Places To Visit in Ladakh
Ladakh is the northernmost Himalayan state in India with unbelievably scenic views of the barren Zanskar Valley and snow capped mountains are the epitome of how diverse the Himalayas are. The flowery valleys of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand feel like a paradise to walk in while the deserted beige lands of Ladakh offer you a feel of strolling on another planet. The climates are extreme; the lowest temperature drops to -40 degrees and byeong while the highest temperatures produce scorching heat more than the places at sea level. The state is closely bordered with Tibet and hence the region has its own unique culture and settlements, monasteries etc. If you find yourself in Ladakh, do visit these places to get the full vibe of this wonderful place.
Leh being the capital is the biggest city of this state and also the coldest one. The place has scattered Buddhist monasteries all over and is among the best places to visit in Ladakh. Leh palace is the most historically significant structure in Leh displaying ancient Tibetan Architecture, photographs, culture and intricately carved manuscripts. The palace is a 8-9 storey stone monument built in the late 16th century. The palace is partly turned into a museum which displays old photographs of the palace and its history. This grand piece of art located thousands of feet above sea level is a must-see spot to cover.
Jama Masjid Leh
The state of Ladakh has been a crucial location as it was a melting point of different races from surrounding countries. Muslims, Hindus, Tibetan Buddhists contribute to the region’s population. The Jama Masjid is located right at the middle of the Leh city and was a symbol of agreement between the Leh’s ruler and a Mughal Emperor. This is an icon of diversity and unity at one place living in harmony. The mosque was built in 1667 AD and has been a marvel since then.
Speaking of diversity, Buddhists contribute to 77% of the region’s population followed by Muslims and Hindus. The Tsemo Gompa is a 15th century monastery built on a hilltop with beautiful sculptures of Buddha. The monastery is a 3 storeyed monument which is accessed after a hike to the top. The pathway to the top is well renovated and made convenient for the tourists to climb hence do visit. The sitting statue of Maitreya Buddha along with guardians of mythological protectors overlooking the city is rewarding and enchanting.
Stop for a chai time in Nimmu, a spot 8 kms away from Leh where you can witness every shade of blue in the Indus flowing in the Zanskar Valley. This could be a detour from Leh city. There are buses which operate from Leh-Nimmu, so there is no connectivity issue.
Ladakh offers you extraordinary challenging treks for the daredevils. Some of the classic treks that capture Ladakh’s essence; Markha Valley, Darcha- Padum, Khalsar-Thathak, Likir- Tinmosgang, Chadar trek etc. Some of the key highlights of each trek is ; wildlife, river crossing, lofty passes, cable car crossing, camping, sightseeing etc. The more you explore these mountains, the more it attracts you towards its magnetic aura.
This is by far the most isolated valley of Trans Himalayan region, comprising two valleys of Stod and Lunak. The largest glacier of Drang- Drung is nearby which stands to be the longest glacier in Ladakh. The population is barely 1 lakh Buddhists which reside in the region. The area is mostly closed most of the year as it receives heavy snowfall.
The beautiful lake you saw in the movie 3 idiots, is this one. This high altitude lake is a wonder for the world. This is a saltwater lake at the altitude of 4300 m above sea level. Once you see this picturesque view, you can’t get enough. Its 160 km wide lake extends till China. 70% of the part lies in China and the rest lies with India. You could sit here for hours watching the mountains change their colors to dark brown as the sun sets.
Drass is a small township located on the Srinagar-Leh highway also, 57 kms away from Kargil. This is by far the second coldest place in Ladakh after Leh. The inhabitants of this township are known to be related to the Dard race of TIbet. This Indo-Aryan community is believed to have migrated from central asia many centuries ago.
Ladakh has an abundance of nature, beauty, culture and history. The place is surreal, makes you ponder about the reality of mankind and the ethereal beauty of the HImalayas.