Ladakh – the ‘Land of the High Passes’ – is among the most stunning parts of the Indian Himalayas. A land of freezing winds and burning hot sunlight, Ladakh is a cold desert lying in the rain shadow of the Great Himalayas and Karakoram mountain ranges. Indus and Zanskar rivers and numerous streams carrying the glaciers from the mountains tucked amidst lush green valleys. It is not only a trekker’s paradise, but a delight to every traveler as it offers serenity and tranquility amidst picturesque and scenic views of nature.
Here are some places to visit in Ladakh:
Zanskar (trek & rafting): – The trek over the Zanskar River is the most popular one and is often undertaken in large groups by adventure enthusiasts. The Chadar Trek as it is popularly known as is basically trekking over the frozen rivers. It is generally taken in November when the river is frozen and safe to trek.
The white waters of Zanskar are considered to be one of the best rafting destinations in India. However, do not be fooled by the fact that it is only done in summers. The water will still be cold enough to freeze you should you fall in. Only if you’re planning to have some extreme adventure sports in Ladakh, should you take up this ride down the river.
Pangong Lake: – Pangong Lake seemed to be the favourite destination for many tourists visiting Ladakh. The crystal clear blue lake sprawls over an area of 100 kilometers across the borders of two countries in India and China. One-third part of the lake lies in India while the remaining two-third lies in Tibet, a region controlled by China.
Due to the saltiness in the water of the lake, there is very less micro-vegetation. There are no fish or other aquatic life in the lake, except for some small crustaceans. On the other hand, visitors see numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface. There are some species of scrub and perennial herbs that grow in the marshes around the lake.
Nubra valley:- The Nubra valley, also called the valley of Flowers, is about 150 Kms away from Leh, the capital town of Ladakh. The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachen River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges.
In the valley it’s relatively mild, though dust storms are common, whipping up sand and light debris in choking clouds above the broad riverbeds. There are some guest houses and small hotels at Diskit which is the main village of Nubra.
Shanti Stupa: – The Shanti Stupa is one of the remarkable symbols of Buddhist religion that holds the relics of Lord Buddha. It is white-colored domed-shaped structure, constructed by Japanese, situated at a height of 4267 meters overlooking the Leh city.
It gives a panoramic view of Leh and the snow-clad mountains. It looks extremely beautiful during night when it is illuminated. It was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism.
Leh Palace: – The ancient Leh Palace was built during the 17th century by the ruler King Sengge Namgyal. Its construction is on the same lines as the construction of the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The palace was abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid 19th century, and the royal family moved to Stok Palace. The ruined palace is being restored and now under the control of Archeological Survey of India (ASI). The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and Zanskar ranges across the Indus Valley.
Namgyal Monastery: – Namgyal Tsemo Monastery or Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is a Buddhist monastery in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India. Founded by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh in 1430 . It has a three-story high gold statue of Maitreya Buddha and ancient manuscripts and frescoes. It has previously also been visited by the Dalai Lama himself.
Monks and Buddhism enthusiasts flock from all over the country to spend a few days here. Like most monasteries in Ladakh, it allows volunteers to stay and help with the daily chores at the Gompa while enjoying a few peaceful days here.
Alchi Monastery: – Around 67 km from Leh, a small village by the name of Alchi is home to one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh region. This is perhaps the only monastery in Ladakh which is located on a flat ground and not on a hill top like others. The Alchi monastery complex was built between the 10th and 11th century amongst the oldest monastery in the Ladakh region.
The Alchi complex maintains the three-storied temple, which is the main temple, an assembly hall, another temple that is also known as Manjushri and Chortens. The temple walls hold a diorama of several Buddhist and Hindu kings that exude a unique artistic style. Book Now!
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