Imagine hauntingly beautiful monotones of hamlets and white-washed monasteries, surrounded by towering, arid mountains and stunning ice-capped peaks. Picture winding alleyways passing past mud houses, with an odd tea shop or cafe in between, throwing open scenes of life in the Ladakhi terrain. Tourism in Ladakh is all this, and yet, so much more.
For the spiritually inclined, the pull of the ancient monasteries and the inner peace they offer is simply too hard to pass up. You can also sample the best of Ladakhi culture at their colourful festivals, where you will find yourself swaying to the rhythm of cymbals and the beating of drums. While you're at it, stop by a lone stall on your journey and enjoy a steaming bowl of soup and noodles, while taking in a mesmerising landscape that seems to stretch into eternity.
Ladakh has a way of slowing down time, which lets you catch up with life and savour the little joys. But make no mistake, tourism in Ladakh has not just boomed because of its tranquil charm. It's equally alluring to the adventure enthusiast. Thinking of skiing down the high slopes of Zanskar Valley? There are Ladakh tourism packages customised to the requirements of travellers with the spirit of adventure. Capture the ethereal view of hamlets dotting the valleys of the majestic mountains as you soar high while paragliding, or conquer the rapids of the Zanskar River by rafting between Padum and Nimo.
Add to this, the warm, friendly nature of Ladakh's locals, and you have got yourself a holiday destination that promises an experience like no other. Your choice of Ladakh tourism package is key to experiencing an exhilarating and unforgettable cocktail of thrill, adventure, and the irresistible allure of nature.
Situated in the beautiful state of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh lies between the Karakoram Range and the Himalayas. The historical Indus River flows through Ladakh. The region is divided into provinces and towns, with some of the more famous ones being Leh, Kargil, Nubra, Zanskar, Lower Ladakh and Rupshu.
Ladakh has been of great historical significance to our country, be it tourism in Ladakh or the political point of view. Pay a visit to the ancient caves and rocks in Ladakh and you will come across carvings that suggest the region has been inhabited since Neolithic times. Buddhism became popular in Ladakh a long time ago, and the culture followed here has largely been Tibetan.
Owing to the many invasions from the north, the native people looked towards the Tibetans to provide them relief from the wars, slowly adapting to their culture. There is also the presence of a Muslim culture in Ladakh, which foreign dynasties brought with them.
People And Culture
Ladakh is popular for its heart-warming and friendly culture, which adds to the overall appeal of this beautiful region. It boasts of a Buddhism-dominated culture, and monasteries can be found at many places. Although Indo-Aryans were said to be the original inhabitants of Ladakh, Buddhists are now its major occupants, and Ladakh has a predominantly Buddhist or Tibetan culture.
Isolated from the rest of the country until the 1970s, Ladakh has seen many foreign tourists from the time of globalisation in India. The increasing popularity of tourism in Ladakh has ensured that the locals interact with tourists, and this has brought about a culture of true hospitality and warmth.
The local people have physical features similar to that of Tibetans and can often be seen wearing yak skin and shoes for warmth. Many native Ladakhis still reside in houses made of mud and stone, while one can find many of the Buddhists staying in monasteries.
Life in the region is simple. Ladakhis usually grow their own grains, like barley and wheat. In addition to this, the locals also grow fruits such as apples and apricots and different kinds of vegetables. These are all suitable for growing in cold conditions and are usually cultivated on terraced lands. However, as tourism in Ladakh grows, more and more locals are becoming engaged in hospitality. As a result, employment is rising and so is the standard of living. Some of the popular cuisines of the region include Skyu, Thukpa, Khambir, and the Ladakhi pulao.
Travelling With Family
Ladakh's terrain, though intimidating, is not only meant for the fit and courageous. You can enjoy a slice of Ladakh tourism with your family. Head to this breathtaking destination in the warm summer months and experience its many wonders with your loved ones. With a breathtaking backdrop of white stupas, colourful prayer flags, rolling mountains and pristine waters, the photo opportunities in this region are endless. Hike up the mountains and explore nearby villages and rivers or take a day to experience an essential part of Ladakh tourism: the camel safari in the ‘desert in the sky'— Nubra Valley.
If you prefer something a little more relaxed, take a leisurely stroll down to the local markets on a sunny afternoon and soak in the village life. It's an excellent way to experience authentic Himalayan life. And during the chilly nights, cosy-up and relax with your family in the comforts of a plush hotel room, while sipping on the delicious local tea. There are numerous Ladakh tourism packages you can choose from to find one that gives you and your family the complete experience of Ladakh at its best.
Travelling With Your Partner
Add a dash of romance to your tourism in Ladakh by heading for a serene outing to Pangong Lake with your partner. Laze around this stunning lake, which is situated 4,350 metres above sea level. Take a stroll with your soulmate, feed the Brahminy ducks, and share an intimate moment surrounded by snow-clad peaks.
If the two of you are thrill-seekers, go on a trekking expedition in Nubra Valley, where you will come across the famed Valley of Flowers. Include a night for camping under the stars in your Ladakh tourism package and lose yourselves to the constellations and heavenly bodies.
Despite a small geographical area, tourism in Ladakh is not constricted in any way. There are plenty of things to do and places to visit in Ladakh.
Pangong Lake: Often featured as one of the most scenic locations of Ladakh, this crystal-clear lake is set against the backdrop of the snowy Laskar Ranges and barren plateau. Covering about 150 square kilometres, it remains entirely unpolluted (except for the wildlife that thrives here) because of its sheer altitude. Walk along the tranquil lakeshore and click some lovely Instagram-worthy pictures.
Tso Moriri: Fed by snow melts and springs, Lake Moriri is the largest high-altitude lake in India. Spend a few hours here and watch the glistening waters of the lake transform to various shades of blue as the sun's position changes in the sky.
Nubra Valley: Here, you can spot the rare double-humped Bactrian Camel, and even ride one. In Nubra, you can witness a melange of geographies – water, mountain, and the expansive desert - all in one place. Nubra's people are a liberal kind, having lived on the ancient Silk Route that was open to outside influences, and the locals are fluent in Hindi.
Events In Ladakh
Ladakh's moody sky, mesmerising meadows, and lovely lakes set a perfect scene for its colourful events. To enhance your Ladakh tourism experience, check out some popular dances, such as the Chaam dance. Performed by the Buddhist monks in important monasteries like Matho, Hemis, and the Spituk Gompa, the Chaam is a dance drama that involves a masquerade. Here, the performers dress up in elaborate Ladakhi clothing and wear painted masks. Watch them perform to the musical accompaniment of longhorns, drums, and cymbals.
The idea behind the Chaam dance is to celebrate the triumph of good over evil and to ward off evil spirits and forces for the coming year. It is generally held in February, which corresponds with the beginning of the Ladakhi New Year. The event is open to all who wish to watch it and is often followed by grand feasts.
Best Time To Visit
The perfect time to visit Ladakh is when the summers arrive – between April and September. This is when the sun shines bright, and the temperature is a comfortable 20-30°C, while the nights remain pleasant. During the summers, you can enjoy clear and splendid views of the mountains in the day, and the stars shine bright at night.
During this time of the year, you can partake in a variety of activities from sightseeing and trekking to adventure sports. Occasionally, the place may experience rainfall. Tourism in Ladakh from November to March is low as the region sees heavy snowfall during this time. But if you really do want to experience the frigid winds and toe-numbing cold, you can reach Ladakh by air and take a thrilling winter trek in sub-zero temperatures.
Location And Climate
Ladakh is the largest of the 10 provinces in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Karakoram Mountains border it in the north and the lofty Himalayas in the south. The River Indus flows through Ladakh, dividing it into Leh, Zanskar, Nubra, lower Ladakh, and Rupshu. Thanks to its geographical bounty, the district presents jagged peaks, spectacular cliffs, and gorgeous plateaus to travellers.
Ladakh sees a cold and dry climate throughout the year, receiving about 50 millimetres of rainfall every year. There is much to enjoy even during its long, nail-biting winters that reveal a magical, frozen landscape. And when its glaciers turn to water, a beautiful, albeit short, summer arrives.
Health And Safety
It is normal to experience altitude sickness, and the best way to overcome this is to give your body time to get accustomed to the unfamiliar conditions. Keep activities to a minimum on the first two days.
Always carry a bottle of water to prevent dehydration. This helps avoid headaches and nausea, which is commonly experienced by travellers who are unaccustomed to the altitude and climate.
Use comfortable boots and thick socks to avoid blisters while hiking.
Carry a medical kit in case of emergencies, as the remote areas may have limited medical facilities.
Pack a lot of woollen clothes and moisturiser, especially if you are visiting during winters; the air can be very cold and dry.
Carry warm clothes even when travelling during summer, as it can get cold during the early mornings and evenings.
Keep important documents and valuables with you at all times. Also, keep multiple copies of your travel papers on hand.
Carry extra cash as there are few ATMs in Ladakh and most shops only accept cash.
Travel light, to make commuting or trekking for long hours less cumbersome.
Travel And Visa
Indian tourists don't require a permit to enter Leh. However, all foreign nationals are required to register at Rumtse, Drass, and Sarchu if they are travelling by road. Those travelling by air need to register themselves at the airport.
Most places in Ladakh require you to have an Inner Line Permit if you are an Indian citizen or a Restricted Area Permit if you are a Non-Resident Indian or a foreigner. This is because it lies on the border of India and its neighbouring countries. However, this is taken care of by Cox & Kings when you book a holiday package for Ladakh.
To experience tourism in Ladakh, the most convenient and comfortable option is to take a flight. The nearest airport is Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, which is well-connected to all major airports like Kolkata, Srinagar, Mumbai, Bangalore, and Delhi.
Alternatively, if you want to get to Ladakh by train, the nearest train station is Banihal, which is about 230 kilometres from Leh. But this may be practical only during certain times of the year.
Make sure you have all your money exchanged through the authorised money-changers, and always ask for a receipt. This will help you reconvert your currency whenever required.
Get a taste of tourism in Ladakh with its towering, snow-covered landscape, charming simplicity, and rich culture. Make your trip unforgettable with a Ladakh tourism package from Cox & Kings!