The best way to experience the thrill of roaming on the moon would be to book a seat on the next lunar expedition, the second best is to head to Ladakh instead. Sitting high up in the Himalayas is earth’s very own moon land in the form of Ladakh. Blessed with quite similar landscape and desolation in most parts, Ladakh is sure to give you the lunar thrill of being in the middle of nowhere even if you venture out just a few kilometers away from its sleepy headquarters of Leh.
Ladakh is a fabulous mix of serenity, spirituality, slow-paced life and spectacular natural beauty. Spread across the southern Karakoram, Ladakh, Zanskar and Himalayan range with an average altitude of more than 10,000 feet above sea level, this land of mesmerizing beauty and age-old intriguing culture is also sometimes referred to as ‘The Little Tibet’. However, due to its altitude, this amazing land has barely four months of tourist season in a year. It is hence hardly surprising that in the last decade or so, Ladakh has become one of the most sought after destinations for travellers seeking a heady blend of exploration, adventure and celestial solitude.
PLACES YOU SHALL VISIT
Located in a picturesque valley at an altitude of more than 10000 feet, Leh is the headquarters of Ladakh. Despite being the largest town of Ladakh you can pretty much explore the entire town in two hour on foot! It is surrounded by hills with monasteries and gompas perched on hillocks standing as guards. Despite being in an arid zone, Leh has its fair share of green patches in the form of farm lands and orchards. It serves as a perfect base for planning excursions to other parts of Ladakh and take the much needed rest for acclimatization.
What’s in store for you here?
Visit to some interesting Visit to Leh Palace, Sankar Gompa, leisurely walks, shopping and just nourishing your lungs with some fresh air. The view from your plane as you are about to land at Leh airport will also leave you spellbound. Excursions from Leh would include visit to the quaint Alchi village where you shall get to see the pastoral side of Ladakh, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers at Nimmu , the sacred Sikh gurudwara at Patthar Sahib and the Magnetic Hill, known for its optical illusion.An exciting river rafting experience also awaits you during your stay at Leh!
Nubra Valley & Turtuk
Crossing over Khardungla- one of the highest morotable passes in the world, you shall be at Nubra Valley which has its own distinct natural landscape that is quite different from Leh. This charming valley is a part of the old Silk Route to Central Asia. The valley connected eastern Tibet with Turkistan through the Karakoram Pass. However, it is not just scenic natural beauty of Nubra which attracts tourists, the valley is predominantly Buddhist and boasts of several centres of Buddhist learning. Samstemling, Diskit and Hunder monastery are some of the famous Buddhist monasteries here. Nubra is also the gateway to Siachen glacier, the highest and coldest battlefield in the world at an altitude of almost 6,000 metres.
What’s in store for you here?
During our stay at Nubra you shall visit Deskit and Hunder Village which is known for its cold desert. At Hunder you can enjoy a ride through sand dudes on the unique double-humped Bactrian Camel!
You shall also get to visit Turtuk, a little known frontier village is located on the banks of river Shyok which is also known as ‘the river of death’. Turtuk is one of the rare Baltistan villages in India and lies right next to the LOC and is situated in the Shyok Valley. We shall explore this quaint village and have a peek into their life and culture. On a clear day you can even get a glimpse of K2 Mountain peak ( the second highest peak in the world ) located across the border in Pakistan from this village!
This lake, also known as Pangong Tso locally, is situated at a height of about 14,270 ft. It is 134 km long and extends from India to China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point. There is no fish or other aquatic life in the lake, except for some small crustaceans. On the other hand, you are likely to see numerous ducks and gulls over and on the lake surface. Pangong is easily one of the most spectacular places on our planet.
What’s in store for you here?
The excitement starts right when you leave Nubra to head towards this delightful expanse of endless blue aqua. The road to this lake meanders through awesome mountains and valleys and runs along the Shylok river. At one point you would come quite close to the Galwan Valley where India had a face-off with China in 2020. Pangong lake is actually a sea lock which was formed when the Indian Plate collided with the Eurasian plate millions of years ago! On our tour, you shall have overnight stay close to the lake.
The Indian Astronomical Observatory in Ladakh boasts of the largest telescope in Asia located at Hanle at an astounding height of over 4500m. This makes Ladakh an irresistible destination for stargazers and astro-photographers!
Pangong is the world’s highest brackish water lake.
Pangong lake changes its color based on the position of the sun. In the morning, the lake will be azure blue and it becomes green in the afternoon and red by evening.
While the rest of the world follows the Georgian calendar, the Ladakhis follow the Tibetan calendar. Under this calendar, each year has 12 months with 30 days in each.
In Ladakh monks as well as nuns learn the martial art of Kung-Fu.
In India the double-humped Bactrian camels are found only in Ladakh.
The Hemis National Park of Ladakh is the largest national park of India, covering 4,400 square km.
The Karzoo Ice Hockey Rink in Ladakh is the world’s highest natural ice hockey rink.
Siachen Glacier is the world’s highest battleground and it also has the highest telephone booth in the world!
Katpana desert is the highest cold desert in the world, located 2,226m above the mean sea level. This desert runs between Khaplu and Nubra Valleys in Ladakh.