Ladakh Travel Guide :'The Moonland, 'Little Tibet', and 'the last Shangri La' are the names which have been applied to Ladakh over the centuries. Situated in the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is a miniature version of Tibet. Ladakh is also called Lama Land as the place holds great significance for Buddhists. The landscape of Ladakh is in sharp contrast to that of rest of Kashmir. Of course, Kashmir is lapped in the snow -covered fringes of Himalayas, but Ladakh with its jagged peaks and barren landscape looks equally attractive.
Ladakh is located in varying altitudes, ranging between 9,000 feet and 25,170 feet. Ladakh is bounded by two of the highest mountain ranges, Himalayas and Karakoram. In fact, it is said that Ladakh's landscape is similar to that of the moon. When the moon rays fall on the barren landscape, Ladakh looks like an alien land. Only in the mid 1970s, Ladakh was opened for outside visitors.
Ladakh at 9,000 feet in the mighty Himalayas is of Indo-Tibetan origin. Buddhism is religion of prominence here. Sanskrit and Tibetan language is spoken by Buddhist. Kargil is at 25,170 feet and saser Kangri within Karakoram is in its territory. The capital city Leh has the maximum population in the region. Kargil has more of Shia Muslim population. Ladakh mountains and valleys is intersected by River Indus. Agriculture is possible here. People grow gram, buck wheat, and barley. The masked dance festival is an annual event. Weaving is home based profession and archery is a traditional culture. Tibetan food is similar to Ladakhi food. Staple diet is Thukpa and noodle soup. Roasted barley flour is used extensively. The dress code is Gonchas made out of velvet, heavily embroidered waistcoats and boots. Among the accessories are the Gonads a kind of hat and turquoise headgear is adorned even in present times. Gold and silver ornaments are very popular. People in traditional dress walk the streets at times of festival. Ladakh buildings are constructed by softwood. The construction has got its inspiration from Tibetan, Indian and Islamic culture. The word Ladakh means land of high passes. The place is part of Jammu And Kashmir State. The region is situated amidst Kunlun ranges towards the north and the Great Himalayas in the south. Comparatively the region is new coming into existence just a few million years ago with changes in the Earth’s crust. Its contours have been sculpted by water and wind. Long ago Ladakh was a big lake. Its remains can be seen in south-east plateau namely Rupshu as well as Chushul. This drainage land is called Tso-moriri, Tsokar and pangong-tso. The source of water in this region is winter snowfall. Farmers pray not for rain but for glacier to melt for good crop. The sun shines here for more than 300 days in a year. The temperature during the summers does not go beyond 27 degree Celsius; Winter temperature likely to show a fall of minus 20 degree Celsius. One interesting fact about the place is a person resting in the sun with feet under shade is likely to get sunstroke and frostbite together. Leh has airport and good connectivity with other parts of India. Stok palace of former royal family is photogenic. The eating joint is on the palace terrace giving a very good view. Palace museum houses the dynasties of royalty over the centuries. Spituk Gompa monastery dates back to the 14th century. It is worth a visit and the scene all around is charming. Tourists visit the place during summer months.
Location : About 400 kms from Srinagar (Jammu & Kashmir).
Attractions : Hemis Monastery, Thikse Monastery, Sankar Gompa, Hemis Wildlife Sanctuary and Nubra Valleys.
Best Time To Visit :May to September.
Visit Ladakh :If you are visiting Kashmir don't fail to make the trip to beautiful land of Ladakh. Truly with its ancient gompas perched on soaring hill-tops, shattered looking landscapes splashed with marvellous patches of green, ancient palaces clinging to sheer rock walls, Ladakh offers a heaven like look. Besides, the delightful and immensely colourful Ladakhi people will make your holiday a memorable experience.
Ladakh Weather :The climate of Ladakh can only be described as unusual. This is one place where one can suffer from sun burn and frostbite both at the same time. The day temperature remains high but falls very drastically at night. In summer, the temperature ranges from 30oC to -3oC while in winter it ranges from 15oC to -20oC. Ladakh receives an annual rainfall of 50 mm.>
How to reach :
By Air : Leh is the major airport in Ladakh. Direct flights to Leh are available from Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar and Jammu.
By Road : The main road-route to Ladakh is the Leh - Srinagar highway open between mid June and November. Another option to reach Ladakh is the picturesque Manali-Leh highway. Apart from buses of Jammu and Kashmir government, private taxis can also be hired for a fascinating trip to Ladakh.
Places Where You Can Stay: Good accommodation is available in Ladakh for different class groups. It is advisable to go in for advance booking during the peak season. Some of the best hotels in the top end category are Dragon, Shambha La, Laser Mo, Lotus, Mandala and Mahay. You may also stay at the Buddhist monasteries of Leh-Ladakh.
Places To See in Ladakh:
The Hemis Monastery : One of the largest and most important monasteries of Ladakh, Hemis is 45 kms away from Leh. The claim to fame of the Hemis monastery is a huge painting of Lord Buddha which is displayed to public only once in 11 years. Hemis Monastery is also renowned for its Hemis Festival which usally falls in June - July.
The Thikse Monastery : Considered as an architectural wonder, the Thikse Monastery is located about 17 kms from Leh. A picturesque monastery, Thikse is superbly sited on a hilltop overlooking the village and the Indus. The beautiful monastery has a huge gold-plated copper statue of Lord Buddha. Besides, it has an important collection of Tibetan style books in its library and some excellent artwork.
Sankar Gompa : Located some 3 kms away from the city centre, Sankar Gompa is another eye-catching monastery of Ladakh. Known for its excellent architecture, the gompa houses an impressive representation of Avalokitesvara complete with 1000 arms and 1000 heads. It is regarded as the most accessible monastery of Ladakh.
Hemis Wildlife Sanctuary : The Hemis High Altitude National Park is one of India's highest wildlife sanctuaries. The sanctuary is located in a most picturesque location. It sprawls over an area of 600-sq-km and is home to some animal and bird species that can survive easily in high and difficult terrain.
Nubra Valley : Visiting Nubra valley is quite an exhilarating experience. With breathtaking sceneries and hospitable people, Nubra Valley offers a wonderful vacationing experience. Nubra has only recently been opened for tourists.
Ladakh Lakes : The lakes of Ladakh are also unique in the sense that they look quite different from a typical lake due to the peculiar terrain of Ladakh. Tso Morari, the largest of the Ladakh lakes almost looks like an inland sea. Flowing at an altitude of 4,500 meters, Pangong Tso lake is only 8-km wide at its broadest but is 134-km long. Kyaghr lake is another beautiful lake of Ladakh and Kyaghr banks are a popular halting place for trekkers.
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