WHAT IS LADAKH?
Ladakh is truly a heaven on earth Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the gigantic Himalayas and the Karakorum. The very first glimpse of the snow laden heaven just brings a twinkle to your eyes!
There are very few things which cannot be put in words. Love is one of them and then there is Ladakh the land of scenic beauty, rustic charm and nature at its best.
The cold breezing hitting the face while crossing the ‘mighty’ Khardung La, braving -80 C of nose numbing cold, and the starting altitude of 18,000 feet will definitely get the blood rushing.
Drive through mountain passes
Ladakh fondly known as “Land of Passes” offers pristine surreal views and vistas that are a lifetime experience. In earlier times Ladakh served as an important trade route between South-Asian countries. These passes were a way of the Indian subcontinent to stay connected with rest of the world. The passes are a portal to another realm of spirituality, mysticism and the unknown
Khardung La Pass
Highest motor able Pass in the world
Gate way to shy and Nubra valleys
40 Kms from Leh town.
Also called “Pass of Lower Castle” as it lies at a towering altitude of 18,379 ft above sea level.
The Pass served as an important point for the “Silk Route” through which caravan of traders use to pass.
Chang La Pass
Third highest motor able pass in the world.
Named after Sadhu Changla Baba.
Tangste village serves as doorway to Changthang Plateau
To reach Pangong Tso this pass needs to be crossed.
Don’t miss the warm tea and Yak ride
Altitude of 16,040 feet the pass is called
“Pass with cross roads on Summit”
Starting point of many popular treks
The pass must be crossed before noon as later the snow melts and increases water level in the streams.
Tanglang La pass
Second highest mountain pass in Ladakh
17,582 ft above the mean sea level
Offers breathtaking views of the surroundings
Chilly air and breathtaking views are unforgettable
Unparallel adrenaline rush while crossing the pass
Fotu La Pass
13,478 at above the mean sea level
This is also the highest point of the drive way.
Fotu La and Namila are located between Leh and Kargil regions
Post this pass the altitude begins to decline
Has a Prasar Bharti Relay station
16,600 feet and close to Pangong Tso lake
Pretty Popular among hikers and trekkers
Sandwiched between Tsarap Chu Valley and Tozay Valley.
Connects Leh and Srinagar Highway.
“Pillar of the Sky”
12,139 ft above the sea level
Don’t miss rock carvings of Maitreya Buddha and the nearby gompa
Portal to Kargil region.
Lies on National Highway 1
11,649 Feet above sea level
Very close to Sonemarg
Captured by Pakistan army in 1947 but reconquered by Indian Army in 1948 under Operation Bison
18,634 feet above sea level
One of the world’s highest mountain passes
extreme north of Ladakh Plateau
35 Km from Pangong Lake.
A drive through the mountain passes at such great altitude feels like passing through the clouds. It’s this wonderland which gets etched in your memories forever.
“Getting there isn’t easy, and that’s the best part”.
Ladakh is the magical habitat for rare high altitude birds, mammals, butterflies and other animal species.
BIRDWATCHING (summer months)
Areas- Spituk, Chaglanisar, Shey, Thiksay, Chushat Tsokar Lake, Puga valley, Tsomoriri, Handle Antley, Chushul, Nyoma, Lomabend, Panamik, Tsaga village, T Saga La, villey, Saspal, Trisuk lake, Rumbak Valley, Ganda La, Namiling
Species- upland Buzzard, Saker Falon, owl, Eagle owl Nothern Wheater, Tibetan Lork, Snow cock, partridge, Sandgrouse, Golden Eagle, Magkie, Rose finch, Himalayan Griffin vulture, Alpine chough, Black Accentor
Ladakh has around 200 snow leopards which is an endangered species and are star attraction of Ladakh. Hemis National Park located at the eastern edge is spread over 600 sq km and houses animals like snow leopard, shapo, Tibetan antelope, ibex, blue sheep, marmot and Tibetan Hare.
STARS AND BEYOND
The high altitude low levels of water vapors, lack of light pollution make it one of the best dark shy environments on earth. Seen from space at night, Ladakh the least populated region of India must be just a black spot.
It easily boasts of being one of the prettiest lit skies in the country. The sky is painted with mountainous background which is even more beautiful to gaze in winters.
Unparallel views of night sky are what Nubra Valley offers. The Shanti stupa here is an excellent place to stargaze.
Indian Astronomical Observatory (Hanle)
It is located at Hanle and is currently the second highest observatory in the world. It has two telescopes Himalayan Chandra and High Altitude Gamma Ray telescope. The observatory is 10 hours drive from Leh town and is very close to Chinese border.
Ladakh is land blessed by nature and lakes in Ladakh are simply a case in point. There is something very awe inspiring and graceful in watching white snow capped mountains reflected in crystal blue waters.
“Take a tour to heaven and back”
Pangong Tso:- It is one of the most famous lakes in Ladakh. 150 Kms long it extends to both India and China. Intense blue skies, golden plains and white mountains in what fills in the frame here. The lake never freezes. The water changes color very frequently. Camping can be done around the lake in tents.
Tso Moriri: It translates to “The Mountain Lake” It is a glacial lake and is one of the most beautiful sights in Ladakh. It is a freshwater Lake and offers an atmosphere of freshness with birds chirping with their music.
Tso Kar: Known for its size and depth it is a fluctuating salt lake situated in Rupshu pleasure and southern part of Ladakh. It is prominent place to see wildlife. Black neck Cranes and Tibetan grouse are found in abundance. Tibetan wolves, foxes, yaks, horses, Kiang or gazelles are a common spotting.
Nyak Tso: It is located close to Rudog town and major chunk of the lake lies in gibat, china. It is accessible through a motor able road from Ladakh. There is another lake adjacent to it named as Rum Tso.
Yarab Tso: It is one of the holiest and high altitude lakes in Nubra valley. The water to the lake comes from an underground spring. Wishes are made here and the ones done with pure heart come true. The reflection of the nearby monastery can be seen at a particular angle in water. Don’t forget to make the 7 stone mini stupa along the lake.
Mirpal Tso: The lake is emerald green lake nestled in widening brown black mountains just below Kakasang La Pass which is 8th highest motor able road in the world. One must hike to the last stretch of the lake.
Stat Tso and Lang Tso: They are twin lakes located at an elevation of 5,000m above the sea level. It is the highest paint in the Zanskar region.
Kiagar Tso: It is small lake evolutes to Tso Moriri. It is a Saline water lake at 4705 m. The barren views around the lake are simply breathtaking. It is a glacial lake.
Chagar Tso: On the route of Pangong Lake one comes across another yet magnificent natural art of Chagar Tso. It is a heaven for bird lowers and most variety of migratory birds are found at this spot.
Kyun Tso and Ryul Tso: At an elevation of 50000 mm above the sea level the deep blue surface of water shimmers when sun falls on it. The place in common for spotting rainbows formed across the edges of the lake.
“It’s about shades of the mountain
It’s about beauty of nature
And is all about living in heaven.”
Ladakh is land of monasteries where the numerous monasteries are true Prayer units for Himalaya or Mahayana sect of Buddhism. The gompas built on the low rocks or on craggy mountain faces bring innermost pacification to the pilgrims. The head lama is called “Kushak” meaning incarnation, a visit to whom will bring the innermost soulful and peaceful effect on your mind and body.
- We offer tailored meditation camps to seek out the best in you.
- A can variation and interaction session with the monks.
- A stay in the monastery to experience the monastic life to the closest.
- A guided tour through most monasteries of the region which includes minor hikes to exercise both the body and the soul.
Spituk Monastery: It is the 1st monastery of the Gelugpa sect in Ladakh. It’s the serenity, architectural brilliance; the overall vibe of the place makes it the enclave for inner engineering. The monastery has a courtyard full of temples.
Sankar Gompa: This monastery also belongs to the Gelugpa or Yellow that sect of Buddhism. It is the official residence of Kushak Bakul who is the head of Gelugpa Sect.
Leh Palace: It is located at the edge of captivating Namgyal Hill. It resembles the Potala palace in vibe. It is an official residence to the royal families. It was built in 16th century by single Namgyal.
Phyang Monastery: It is 17 Kms from Leh. The monastery was built in 15th century and belongs to the Dri-pung-Kagyu sect of Buddhism. The walls have picturesque murals and wall paintings of different forms of Buddha.
Likir Gompa: The gompa is managed by younger brother of HH The Dalai Lama and dates back to 11th century. It also houses a museum that has a vast collection of ancient coins, seals, armors, thankas and other valuables
Basgo Fort: At the perimeter of the fort are two ancient temples and a shrine housing Maitreya Buddha.
Alchi Monastery: This is the only monastery in Ladakh built on flat lands. The monastery is an example of rare architecture and perfect workmanship. The wall paintings are a must to see.
Lamayuru Manastery: This belongs to the Red Hat sect of Buddhism. Built by Rigchen Zanglo the founder of Alchi Lostava it is known for its serenity, tranquility and is popular meditation ground among the religious preachers in the region.
Ridzong Gompa: The Monastery is inhabited by 40 monks. It is also known as “The paradise for meditation” and is noted for its extremely strict rules and standards. There is a nunnery 2 Kms from the monastery.
Matho Monastery: The monastery is located on the banks of Indus River. It’s a very sacred monastery and dates back to 16th Century. It is the only monastery in Ladakh Started by Sakya-pa. Annual Naughrang festival is held here.
Stakna Manastery: The monastery has 7 ft gold plated stupa which was set up by Lama Stakna. There are intensely several paintings of Drugpa Lama in the monastery.
Stak Monastery: This sacred place is located within the components of a fort. Guru Teshechu Festival is held in the monastery in February end. Another monastery Gurphu is located nearby.
Hemis Monastery: Annual Hemis fair honoring Padam Sambhava is held here. It is situated 45 Kms from Leh near the Hemis National Park. It was found in 11th Century by the famous teacher Marpa.
Takthong Monastery:- It is the earnest meditation ground of the Mahasidhas. With its roof and walls made of rock, This holy cave is called “Roof Rock Monastery.”
Thiksey Gompa: It is located on top of a hill and is a Gelugpa or Yellow hat sect monastery. It is the largest gompa in Central Ladakh. It is a 12 Storey Complex. It also has 15 meters statue of Buddha.
Sabu Oracle: The oracles are divine healers which predict future. This is a disease healing oracle. Healing is done by blessing a person with holy sword, dagger and a knife wrapped in sacred cloth. The instrument is heated in fire, touched by the tongue and then blessings are delivered.
Day 1- Spituk Monastery, Sankar, Leh Palace
Day 2- Alchi village, Phyang Monastery, Likir Gompa, Basgo fort, Alchi Monastery
Day 3- Lamayuru Monastery, Ridzong Gompa
Day 4- Mahto, Stakna, stok Monasteries
Day 5- Hemis, Takthak, Chemdey Monasteries
Day 6- Thiksey Gompa, Mahabodhi Gompa
Day 7- Excursion to Sabu Oracle
“A monk is simply a traveler, except the journey is inwards”.
ADRENALINE AND ADVENTURE
- Biking______ Karakoram and Zanskar Ranges
- Camel Safari _______ Nubra valley
- Quad Biking ________ Nubra Sand dunes
- Rafting __________ Zanskar
- Paragliding _______ Khardung La Range
- Ice Hockey _________ Ice rink (Fe Oasis Villa), Leh
- Rock Climbing ________ Stok Kangri, Nun Kun, Chamser, Markha Valley, Lungser Kangri
- Archery ________ Leh town
- Horse Polo ________ Shagaran Polo Ground, Leh
- Snow Leopard Trek _______ Rumbak Valley
- Mountain Cycling ______ Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley
- Jeep Safari ________ Nubra Valley, Zanskar Valley, Pangong Lake, Tsomoriri Lake
“If happiness is the goal and it should be,
Then adventures should be top priority”
2. Sindhu Darshan
3. Hemis Tsechu
4. Ladakh Festival
5. Yuru Kabgyat
6. Phyang Tsedup
7. Thiksey Gustor
9. Matho Nagrang
10. Stok Guru Tsechu
11. Sake Dawa Festival
12. Tak Tok Festival
13. Ladakh Harvest Festival
14. Naropa Festival
Thiksey, Spituk Karsh Monastery
Likir, Diskit Monastery
Stop and Spituk Monastery
Tak Tok Crompa
27 Oct-28 Oct
2 Feb-3 Feb
18 Feb- 19 Feb
1Sept – 15Sept
Welcoming New Year
Respect to Indus River
Archery, Polo, concert, Masked dance
Display of Paintings
Black hot dance and cutting of sacrificial cake
Tantrik lamas prepare thread crosses
Return of monks and dance performances
Masked dances by priests Lamas receive spirit of deities
Sadhnas, Mantra recitation and animal protection
Masked dance of lamas
Cultural troupes, cultural display
Held once in 12 year “Kumbh of Himalayas”
THE LOST ARYAN VILLAGE
Long ago Great King Alexander came to the river Indus to conquer the river settlement. He propagated his victories from Indus to Bea before returning back. There were few of his men who settled in Ladakh. The village is very rarely known and is “The Secret Himalayan Village”.
DAHANU OR THE DAH HAHU VILLAGE
- It is ahead of Alchi, close to Kargil. It is very close to the border
- Aryan race found here is Brokpa or Dards
- People are fair skinned, high cheek bones, light eyes and some even have blonde hair.
- They speak ancient Aryan language Brokpa or Brokskat or Minaro
- The village has an average population of 175 people and it’s a cluster of 5 small hamlets
- The cultivate apricots mainly
- Bonona and Brokpa language Festival is celebrated here
- Getting over to the village is a nice, soulful trek.
- Leh Ladakh has 2nd highest telescope in the world. (Indian Astronomical observatory, Hanle)
- Highest bridge in the world is crossed over Suru and Dras River Bailey Bridge
- Pensi-la which is the gateway to Zanskar is the highest Indian settlement
- Tso Moriri lake at Kozok has highest agricultural fields at 4, 600 m above the mean sea level.
- Rare Bactrian Two hump camel is found in Nubra.
- Pangong Lake is the highest saltwater lake in the world.
- Magnetic hill is a mysterious gravity defying illusion
- Ladakh in spite of being a cold desert has 225 bird species.
- Leh Palace is so ground that it is called “Roof of Leh”
- People follow the Tibetan calendar instead of the regular Georgian calendar.
- Nuns in Monasteries are taught Kung Fu (Drukpa Monastery)