Ladakh is situated on the eastern corner of the state Jammu and Kashmir. It is a remote area with very less population. The majestic Himalayas and Karakoram ranges are present here. The peaks and ridges are high and dangerous. Leh is the largest district of Ladakh. Adventure tourism in Ladakh began in the 19th century. The two most common activities are trekking and motor biking. Ladakh is a place with abundant natural beauty, sightseeing locations and wonderful weather.
People fond of this place refer to it with many other names. Some of these names are Ladak, Ladakh le Tourisme, etc.
Ladakh is situated on the western edge of the Tibetan plateau. The Karakoram mountain range borders Ladakh on the north and the Great Himalayas in the South. Ladakh stretches over a range of heights from 9000 feet to 25000 feet. Other mountain ranges such as the Ladakh range and Zanaskar range are also found here. This beautiful place is also referred to as the ‘The broken moonland’ and ‘The land of endless discovery’.
The mighty Himalayas shelter Ladakh from experiencing the monsoon rains. An extensive lake system was once present in Ladakh. The vestiges are still seen on the south eastern plateaus of Rupshu and Chushul. Winter snowfall is the main source of water.
The melting snow feeds the crops during summers. Snow is the only source of water. Hence, sun is more important than rains.
TOURIST PLACES IN LADAKH
Royal Palace: It is located 15 kilometers south of Leh. It is present on the west bank of River Indus. The King of Ladakh was deposed here by the Dogra forces in the 1840s. The Palace has 80 rooms of which only 12 are used. There is also a small museum that occupies 3 rooms.
Gonpa: It was found by Lama Lhawang Lotus in the 14th century. A ritual mask dance in held on the 9th and 10th days of the 1st Tibetan Month. This dance is called Guru Tseschu.
Shey Palace & Monastery: The Shey Palace was in the early 17 century by King Deldan Namgial. A 3 storey statue of Buddha Shakyamuni is found in the monastery. It is made out of copper gilt. It was made by King Deldan in fond memory of his father Singay Namgial. This statue is the only statue of its kind in the region.
Thiksey Monastery: This monastery is 20 kilometers away from Leh. It is believed to be the most beautiful monastery in this region. It belongs to the Gelukpa order and was built by Spon Paldan Sherab in the year 1430 AD. Many sacred shrines and precious objects are seen here. The Gonpa is the home for eighty monks.
Hemis Monastery: This monastery is 45 kilometers from Leh. It is situated on the west bank of River Indus. It belongs to the Drugpa order. It has a spectacular mountain scenery. This is Ladakh’s biggest and richest monastery. This monastery was built by Nawang Gyatso in the year 1630 AD.
Chemday Monastery: This monastery is situated 40 kilometers from Leh. Lama Tagsang Raschen founded this monastery 365 years ago. Dharma Raja Singey Namgial acted as the patron. A one-storey idol of Padmaasambhava is found inside the monastery.
Takthok Monastery: This monastery is located at a distance of 50 kilometers from Leh. The roofs and walls of the monastery are made of rocks.
Spithub (Spituk) Monastery: This monastery is located 8 kilometers from Leh. It comprises of 3 chapels and was built in the 11th century. A statue of Lord Buddha is found inside the monastery. Beside it, there is a finger-length statue of Amitayus.
Likir Monastery: This monastery is found at a distance of 62 kilometers from Leh. The monastery was built in the year 1065.
Alchi Monastery: Alchi Choskor is the largest and most famous of all the temples, caves and stupas built by Rinchen Zangpo, the Translator. It is located 67 kilometers west of Leh. It was built in 1000 AD. The image of Vairocana and five Buddha families are found inside the monastery.
Pangong Lake: This lake is located 150 kilometers away from Leh and present at a height of 4267 meters. The lake covers a distance of 130 kilometers and stretches for 5-6 kilometers. It is present on the border of India and China. It contains brackish water.
Tsomo-riri Lake: This lake is situated 220 kilometers from Leh. It has an altitude of 4572 meters. Bare-headed geese migrate here during winters. A village called Korzok is found near the lake.
This lake is located on the Leh-Manali road. It is known for bird watching as the migratory birds come here during summer months.
HOW TO REACH LADAKH
By Air: The nearest airport to Ladakh is Leh which is 4.5 kilometers away. Regular flights are available from Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and other major cities.
By Rail: The nearest railway station is Jammu Tawi. It is 680 kilometers away from Ladakh. Regular trains are available.
By road: Ladakh is well connected with the rest of the state via buses.