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Are you thinking about a holiday to Leh Ladakh, and wondering what are the things to do in Leh Ladakh? Tired of endless searches and yet haven’t been able to decide what all you want to make a part of your Ladakh trip? Well, here is your answer!
From the best monasteries to learn Buddha’s teachings to what local cuisines to treat on, from most colourful Ladakhi festivals to totally enchanting lakes, here is a list of- hold your breaths- 101 Things to do in Leh Ladakh. Or if you have already decided what you wish to do during your stay in Ladakh, then click on the links below to know more about it.
Here’s your Exclusive Itinerary for Leh Ladakh
Skip to your favourite parts in a Jiffy!
- Things to do in Leh City
- Offbeat Places to Visit in Leh
- Food in Ladakh
- Things to do in Nubra Valley
- Offbeat Places to Visit in Nubra Valley
- Things to do in Zanskar and Suru Valleys
- Offbeat Places to Visit in Zanskar Valley
- Offbeat Things to do in Suru Valley
- Things to do in Sham Valley
- Offbeat Things to do in Sham Valley
- Lakes In Ladakh
- Festivals of Ladakh
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THINGS TO DO IN LEH, LADAKH
Leh is the largest district in Ladakh region. It is divided into the Old town and City of Leh, with maximum proportion of the region’s population residing here. Small brick houses, narrow lanes, and desert landscape make Leh a perfect spot to arouse the photographer in you. Here’s what you ought not to miss in Leh.
1. LEH PALACE, LADAKH
Leh Palace was the highest building in the world back in 1553, when it was built by Buddhist kings. It demonstrates the architectural grandeur of the followers of Lord Buddha and offers a great view of the city. Built on the Namgyal Hill, it was once a hub of Buddhist culture and religion.
2. OLD TOWN, LEH LADAKH
The old town of Leh is characteristic of the old world charm. Stairs, small alley-ways, mud-brick houses, and ruined gompas, make it a perfect place to re-live the history of the world’s coldest desert. A peculiar feature of the houses here is that they do not have windows.
3. HEMIS MONASTERY, LEH LADAKH
Famous for its Hemis festival, this beautiful monastery presents colours of Buddhism in full splendour. Visit this place to experience the celebration of spirituality with dance and music.
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4. HALL OF FAME, LEH LADAKH
Hall of Fame, is an important place that tells the stories of the valour of our soldiers in the Kargil battle of 1999. It provides all the information on army operations in Ladakh. Also you can see here the display of Siachen Battlefield, the world’s highest and most arduous battlefield. It also has a museum that displays the art, culture, flora and fauna of Kashmir.
5. CHAMBA TEMPLE, LEH LADAKH
Dedicated to ‘future Buddha or Maitreya’, a re-incarnation of Buddha , this temple is located on the road up to Leh Palace. It was built by King Tragspa Bumde in 15th Century.
6. JAMA MASJID, LEH LADAKH
A small mosque built near Main square of the city, it is frequented by Sunni Muslim men. It certainly provides a change in view from Buddhist monasteries.
7. GURUDWARA PATTHAR SAHIB, LEH LADAKH
The Gurudwara built in memory of Guru Nanak lies on the outskirts of City of Leh on Kargil road. This place is revered both by Buddhists and Hindus alike. It gets its name from age-old legends of stone boulders found here with footprints and silhouette of a guru meditating, engraved in it.
8. STOK PALACE, LEH LADAKH
The four-storey structure demonstrates both modern and ancient architectural styles. The lower floors are now converted into a museum, where royal ornaments, ceremonial dresses, crown and ancient jewelry and other royal antiques. The most popular are the knotted swords on display here.
9. SHANTI STUPA, LEH LADAKH
Built by a group of Japanese Buddhist travellers. Its the biggest stupa in Ladakh. It is the best stop to witness sunrise and sunset in Leh. It is even more beautiful when illuminated with lights during the night.
10. NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, LEH LADAKH
Located behind the Leh Palace, this monastery offers the view of the whole countryside. It is renowned for its three-storey high solid gold idol of Maitreya Buddha.
11. SOMA GOMPA, LEH LADAKH
Its a small gompa built in the main bazaar. It’s open throughout the day for visitors and houses a statue of the crowned Buddha.
12. MAGNETIC HILL, LEH LADAKH
Ever seen a car ride uphill with ignition off? Yes, its very much possible here at the Magnetic Hill. One of natures mystery, here you see an illusion of downhill slope appearing to be an uphill slope. One of the best experiences of my Leh Ladakh Road trip.
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13. NIGHT LIGHTS OF INDUS VALLEY, LEH LADAKH
As dusk falls, the calm city of Leh starts illuminating with lights all across, perfectly complimenting the twinkle of bright stars in its clear black sky. The sight of the Night Lights of Indus Valley is certainly one of the most mesmerising night sights in the country.
14. SPITUK GOMPA, LEH LADAKH
Overlooking the southern end of Leh, in the village of Spituk gives a first glimpse of the desert town to people coming in by air.
15. TSEMO FORT, LEH LADAKH
This fort is visible from anywhere in Leh. Situated at top of Palace ridge, its a small omnipresent fort with flapping prayer flags all about.
16. THIKSEY MONASTERY, LEH LADAKH
Styled to resemble the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. 12-storey complex it houses various important Buddhist artefacts such as swords, tapestries, thangkas, statues.
17. PHYANG MONASTERY, LEH LADAKH
Located 15 km west of Leh, Phyang monastery houses ancient thangkas, wall-paintings and murals of Mahakala. There is also a museum inside the monastery, which has 900 year old collections of idols, scriptures and weapons.
18. MEET THE PEOPLE OF LADAKH
Leh is a beautiful place, with all the more beautiful people. Their hospitality and warmth is sure to make you feel delighted and comfortable. One best to meet new people and enjoy good conversations is to visit the popular hang-out zones in the city.
OFFBEAT PLACES TO VISIT IN LEH, LADAKH
19. KARMA DUPGYUD CHOELING, LEH LADAKH
Run by Karmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhist, this monastery works to propagate Buddhist culture and takes in many followers who wish to study Buddhism or learn about it.
20. SANKAR GOMPA, LEH LADAKH
Residence of Abbot of Spituk, the lama of an ancient lineage, this monastery lies at half-hour walking distance from City of Leh. It is a cluster of some 20 buildings all very beautifully painted, with wood-works and rich engravings.
21. ZORAWAR FORT, LEH LADAKH
Named after Zorawar Singh Kahluria, a royal of Dogra Rajput family, this fort was built to admire his legacy. Indian historians consider him as the ‘Napolean of India’ for he conquered the highest land of Ladakh.
22. CENTRAL ASIAN MUSEUM, LEH LADAKH
Designed in a modern style, this four storied structure tells the tales of trade between Ladakh, Tibet and Baltistan.
THINGS TO DO IN SHEY TOWN, LADAKH
Welcome to the summer capital of Ladakh! A little town 15 km from Leh, is full of pleasant surprises with historical ruins to Buddhist ruins. Let the charm of Shey wash over you.
23. SHEY GOMPA, LADAKH
Built within the old Shey palace by the followers of Shakyamuni Buddha, Shey Monastery houses a huge statue made of copper gilded with gold of Shakyamuni Buddha. Sitting on a top of a hill, the monastery claims a 360 degree view of other towns like Thiksey, Stakna, Matho and also Leh.
24. SHEY FORTRESS RUINS, LADAKH
The palace surrounding the monastery forms a fortress, which is pretty much in ruins now. Built by Deldan Namgyal in 1633, in memory of his beloved father, the summer palace proudly adorns the hillock and overlooks the valley in a protective trance.
25. DRUK WHITE LOTUS SCHOOL, SHEY, LADAKH
You can’t stop yourself from visiting the school after knowing that Richard Gere was a patron here. And if that is not enough, how about visiting the shooting sight of the film 3 Idiots, where Rancho, Raju and Farhaan reunite after years.
OFFBEAT PLACES TO VISIT IN SHEY, LADAKH
26. NAROPA ROYAL PALACE, SHEY, LADAKH
Crowning a ridge at the southern end of Shey, very near to Thiksey, this palace has also a temple built within it. One can get a clear view of Thiksey Monastery from here
27. BUDDHA CARVINGS, SHEY, LADAKH
Along the roadside from Shey to Thiksey, you come across the carvings on stone preaching the message of Buddha adorning the ledges. It is known for the hundreds of ‘chortens’ in varied sizes scattered across the desert landscape
SPORTS IN LADAKH
Trekking, check! River rafting, check! Mountaineering, check! Mountain Biking, check! Yak safari, check! And there is still more in Ladakh to let your adrenaline pumping. These sport activities are a must in Ladakh.
28. ICE HOCKEY IN LEH LADAKH
In Ladakh, unlike Canada, Ice hockey is played in the open on natural ice. Let the cold wind brush your face and let your blood boil, right in the middle of winter months from mid-November to January.
29. ARCHERY IN LEH LADAKH
Traditional game of Ladakh, archery is a part of the culture here. It is played during the summer months in the vast open grounds, with whole lot of fun and fanfare. The festivals with archery competitions as the highlight are celebrated all over Ladakh, where men and women gather to cheer and make merry!
30. POLO IN LEH LADAKH
Another traditional game of Ladakh, Polo was brought here in the 17th century by King Singge Namgyal. Although polo matches are held with pre-formed teams, but you can also take riding lessons and learn the basics of the game from the masters.
31. TREKKING TRAILS IN LEH LADAKH
Leh serves as the base for most travellers to acclimatize and prepare for their journey further up. Most trekking trails in Ladakh start off here at Leh. Popular treks are Chadar Trek, Markha Valley Trek and Darcha-Lamayuru Trek.
VOLUNTEER WITH AN NGO IN LEH LADAKH
The charm of Ladakh captures your mind in such a way that you will not wish to go back soon. To make your stay more fulfilling and to get a chance to serve the community, volunteer with one of the NGOs.
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32. LEH NUTRITION PROJECT, LADAKH
Established in 1978 by Save the Children Fund, UK, this project aims at working in the most secluded and neglected parts of Ladakh providing primary healthcare, education, sanitation and a empowering people of these villages means of livelihood using their handicraft skills.
33. WORLD WIDE FUND FOR NATURE-INDIA
Ladakh with its delicate balance of nature, needs awareness and conservation. WWF aims at attaining sustainable development. In Ladakh, you can volunteer with their currently running project on Conservation of High Altitude Wetlands and learn more the ecology of this pristine land.
34. WOMEN’S ALLIANCE, LADAKH
One of the biggest and most active organizations, it works for strengthening the role of women in community building. You can volunteer with them, and help rural women enterprise their skills of cooking or handicraft making to empower them.
35. SECMOL, LADAKH
Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) works with the youth. The whole idea of this organization is to preserve the cultural heritage and sensitise the youth towards the traditional identity of the land and its people.
36. LADAKH ECOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT GROUP, LADAKH
Aiming at involving locals in promoting sustainable development LeDeG works on the serving the underprivileged sections of the society residing in the structurally disadvantaged areas and also it strives to address the environmental and cultural issues pertaining to development in the region.
37. RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND YOU, LADAKH
RDY works for the rural population of Ladakh and helps them overcome problems faced by them on everyday basis. You can devote your time to conduct workshops and seminars to discuss and find possible solutions of the problems like healthcare needs, educational needs and rural development.
SHOPPING IN LEH LADAKH
Share your beautiful memories of Ladakh with your friends and loved ones by taking a small token or a gift for them!
38. HANDICRAFTS INDUSTRIAL COOPERATIVE SHOP, LEH LADAKH
An enterprise supported by works of rural women, this shop has on sale fine wood works and rugs. Also at times one can come across specially designed wooden artifacts like chokste tables with carvings of mythical beasts on them.
39. WAMDA WOOD CARVING SHOP, LEH LADAKH
A shop full of nicely made woodworks. From small key rings to grand tables, you can find almost anything here. Reasonably priced wooden plaques and wall hangings make a good buy!
40. GOL MARKET, LEH LADAKH
Located near the central market of Leh, this market has shops selling antiques, prosaic items and essential camping goods. Also watch out for select clothes stores selling woolens with original Ladakhi embroidery and patch work.
41. LADAKH BOOKSHOP, LEH LADAKH
A book lover’s paradise! Go out for an evening coffee, grab a book here to make the best companion with your coffee. Or simply take one with you to the lake-shore and spend the day relaxing and learning.
42. J&K GOVERNMENT ARTS EMPORIUM, LEH LADAKH
Find authentic Kashmiri souvenirs at good prices here. From little things like dolls and paper – mache boxes painted in variety of colors to embellished bed spreads and cushion covers, its the perfect place to take back a piece of Ladakh with you.
43. MOTI MARKET, LEH LADAKH
Jewellry stores selling gemstones and sometimes pearls are abundant in this market. There are also shops selling old stuff left by people like transistors, books, lamps, rings, camera cases, wall hangings, etc. Find your things to start a collection!
FOOD OF LADAKH
Influenced by the neighbouring state of Tibet, the cuisine in Ladakh follows the flavour route of Tibetan dishes. However, with oncoming of travellers from all over the world over the years, there are many small restaurants and cafes offering variety of cuisines. Here’s our take on some of the places and dishes, which provide food for the tummy and satiation for the soul.
44. THUKPA AND MOMOS OF LADAKH
Amongst the favorite dishes of Ladakhi people is the thukpa, a noodle soup with boiled vegetables, chunks of chicken, pork, beef or mutton served with spicy ‘chutney’ to enhance the zing. A hot bowl of thukpa served with ‘khambir’, locally baked bread,is the best way to beat the chilly weather. It is available everywhere, in every little cafe or street-stall. Also found all over the place, are golden dumplings and wontons or popularly called ‘momos’.
45. PUMPERNICKEL GERMAN BAKERY, LEH LADAKH
Give your sweet tooth a fancy treat here. Located in the main market of Leh, the bakery specialises in fresh baked breads, cookies and cakes and pastries. Do try their coconut cookies and chocolate danish. Or you could enjoy a conversation with the owner of the bakery, who certainly will have many stories to tell about the origin of the bakery and the town, if not you can enjoy a cup of coffee with the patrons there.
46. LADAKH APRICOT STORE, LEH LADAKH
Most famous are the locally made products from apricot. At this store of Leh, you find everything made from apricots, from jams to pickled apricots to apricot facepacks and scrubs. Enjoy the herbal life by splurging on these organic products.
47. THE FOOD FESTIVAL, LEH LADAKH
A two-day soiree of food organized by an NGO, Woman Alliance is held annually in Leh. In this festival all local ladakhi and Tibetan dishes are frshly made by the residents of Leh town and served to anyone and everyone. This festival has helped popularise the Ladakhi cuisine alongside empowering women to enterprise their cooking skills.
Chhang is a locally brewed alcoholic beverage made from barley, millets and rice. It is very popular in Tibet, Nepal and Ladakh. It is often served hot in brass bowls.
49. HOME MADE ‘SKYU’ WITH BUTTER TEA
The most commonly made dish in Ladakh, ‘skyu’, isa thick pasta with root vegetable like turnips, carrots and potatoes. And tickle your taste-buds with a fuzzy and melty butter tea, made from green tea leaves, yak butter and salt.
CAFES AND RESTAURANTS IN LADAKH
50. SUMMER HARVEST RESTAURANT, LADAKH
A small hidden paradise for lazy evenings, this restaurant can resemble a drawing room. Enjoy sumptuous meals, lying down on a couch with a TV to keep you company. Or enjoy a pint of beer with your buddies! On offer are dishes from Tibetan, Chinese, North Indian and Continental cuisines, more the reason to spend leisurely time trying out your favorite food!
51. LALA’S ART CAFE, LADAKH
This tiny terrace cafe in Old town is best for enjoying a cup of coffee, with their special cake-of-the-day. Also try out DIY Tibetan tea sets. And go through their latest art exhibition.
52. BON APPETIT, LADAKH
A very creatively designed restaurant located in winding alleys of old town gives a beautiful view southern mountains with delectable dishes to satiate the taste buds.
53. NIRVANA GARDEN, LADAKH
Best feature of this small terrace cafe is the seating design. With a foot high parapets separating one seating area from the other, the whole area appears to a small maze. Enjoy good food and rich coffee, with live music being played local musicians jamming informally.
54. DESERT RAIN, LADAKH
Feeling restless!? Visit Desert Rain to splash paint the walls, the furniture or anything that hits your target. And to get you recharged, they serve the best espresso coffee in town.
55. GRAVI T, LADAKH
Another creatively decorated cafe. The floors and the walls are padded, to give you an in-house experience of rock climbing, before you venture out to conquer the mountains. A nominal fee of Rs 50 is charged per hour, and they also organise rock climbing workshops on the weekends.
56. KC GARDEN RESTAURANT, LADAKH
One of the liveliest cafes in town. The best ‘moon parties’ which go on for the whole night are organized here. Also on most weekdays they screen good old films. So take your bowl of soup, cover-up in a blanket and enjoy the moon-lit theatre!
57. ZOYA CAFE, LADAKH
On the way to Leh Palace, this spacious terrace cafe offers a grand 360 degree view of Leh. Sit down with some monks to learn more about the history of Ladakh, or enjoy watching artists painting their renditions of Leh in lively hues!
58. GA-SKYIT RESTAURANT, LADAKH
A small good-looking eatery just at the center of Padum village offers variety of cuisines. There are a few guestrooms also to spend the night.
THINGS TO DO IN NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
The Shyok and Siachen river form Nubra valley separate Ladakh and the Karakoram mountain ranges. You would gasp with awe at the first look of the valley of flowers and once you recover from the sheer delight of just being there, here are a few things to take your breath away again..
59. KHARDUNG LA, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
You can reach Khardung La by road using the highest motorable road in the world or you can take the “road less travelled” and trek your way up. Full view of flower laden valley adds the magical touch to complete the heaven-like picture.
60. DISKIT GOMPA, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
One of the oldest and most sacred monasteries in Ladakh. Stories of a demon’s wrinkled hand and head being seen here in the monastery makes it a must-see. Also one can go over the ancient Tibetan and Mongolian texts housed here.
61. HUNDER MONASTERY, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
Located near Diskit monastery, it is one of the most prominent monasteries in Nubra region. Also locally called as Hundu gompa.
62. MAITREYA BUDDHA, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
The residence of Chief lama of Nubra, this place is revered both by Tibetan and Mongolian sects of Buddhism. Recently a 32-m high statue of Maitreya was constructed atop the hill with donations from the Gelugpa, which included 8-kgs of pure gold.
63. CAMEL SAFARI ON HUNDER SAND DUNES, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
Enjoy the Bactrian camel ride from Hunder to Diskit. It is an experience in itself to ride two-humped camels, walking wobbly through the dunes.
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64. TURTUK, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
Turtuk is the last village on India’s northern border towards Pakistan. Situated beside Shyok river, it is a beautiful and quaint village which was under Pakistan’s domination until 1971.
OFFBEAT PLACES TO VISIT IN NUBRA VALLEY
65. SAMSTELING GOMPA, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
A 140 year old monastery houses 50 monks, makes an interesting place to interact and gain wisdom from the monks.
66. PANAMIK VILLAGE, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
Famous for its hot water springs, having curative powers, this little village is perfect for unwinding. Also one can interact with locals here and get to know more about the Tibetan way of life here.
67. LACHUNG TEMPLE, NUBRA VALLEY, LADAKH
THINGS TO DO IN SURU AND ZANSKAR VALLEYS
THINGS TO DO IN ZANSKAR VALLEY
This valley is only accessible for four months, from July to October, in an year. Rest of the 8 months, it sleeps below sheets of snow. For the dare devil in you, try out these things when in Zanskar Valley.
68. THE CHADAR TREK – A WALK ON THE FROZEN ZANSKAR RIVER, LADAKH
Not for the faint hearted! Walking on the frozen Zanskar river is unidoubtedly the best Himalayan trek which you can undertake. Rated high on the difficulty meter, this trek requires good preparation and training. It is one of the longest and most adventurous treks. You cover about 105 km on solid ice, ON FOOT! While on trek, you discover various monasteries and enjoy company of local Ladakhis who are well accustomed to the harsh cold conditions.
69. WHITE WATER RAFTING, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
Another dare-devil adventure is rafting in the Zanskar river. It happens to be one of the best sites for white water rafting in Ladakh. rafting down the river takes you through some deepest gorges in the Himalayas. It is also known as rafting through ‘grand canyon of Asia’. Experiencing the twisty rapids are sure to churn you up with adrenaline, and the rush which will last for a very long time.
70. CAMPING, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
If you still haven’t had enough dose of adventure, camp in ice caves or under the star-lit sky surrounded by tall mountains. For calming experience of camping, try out various camp-sites in Zanskar. But, if you are looking for a truly wild experience, camp in deeper forest and discover the real you, away from the civilization.
71. BLUE YAK SAFARI, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
Have no will to walk!? Enjoy the yak safari in and around the local villages and explore the green belt area.
72. MARKHA VALLEY TREK, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
One of the harder and fulfilling treks in Ladakh. Markha valley trek takes you through the Hemis National Park, all the way to Ganda La pass at 4980-m. You’re sure not to miss the thrilling hike through deep gorges and pleasurable stroll through barley and mustard fields. The highest point of the trek is at 5000-m, with a splendid view of Karakoram range.
OFFBEAT PLACES TO VISIT IN ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
73. ZANGLA CASTLE, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
Lying almost at heart of Zanskar valley, is the Zangla Monastery and an old nunnery built beside the ruined site of the ancient Zangla castle resting beautifully on a hilltop. A Hungarian scholar who is known to have lived in Zangla monastery, published an English-tibetan dictionary in 1824.
74. STONGDEY MONASTERY, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
Constructed with modern Tibetan style architecture, Stongdey is the oldest monastery in Zanskar region. The annual Gustor festival celebrated here is the best time to visit this monastery. On display are the exquisite handicrafts, paintings, sculptures and thangkas.
75. KARSHA VILLAGE, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
Located on banks of Doda river, this small peaceful village offers to be a good place to spend quality time alone. Also, you can visit the Karsha Monastery, which the largest monastery in Zanskar.
76. ZONGKHUL MONASTERY, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
Meditate like the gurus in this picturesque cave monastery. The monastery is only accessible through a short trek from Padum valley to Kishtwar.
77. PANIKHAR VILLAGE, ZANSKAR VALLEY, LADAKH
Hot spot base camp for Penzella Pass trek route, this small pretty village offers small cottages for stay and has cosy eating joints to warm you up for the trek. Beautiful view of the valley is an added bonus.
THINGS TO DO IN SURU VALLEY
An awesomely calm valley in lower hills of Ladakh, is the Suru valley. It is moderately populated with people from mainly Tibetan and Dard descent. Make your visit to Suru valley more memorable with a visit to the following places.
78. RANGDUM MONASTERY, SURU VALLEY, LADAKH
Nestled at an altitude of 4031 m, the 18th century monastery is a major attraction in Rangdum village. Although the village itself is located in one of the most isolated places of Ladakh, this monastery is frequently visited by travellers from around the world seeking solace in Buddhism.
79. LAMAYURU TREK, SURU VALLEY, LADAKH
Lamayuru is also known as the land of the broken moon. Here you can trek upto a small village called Chilling through the Zanskar range or go higher up to Alchi. Enroute enjoy rafting, cliff jumping and rappelling on steep mountain sides.
OFFBEAT THINGS TO DO IN SURU VALLEY, LADAKH
80. EXPEDITION TO NUN KUN, SURU VALLEY, LADAKH
Tangole village in Suru valley serves as the starting point for expeditions to Nun Kun massif. It comprises several peaks, chief among them being Nun at 7135-m and Kun at 7087-m. The best period to go on this expedition is from June to October. This region remains unaffected by the monsoon in months of July to August.
81. SANKOO, SURU VALLEY, LADAKH
This bowl shaped stretch makes a perfect picnic spot to enjoy lush plantations and wild rose poplars around.
82. KARSTE KHAR VILLAGE, SURU VALLEY, LADAKH
An ancient Buddhist village, it has a 7 metre tall rock statue of Lord Buddha, dating back to 7th century.
THINGS TO DO IN SHAM VALLEY
83. LIKIR MONASTERY, SHAM VALLEY, LADAKH
A very well maintained monastery lying some 50 km west of Leh was built in 11th century. Likir means ‘Naga’ or serpents. It is believed that the monastery is protected by the two serpent spirits- Nanda and Taksako.
84. ALCHI MONASTERY, SHAM VALLEY, LADAKH
Believed to be built by one of the first translators called Guru Rinchen Zangpo, who visited Tibet to spread Buddhism. This monastery depicts architectural influences of both Indian and Tibetan style. The decor is highlighted by intricate wood-carvings, baroque art works, thangkas, chortens and a statue of Buddha.
OFFBEAT PLACES TO VISIT IN SHAM VALLEY, LADAKH
85. KLU – KKHYIL MONASTERY, SHAM VALLEY, LADAKH
Klu-kkhyil or ‘water springs’ is a monastery under Tibetan sect of Buddhism. Young students are admitted to follow in the footsteps of Buddha. It makes an interesting visit, where you can interact with children as young as seven years old in the process of attaining ‘monkhood’.
86. RIZONG GOMPA, SHAM VALLEY, LADAKH
The monks at this Gompa strictly adhere to the minimal lifestyles and so are the followers supposed to do. This monastery is considered to be the paradise for meditation. The monastery is surrounded by small caves where it is believed that the great Guru Padmasambhav also meditated.
87. DHU – KANG TEMPLE, SHAM VALLEY, LADAKH
Beautifully decorated walls of this temple exemplify the skill of Kashmiri artists who designed it. The walls and paintings are painted with unique indigenous colors, which cannot copied again. The main attraction in this temple is the shrine of Vairocana, surrounded by four other important manifestations of the Buddha.
88. SUMSTEK GOMPA, ALCHI MONASTERY, SHAM VALLEY, LADAKH
Its a three storey temple with wooden pillars surrounding the building. Also there are carved woodworks of mythological animals which adorn the compound of the temple. In the center you can see life size statue of seated Buddha.
LAKES IN LADAKH
How can you miss the natural splendour of the land, where the sky and land meets. Ladakh has some of the most beautiful lakes in the world.
89. PANGONG TSO, LADAKH
The world’s highest brackish water lake is a feast for the eyes and soul. Shimmering blue-green water of the lake midst the snow-capped mountains transfers you to one of those beautiful scenic landscapes. Pangong is not just a lake, it forms the border between China and India. The fluid border!
Another unique feature of this lake is that its the only home of black necked Siberian crane. Their breeding ground is located at Mahe marshes near the lake. The lake is absolutely mesmerising and once a part of your Ladakh tour, the memories will bring you back asking for more!
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90. TSO MORIRI, LADAKH
Only accesible during summer months, this is also one of the high altitude saline lakes in the Himalayas. The banks of lake support a varied wildlife, which includes migratory birds, marmots, wild asses, and rarely spotted Tibetan wolves.
91. TSO KAR, LADAKH
Known for its depth and size, this lake lies in southern part of Ladakh. There are various villages around the lake, from which many people follow agriculture supported by the tributaries of the lake.
OFFBEAT LAKES TO SEE IN LADAKH
92. YARAB TSO LAKE, LADAKH
Also called the ‘hidden lake’, it is located near Sumur village. A simple 20 minute hike from the village with take you to the banks of this holy lake.
93. YAYE SO, LADAKH
A lake in a volcanic crater! The land of Ladakh is full of such surprises. It’s a clear water lake at an altitude of 4988 m. Also the north lake shore is a base camp for mountaineering expedition to the Chalunka peak (6529-m).
94. KIAGAR TSO, LADAKH
At the altitude of 4500-m on the Chan-thang Plateau, Kiagar Tso is a salty lake. Another marvel of nature, the golden shifting sands and gentle slopes bind this lake together. Be careful where you step, the sand around the lake is lose and runny, you might get trapped.
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FESTIVALS IN LADAKH
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95. HEMIS FESTIVAL, LADAKH
One of the biggest festivals of Ladakh, this festival is celebrated every year in the month of June in the Hemis Monastery. The festivities are to honour Guru Padmasambhava. Music and folk dances and ceremonial rituals are performed, making it the most famous monastic festivals. And every 12 years, the monastery’s greatest treasure, a huge thangka is exhibited.
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96. LOSAR FESTIVAL, LADAKH
Losar or the Tibetan new year is a festival which lasts for over two weeks every year during December or January. The ancient rituals depicting batlles between good and evil are staged, and also people take part in music and dance performances. This festival changes its location and date every year based on the Lunar calendar.
97. SINDHU DARSHAN FESTIVAL, LADAKH
A three-day long annual festival held every year in the month of June, is celebrated in Shey on the banks of river Sindhu. The festival marks and honours the soldiers who protect the borders in Ladakh. The most important ceremony is the one which sees people coming from all over the country with water from rivers of different regions and immerse them in the Sindhu to celebrate the unity of belonging to a blessed motherland.
98. PHYANG FESTIVAL, LADAKH
Celebrated every year in end of July in the Phyang monastery, it also involves displays of ancient artefacts possessed by the monastery. The festival culminates into a grand feast and ritual dance performances.
99. DOSMOCHE FESTIVAL, LADAKH
The second festival to celebrate the New Year is organized in mid-February. A totem pole with streamers and religious emblems is hoisted outside Leh. It is believed that this pole protects the town from the advent of evil spirits and also cleanses it.
100. TAK – TOK FESTIVAL, LADAKH
Celebrated after Phyang festival in the caves of Tak – Tok, attracts the largest number of visitors. It involves a lot of activities like wood carving, pottery, and sculpting in which one can take part and it brings together people from all over Ladakh.
101 FEAST YOUR EYES ON SHADES OF LADAKH!
Julley! Have a great day!
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