestic living. Need to plan or book for Ladakh Trip in advance? Click here to see a couple of awesome trip itineraries for Leh-Ladakh.
Housed on the Namgyal hill where Leh palace is also placed, this fort is also known as victory tower, symbolizing the victory of Ladakh over Balti Kashmir Army in the 16th century. Like that popular song ‘you can run, you can hide, but you cannot escape’ this structure in Leh, yes, it is visible from almost any place you stand in the city. Held beneath the fort is this 15th-century monastery called Namgyal Tsemo Gompa that comprises of three storey high Buddha image and many ancient manuscripts.
Located barely 20km away from Leh, stands tall this 15th century, twelve-storey complex called Thiksey Gompa on a hilltop named after the village Thiksey. It has one of the most stunning and massive Buddha statues in the world, of about 49 feet tall inside Maitreya temple. This 15th century Gompa houses many stupas, thangkas, murals, swords etc. in its multi-storeyed complex. Excited to go on the Ladakh trip? Call: 011-49058399 or, Click to get a Callback.
If the word ‘royalty’ can be associated with any monastery then it would be with Hemis Gompa, the largest and the wealthiest monastery in Ladakh. Refurbished by the King Namgyal Sengge in 17th century, this monastery worships the Buddha Padmasambhava. This Gompa is a home to many colorful murals and sculptures, among others. I was fortunate to experience the once in a year event called Hemis festival held every June to honour the deity. The volunteers donning colorful masks and vibrant robes while dancing to the mesmerizing tunes was a hard-express experience.
Pangong Tso Lake:
Does the name Phunsung Wangudo flying a drone with Ladakhi kids near a lake in movie ‘3 idiots’ ring a bell? No, I am not talking about the actor Aamir Khan, but I am pointing towards that beautiful lake in the movie called Pangong Tso Lake. The journey from Leh to this lake takes about 5 hours, but the drive-through was ‘Legendaaaary’. However, make sure you start early as there are many passes to be crossed in between. There is this bizarre yet gorgeous stream that flows near lukung called Pagal Nala which needs to be crossed before 12 noon as the water gets uncontrollable later. Despite the distance, the moment I caught the glimpse of this divine lake some sort of transformed energy started running in my veins. Click here to see a couple of awesome trip itineraries for Leh-Ladakh.
If your heart goes out to those Valiant soldiers who leave their families away, letting go of their sleep while standing tall in the most extreme conditions so that our country sleeps peacefully; then you cannot miss this museum. Also called ‘Hall of Fame’ this museum gives us an insight into the lives of these soldiers who fight tirelessly even in the most perilous glaciers like Siachen. This museum also brings us closer to the lives of Ladhaki people and their culture.
For all those shopaholics and even non-shopaholics going to Ladakh without bringing a bit of Ladakh back home in the form of souvenirs would be an utter waste of your trip. Stuff like silver or turquoise jewelry, Thangka paintings on silk, prayer wheels, carpets, stoles, rugs, and woolen clothes can serve as best mementos for your loved ones and can add an unmatched zest to your home décor. Go to main bazaar to seek endless shopping options with umpteen number of stores to pick from, however the price tags are usually fixed with some shops demanding more than the others. For a reasonable price try visiting Moti market or Tibetan refugee market on old Leh road. Government run emporium could also be a good place to buy handicrafts, but of course, they are a little overpriced.
Perhaps the word adventure could be Ladakh’s second name in more ways than one. Go ahead and try adventure sports like trekking, river rafting, mountaineering or less daring yet entertaining sports like polo or archery. I tried river rafting and believe you me, I cannot wait to go back to Leh again for the sport and for the beautiful landscapes I experienced while rafting. The charming views of hill top monasteries and trail of breath-taking countryside have left an eternal impression for life. There are numerous rafting packages to choose from ranging from level I to IV, all with either just rafting service or lunch/transport along with rafting, take your pick. The best time to raft is from June to August when the water level is high.
Treat your taste buds with authentic flavors of the city. You may have gobbled on those momos back home, but nothing can match the authentic flavors of those yummy dumplings you find here. Being a tourist-thronged place, Leh offers multiple cuisines ranging from Indian to continental, however, I personally suggest eating like a Ladakhi and surprise yourself. Munch on Ladakhi bread called Khambir with butter tea or apricot jam for breakfast followed by noodle soup thenthuk or Ladakhi traditional meal skyu for lunch and steamed dumpling momos and noodle soup thupka for light dinner. Click here to see a couple of awesome trip itineraries for Leh-Ladakh.
Words fall short when I have to express my journey through the enormous grey belts of the valley with unfamiliar environment, yet with picturesque views, this divine feeling can only be experienced than expressed. So, go ahead, stitch a new pocket for a stuff that spells fun and let that fun come from your journey to Ladakh, a place full of surprises, pleasure, spirituality and much more.
Looking for some other weekend trips? Click here to see the wide range of wanderlust destination trips nearby Delhi.