Yeah, true When we’re talking about Leh Ladakh and it is all about the land of high passes and mystical beauty
Bound by the Karakoram in the north and the Great Himalayas in the South, Ladakh is a mountains desert located at attitudes ranging from 9,000 ft to 25,000 ft. situated at the western edge of the Tibetan Plateau, the Ladakh landscape has been modified and sculpted into spectacular shape by wind and water erosion over the millennia. The people of Ladakh exhibit a natural join de Vivre and warm disposition. Their customs and lifestyle have continued from the past and the cultural traditions are vibrantly alive and colorful.
Main public transport is provided by mini bus services. Tourist transport is essentially by taxis/cabs which are easily available at fixed rates. A national highway that includes the Zoji La pass connecting Srinagar to Leh, cuts through Kargil. The highway is open for traffic only from May to November every year due to heavy snowfall at the Zoji La pass.
Leh has a variety of accommodation options in hotels and guesthouses. Most of the hotels are family run establishments. In remote areas such as Nubra valley, accommodation is available mainly in guesthouses and in residential houses converted into paying guest accommodation. In the past few years, some good hotels and guest houses have come up.
The climate conditions are mainly desert type and dry with little or no rainfall. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 27°c while in winters it may plunge to -20°c. During winters, most parts of Ladakh are snow bound and all the land approaches are blocked.
If you are traveling to Leh by air, you must allow a full day of complete rest for getting used to the high altitudes and low oxygen level. High altitudes sickness is a risky condition faced by visitors who do not allow sufficient time for proper acclimatization.
During summer, cotton with light woolens, a wind parka for occasional use and sturdy hiking shoes. In winter time, heavy woolens including down-filled windproof jackets/parka and thermal inners, sturdy hiking shoes.
Inner line Permits
For visiting Khardungla, Nubra valley, Pangong and Tasom-riri Lakes and Dah-Hanu area of Leh District, it is mandatory for foreign tourists to obtain Protected Area permits from the Deputy Commissioner office of Leh.
Ladakh is famous for the festivals held in the major Buddhist monasteries annually. The main features are the dance-dramas enacted by Lamas donning colorful robes and fearsome masks representing various Buddhist deities. They perform mimes symbolizing key aspects of the religion and its history. The Hemis Festival held in July-August is the most famous event. Every 12th year, a huge Thangka of Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism, is ritually exhibited during this festival.
There are cultural festivals too. Summer archery festivals are held in many villages as per local traditions. The 6 day Ladakh Festival [20th September – 25th September] is a major event sponsored by the J&K Government to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh.
The 3-dayy Sindhu Darshan Festival is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism and Govt. of India during June to showcase the historical and cultural importance of the Indus.
Leh (3,505 M) has many historic monuments to visit, starting with the 9-storey Leh Palace built by King Singe Namgyal in the 17th century. The palace is the ruins of the earliest royal residence and the Tsemo Compa dating from 15th century. Below in the bazaar, the main sites are the newly built Jo-Khang, and the 17th century Jamia Mosque. Leh Bazaar itself is a sightseeing attraction. Strolling along its lanes and bylanes observing the crowd and looking into the curio shops is an engaging experience. There is bargain shopping for semi-precious stones, jewelry antiques and dazzling arrays of souvenirs.
Forts & Palaces
Outside the town, many monuments connected with the former kings & their rule dot the Indus valley. These include the royal palace of Shey (15 km) with its temple housing a 3-storey high Buddha states. Down the river are remains of the fort and temple of Bazgo [37 km] and across the river from Leh is Stok Palace [17 km], the present residence of the royal family, which also houses a museum of artifacts associated with the ruling dynasty.
How to Reach
The main overland approach to Ladakh is the 434 km Srinagar-Leh highway, which is open from May to November. This historic road passes through Kashmir’s picturesque countryside till Sonamarg [86 km] before ascending the Zoji La pass[3,529 m], it also crosses Fotola [4095 m] and Namkila [3737 m]. The other land approach is 473 km Manali-Leh Road [open July-September] which runs across 5 passes, the lowest being Rohtang-La [3,878 m] and the highest Taglang-la [5,360 m]. J&K State Road Transport Corporation [J&K SRTC] operates regular bus services between Srinagar and Leh while HP Tourism operates coaches on the Manali – Leh Route.
Major airlines operate regular flights to Leh from Delhi, and shuttle services to Srinagar and Jammu [once and twice a week respectively]. Leh Airport is 6 km from the city center.
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