When in Ladakh – A small Pocket Book

If you love mountains, the calm of the monasteries, and clear blue lakes - then Ladakh will be on your bucket list. The land of the Lamas has become a popular place for town escapees, for those who are looking to be one with nature, for those who just want to blend into the sprawling beauty of the mountainous desert. While the summer months are preferable to be visiting a place like Ladakh, during the winters the temperatures drop exponentially, it is yet a sight that will make you skip a heartbeat. With the snowcapped mountains and the frozen lake, and the sunset of a million hues. It is a lot to take in but that is the beauty of Ladakh, if you so wish to see it in either of the seasons. However, before you pack your bags there are somethings to consider, when traveling to a place like Ladakh which is at a high altitude do remember that if you’re prone to mountain sickness this issue may prevail, so to acclimatize, travelers need to make a pitstop before heading over to Pangong Lake or Khardung La. The summers are the best time to travel. You can go exploring the glaciers, Indus River, or trekking through the valleys.

All about Laddkah


1 In the wilderness

If you’re one for the treks, then one of the most popular trek is the Outing Trek which is a shorter version of the Markha Valley Trek. Outing Trek unravels exquisiteness of Markha Valley without getting too tired. A picturesque trek designed to cover the heart of the Zanskar range. The trek begins from Likir village and ends at Temisgam. There is also the Sham Valley trek, known as the ‘baby trek’ since its one of the easy nature trek, this trek offers some quaint and charming views to the trekkers. This particular trek doesn’t go further up than 4000 meters and it can be done throughout the year. The trek passes through villages, where one can spend the nights in homestays and enjoy the authentic local cuisine. A few well dated monasteries like Likir, Rizong, Temisgam, Basgo and Alchi are a part of the trek which can be visited at any point.


2 Immersed in the culture:

With all the trekking and climbing and being one with the mountains, you’d also like a leisure evening where travellers can go and shop at Looms of Ladakh where you get pure pashmina, interestingly this cooperative employs women from across Ladakh, who know and understand the true history of the said cloth. A stroll down to Spindel Art Studio at the Ladakh Arts and Media to refresh the senses. When in Ladakh a traveller doesn’t really think about shopping or a bazaar. But surprisingly, Ladakh has a quaint village which has the ‘Main Bazaar’ located in Leh.. The area will not only offer you affordable items but also provides you a glimpse into the life of the local people living in Ladakh. Travellers will get to buy artifacts made locally. The market has shops that sell the world-famous silver jewellery of Ladakh.


3 Hunger Pangs:

The palate wants a change of pace, then one should try the freshly baked tandoori roti which is known as Bazzar-i-Tagi which is said to be delicious. There are many cafes in and around Leh like Bon Apetite, and Lala Art café. Crowned for their freshly brewed coffee. Hopefully Ladakh in all its glory , you’ll find a little part of yourself. And if you’re lucky enough you may just encounter the elusive Himalayan Brown Bear located around Drass. But that’s just one off things. Happy exploring!


4 Route map:

As a traveller, you may want to know the options you have to get to Ladakh. The easiest of them is by air. The closest airport is the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport located in Leh. This airport is 3.8 km from the main town. Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is connected with many international airports in India like Delhi. It also receives flights from Srinagar, Jammu, and Chandigarh. The airport is a military terminal as well hence, the security is a bit unhinged. It is important to have all your documents ready when you enter Ladakh. If you’re feeling adventurous or you’re travelling solo, taking the bus is rather light on the pockets and an extremely surreal experience. There are government and private buses from Srinagar and Manali. Ladakh is 434 km from Srinagar and 494 km from Manali. If you choose to come through Srinagar, you will pass through Zoji La Pass to reach Ladakh. Though you will scale Rohtang Pass to reach Ladakh if you come through Manali. The pass through Srinagar is open from June to October. The Manali route is open for bus routes from June to September. Alternatively, there is always the train you could take. The nearest railway station to Ladakh is in Tawi, which is 700 km from Ladakh. There a few trains that come from Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi. From the station, you can find cabs to reach Ladakh. Other nearest railway stations are in Chandigarh and Pathankot. It would take at least three days to reach from the railway station to Ladakh. The only way you’d enjoy this mode of travel is if you have patience and time on your hands. Good ol’ bikers, you’ve been prepping yourself and that bike. It’s time you took the beaut for a ride. Ladakh has the world’s top three highest mountain passes that can be scaled on a bike. If you plan to take the Srinagar -Leh highway you’ll be covering Sonmarg, Zozi La, Drass, Kargil, Mulbek, and Saspol before reaching Leh. This route is open from May to October. There is also the Manali – Leh highway covering Rohtang, Gramphu, Kokshar, Darcha, Baralacha La, Tanglang La, Gya and Karu. This route is open from May to September. For my bike riders here is a tip, a word of advice, something you’d already be familiar with but here is a reiteration. Please choose a bike that can easily take you through rocky terrains. It is not easy but it is an experience of a lifetime. Something for those old timey stories.