Ladakh (“land of high passes”) is a region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Kunlun mountain rangeto the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture.
Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys (now mostly in Pakistan), the entire upper Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, much of Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge in the east, Aksai Chin in the northeast (extending to the Kun Lun Mountains), and the Nubra Valley to the north over Khardong La in the Ladakh Range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti regions to the south, the Vale of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north.
Aksai Chin is one of the disputed border areas between China and India. It is administered by China as part of Hotan County but is also claimed by India as a part of the Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1962, China and India fought a brief warover Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996 the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control.
In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes,but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism. Since 1974, the Government of India has successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh. Since Ladakh is a part of strategically important Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region.
The largest town in Ladakh is Leh, followed by Kargil. Almost half of Ladakhis are Shia Muslims and the rest are mostly Tibetan Buddhists. Some Ladakhi activists have in recent times called for Ladakh to be constituted as a union territory because of perceived unfair treatment by Kashmir and Ladakh’s cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir.
Best Travelling places in Leh Ladakh:
May to September.
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh:
Pangong Lake,Shanti Stupa,Tso Moriri Lake,Leh Palace,Khardung La Pass,Magnetic Hill,Nubra Valley,White water rafting etc..
Option 1:(SRINAGAR TO SRINAGAR)
Day 1-Arrival at Srinagar, you will meet our representative and will be driven towards your hotel. After refreshment you will be taken to local sightseeing of Srinagar covering Nishat Garden known as ‘Garden of pleasure’ built in 16th century (1633) by Mughal King Asif Khan. Then visit Shalimar Garden known as ‘Garden of love’ built in 16th century (1619) by Mughal King Jehangir for his beloved wife Noor Jehan or (Mehr-un-Nissa) and later on pay a visit the famous White mosque of Srinagar city (Hazratbal shrine). Evening visit to famous Dal Lake where you can enjoy Shikara Ride (on direct payment basis). Overnight stay in Srinagar.
Day 2-Arrival at Srinagar, you will meet our representative and will be driven directly to Kargil (204 km) and drive through Sonamarg.Situated at an altitude of 9000 ft Sonamarg – 84 km is also called as “The meadow of gold” has at its backdrop, snowy mountains against a cerulean sky. The Sindh River that meanders through the valley abounds with trout and mahaseer. Continue your journey towards Kargil and passing over Zojila Pass. Stop at Drass, the 2nd coldest inhabitant place in the World. Then drive along the Drass River till one arrives at Kargil. On arrival check in at hotel.Overnight stay in Kargil.
Day 3-After breakfast drive for Leh enroute Mulbekh and Lamayuru passing through Namikala & Fatula Passes, the highest pass on Srinagar – Leh road.Overnight stay in Leh.
Day 4-After breakfast visit for local sightseeing of Hall of Fame, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, Sangam View where Indus & Zanskar River meet. The Hall of Fame : Located near the LehAirfiled, is a museum constructed as well as maintained by the Indian Army in the memory of the soldiers who had lost their lives during the Indo-Pak wars. It is also termed as a memorial for the war heroes. This building consists of two floors. While on theground floor, there is information about the brave soldiers and a souvenir shop but on the first floor, there are artefacts of various wars (mainly Kargil war) such as the weapons used during the war and some important documents, related to the same. There is another section dedicated to the Siachen glacier.
Gurdwara Shri Pathar Sahib : It is situated on the Srinagar-Leh Road, 25kms before the Leh. It is very beautiful and it was created in memory of the founder of Sikh religion and the first guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji.
Magnetic Hill : It is a so-called "gravity hill" located nearLeh inLadakh,India. The “Magnet Hill” is located on the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar national highway, about 30 km from Leh, at a height of 11,000 feet above sea level. On its south side flows theIndus, which originates in Tibet and goes to Pakistan. The magnetic hill has become a popular stop for domestic tourists on car journeys. The alignment of the road with the slope of the background can give the illusion that cars areable to drift upwards.Sangam Valley : It is a 48 kilometre drive from Leh and is the confluence of the rivers Indus and Zanskar. Just the view of Sangam Valley from the road above it can make you swoon in ecstasy. The colours of the two rivers can be distinctly seen at the confluence. It is an amazing place to sit, relax, and enjoy a picnic with family and friends. Overnight stay in Leh.
Day 5-After breakfast at hotel drive towards Nubra valley. Popularly known as Dorma or "the valley of flowers" via Khardungla Pass one of the highest motorable road (5602 mts). On arrival, check-in to your Hotel. Later in the afternoon, visit the Diskit Monastery and the giant statue of Maitreya Buddha which is the tallest Buddha statue in Ladakh. Later visit the white sand dunes at Hunder where you can enjoy the Double Humped Bactrian camel ride (ride on direct payment basis).Overnight stay in Nubra Vally.
Day 6-After breakfast you will leave for Leh on the same route to Nubra. Afternoon you will we taken to visit Shanti Stupa and Leh Palace. Shanti Stupa : Located on the hilltop at Changspa. The Stupa was constructed by a Japanese Buddhist organization, known as ʹThe Japanese for World Peaceʹ. The aim behind the construction of the Stupa was to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism and to promote World Peace.
Leh Palace : Built in the 17th century, it was built as the residential palace for the King SinggeNamgyal. Much smaller but resembling the Potala in Lhasa, Leh Palace is now in ruins. It has nine storeys and has been deserted since the royal family shifted to the Stok Palace in 1830s.Overnight stay in Leh.
Day 7-After breakfast leave for full day excursion to Pangong Lake.This route takes the visitor past the picturesque villages of Shey and Thikse, and turns off the Indus valley by the side valley of Chemrey and Sakti. The Ladakh rang is crossed by the Chang‐la (18,000 feet / 5,475 M) which despite its great elevation is one of the easier passes, remaining open for much of the year even in winter, apart from periods of actual snowfall.Tangse, just beyond the foot of the pass, has an ancient temple. But the main attraction of this circuit is the Pangong Lake, situated at 14,000 feet (4,267 M). A long narrow basin of inland drainage, hardly six to seven kilometers at its widest point to which foreigners are permitted, is only some seven km along the southern shore from the head of the lake, but it affords spectacular views of the mountains of the Changchenmo range to the north, their reflection shimmering in the ever‐changing blues and greens of the lakes brackish water. Above Spangmik are the glacier and snow‐capped peaks of the Pangong range.Overnight stay in Pangong.
Day 8-After breakfast leave for walk at Pangong Lake, a highest salt water lake in the World, shared by two countries India (25%) & China (75%), enjoy the beauty of lake on banks of the lake while appreciating the changing colours of fascinating high altitude lake. Drive back to Leh covering Shey Palace, Thikseymonasteries, Sindhu Ghatand 3 Idiot’s School.
Shey Palace (15kms south of Leh): Was built by DeldanNamgyal in the beginning of 17th century AD. The main image in the monastery is three story statue of Buddha Shakamuni, made of copper gilt which was made by DeldanNamgyal in the memory of his father SingayNamgyal. The statue is the only of its kind in the region.Thiksey Gompa (17kms south of Leh): The most beautiful in all the monasteries in Ladakh, belongs to the Gelukspa order. Overnight stay in Leh.
Day 9-Early morning check-out from the hotel and we transfer you to Srinagar. Day Long Journey. Overnight stay in Srinagar.
Day 10-After breakfast, check-out from the hotel and we transfer you to the Airport for your onward flight, the trip ends with extremely fond memories and an experience you will cherish for a life time.
Option 2:(LEH TO LEH)
Day 1-On arrival at Kushok Bakula airport in Leh (situated at a height of 3,500 meters), you will be transferred to your hotel (2-3 kilometers from airport). During the day, acclimatize yourself with the weather and high pressure of Ladakh.Stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 2-In the morning, drive towards west of Leh and explore the miniature paintings of Alchi Monastery. The foundation stone of Alchi Monastery was laid sometime back in 990 A.D. En route, drive past Magnetic Hall and confluence of Indus and Zanskar River at Nimu. While heading back to Leh, en route visit Military Hall of Fame.Stay overnight at the hotel in Leh.
Day 3-Early morning, leave on road to Nubra Valley via Khardungla Pass which is situated at a height of 18360 ft and considered as one of the highest motorable pass in the world. In the afternoon, explore Hunder & Diskit monastery and white sand dunes via camel safari. The safari tour is done with double humped camels that are found only in Nubra Valley.Stay overnight at the Deluxe Camp/Hotel.
Day 4-Following the Samstanling Monastery tour in the morning, you will drive back to Leh via Khardungla Pass. In the evening, explore the local bazaars (markets) of Leh. One can purchase shopping items such as Pashmina shawls, Chinese cutleries, good pearls and Ladakhi woolen handicrafts. Stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 5-A full day tour of Pangong Lake is scheduled for the itinerary of 5th day. The Pangong Lake is around 135 kilometers away from Leh and situated at an elevation of 4,400 meters. En route, cross Chang la pass and drive through Durbuk and Tangtse village situated in the Changthang region of Ladakh.In the afternoon, explore the lake and its surroundings. A tour of the local village will enable cultural insight into Leh.Stay overnight at the tented camp.
Day 6-During early morning, you can enjoy a photo-session around the lake. Post breakfast, drive back to Leh. An optional tour of Hemis Monastery (5 kilometer away from Leh near Kharu) is also on the cards. Hemis is the largest and richest monastery complex in Ladakh. Drive back to Leh by noon. In the afternoon, enjoy a shopping tour in the local markets of Leh.Stay overnight at the hotel.
Day 7-In the morning, you’ll be escorted to Kushok Bakula airport to catch flight for onward destination.
Option 3:(CHANDIGHAR TO SRINAGAR)
Day 1-On arrival pick up from Chandigarh and transfer to Manali ( 350 km/9 hrs).Overnight at hotel.
Day 2-Early morning drive to Serchu, driving across Rohtang Pass (13050 ft) and passing through Keylong, Jispa and Dracha and then cross the Baralacha Pass (16020 ft) to arrive at Serchu in the late afternoon. Overnight in fixed camp at Serchu.
Day 3-After early breakfast leave for Leh en-route crossing Nakeela and Lachalung-la Pass (16,617 ft.). Break for lunch at Pang and then drive on towards Leh passing through Skyangchu Thang (a vast plateau stretching for 42 kms) and then crossing Taglang-La (17,585ft) and driving through the upper Indus Valley. Reach Leh by evening. Overnight in Leh hotel.
Day 4-The morning is at leisure for rest after the long journey. Afternoon visit Shanti Stupa. Overnight at the Leh hotel.
Day 5-Early departure for Pangong Lake (approx. 145 kms, located on the Indo China Border), via Chang-la pass (alt: 17370 ft). After full day of sightseeing around the Lake check-in at fixed tented camp near the lake at Spangmik or drive back for 30 kms to Tangtse and check into Pangong Lake Hotel / Guest House for overnight stay.
Day 6-After breakfast, leave Pangong / Tangtse and retrace the Leh route across Chang-la. Upon reaching Karu, drive across the Indus and visit the famous Hemis Monastery, biggest monastery of Ladakh. Later drive on to Leh, enroute visiting the picturesque Thiksey monastery. Overnight in Nubra Vally hotel.
Day 7-After breakfast leave for Nubra Valley, driving across Khardong-la (alt: 18,380 ft). After descending from the pass, drive on for sightseeing of Sumoor area and Samstaling Gompa. Later check into a fixed camp in the same area or drive across to Deskit / Hundar for overnight in a fixed camp or hotel.
Day 8-In the morning visit / explore Deskit , Hundar and the Sand Dunes where you can enjoy a short camel safari using the double-humped Bactrian camel found here (optional on direct payment). Later drive back to Leh reaching in the late afternoon / evening. Overnight at the Leh hotel.
Day 9-After leisurely breakfast drive down the Indus Valley on the first leg of your journey to Kargil & Srinagar. On the way, visit Hall of Fame, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Point, Sangam (confluence of Indus & Zanskar Rivers) and then the 11th century Alchi Choskor, oldest surviving monastic complex famous for its wall frescoes and architecture – a UNESCO listed heritage site. Overnight in fixed camp / resort at Uleytokpo.
Day 10-After breakfast leave for Kargil, enroute visiting the dramatically located Lamayuru monastery and the adjoining “Moonland” hills. On the way to Kargil you can view the 9-Mtrs. tall rock sculpture of the Maitreya Buddha at Mulbek (7th –8th century AD). Overnight in hotel at Kargil.
Day 11-Early departure for Srinagar driving through Drass (famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world) and crossing the Zoji-la Pass (11,500-ft. / 3,505 m) to reach hill station of Sonamarg from where it’s smooth driving through the beautiful Kashmir countryside to reach Srinagar. Overnight in hotel at Srinagar.
Day 12-Early morning transfer to the airport for taking the flight back home.