6 best places to visit in leh ladakh
These are 6 best places to visit in Leh ladakh
1. Pangong Tso Lake
Pangong Lake also known as Pangong Tso is a beautiful endorheic lake situated in the Himalayas and is 134 km long, extending from India to China. Pangong Lake is situated at a height of 4350 m and is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country.
The beauty and allure of this lake has attracted people from all over the country and beyond. The lake is said to be in the process of being identified as a wetland with international significance.
Ramsar Convention and if everything goes as expected then the Pangong Lake will be the first in South Asia to be a trans-boundary wetland and that too under this convention. Pangong Tso lake is the most tourist attraction in leh ladakh.
The one factor that makes this Lake so popular is the fact that it keeps changing colors. Situated in the Himalayan range it is approximately 140 km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.
The name of the lake Pangong was got from a Tibetan word Banggong Co that means a narrow and enchanted lake.
And now you know that the lake has got its name rightfully. You will know this when you visit the beautiful lake of Pangong. You are sure to be enchanted by the charm.
All you need to do is take a five hour drive from Leh to reach Pangong Lake. The best part about this journey is the route that leads to the lake.
You have to pass through Ladakh which is another great tourist attraction of the country and drive over the world’s third highest motorable mountain pass called the Chang La.
2. Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley is the northernmost part of Jammu and Kashmir. Situated about 150 km from Leh, Nubra Valley is known as the Orchard of Ladakh and was originally called Ldumra which meant the valley of flowers.
Surrounded by snowcapped Himalayan ranges, Nubra valley lies sandwiched between Tibet and Kashmir. The view of the valley is picturesque and breathtaking. During winter, the whole valley looks like landscape of the moon (reason for calling Moonland) and in summer full of greenery.
To reach Nubra valley, you will have to cross the awe-inspiring Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world. Winding channels of the Shyok and Nubra Rivers crisscross the wide and flat Nubra valley. From a distance, the valley seems parched and dry.
However, the valley mainly consists of prime farm land. No wonder then that the valley has earned the sobriquet Orchard of Ladakh.
It is not just scenic natural beauty of Nubra which attracts tourists. The valley is predominantly Buddhist and boasts of several centres of Buddhist learning. Ensa, Samstemling, Diskit and Hunder monastery are famous Buddhist monasteries.
The cold desert between Diskit and Hundur are another attraction for tourists. Tourists throng the cold desert to watch the sand dunes and for joyrides on the Bactrian camels.
3.Khardung La Pass
Khardung La is a high altitude mountain pass located almost 40 kilometers from Leh, and is the gateway to Shyok & Nubra Valleys. It has an enormous strategic importance for India, as it is used to transport supplies to the Siachen Glacier.
At 5,359 meters, Khardung La is the highest motorable road in the world. A sign which greets visitors upon arriving there proclaims it with a hint of pride. The realization that one is traversing through the highest motorable road is in itself as exciting as it gets.
The Khardung La Pass, a major tourist place in Ladakh, is maintained by the Border Roads Organisation and all kinds of vehicles, from two wheelers to heavy trucks, ply this road.
Top Things to see in Khardung La
The foremost tourist attraction in Khardung La is the excitement of travelling the highest motorable road itself. There are spectacular views that greet you along the way, that of Leh City & the surrounding mountain ranges.
You can take plenty of pictures and enjoy noodles, momos, coffee & tea in the cafe. There is also a small souvenir shop where you can purchase anything you like.
Things to remember while visiting Khardung La
Because of the high altitude, you will probably suffer from Altitude Mountain Sickness, or AMS, because of the extremely low oxygen & air pressure. It is best, therefore, not to spend more than 20 minutes there.
It is better to acclimatize by staying 3-4 days in Leh before travelling to Khardung La Pass. You should carry medicines like Diamox and plenty of water to avoid dehydration. Sunglasses and woollen clothing is a must.
One of the least explored destinations in the country, Zanskar, located in the ladakh region of jammu and kashmir, 105 km from leh, and is only accessible between April and August. The scenic views of the snow-capped Himalayan range and sparkling blue rivers make it a perfect holiday destination.
Situated in the Himalayan range, Zanskar is popular with adventure junkies. A hotspot for trekking, paragliding and river rafting, Lamayuru to Darcha and Lamayuru-padum are some of the popular trekking trails that pass around Zanskar. Treks to Markha valley and Khangri begin from Zanskar. A unique trek that offered here is one on frozen water.
Housing a large population of Tibetan Buddhists, the daily life of Zanskar revolves around monks and Buddhist monasteries. While the locals generally speak in Zanskari, they are also fluent in Hindi, Ladakhi and Urdu. Some of them also speak in Tibetan and English.
Zongkhul, on the Padum-Kistwar trekking trail is famous for its beautiful cave monasteries and is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Zanskar. Home to the Gelukpa monks, Stongdey Monastery the second largest Buddhist shrine in Zanskar is another tourist favorite.
One of the most challenging gorges in the world, rafting in the Zanskar river is a dangerous but an exciting activity. Rafting trips on this route can take up to 12 days and camping on the banks of the river at night is almost as exciting as the rafting itself.
Thiksey Monastery is the largest monastery in central Ladakh district in jammu kashmir. It is situated 18 km from Leh in the Indus valley. The Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism is located at the top of hill. Thiksey Monastery it comes in 6 best places to visit in leh ladakh.
The monastery is famous for its architecture and its location. The 12 storey monastery has 10 temples, an assembly hall, and is home to 120 monks and nunnery.
The monastery buildings are structured in hierarchal order. The monastery is referred as ‘Mini Potala’ of India as it resembles Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. There is one big statue of Maitreya (future Buddha) which covers almost two floor of the monastery that is 40 feet in height.
Tara temple of Goddess Tara is another major attraction for the visitors. Apart from visiting monastery one can also find some rare and precious stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords in the monastery.
Due to its proximity to Leh the morning prayer at the monastery attracts huge crowds. The monastery offers clear view of the Indus Valley and some monastery like Shey, Stok and Matho can also be seen from here.
6.Royal Leh Palace
Leh palace is also known as Lhachen Palkhar. The former palace of the royal family of Leh, it was erected in the 17th century. The place was one of the tallest structures with 9 storyes during its heydays.
Today, it is one of the most popular attractions in Leh. From the top, the views of Stok Kangri, Ladakh mountain ranges and the town are simply breathtaking. Slightly ruined in condition, the palace is now managed by the Archaeological Survey of India’ (ASI).
Leh Palace was constructed by Tsewang Namgyal the founder of the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh, way back in the year 1553. The construction of the palace was completed under the reign of Sengge Namgyal who was popularly known as the Lion King during the 17th century.
While the upper floors of the palace were used as the residence of the royal family members, the lower floors comprised of stables and storerooms. Royal leh palace is also comes under 6 best places to visit in leh ladakh.
Sharing its resemblance with the popular Potala Palace of Lhasa, the Leh Palace is a wonderful specimen of the medieval Tibetan style of architecture. The structure appears to be cold in summers and quite warm in the winters.
The Victory Tower just beside the Leh Palace is another popular landmark of Ladakh. This tower was built in the commemoration of Ladakhi soldiers who laid their lives in the war against the attacking Balti Kashmiri in the 16th century.