Thiksay Gompa or Thiksay Monastery (also transliterated from Ladakhi as Tikse, Tiksey or Thiksey) is a gompa (monastery) affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on top of a hill in Thiksey village, approximately 19 kilometres (12 mi) east of Leh in Ladakh, India.It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet and is the largest gompa in central Ladakh, notably containing a separate set of buildings for female renunciates that has been the source of significant recent building and reorganisation
The annual festival held in the monastery precincts is known as the Gustor ritual, which is held from the 17th to 19th day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar (October–November). Sacred dances such as the mask dance or Cham Dance are performed as a part of this ritual.Another special feature is the trade fair held at the base of the monastery, in which villagers from all over Ladakh assemble to barter and trade items and socialize. Sand mandalas are made for smaller festivals.The morning prayers at 7 am, with synchronized chanting of the Buddhist sūtras at this monastery, attract many worshippers to observe the services.
As the gurgling Shyok River meets the alluring Siachen River, they form a picturesque valley known as the Nubra Valley. A semi-arid desert area located at an astounding height of 10,000ft, the beauty of Nubra Valley is almost impossible to describe in words!
Ornate with barren and fascinating peaks, dotted with colourful prayer flags, fringed with captivating sand dunes, and inhabited by heart-warming locals, Nubra Valley is among the highest deserts in the entire world. With the gorgeous Siachen Glacier towards the north, this pictorial valley separates Ladakh from the Karakoram Range, and is one of the major attractions in all the Leh Ladakh tour packages.
LocationSituated at a height of around 10,000ft, Nubra Valley is located around 150km towards the north of Leh and around 575km from Srinagar. Delhi, the country’s capital is around 1,409km from Nubra Valley.
Best Time to Visit Nubra Valley
Summer (April to June) is considered as the best time to visit this magnificent valley. During this period, temperature in the valley starts rising while being accompanied by a clear atmosphere; it makes it an ideal season for sightseeing and other activities in Nubra Valley.
The pre-winter season or September to October is also an ideal time to visit Nubra Valley. Though temperature might start going down, it still remains bearable for outsiders. Post this season, as the winter starts approaching its peak, the Khardung La Pass shuts down making it quite impossible to reach Nubra Valley.
Visitors should not book any Leh Ladakh tour packages during the monsoons as well. Nubra Valley experiences highest rainfall from July to August; chances of landslide increases during this interval.
Tourist Attractions in Nubra Valley:
Located in the Sumlur Village in Nubra Valley, SamstanglingMonasterys is also among the must visit places in the valley as well as in the Leh Ladakh tour packages. Founded by Lama Tsultim around 140 years ago, this religious enclave is also an important Buddhism learning centre.
Festivals in Nubra Valley:
Dosmoche Festival is the most festive celebration in Nubra Valley. It is also one of the biggest festivals that is celebrated away from Leh. Dating back to the royal era of Ladakh, this festival is celebrated in the Diskit Monastery and runs for around two days. During Dosmoche Festival, lamas perform a sacred dance along the beats of traditional drums and fiesta reaches the peak.
The Losar Mela or Losar Festival is among the heartiest festivals in Nubra Valley. Also celebrated in other corners of Leh Ladakh region, this festival marks the onset of the Ladakhi New Year, and is a true riot of colours, cultures, and tradition. Starting from kids to adults, everyone participates in Losar Meal whole heartedly. While women adorn themselves in the most impressive ways, men drape themselves in their traditional attires to attend the festival. Grand feasts and fiestas are the main attractions of Losar Mela in Nubra Valley.
Located 150 kilometers North of Leh, Hunder, sitting at an average altitude of 10, 000 feet, is a small village where the Shyok River meets Nubra River. Hunder lies on the ancient silk route, once an important international trade route. Today it is one of the most strategic points located close as it is to the Siachen Glacier, the world highest battle ground between India and Pakistan.
A trip to Hunder from Leh requires the visitors to cross the Khardung La, which according to the claim of Indian Army plaque at the top, is "World's Highest Motorable Pass" however modern readings using GPS devices refute the claim. From Khardung La it's a 130 kilometer of rough drive to reach Hunder Village.
Hunder is most popular for the camel rides in the high altitude cold desert. The camel safaris are done on Bactrian Double-humped Camels which are reminder the bygone era of Silk Route trade. The vast stretch of sand dunes between Hunder Village and Diskit is where you will see the Bactrian Camels grazing in the sea-buckthorn forests. It is also where most of the safari rides are offered.
Earlier, Hunder Village was the last point where visitors were allowed after obtaining inner line permits from DC office in Leh. Since 2010, the Indians were allowed to travel further to Turtuk. In 2013 even foreigners were allowed to travel up to Turtuk. From 2014, Indian visitors no longer require inner line permits to travel Nubra Valley anymore. Foreign visitors still need to get inner line permits to travel to Hunder in Nubra Valley.
Traveling to Hunder and other tourist places in Nubra Valley before traveling to Pangong Lake and Tso Moriri is also advisable as it helps visitors to acclimatize to high altitude air pressure condition. Travel beyond Hunder and toward Turtuk takes visitors to quite different landscape which is unseen in rest of Ladakh.
When to Visit
In the colder month of December till March, the entire Nubra Valley is gripped in extreme cold. However day temperatures are bearable for travel and other activities. The issue during this time of the year is accommodation and even more so the food and eating options. Guest houses, hotels and camps are mostly closed during this time of year. However homestays could be found even during this period.
The peak season for tourism in the valley starts from May and goes on till October. The camps are pitched and guest houses open with full staff.
Diskit Monastery also known as Deskit Gompa or Diskit Gompa is the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery (gompa) in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh, northern India.
It belongs to the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, founder of Gelugpa, in the 14th century.It is a sub-gompa of the Thikse gompa.
Lachung Temple and Hundur Monastery are also located nearby, the latter is below the main road near a bridge.
The monastery has statue of Cho Rinpoche (Crowned Buddha) in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several images of fierce guardian deities. An elevated cupola of the moanstery depicts a fresco of the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet.
The Monastery administration runs a school, with support from a Non-Government Organization (NGO) known as the "Tibet Support Group", which has computer facilities and teaches science subjects, in English, to Tibetan children of the region.
A popular festival known as Dosmoche or the "Festival of the Scapegoat" is held in the precincts of the monastery in February during the winter season, which is largely attended by people from villages of the Nubra Valley since the other regions in Leh are inaccessible during this period due to heavy snow fall.
The Diskit monastery is situated on the hill, just above the flood plains of the Shyok River, on its right bank in the Diskit village (3,144 metres (10,315 ft)) in Nubra Valley. Nubra River is a tributary of the Shyok River, which flows parallel to the Indus River on the northern side of the Ladakh Range. Since the valley is at lower elevation, it has a mild climate. This climatic condition has created lush vegetation in the valley and the valley is, therefore, called the “Orchard of Ladakh". The valley was part of the caravan route between Tibet and China. It has various trekking sites, along the countryside. The valley is also the natural home of the double-humped Bactrian camel. It is located trans Leh, beyond the snow-clad Khardung La pass. Since the snow clad mountains become unpassable many times during winter, Diskit village and the monastery in the valley have become the congregation centre for people of the region of the valley. Diskit is the headquarters of the Nubra Valley and thus has lot of government offices with basic facilities. It is also connected by road with Leh.
Diskit Monastery has been built at the edge of the approach road. This road links with Parthapur and Those. Approach to the monastery is through a flight of steps made of stones, which lead to the prayer hall of the monastery. A statue of Maitreya Buddha is enshrined in the hall. There is a huge drum located within the hall. In the chamber on the second floor, there are many images of fierce guardian deities.
Diskit Monastery also has an elevated cupola, with a fresco depicting the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. It also has a number of shrines and Mongolian and Tibetan texts in the storehouse.Diskit Monastery is connected to Mongol mythology in that the monastery is believed to be the place where an evil anti-Buddhist Mongol demon once lived and was killed near the monastery grounds but is said to have been resurrected several times.Today, the wrinkled head and hand of the demon are believed to lie inside a temple in the monastery.The Lonely Planet India guide describes that the gompa roof offers "glorious" views of the Nubra Valley.
Left: Steps up to recent extensions to the monastery. (2004) Right: Maitreya Buddha in the hall Recent extensions to the monastery building are in good shape but the Dukhang ("main prayer hall") and Zimcchungh are not in good condition. Paintings have been covered with soot and images are kept in total disorder. The older part of the monastery is said to be in certain degree of decay, as cracks have been observed, and they remain untended.
The doorway to Shyok and Nubra valleys and the world’s topmost motorable pass according to BRO (Border Road Organization), ‘Khardung La’ is located on the Ladakh range which is 40 km from Leh. It is positioned at an altitude of 18,379 ft. and is also known as the ‘Pass of Lower Castle’. The place offers amazing picturesque and attractive views of valleys. In addition, Tibetan prayer flags add numerous colors to the scenic beauty.
Khardung La is a strategically important pass lying on a caravan road from Leh to Kashgar. In earlier times camels and horses took this trade route to supply goods and valuables. Today it is used to carry supplies to Siachen Glacier and is of high logistic importance to Indian army. The nearest reachable town to this pass is Leh which is linked to Manali and Srinagar.
Bikers from all over the world visit this mountain pass on their motorcycles and do mountain biking which is a refreshing and remarkable experience for lifetime. Also, there is an army canteen where tea and snacks are offered and there is also a souvenir shop nearby from where you can get memento of your tour.
The best time to visit Khardung La is between May-October
Turtuk is the last Indian outpost before Pakistan in Ladakh and the Northernmost villages in India. Lying on the banks of Shyok River, it is a very secluded, military-dominated, and sensitive area, as merely ten kilometers ahead is the border or line of control between India and Pakistan. Known as erstwhile Baltistan, the place was under Pakistani control till 1971, so it is predominantly Muslim, and the people here speak Urdu, Ladakhi, Balti, and Hindi. It is the gateway to the Siachen Glacier, with the snow-clad peaks of Mt. K2, visible in the horizon from the top of the village.
Turtuk has only been opened to tourists since 2010 and is therefore a hidden gem. To write about it is almost like exposing a secret, for to go there is like a journey of discovery that one has been privileged to gain access to, a mystical world that one might otherwise never know existed; yet the place leaves an indelible impact that needs to be shared.
It is quite a trek to get to Turtuk, as it is far from the town of Leh. You might be able to hop onto a shared taxi or rent a car, by far the best option, but it is completely worth the arduous journey. It takes about eight to nine hours to get to Turtuk, and it is advisable to stop at Hunder, Nubra Valley overnight if one wants to see both places. Foreign nationals have to obtain permits to enter Turtuk, and these can be obtained through a travel agent beforehand in Leh. Indians can enter showing a government-approved id. The landscape, culture, language, clothing, and even the physical features of people change quite drastically crossing over into Turtuk, technically entering Baltistan.
On entering this quaint little place through a rickety wooden bridge with heavy military security, a sense of tension and gravity envelops the atmosphere; photography around the bridge is strictly prohibited due to the sensitive nature of the location. Grey, ash-like sand, heat, and dust build up like a cloud on the riverbanks, with miles of nothingness except your jeep and maybe a few locals working on the roads here and there. Time seems to stand still along with the stillness of the hot air, due to the road maintenance, which tends happens quite often on journeys such as these.
Turtuk is made up of a couple of villages, one of the main ones being Pharol, which sits atop a hill. There are several little camps and guesthouses that have cropped up in this small hamlet, which can be discovered while walking around its many narrow paths, but hard to find on the web. It might be a good idea to book through a travel agent or ask the locals for directions after reaching Leh. Turtuk Holiday Camp has nice tented accommodations, although they are perhaps a tad more expensive than the smaller guesthouses in the main village. Aesthetically done up with modern bathrooms and a little sit out in front, they cost no more than Rs. 2000 per person per night in peak season. The food is fairly simple but tasty. Everything is vegetarian since it is difficult to maintain poultry due to the remote location. The camp is located on the base before you enter the main village and hence is a bit remote. The popular place to stay in Turtuk, and perhaps the nicest, however, is the recently opened Maha guest house. It has all modern features and amenities including a little garden café, which serves snacks and tea to outsiders as well, not to mention that it lies hidden amidst the fields and narrow lanes of the village of Pharol, adding to its charm.
Seating close to the enchanting Siachen Glacier, Panamik is one of the most scenic villages in the Leh Ladakh tours. Located at an astounding height of around 10,442ft in the Indian Himalayas, this scenic settlement is known for many reasons; especially the natural hot water springs.
Guarded by mesmerising snow-clad peaks, the valley stands on the banks of the gurgling Nubra River and attracts visitors while enjoying their Leh Ladakh tours. In addition, visitors to the Siachen Glacier, also throngs this rustic hamlet to soak in its pristine beauty.
Known to be the last human settlement before the Siachen Glacier, Panamik is also serves as a base for the EnsaGompa trek. Trekkers from across the country participates in this amazing trek and come to Panamik to witness and revel in its untouched beauty. The Enso Gompa that overlooks the Nubra Valley and its gorgeous mountains, is the main attraction of Panamik.
Best Time to Visit Panamik:
Winter is definitely not the ideal season to visit Panamik. For those who wants to include this gorgeous hamlet within their Leh Ladakh tour, must plan their tour during the summers or between the months of June and August. Along with the Khardung La Pass becoming operations, visitors can enjoy the true beauty and charm of Panamik in the summers.
A hidden gem in the Lah Ladakh tour packages, Shyok Valley is situated adjacent to the scenic Nubra Valley. With the alluring Shyok River that originates from the scenic Rimo Glaciers, as its origin, this gorgeous valley can be easily reached through the enthralling Khardung La Pass.
Unlike most of the valleys included within the Leh Ladakh tours, Shyok Valley is a paradise for those who yearns to witness the greener side of Ladakh Valley. Away from the humdrums of a typical tourist destination, this valley is an ultimate destination to laze around while doing nothing, but enjoying the pristine beauty of nature! Untouched by the hands of commercialization, a visit to Shyok Valley is a must while planning a Leh Ladakh tour.
One of the highest lakes in the world, Pangong Tso Lake is one of the most popular names in Leh Ladakh tourism. Sitting graciously on the upper reaches of the great Himalayas, this mesmerising lake is located around 140km from Leh and it spreads its alluring charm across the Indo-China Border; with majority of it being controlled by China.
For those, who are still unaware of Pangong Tso’s enchanting beauty, they can recall the Bollywood blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’, whose climax was shot around this lake. Situated at a towering height of 4,350m, Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh is also famed as one of the highest saline water lakes in the world.
Visiting this lake is truly an experience of its own kind! While a visit during the summer is greeted with the crystal-clear reflection of the nearby mountain ranges on the turquoise water of this lake, visitors can witness the entire lake freezing down during the winters. Be it an adventure freak, romantic couple, leisure seeker, backpacker, or a shutterbug, the lake entices all types of tourist enjoying the Leh Ladakh tour packages.
However, due to the strategic location of Pangong Tso Lake, foreign nationals need to obtain an Inner Line Permit (ILP) to visit this captivating lake in Ladakh. Also, visitors are allowed only till the limits of the Spangmil Village near the lake. Though boating or any other water activities are restricted, visitors can enjoy camping beside the Pangong Tso Lake and enjoy its magical beauty.
How to Get Inner Line Permit
This permit is required for all the nationals other than Indian, and can be collected from the District Tourist Office in Leh. To note here, foreign nationals planning to visit Pangong Tso during their Leh Ladakh tour, must be accompanied by a group in order to get the Inner Line Permit.
Ideal time to visit Pangong Tso Lake:
June to September is considered as the best time to visit Pangong Tso Lake in Ladakh. During this time, the temperature starts getting milder and atmosphere becomes clear; visitors can enjoy astounding views of the lake and its vicinity.
Activities Near Pangong Tso Lake
The scenic locales of this prismatic lake offers amazing camping options to its admirers. Visitors can book overnight stay camps beside the lake and enjoy its enchanting beauty.
Pangong Tso Lake, with the sky as its roof, offers great stargazing opportunities to its visitors. Even though temperature falls during the nights, visitors enjoy stargazing from beside the lakeside with great passion and energy. It is in fact revered as one of the best places in India to enjoy stargazing in India.
This brackish water reservoir not only attracts visitors from across the globe, but also attracts a plenitude of migratory birds from all over the globe. While visiting this scenic lake, visitors can spend memorable moments while witnessing some of the rare and exotic avifauna around the vicinity.
Pangong Tso Lake is a true treasure trove for the photographers. Visitors do not have to be expert shutterbugs; the alluring beauty and irresistible charm of the lake will make them one for sure!
Stay Near Pangong Tso Lake:
While visiting Panging Tso Lake, visitors can enjoy lakeside camping in tented camps. For those, who are not comfortable with such stays, can seek for homestays within the Spangmil hamlet. The locals are way too friendly and do not hesitate to share their homes with the visitors; however, lack of amenities and facilities in the village might be a drawback for some of the tourists.
Other than these, visitors can make it to Lukung where they can avail camps and eco-huts. For those who seek the luxury and comfort of a hotel, can visit the only hotel in Spangmik for their overnight stay.
Food Joints or Places to Eat Near Pangong Tso Lake:
The vicinity lacks adequate number of eateries or food joints. It is advisable to carry own food while visiting this picturesque lake. If travelling with Leh Ladakh tour group, arrangements will be made by the group leaders. Visitors can also enjoy local delicacies with the locals near Pangong Tso Lake.
Changthang, simply meaning Northern Plateau in Tibetan, is a high altitude plateau in western and northern Tibet extending into South Eastern Ladakh, with vast highlands and giant lakes. From Eastern Ladakh Changthang stretches approximately 1600 km east into Tibet, as far as the state of Qinghai. All of it is geographically part of Tibetan plateau. It is the home of the Changpa nomads.
The climate of Changthang is harsh and unpredictable. The summers are warm but short and thunder storms can occur at any time of year, often with hail. The winters are cold and Arctic like, despite the latitude, due to the high elevation.The people of the Changthang are nomadic pastoralists, they are known as 'Changpa', for 'northerners,' or 'Drukpa' for 'nomads' in Tibetan. As of 1989 there were half a million nomads living in Changthang. Unlike many other nomadic groups the Changpa are not under pressure from settled farmers as the vast majority of land they inhabit is too inhospitable for farming.The economy of the region is based around the livestock of the Changpa, and the most important resource is the plants the animals graze on. The movement of the Changpa over one year limits the impact that their animals have on the grazing lands, the grasses of which are dead for 8 - 9 months of the year, and provide poor fodder during that time. Unlike many other nomadic pastoralists the Changpa do not move from one climatic region to another; this allows them to move shorter distances in many cases, in the range of about 10 - 40 miles. Migratory routes are established and followed year after year, staying in the same encampments each year, often in camps that have stone walls for corals and for sheltering the tents. Wealthier nomads may have buildings for storage and living in for the part of the year they spend at that encampment.
In addition to changing pastures, there are numerous other techniques developed by the Changpa to even out the periods of surpluses and shortages. Dairy products are converted into less perishable forms (like butter and cheese) during the summer when the livestock are producing high levels of milk. Animals are slaughtered early in the winter, after fattening up in the summer and while the weather is conducive to storage.Trade has played an important role for the Changpa as they are not able to produce all the goods they consume. Salt, meat, live animals, wool, and unprocessed cashmere are traded for basics such as grain, cooking pots, and other metal implements, as well as more modern goods.Only a small part of Changthang crosses the border into Ladakh, in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is, however, on a historically important route for travellers journeying from Ladakh to Lhasa, and now has many different characteristics due to being part of India.
As in the rest of Ladakh, Changthang has been experiencing many socio-economical developments since the late Twentieth Century. Ladakh is one of the regions most exposed to international mass tourism in India. Centuries-old cultural and social fabrics are now changing rapidly, influenced by consumerist and modern lifestyles. This is becoming a source of both concern and hope for the populace of the region. Another major influence in the region is Tibetan settlement due to migration caused by the Chinese takeover. The settlement was first established in 1963 with almost 3000 residents but today has more than 7000 settlers. For administrative purpose, the Ladakh settlement is divided into two, Sonamling and Changthang.
The Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary is a house for many rare Flora and Fauna of Ladakh, which are well cared for in this wildlife sanctuary. The sanctuary is located at a high altitude in Ladakh district of Jammu Kashmir.Changthang wildlife sanctuary is surrounded by two large and world famous water lakes that are Tsomoriri and Pangong Tso.Tso-Moriri is one of the huge mountain lakes in the southeastern part of Ladakh. Karzok village is situated on the South West bank of this lake and it's the world's highest inhabited village.The flora and fauna of Changthang Wildlife Sanctuary has natural grasslands and a wide variety of more than two hundred species of wild plants that grow in higher pasture of this area and most of which is edible by animals.
Tsomoriri: It's counted among the highest lakes in the world. Tsomoriri is spread in an area of 120 km2, with maximum depth of 40 m and situated at an altitude of 4000 - 5000 m. In November 2002, the lake was designated as a Ramsar site.Pangong Tso: Situated at a height of around 4,250 m, Pangong Tso covers an area of 134 km (from India to China). Water is salty and in spite of that during winter, water freezes.
If you happen to travel around 250km towards the south-east of Leh during your Ladakh tour, you will find one of the most picturesque lakes in the world – the Tso Moriri Lake. Resting graciously with all its splendours and charm at an elevation of 4,000m, the irresistible beauty of this pristine lake can easily infect its visitors!
While the emerald water of the lake can easily deceive you, the fascinating beauty of its surroundings – the snow-clad peaks and the gorgeous meadows, can hold you still and encourage you to surrender yourself to its alluring beauty! Visit this lake if you want to experience how it feels to dream with your eyes being wide-open!
A photographer’s paradise, Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh entices all types of visitors. For the nature lovers, it is no less than a treasure trove! For the romantic couples, it serves as one of the most romantic places in Leh Ladakh region. Birdwatchers can also quench all their yearnings while spotting some of the rare and exotic migratory birds around the Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh.
This stunning lake is located on the Changthang Plateau at an altitude of 14,863ft. Visitors should travel around 250km towards south-east from Leh in order to reach the Tso Moriri Lake. Starting from Leh, this trails advances towards Karu followed by Upshi, Kumdok, Kere, Chumathang, Mahe, Sumdo, Korzok (Tso Moriri Lake).
Best Time to Visit Tso Moriri Lake
Summer (May to September) is the best time to visit Tso Moriri Lake in Ladakh. With the ambience around the lake getting clearer, visitors can enjoy amazing views of the lake along with its surroundings.
During the winters (November to March), the lake freezes down completely. Even the surrounding peaks and mountains gets capped with snow, making it quite challenging to reach the lakeside.
How to Reach Tso Moriri Lake:
Considering that Tso Moriri Lake has been declared as a Wetland Conservation Area, access to public transportation is restricted within the vicinity. However, tour operators are permitted to carry out tours to this scenic lake. Contact us to book exciting Leh Ladakh tour packages that includes visit to Tso Moriri Lake.
Things to Do Near Tso Moriri Lake:
One day is not enough to visit and enjoy the enchanting beauty of the Tso Moriri Lake. Overnight camping is the best way to explore, discover, and enjoy the salubrious beauty of this pristine lake in Ladakh. However, as camping is not allowed beside the lake, visitors can opt for overnight camping in the nearby locales and adore the magical charm of this lake.
Owing to the favourable conditions and availability of food, Tso Moriri Lake attracts a large number of wildlife species; avifauna is the most noteworthy. On a visit to this scenic lake, visitors can enjoy birdwatching while observing several local and migratory birds. In the list, there are birds like black-necked cranes, bare-headed goose, great-crested grebe, Brahmin duck, and several others.
Tso Moriri Lake, along with its captivating surroundings, serves as a heaven for the shutterbugs. Photography around the lake is one of the most sought after activities in all the Leh Ladakh tour packages.
Wildlife lovers can also satiate their yearnings while on a visit to Tso Moriri Lake. The lake’s surroundings serve as an ideal abode to mammals, most of which has already been declared endangered. On a usual tour, wildlife lovers can spot mammals like Goa antelope, lynx, Himalayan blue sheep, great Tibetan sheep, Tibetan ass, marmot, hare, and several others. If luck favours, visitors can also spot snow leopard and Tibetan wolf around the vicinity.
Among all the places to visit during a Leh Ladakh, Kargil makes it to the list of the most picturesque places to visit in Ladakh. Graced by the alluring Suru or the Indus River, this wonderful town is a true canvas painted by all the enticing shades of Mother Nature.
Located around 204km to the east of Srinagar and around 23km to the west of Leh, this historic town was a popular trade and commerce point during the ancient times. However, with the flowing time, it became one of the most prudent locations for the Indian defence line or the Line of Control (LOC). Even though some portions of this scenic town was captured by Pakistan Army, it was successfully recovered by the brave Indian soldiers.
Today, Kargil serves as one of the most appealing tourist attractions and also attracts a large number of tourists planning for a delightful Leh Ladakh tour. It is also one of the coveted paradise in almost all the Leh Ladakh tour packages.
Kargil stands at a towering height of 8,780ft and is regarded as one of the most sensitive places along India’s Line of Control (LOC). It is situated on the banks of the pristine Indus River (or the Suru River), and is around 205km from the state capital Srinagar and around 1,047km from India’s capital New Delhi.
Best Time to Visit Kargil
Summer (April to June) is the best time to visit Kargil. During this period of the year, the town stays comparatively warm with cooler nights. Visitors can expect a pleasant experience as the climate stays quiet and calm with clear views all around.
On the other hand, if you are planning for a Leh Ladakh trip and visit Kargil during the winters (October to February), you must postpone your plans! Winters in Kargil are marked by drastic drop in the temperature; -40 to -50 degrees is the average winter temperature.
Even monsoon (July to September) is also a good time to indulge in Leh Ladakh tourism and visit Kargil. Heavy rainfall during this season increases the chances of landslides; roadblocks might prove to be a huge obstacle to all the Leh Ladakh tour packages in Kargil during the monsoons.
Tourist Attractions in Kargil
Visit this captivating valley during the summer, and you will be greeted with mesmerising views of its lush greeneries. Adorned by the charm and warmth of the Indus River, Suru Valley is also the home to fascinating peaks like Nun (1,135m) and Kun (7,035m).
MulbekhChamba is among the most quaint and sacred religious places to visit while on Leh Ladakh tour. Visit this sacred place to witness the pious beauty of the 9m high statue of Maitreya Buddha that dates back to 7th-8th century.
Kargil War Memorial:
This is in fact one of the must-not-miss places to visit in all the Leh Ladakh tour packages. Located in Kargil, the Kargil War Memorial is maintained by the Indian Army and it was built to commemorate the heroic sacrifices of the brave soldier who sacrificed their lives while saving the country.
Pensi La Pass:
Located around 14,436ft above the sea level, Pensi La Pass connects the Zanskar Valley and the Suru Valley. Pensi La Pass is located on the way to Rangdum Monastery in Ladakh.
Situated around 160km from Kargil, Rangdum Monastery is one of the highest monasteries in Ladakh. Located atop a mountain, it holds a prominent place in Buddhism and houses numerous ancient collection.
Adorned by the alluring Drass River, Drass or the ‘Gateway to Ladakh’; also known as ‘Hembabs’ (local meaning = Snow Land), is one of the most gorgeous towns to visit while on a Leh Ladakh tour. Located on the Srinagar-Kargil Highway, this town holds a prominent place in serving as India’s defence line and is the second coldest inhabited place in the entire world. Seated at a towering height of 10,990ft above the sea level, the limits of this picturesque town starts from the base of Zoji La Pass and takes the visitors through the ‘Treaty Road’, a historic trade route of the ancient world. Also a sought after destinations among the trekkers, Drass is definitely a place that should not be missed while looking for a Leh Ladakh tour packages.
Best Time to Visit Drass
Drass is strategically located in the Himalayas. Starting from the Zoji La Pass; at a height of 11,575ft, the town reaches a maximum of 10,990ft in the Indian Himalayas. It is located around 60km towards the west of Kargil and around 144km from Jammu and Kashmir’s capital Srinagar.
Tourist Attractions in Drass
Zoji La Pass:
One of the highest mountain passes in Ladakh, Zoji La Pass is also among the highest passes in the entire world.
A sleepy valley that is located around 22km on the east of the pictorial Salt Lake Valley across the Polokonka La Pass in Ladakh, Puga Valley is known for its natural hot water springs. Visitors enjoying their Leh Ladakh tour packages, throngs this pictorial valley and takes a dip in this springs as they are believed to have medical properties against diseases like rheumatism and skin disorders.
Suru Valley Trekking:
The Suru Valley Trek is a 3-days trek that originates from the Zoji La Pass, passes through Drass. The trek usually takes a prominent halt at Drass valley, allowing the trekkers sufficient time to explore the magical beauty of Drass and its natural marvels.
The sacred AmarnathYatra is an important pilgrimage among the Hindus. It usually begins from Pahalgam and a portion of this pious journey passes through the fringes of Drass town.
Situated amidst fascinating mountains and pictorial expanses, Sankoo is among the upcoming towns in Ladakh. Canopied by lush and evergreen thickets of poplars, willows, myricarea, and wild rose, this valley resembles the shape of a bowl and is one of the least explored tourist destinations to explore during a Leh Ladakh tour.
While the greener outlook of Sankoo valley makes it even more beautiful, the two tributaries of Suru River – Karste and Nakpochu, makes it a heaven for the peace and tranquillity seekers. The valley also serves as an origin of several exciting and enthralling treks in Ladakh. The 4 day’s Sankoo-Mulbek trek is among the most sought after treks in this region.
This gorgeous town is located around 42km towards the south of Kargil, and can be easily reached via regular bus services. Sankoo is also well-connected with other major destinations included in a Leh Ladakh tour like Panikhar and Parachik.
Settled in Suru valley, Panikhar is a small trekking centre at the start of Lonvilad Gali Pahalgam Trail. The valley extends from Kargil and spreads southwards for a length of about 75 km up to Panikhar. It is mainly occupied by Tibeto-Darad (the Muslims who converted there Buddhist faith around the middle of the 16th century).
It takes only 3 hours to reach Panikhar from south of Kargil. The place is considered as a good stoppage for tourists travelling to Padum, a town in Zanskar. During the halt, tourists can walk to nearby Parkachik La to relish the amazing view of the glacier, north faced to Nun-Kun Mountain. Nun-kun Mountain is 3500m above the valley, covered by cloud and a river is flowing from its peak
Parkachik Glacier, located at Parkachik, is a majestic mass of ice moving slowly down the Nun-Kun slopes. This ice mass falls finally into the Suru River, providing a magnificent view of the huge ice-fall.
Great slabs of ice periodically peel off the glacier's 300 foot high front wall. A good suspension footbridge over the Suru River is there for the visitors to walk up to the glacier. Some mountaineers use this glacier to approach the difficult north face route to scale Mt Nun.
Excellent camping areas are offered in the upper Suru Valley. Panikhar is a nearby place of attraction.
Parkachik can be approached from Kargil, which is 90 km north.
Located midway between Padum in the scenic Zanskar Valley and Kargil, Rangdum is one of the most bountiful places to visit during a Leh Ladakh tour. Situated around 3,657m above the sea level, this gorgeous valley in the pictorial Suru Valley of Ladakh is adorned by fascinating and colourful peaks on one side and stunning glaciers along with rugged mountains on the other side.
Secluded from the humdrums of city life, Rangdum is the ultimate place to wind up, relax, and get rejuvenated while having a tryst with the enchanting beauty of nature. In addition to this, visitors to Rangdum also gets the opportunity to witness and enjoy the contrasting sides of Ladakh region. While one can enjoy the stimulating views of the rugged mountains, visitors can revel in the astounding views and charm of several vibrant mountains around the valley. Along with the snow-clad peaks that depict the unique charm and aura of a Leh Ladakh tour, there are the verdant meadows that will make a stay in Rangdum an extremely soothing affair!
Rangdum is located around 130km towards the south-east of Kargil and around 104km from Padum at an altitude of 3,657m. This scenic valley is around 337km from Ladakh’s capital city Leh, and can be reached via NH301 or NH1.
Best Time to VisitRangdum
Unlike most of the tourist places in Ladakh, Rangdum is considered as a year-round destination with winter being the best time to enjoy its enticing charm and appeal. This picturesque valley does not receive heavy snowfall during the winters, and thus, visitors can expect pleasant weather conditions along with clear views and ample of opportunities for outdoor activities in Rangdum.
Tourist Attractions in Rangdum:
A sacred religious site among the Gelugpa Buddhists, Rangdum Monastery is located on a hilltop that resembles a sugarloaf. Situated at 13,225ft above the sea level, it is among the highest monasteries in Ladakh, and is only 25km from the enthralling Pensi La Pass. Rangdum Monastery was built around 200 years ago by GelekYashyTakpa, and it follows the cultural values of Zanskar Valley to a large extent. A mystical monastery, a visit to Rangdum Monastery is a must to have experience while on a Leh Ladakh tour.
A few hours’ drive from Rangdum takes the visitors to the stunning Parkachik Glacier, which is revered as one of the most beautiful glaciers in India. Located around 90km from Kargil, visitors can also embark on a voyage to this glacier from central Kargil; the drive offers amazing views of the surrounding mountains and peaks. From this glacier, visitors can also drive towards the Pensi La Pass and enjoy astounding views of the Drang Drung Galcier.
Founded by PhagspaShesrab, the Karsha Monastery or KarchaGompa is also called the KarshaChamspaling. Known to be one of the oldest as well as most sacred monasteries in Ladakh, and also the largest in Zanskar Valley, this holy enclave belongs to the Gelugpa or the Yellow-Hat sect of Buddhism.
The Karsha Monastery is jotted with several shrines that are decked with delightful and livelier paintings by Lama DzapaDorje. Visitors to this pious monastery can also find relics of DorjeRinchen, ancient Buddhist scriptures and inscriptions. It also has an ancient cloth painting that depicts the true essence and meaning of Buddhism, and has an image of Lord Buddha along with his tutelary deities.
This sacred place is located amidst craggy mountains in the picturesque Padum Valley. Visitors during their Leh Ladakh tour, can reach the Karsha Monastery by crossing a wooden bridge at Tungri; around 8km from Padum Valley.
Best Time to VisitKarsha Monastery
Due to heavy snowfalls during the winters, the routes to Karsha Monastery remains closed. However, they are reopened during the months of July to September or summer time. Weather remains calm, temperature also starts rising, making it the ideal time to visit Karsha Monastery.
Tourist Attractions in Karsha Monastery
In addition to the stunning beauty of Karsha Monastery itself, visitors can also witness other religious places like the Thugsjechhenpoi Lhakhang, Lhakhang Karpo, Khagsar Monastery, Purang Monastery and Phagspa Monastery. Visitors on their Leh Ladakh tour, can also find a nunnery called ‘Dorjezong’ dedicated to the 11-headed Avaloketeshvara around the vicinity.
Festivals in Karsha Monastery
Karsha and SpitukGustor:
Celebrated around different months of the year, the Karsha and SpitukGustor is the primary festival in Karsha Monastery. A festival that is celebrated from two consecutive days, it is marked by offering a holy to the Gods to commemorate the victory of good over the evils. Locals believe that by inviting the Gods to witness their sacred dances performed by the lamas, the Gods will bestow all the good lucks to them and the valley. During the festival, the monks wear masks that symbolise guardians, protectors, Gods and the Goddesses. On the last day, the Karsha and SpitukGustor festival ends with the ceremony of burning the effigies of the evils. A riot of colours, music and traditions, this festival is a must for everyone during their Leh Ladakh tour!
How to Reach Karsha Monastery
The Karsha Monastery is located in a quaint village called Khurshan, which is only 14km from the centre of Padum. For those who wants to visit this pious monastery, can follow the Kargil-Padum Road and take diversion at Tungri which is around 12km ahead of Padum in order to reach Karsha Monastery.
For the visitors to Karsha Monastery, Jammu Tawi will be the nearest railway station. After arrival at the train stations, visitors can embark on a road journey to Kargil, and follow the overland trails of Kargil-Padum Road to reach Karsha Monastery.
Srinagar Airport and Leh Airport will be an ideal choice for those who wants to enjoy a flight journey. Upon arrival an any of the airports, visitors must travel to Kargil and continue on the Kargil-Padum route in order to reach Karsha Monastery.
A much sought after destination in almost all the Leh Ladakh tour packages, Padum in the Zanskar region uplifts the pristine and untouched beauty of Ladakh Valley. Situated at a towering height of 3,657m (average height) above the sea level, this picturesque town is named after Padmasambhava who is the pioneer of Tibetan Buddhism in India. The town has also served as one of the historic capital to the Zanskar region.
Located at the heart of the tri-armed Zanskar Valley, Padum is such a place that entice almost all the types of travellers. Be it the leisure seekers, honeymooners, adventure lovers, backpackers, or others, everyone can visit this stunning town and quench all their yearning from a typical Leh Ladakh tour package. The town also serves as an origin point to several enthralling treks!
Among all the visitors to Padum, photographer and nature lovers are the most common. Owing to its kaleidoscopic beauty; how the rugged mountains gets blended with the amazing colours of the fields and valleys, Padum can be called a true treasure trove for the nature lovers and shutterbugs.
Padum is located around 240km from Kargil in the Zanskar Valley. Other popular destinations like Leh and Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir are situated around 440km and 430km from Padum.
Best Time to VisitPadum:
Due to heavy snowfalls in the winter, the Kargil-Padum route remains closed during the months of July to September. This also makes winter an unfavourable time to book Leh Ladakh tour packages to visit Padum.
Post winter, as the summer starts approaching, the route reopens making Padum accessible to the outer world. Visitors can expect rise in the temperature with pleasant climatic conditions. Summer is the ideal time for sightseeing and other tourist activities in Padum.
Tourist Attractions and Things to Do in Padum:
Ancient Rock Carvings:
In addition to the scenic beauty and splendour, Padum is also known for a set of ancient rock carvings that dates back to the 8th century. These rocks are located below the town beside a riverbank. Carvings on the rock depicts the essence of Buddhism in the region in the most livelier ways.
Starrimo Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the entire of Ladakh. Built during the 10th century, this sacred monastery is located on a scenic hilltop and is prime attraction in Padum. Visitors can reach this ancient monastery by embarking on a short hike through the rugged and uneven trails of Padum. The monastery serves as a home to several ancient belongings and around 30 lamas.
This stunning waterfalls is yet another tourist attraction in Padum. Cascading down from a towering mountain, Shila Waterfalls is a true beauty and is a delightful place to enjoy day picnics. The views around the cascade it purely breath-taking and can be called a paradise for the photography enthusiasts.
Being one of the historic capital to Zanskar Kingdom, Padum is also dotted with several royal architectures and establishments, and Old Palace is one among them. Though most of the structure are on ruins now, this palace has endured its grace and appeal in the most livelier ways, and can be an ideal place to revisit the history and grandeurs of Padum.
The rugged and uneven terrains of Padum are ideal for adventure activities like mountain biking. Bikers can throng this scenic town and challenge their own limits while exploring its bountiful beauty on wheels.
Rock Climbing is also one of the most sought after adventure activities in Padum. Jotted with several barren cliffs and peaks, visitors during their Leh Ladakh tour, can visit Padum and enjoy rock climbing at several points.
Festivals in Padum:
Sani is one of the closest villages to Padum; around 6km. If visitors on their Leh Ladakh tour happen to visit Padum during the month of July, they must visit Sani hamlet to witness its Monastery Festival. Celebrated to mark the triumph of good over the evils, this festival is the primary festival in the region. During this festive period, visitors can enjoy the traditional mask dance performed by the lamas, enjoy local music, culture and traditions at their best. A two days long annual festival, it is a true riot of colours and should not be missed at any cost!
A sleepy and balmy hamlet in the Zanskar region of Jammu and Kashmir, Zangla is yet another least explored villages in Ladakh valley. Located around 32km from Padum, this gorgeous hamlet is cossetted by captivating and rugged mountains.
Although hidden from the tourists for a considerable amount of time, Leh Ladakh tourism, now offers amazing opportunities to the visitors to visit and explore this quaint village in the scenic Zanskar Region. Also a home to the ancient Zangla Monastery, this gorgeous village also serves as a popular point for those who undertakes the Padum-Zangla-Karsha-Padumround trip.
One of the least explored as well as sacred monasteries in Ladakh, Stongdey Monastery is located around 18km towards the north of Padum on the road that leads to Zangla. Revered as the second largest monument in the entire of Zanskar Valley, this pious monastery shares its history with the Tibetan Yogi and Marpas.
Shaded with alluring white colour, the monastery was founded in 1052AD by Lama Marpa Lotsawa who was a renowned disciple of Naropa. However, Stongdey Monastery was later taken over by the Gelugpa sect and was dedicated to Je Tsongkhapa. Presently, it serves as a home to around 60 monks, who not only learns Buddhism in the monastery, but also preaching the life and learnings of Lord Buddha.
For the visitors who are planning for a delightful Leh Ladakh tour to visit this sacred monastery, they must plan their visit during the eleventh month of Tibetan Calendar. On the 28th and 29th day of this month, visitors can witness and participate in the grand Gustor Festival within their Leh Ladakh tour packages.
Tucked away in the picturesque Lungnak Valley; towards the south-east of Zanskar Valley, Phugtal Monastery is undoubtedly one of the most captivating monasteries to visit in Leh Ladakh. An exemplary model of Buddhist architecture, it has numerous caves that houses a number of monks, students, and other scholars.
Also called the ‘Cave of Liberation’, Phugtal Monastery, so far, has been visited by a number of sages, monks, and pious religious leaders. Owing to its serene and tranquil ambience, it serves as an ideal place to meditate and learn the religious scriptures of Buddhism.
In addition to being one of the highest religious centre, Phugtal Monastery also serves as a traditional medical camp to the locals. It also boasts of being the only monastery in Ladakh that can be reached on foot!
Best Time to Visit
July to September is the best time to visit Phugtal Monastery in Ladakh. As the mercury level remains stable, visitors can expect suitable temperature and a clear atmosphere during this period.
How to Reach Phugtal Monastery
For the adventure junkies availing Ladakh trekking packages, they can trek to this pious monastery from Purney Bridge located on the Padum-Manali route. Other classes of visitors can also opt for this trail in order to reach Phugtal Monastery.
Lamayuru is one of the most rustic villages to visit in Ladakh. Also called the ‘Moonscape of Ladakh’ or the ‘Moon Land of Ladakh’, this gorgeous village proves to be a perfect destination to laze around and revel in the old-world charm while enjoying the bountiful beauty of Mother Nature.
Home to some of the most striking, decorated, and well preserved stupas in Ladakh, a visit to this magnificent hamlet will get the visitors close to an array of natural as well man-made marvels. The Lamayuru Monastery and Meditation Hill are two of the most striking attractions in Lamayuru village. While strolling around the vicinity, visitors can also find stones that are scribbled with religious texts; the site is truly captivating and is a must-to-have while enjoying a Leh Ladakh tour.
This scenic village is tucked away between Kargil and Leh; on National Highway 1D (NH 1D). It is located around 100km from Leh; it comes before Leh, beyond the great Fotu La Pass which is again the highest mountain pass on the Srinagar-Leh Highway.
Best Time to VisitLamayuru:
Summer (April to June) is the ideal time to visit Lamayuru. Climate during this period remains quite warm and sunny. Visitors can enjoy the summer as it offers amazing sightseeing options in Lamayuru.
Winters and monsoons should be avoided due to the extreme weather conditions like heavy snowfall, heavy showers, landslides, and road blockage.
Tourist Attractions in Lamayuru:
Moon Land: Resembling the shape of the moon, this scenic landscape is one of the most sought after tourist destinations in Lamayuru. Located within a close proximity to Lamayuru, Moon Land is located on the Leh-Kargil Highway, and is revered as one of the best places to enjoy stargazing in Ladakh.
Lamayuru Monastery: This pious monastery is in fact the most sought after tourist attractions in Lamayuru. Adorned with detailed and splendid murals, frescos, wall paintings, and pillars, it is a devoted site among the Buddhists in Ladakh. The monastery hosts two annual festivals; it is advisable to book a Leh Ladakh tour packages and visit Lamayuru on the eve of these festivals.
Also called the western base camp, Ulleytokpo or Uley is a true heaven for the visitors to Ladakh. A silent, serene, gorgeous, and charming locale within 70km from Lamayuru, it entices the visitors to take a halt here and gasp and bask its bountiful beauty.
For those who yearns to explore and experience the rural or rustic essence of Ladakh, they must visit Themisgam while on their Leh Ladakh tour. Located off the Srinagar-Leh Highways; around 34km from Lamayuru and is a paradise for the visitors.
A hill that is usually thronged by the monks to meditate, the Meditation Hill is known for its tranquil, serene and peaceful ambience. The hill is also said to be a store-house of plants and herbs that has high medicinal properties. It is also a wonderful site to enjoy panoramic views of Lamayuru.
Festivals in Lamayuru:
A 2 days’ annual festival held in the month of July, Yuru Kabgyat is the main festival in Lamayuru. Marked by the traditional mask dance, locals celebrate this sacred festival with full vigour and energy. Locals throng the Lamayuru Monastery; the host ground of Yuru Kabgyat, in their traditional garbs and attends the celebration with whole heartedly.
How to Reach Lamayuru:
Road journeys are the best to reach Lamayuru as this quaint village is well connected with other parts of Ladakh. Almost all the roads leading to this sleepy village are in good condition; visitors can avail local bus service at regular intervals from Jammu, Srinagar and Udhampur. Visitors from Leh, can hire private taxis or cabs to reach Lamayuru.
As Lamayuru do not have a railway station, visitors can make it to the Jammu Tawi Railway Station, and upon arrival, can hire private vehicles or board the regular buses to reach Lamayuru.
The Leh Airport is the nearest airport to Lamayuru. The airport is well connected to almost all major Indian cities. Visitors, on arrival at Leh Airport, can hire private taxis to reach Lamayuru.
Stay Options in Lamayuru:
The village has an ample of hotels and lodges. Most of them are decked with all almost all modern amenities and facilities. However, if the visitors want to explore the local life in Lamayuru, they can opt for the local homestays in Lamayuru. They offer excellent and warm hospitality with the feelings of being in home while away from home.
Hanle is a village in Ladakh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. It is the site of the 17th century Hanle Monastery (gompa) of the "Red Hat" Tibetan Drukpa Kagyu branch of Tibetan Buddhism and is located in the Hanle Valley on an old branch of the ancient Ladakh - Tibet trade route.
The valley is home to approximately a thousand people, of whom about 300 people live in Hanle village.
Sengge Namgyal died at Hanle on his return from an expedition against the Mongols who had occupied the Tibetan province of Tsang and were threatening Ladakh.
Hanle is home to the Indian Astronomical Observatory. The location of the village and the observatory are highly sensitive due to the close proximity of the Tibetan / Chinese border. Special permission is needed to visit either by the Indian Government. India set up the Himalayan Chandra Telescope, a 2m gamma ray telescope. Once complete the Major Atmospheric Cerenkov Experiment Telescope gamma ray telescope under construction there will be the world's largest telescope at the highest altitude and the second largest gamma ray telescope in the world.
The Drang-Drung Glacier (also called Durung Drung Glacier) is a mountain glacier near the Pensi La mountain pass at the Kargil - Zanaskar Road in the Kargil district of Jammu and Kashmir in India.
The Drang-Drung Glacier is likely to be the largest glacier in Ladakh other than the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram Range,with a maximum length of 23 kilometres (14 mi) at an average elevation of 4,780 m (15,680 feet). The glacier lies in the northeastern Himalayan Range known as the Zanskar Range, 142 kilometres (88 mi) south of Kargil and 331 kilometres (206 mi) east of Srinagar, the capital of Jammu and Kashmir.
The Drang-Drung Glacier is a long river of ice and snow, a source of the Stod River which is a tributary of the Zanskar River and the Zanskar River is a tributary of Indus River.Doda Peak with an elevation of 6,550 m (21,490 feet) rises from the glacier.
The Drang-Drung Glacier is accessible from Srinagar or Srinagar Airport in two days, 331 kilometres (206 mi) by car or bus which leads by NH 1D, a national highway which connects Srinagar and Leh through the towns of Ganderbal, Kangan, Sonamarg, and Dras. Kargil town is at the half-way point.From Kargil the glacier lies on the right side of Kargil-Zanaskar Road which passes through a gorge valley of Suru River and under the shades of two mountain peaks of Nun and Kun. After crossing the Pensi La mountain pass a trek of one day from the road leads to the head of Drang-Drung Glacier. The road is only open to traffic from May–September due to heavy snowfall at Zojila and Pensi La passes, and the best time to visit is July to August.
Dah and Hanu are two villages of the Brokpa of the LehDistrict of the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir. They are the only two villages that tourists are allowed to visit out of a number of Brokpa villages.
The Dard people of Dah Hanu are nominally Buddhist but also worship their own animist pantheon of gods. They have an Indo-European appearance in contrast to the predominant Tibeto-Mongol inhabitants of most of Ladakh.
Dha and Hanu are two villages situated in the Dhahanu valley, about 163 km northwest of Leh in Ladakh. Being at a lower altitude, Dha and Hanu are warmer than Leh, allowing for the cultivation of wine-grapes and cherries as well as apricots and walnuts.
Alchi Monastery or Alchi Gompa is a Buddhist monastery, known more as a monastic complex (chos-'khor) of temples in Alchi village in the Leh District, of the Indian state under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council of Jammu and Kashmir. The complex comprises four separate settlements in the Alchi village in the lower Ladakh region with monuments dated to different periods. Of these four hamlets, Alchi monastery is said to be the oldest and most famous. It is administered by the Likir Monastery.
Alchi is also part of the three villages (all in lower Ladakh region) which constitute the ‘Alchi group of monuments’; the other two villages adjoining Alchi are the Mangyu and Sumda Chun. The monuments in these three villages are stated to be of “unique style and workmanship’, but the Alchi monastic complex is the best known.
The monastery complex was built, according to local tradition, by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055. However, inscriptions in the preserved monuments ascribe it to a Tibetan noble called Kal-dan Shes-rab later in the 11th century.Dukhang or Assembly Hall and the Main Temple (gTsug-lag-khang), which is a three-storied temple called the Sumtseg (gSum-brtsegs), are built in Kashmiri style as seen in many monasteries; the third temple is called the Manjushri Temple ('Jam-dpal lHa-khang). Chortens are also an important part of the complex.
The artistic and spiritual details of both Buddhism and the Hindu kings of that time in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh are reflected in the wall paintings in the monastery. These are some of the oldest surviving paintings in Ladakh. The complex also has huge statues of the Buddha and elaborate wood carvings and art-work comparable to the baroque style.Shakti Maira has vividly explained the beauty of this small monastery.
Traditionally, the creation of the Alchi complex is attributed to the famous scholar-translator Rinchen Zangpo (958–1055) in the 10th century, along with the Lamayuru Monastery, the Wanla, the Mang-gyu and the Sumda. During the tenth century, the Tibetan King Yeshe Od of Guge, in order to spread Buddhism in the Trans Himalayan region, took the initiative by allocating 21 scholars to the region. However, due to harsh climatic and topographic conditions, only two survived, one of them the esteemed scholar and translator Rinchen Zangpo who established Buddhist activity in the Ladakh region and other areas of India including Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim. During his sojourn there, he also went to the neighbouring countries of Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.
Zangpo became known by the epithet “Lohtsawa” or the “Great Translator”; he is credited with building 108 monasteries in the trans-Himalayan region in his quest to disseminate Buddhism. He institutionalized Buddhism in the region; these monasteries are considered the mainstay of Vajrayana of Tibetan Buddhism (also known as Lamaism). Zangpo engaged Kashmiri artists to create wall paintings and sculptures in the legendary 108 monasteries; only a few of these have survived, with the Alchi Monastery complex in Ladakh having pride of place among all monasteries that he built.
A paradise for those who desires to have a tryst with the snow-clad peaks and mountains in Ladakh, Stok Kangri is definitely one of the most enthralling tourist attraction in Ladakh! Reaching a maximum height of 20,182ft, this soaring mountain is the highest peak in the Stok Range of the great Himalayas in entire Ladakh Valley.
Located within the Hemis National Park, it is around 15km towards the south-west of Leh, and is a major attraction in all the Leh Ladakh tour packages. A heaven for the adrenaline seekers; especially the trekkers, Stok Kangri in Ladakh is the origin of several adrenaline pumping treks.
Among all the treks, the Stok Kangri Trek that usually originates from the base of Stok Village and winds up on reaching the peak, it the most sought after treks in Ladakh. It is often compared with the thrill and adventure of the poised Roopkund Trek, and requires ardent trekking experience along with proper acclimatisation.
Next time, when you plan a Leh Ladakh tour, make sure you avail a Leh Ladakh tour package that gives you the opportunity to pump up your adrenalines with the Stok Kangri Trek!
While on a Leh Ladakh tour, visitors will come across an array of stunning tourist attractions and captivating places to visit in Ladakh, and the magnificent Suru Valley is one among them! Cossetted by charm and allurement of the great Indian Himalayas and the gurgling Suru River, a tributary of the Indus River, this picturesque valley in Ladakh boasts of its pictorial beauty, bountiful nature and untouched vistas.
Jotted with numerous mountains, scenic meadows and a whole lot of agricultural patches, the entire valley comes alive during the spring. It is also an ideal season to visit Suru Valley and witness its bewitching beauty as the apple and apricot harvesting reaches their peak.
Unlike most of the places to visit Ladakh, Suru Valley enjoys an extended summer and entices a number of visitors from almost all the corners of the world. In addition to nature lovers, romantic couples, leisure travellers, and backpackers, the charm and thrill of Suru Valley also attracts a large number of adventure junkies who throngs the valley to pump up their adrenalines while participating in activities like trekking, hiking, rock climbing, and several others.
Suru Valley is located around 9,843ft above the sea level and extends from Kargil to Zanskar Valley. It is located around 25km from the pious Rangdum Monastery. Panikhar in the gorgeous Suru Valley is around 68km from Kargil.
Best Time to VisitSuru Valley
Owing to its high altitude, winter is definitely not a good time to plan a Leh Ladakh tour and visit the Suru Valley. However, with the advent of the summer (from May to October), the ambience across the valley changes and becomes livelier. Compared to most of the tourist destinations in Ladakh, Suru Valley receives a longer summer. Temperature gets back to moderate level with pleasant climatic conditions making summer the ideal time to visit Suru Valley.
Tourist Attractions in Suru Valley
A bowl-shaped valley, Sankoo is a must visit destination in most of the Leh Ladakh tour packages. Located within a close proximity to Suru Valley, this magnificent valley boasts of greener outlook and also serves as the starting point of several enthralling treks in Ladakh.
A remote village in the scenic Suru Valley, Rangdum is also touted as a must-to-visit destination during a Leh Ladakh tour to Suru Valley. Located around 130km from Kargil and 140km from Padum, Rangdum is secluded from the outer world, and proves to be an ideal destination for those who desires to laze around and enjoy the scenic beauty of Mother Nature.
A quaint and rustic locale within the periphery of Suru Valley, KartseKhar can be an ideal destination for the history and religious travellers. Located within this vicinity, is the 7m tall rock-carved stature of Maitryea Buddha, that depicts the presence and influence of Buddhism in the entire of Ladakh. The locale is also jotted with amazing Stupas and other rock-carved statues.
A sparsely inhabited area in Suru Valley, Panikhar is a treat for the visitors to Ladakh. A popular stoppage on the way to Padum, Panikhar also attracts hikers to Parkachik La Pass and several other treks that originates in the Suru Valley.
Jispa, a wonderful and picture-perfect village on the Manail-Leh Highway, is in the Lahaul region of Himachal Pradesh. Though not a part of Ladakh valley, it is included in most of the Leh Ladakh tour packages due its proximity to several tourist attractions in Ladakh.
Perched at around 10,500ft in the great Himalayan Range, the peace that tranquillity that exists in Jispa is purely blissful! So much is the calmness of this village, that visitors can hear the amusing sounds and melodies of the alluring Bhaga River during the night times!
A perfect destination to witness, explore and discover the rural essence of Himachal Pradesh, visitors can embark on rustic village tours while in Jispa. Furthermore, a visit to Jispa Rural Museum, is the best way to get acquainted with the history, culture and traditions of Jispa. Book exciting Leh Ladakh tour packages with our expert guides, or plan a Leh Ladakh tour with us to visit and explore this scenic village!
Tucked away between the borderline of Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir, Sarhu is among the most captivating stop-over points on the Leh-Manali Highway. Owing to its fascinating location between two of the highest mountain passes – Baralacha La and Lachung La, at 14,500ft above the sea level, this stop-over point entices visitors from across the globe.
Also known as Sir Bhum Chun, Sarchu once served as a major trading route for several Asian countries. With the flow of time, this magnificent site has become a sought after destination in all the Leh Ladakh tour packages. It experiences the maximum crows during the months of May to September when it remains open to the visitors along with hosting an array of activities. During this period, it also serves as the origin of several enthralling treks included in almost all the major Leh Ladakh tour packages for trekking.
For the visitors planning a Leh Ladakh tour, they can make it to this pictorial site and enjoy its surreal beauty. With ample of stay options and places to eat, Sarhu will definitely make a Leh Ladakh tour even more memorable.
Though not a part of Ladakh, Keylong is included almost in all the Leh Ladakh tours packages. A true delight for the visitors, this picturesque township is located at the intersection point of the Chandra Valley and Checnab Valley.
Located at a height of 3,340m above the sea level, Keylong is seats on the Leh-Manali Highway over the enthralling Rohtang Pass. An oasis in the high altitudes, it is characterised by lush and green outlook, and is a true paradise for those who desires to have a tryst with the fascinating peaks and mountains.
Around 115km from Manali, 188km from Kaza, and around 373k from Leh, Keylong remains secluded from the outer world during the winters. Communication across the Rohtang Pass comes to a zero point during the moths of November to June. However, with the advent of the summers, the region regains its lost charm, and entices visitors from all over the globe.
Plan a Leh Ladakh tour that also has Keylong as one of the tourist attraction, and explore the enchanting beauty of this scenic town. Some of the major attractions in Keylong include Gondla, Sissu, Triloknath Temple, Shasur Monastery, Guru Ghantal Monastery, Tayul Monastery, and Gemur Monastery.