Land of high passes, home to spectacular views of The Himalayas - Ladakh, needs no introduction. Located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is a land of stark beauty and some of the most stunning landscapes.
Ladakh is truly a slice of paradise with its stunning beauty. Perpetual views of massive, snow-clad peaks and glaciers in the backdrop will be forever be stamped to your mind. Adding to the alluring beauty, the panoramic views of massive, dusty mountains and vibrant blue rivers snaking along their curves & bends with a spotless blue sky above, will leave you speechless.
Beautiful in every season, Ladakh is a unique experience each time it is visited. Winter gets bitter cold in the Himalayan hamlets and roads to Ladakh are snowbound during the peak winter months. Flying in is the only way to enter Ladakh during winter. What this arrangement offers, is the unmatched aerial view of the upper Himalayas and frozen lakes. Ladakh's rugged & challenging terrain makes it a popular destination among the adventure enthusiast community.
Also Read : Most Scenic Road-Trips In India
Apart from the scenic beauty, there's an air of spiritualism in this Buddhist ex-kingdom. The quaint villages filled with faint echoes of Buddhist chants, lovely gompas (monasteries) with fluttering, colourful prayer flags are a perfect place for those in search of peace. But that's not all, there's a myriad of things to do and experience in Ladakh. Read on to find more.
Go On Yak Safari
Exploring the enchanted land of Ladakh on a Yak Safari will unquestionably be a unique experience. Experience the breathtaking views of pristine lakes and uninterrupted vistas of majestic mountains while being gently escorted by this unique guide. One of the main reasons you shouldn't miss the Yak Safari while in Ladakh, is because these benevolent beasts are exotic animals found only in selected places in India.
The yak safari is properly supervised by trained tour guides. The duration of a typical tourist yak safari is 2-3 hours. It is highly advisable to go on Yak Safari only during the day time as yaks are known to have a poor eyesight.
PC: Pavel Novak, CC BY-SA 2.5,
Go On Camel Safari
Camel Safari may not sound completely exciting, but wait until you read why the Camel Safari in Ladakh is unlike any other in the entire country. You will be creating unique memories of witnessing the apple and apricot orchards of Zanskar, the cold desert valley Nubra and the barren hinterlands of Hunder; all while riding on a double-humped Bactrian Camel - which is only found in Ladakh in India.
You can choose from one-day or multiple days safari rides, according to your convenience. Camel Safaris usually can be experienced between the months of April to September, with April-July being the peak season.
PC: Deepakundanlal - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Shop At Leh Market
No vacation is complete without shopping. Whether it's a souvenir you want to take back or an exclusive item you want to purchase, the Leh market will totally satisfy your shopping spree. The Leh market is invariably buzzing with tourists shopping for Tibetan artefacts, handloom and handicrafts, winter wears like jackets, gloves, caps, socks; pashmina shawls, rugs, Buddhist prayer wheels & prayer flags, organic foods & dry fruits and more.
Some items found in Leh market are exclusive and authentic to the Ladakh culture. Most people shop and take them home as travel souvenir or as gifts to their family and friends.
The Snow Leopard Sighting
Ladakh is home to some of the rarest animals in the world. Hemis National Park in Ladakh is one popular destination among adventurists as well as animal lovers for it serves as an abode to an exotic fauna. While in Ladakh, you get a chance to encounter the rare and magnificent snow leopard.
With the help of local guides, a snow leopard expedition in the mountains of Hemis National Park can be arranged. While the trek in the rugged terrain can be gruelling, the spectacular views of the Himalayas and sighting the elusive big cat (if you are lucky) will surely be rewarding.
The best time for the snow leopard trek is between October to March.
Visit The Hall Of Fame
Located on the Srinagar-Leh highway, Hall of Fame showcases the heart-wrenching stories of Indo-Pak war and of the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting against terrorism. The place also narrates the rich Ladakhi culture and heritage and attempts to bring the two worlds together under the same roof.
The place is a must visit for history buffs and experience seekers as it also displays information about Ladakh's monarchs & the battles that were fought inhistory. A small coffee shop and souvenir shop can also be found on its premises. The museum is open on all days of the week between 9 AM to 7 PM (closed between 1-3PM).
PC: Deepa 07 - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0
Indus River Rafting
Quench your thirst for adventure by rafting in the Indus Valley. Originating in Tibet, the mighty Indus (also known as Sindhu) rushes through Ladakh breathing life into the barren landscape of the valley, before finally flowing into Pakistan.
Rafting through the gorgeous canyons in the icy cold water gets your adrenaline pumping. Rafting in Indus is a favourite sport among adventure seekers and it is known to be easier in comparison with other rivers.
The best time for Indus River Rafting is between July - September. Rafting expeditions lasting one or 3-to-4 days can be organised during this time.
PC: Costaricapro - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Ladakh is the place for cycling enthusiasts. Cycling in Ladakh is a refreshing way to explore its beauty. One can thoroughly enjoy Ladakh's enthralling beauty and thrill by cycling through the interesting roads with hairpin bends, dotted with tiny villages and monasteries. For more exciting and challenging route, one can cycle through the Khardung Pass - uppermost pass in Ladakh.
The best time for cycling in Ladakh is from mid-June till September end when the roads are open and clear of snow.
Tucked away in the Himalayas and frozen during winter, the Zanskar river roars with might through the Zanskar valley as the winter subsides. Kayaking in the sparkling clear and icy cold water of Zanskar is quite challenging and requires immense paddling power.
Therefore it is recommended only for the experienced Kayakers. Paddling through the most stunning views of massive gorges, backdropped by snowy mountains is an experience that will forever be etched into your memory.
PC: Miek - Flickr: Launch, CC BY 2.0
Biking in Ladakh is a dream of every biker. If you are an avid rider this is one experience you mustn't miss. The challenging and curvy roads with Indus flowing on one side and vertical rock faces on the other will give you some serious biking goals.
You can also tick off an achievement by riding through the Khardung Pass - the highest motorable road. Don't forget to stop by and enjoy reading the funny and creative BRO (Border Road Organisation) signage.
The roads are open and clear of snow from mid-June until September, which is when you can most enjoy motor biking in Ladakh.
As the winter sets in the Himalayas, Ladakh gets covered in a white blanket of snow opening up a whole new world of dramatic escape into unusual holidaying opportunities. Skiing is most sought after adventure sport during this period after some popular winter treks in Ladakh.
Zanskar valley serves as a spot for most of the winter adventure sports activities as it stays snowbound for months together. Skiing is gaining popularity among tourist with an adventurous spirit. So if you want to feel some adrenaline rush, you should totally experience skiing in Ladakh. The best time for the sport is between December and March.