When you are in Ladakh, you have the liberty to stretch your imagination. 'India's Little Tibet,' known for its mercurial mountains, jagged landscape, and glacier-fed streams, is remote and ravishing. Tucked away in the northern end of India, the place is cut off from the urban ugliness. Derive simple pleasures of life from watching a solitary yak amble, seeing the prayer flags of monasteries flutter, feeling the mountain breeze, and listening to the prayer wheels. Taking a camel ride through the green apricot fields, camping aside the Tsomoriri Lake, gorging into hot momos and thukpa soup, and skiing down the snow-capped peaks are some real experiences that help you strike a bond with this place.
#1. Opt for Jeep and Camel Safari
When you have an offroader with you, even the toughest terrains of Ladakh cannot refrain you from taking to the roads. Driving through some of the highest motorable roads in the world is a rare thrill synonymous with the ‘Land of the High Passes.’ Include the Tso Moriri Lake, Nubra Valley, and Dah Hanu in the itinerary and you would have nothing to complain about.
If you are done with the high passes, it's time you had camels at your disposal to take you on a tour to the 'Desert in the Sky.' The sand dunes at Hunder in Nubra Valley are as famous as the double-humped Bactrian Camels that inhabit the place. Enjoy the rolling gait of the camel as you explore the charming villages, monasteries, and sulphur springs.
#2. Try Winter Sports
From the very first snow in December, Ladakh starts warming up to ice hockey. Chasing the rubber puck and shooting it into the opponent's net may not look as easy as the locals make it appear to be. However, you can't discount the fact that you have the magnificent Stok mountain range as the setting and the glowing afternoon sun to cheer you up when cold wind weighs heavy on you. Skiing is hardly out of season in Ladakh. Barring the brief summer, the slopes of snow-clad mountains always lure travelers to speed down in their ski.
#3. Go Trekking and Mountaineering
From easy to moderate and then finally strenuous, that's how most trekking routes in Ladakh appear to be. When you walk along the Markha Valley, you come across the beautiful Kongmaru La pass. To explore the Zanskar Valley, try the route from Lamayuru to Darcha. September and October are quite favorable for enthusiasts trekking from Jhunglam Hemis to Padum and the Lamayuru monastery to Stok Kangri.
Mountaineers find an instant connect with Ladakh. From mid-May to mid-October, climbers come in groups to scale the mountains, especially the Nun-Kun massif that remains abuzz with mountaineers during the climbing season.
#4. Visit the Hemis National Park
For a rare rendezvous with snow leopard, you must spend some time at The Hemis National Park. Even before you enter deep inside the park with an expectation of spotting leopards, what amuses you is the sight of Tibetan wolf, the red fox, and the Eurasian brown bear. Bird lovers would have a time of their life watching Himalayan Snow Cock and Tibetan Snowfinch.
#5. Bike Through Ladakh
Ask any passionate biker and he would say that Manali to Ladakh is “the route” to ride. It's for you to notice the change once you cover Rohtang Pass and cross the Baralacha La before entering Leh. You feel that the journey has just begun. Before you cross the mighty Karakoram range in Nubra valley and reach the beautiful Pangong Lake, get the first-hand experience of peaceful locales and Ladakhi hospitality. Taking your two-wheeler to the Magnetic Hill in Leh could be a one-off experience.
#6. Explore Adventure Sports
A few minutes of paragliding is perhaps the best thing that can happen to you when you are in Ladakh. Get close to the lofty ranges, and enjoy the bird's eye view of the blue waters and dramatic landscape. What's difficult is also exciting. That is what the rafters tell you. River Rafting at the foothills of the Zanskar Mountains is as thrilling as the experience of rafting in the Indus River in the Leh region, or the Shayok River in the Nubra Valley.
#7. Attend the Ladakh Festival
The seven-day Ladakh Festival in September pulls in travelers from all over the world. The bejeweled look of the place complements the activities that keep the momentum going. Attend the traditional polo matches where well-manicured horses outpace each other; enjoy the enthusiasm around the village archery competition, and get your feet tapping to the ritualistic dance in the monasteries.
#8. Visit the Hall of Fame Museum and Hemis Monastery
On your way to Leh, make a halt at the Hall of Fame – a museum dedicated to the Indian soldiers who became martyrs. The memorabilia of Siachen and Kargil War and the poignant biographies of the dead soldiers will surely give you goosebumps.
The ancient Buddhist monastery in Hemis region turns into one of the liveliest places in Ladakh during the two-day Hemis festival. This religious carnival is famous for its mystic mask dance.
NK20150917Published On: Tuesday, September 15th, 2015