With its cup-chapped valleys luring winds from glaciers, mighty rivers that take a respite in deep blue lakes, and villages that are ripe with culture, hospitality, and rich history, Ladakh is pure magic.
Here’s a list of 11 places in Ladakh that captivates its essence in a spellbound tapestry.
1. Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake which is among the most favorite tourist attractions in Ladakh has got its name from the Tibetan. The Tibetan call it Bangong-Co.which means an enchanted and narrow lake.
Pangong Lake keeps changing colors from green to light-blue to azure and sometimes grey too. The enchanting lake and its changing color is not only the reason that makes it favorite among the tourist. There are other things that add beauty to Pangong: like, a narrow stretch of land along the lakeside (in the pic above) that makes the area look wonderful. The wetlands and the marshes formed by the two streams. The beautiful hills and mountains etc.
Pangong Tso is 134 kilometres long and extends from India to China. 1/3rd of the Pangong lake lies in India and the remaining 2/3rd lies in China (Tibet).
2. Nubra valley
If you’re looking for a bizarre experience, Nubra valley can be a better place. It’s home to one of the highest coldest deserts in the world. The Hundar village in this area will treat you to mouthfuls of local cuisines. And when you have enough of those, you can try riding the double-humped Bactrian camel. Then there’s Turtuk village that sits near the LOC and shares its Baltic roots with the residents on the other side. Travelers who visit this place take relentless memories of apricot based stew and friendly Baltis.
3. Zanskar valley
Zanskar is another semi-desert region of Laddakh and it has an equal share of wonder. Here’s where you’ll find many monasteries with their intricate designs, trekking routes that still lay unexplored, and hamlets that give you a flavorful experience of the local life. Popular places to visit here are Nimu, the rendezvous point of River Indus and River Zanskar; Drang, which is overlooked by mighty glaciers, Phuktal Monastery, and its impossible architecture; Zongkhul and its jagged areas; Stongdey Monastery, and Panikhar suitable for camping.
Kargil has experienced a war between the two nuclear-armed neighbors, but it hasn’t lost its mesmerizing beauty. Possibly, this is the signature postcard image of Ladakh and therefore, it has its flavors ranging from delightful cuisines to awesome sceneries. The Mulbekh Monastery has a chiseled image of the idol of Maitreya Buddha. The Drass War Memorial has stories of the Kargil war to tell. Kargil Main Street is a business hub of the area with all its artifacts. Suru Basin cradles the waters of Panzella glacier. Numerous trekking opportunities will leave you spoilt for choices. But the one place that will completely overshadow your experience of Kargil is Lamayuru Monastery.
A small but abundant village in Kargil, Dras has many things in store. You can visit the Dras War Memorial as stated above, follow the footsteps of pilgrims on the trails of Amarnath Yatra, go to the nearby Matayen village and experience the rich Kashmiri culture, or refresh your soul on Mushko, Saliskote, and Amarnath trek.
6. Khardungla Pass
Situated en route Nubra Valley, the Khandungla Pass is where you should stop like the rest of the tourists. This is the only high altitude area in the world where you’d find a motorable road. Tourists mostly stop here to take tea and the view of this winter wonderland.
7. Magnetic Hill
You’ll forget the illusion caused by the Roller Coaster Bridge in Japan when you visit Leh’s Magnetic Hill. The surrounding hills and the general layout of the area here creates an optical illusion where people see cars defying gravity when they are, actually, going downhill.
Lamayuru is away from the jangling discords of tourist crowds, air pollution, and other man-caused nuances. Instead, it houses Lamayuru Monastery with its frescos and ancient art, not to mention mysteries and a landscape that looks like a piece of moon-land in its entirety.
9. Tso Moriri Lake
Situated at a staggering altitude of 4,522 m, the Tso Moriri Lake is the crown jewel of Changthang Plateau – an endless span of high rise mountains overlooked by stark white clouds with a deep blue sky in their backdrop. Visit this lake and connect with nature on a deeper level.
10. Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist monastery dedicated to the milestone of 2500 years covered by Buddhism. Its white dome faces the white expanses of snow-covered mountains and its location high atop a hill offers dazzling views of the serenity lying below.
11. Leh Palace
One of the symbols of the dynasty that ruled Ladakh, the Leh Palace offers a peek into the Tibetan architecture. It dates back to the medieval era where architecture was young and still flourishing. Made from stone, mud, and wood, the palace houses glories of the past in the form of tapestries, royal gowns, crowns, and other artifacts.