Leh-Ladakh- A scintillating land of scenic beauty and the most attractive tourist spot

History

Ladakh, is one of the most popular and favourite destinations across travel enthusiasts. It is located in the stateof Jammu and Kashmir, which is situated between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the South. Leh , which once had the distinction of being the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh is currently one of the major cities of the now Ladakh district, which has the credit of being the second largest district in India in terms of the spread of the land area. Historically, Ladakh was a trade hub due to its strategic location at the crossroads of vital trade routes bordering Kashgar, Tibet and Kashmir. However, as china has ceased operations across the borders with Tibet, there has been a steady decline in international trade. Close proximity to Tibetan culture has gained Ladakh the merit of being called the ‘Mini Tibet’ and is popularly called as the” last Shangrila” or ‘the Moon Land’ by the tourists. In yester years, the Ladakh region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys, the Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the South, Aksai Chin and Ngari, including the Rudok region and Guge, in the East and the Nubra Valley to the North. Erstwhile Leh, had been a part ofGreater Ladakh and is believed to have witnessed various wars between China and Tibet in 7th and 8th century.

Whether you are an adventure enthusiast or a spiritual wanderer, the region of Leh -Ladakh will surprise you with the host of tourist destinations that serves in a platter engulfed in beauty and serenity. One can find many outstanding Buddhist monuments and monasteries in this region, which has served as a favorite tourist spot for travellers who unite here from all over the world.

  • One’s travel itinerary should surely have a visit planned to all the monasteries namely the Sankar Gompa, Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery, Shey Monastery and Matho Monastery. They are some of the must watch monasteries in the Ladakh region and a visit here will definitely leave you spell bound due to the tranquility that is prevalent in this place.
  • Leh promises you a lot of charming and breathtaking views as it has many beautiful monuments within and in its vicinity. The Leh Palace, Stock Palace, hall of fame Museum, General Zorawar’s fort and many more stupendous architectural delights are there to visit.
  • The Pangong Iake in Ladakh is gorgeous and is the highest salt water lake in the world. This lake which is bestowed with natural beauty is believed to change its colour, approximately every hour in order to reflect the changing colours of the sky. A huge part of this lake is in china with only one- third being present in India.

Leh is a haven for adventure sports like trekking & motor biking, mountain climbing, cycling, white water rafting, etc.

  • This region has the credit of housing the highest motor able road in the world which is known as theKhardung- La and is a compulsory visit for the motor biking crowd.
  • The Ladakh Zanskar valley trekking site provides the trekkers with the much wanted adventure and excitement. The trekking path comprises of crossovers of streams, rivers and snow clad mountains. The river expeditions are also very famous and provide the much needed adrenaline rush amidst the white waters.
  • Indus valley and Markha valley are also destinations that are a dream come true for the trekkers.

Few of the concerns that tourists are always weary of, are about lodging and the quality of food. A safe place to stay and hygienic food is very important to have a safe journey or vacation.

Being a major tourist spot, it is no surprise that Leh-Ladakh has some of the best hotels. To name a few, The Grand Dragon Ladakh, Hotel Nalanda Ladakh, Ladakh Sarai, Lasermo, Ladakh Residency, Lotus Hotel, Hotel chube, Hotel omasila, Hotel Leh chen promise best stay and lodging services.

Your pursuit of mouth watering and sumptuous food will find a pleasant closure in the plethora of cafes, food joints, eateries, food stalls and restaurants that region of Leh-Ladakh takes pride in.

One can reach the region of Leh-Ladakh with a variety of means of transport. There are two ways to reach there by road. One is from Manali and the other from Srinagar. A travel by bus, jeep, truck, motorcycle is possible and is the means employed by tourists. Travel by air is possible across the year but is the only option during the winter. The closest railway stations are in Pathankot and Chandigarh which are again a 3 days travel each from Leh-Ladakh. A newly opened railway station in Udhampur is connected to Jammu by rail.

One can witness a very robust influence of Tibetan culture in this region owing to its close geographical proximity to Tibet. A visit to Leh-Ladakh will be entwined with a lot of spirituality due to the presence of a number of Buddhists monasteries in this place. The primary language of Ladakh is Ladakhi. However, what would come as a respite to the tourists is that major junk of the population understands and coverses in Urdu, Hindi and English as well. It was during the reign of the Kashmiri Nawab, Delegs Namgyal that the first Sunni mosquewas built in Leh. Thus, the population in Ladakh is an amalgamation of Hindus, Buddhists and Shia muslims.

Being an integral part of Jammu and Kashmir , a visit to the region of Leh-Ladakh opens up the doors of visits to other nearby areas like the Dal Lake, Mughal Gardens, Srinagar etc. The Karakoram houseboats aqre also a major tourist attraction.

Shopping for Tibetan antiques and woollen clothes is a thrilling experience in the Main Bazaar and in the second hand clothingbazaar near the jeep stand. Readers can also find a number of book shops here which provide a wide range of books like novels, books on history and Buddhism, guide books etc. pashmina shawls of Leh are famous worldwide.

Some of the key festivals are Ladakh festival, Hemis festival, which is the most popular festival celebrated in theHemis monastery, Metukba festival, Nagrang festival and other festivals celebrated in monasteries.

The ideal time to visit the Leh-Ladakh region is from June to September, before the onset of chilling winter. The winter season brings along with it unbearable temperatures and natural threats like landslides, rains, floods etc.


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