Ladakh is sometimes called little Tibet. It has a similar landscape and culture of Tibet. The two main districts that comprise Ladakh are Leh and Kargil. Leh can be subdivided into Indus valley, Nubra valley, Shyok valley, Dha-Hanu valley, Markha valley, Nyoma valley and Zanskar valley. The main rivers are Indus, Zanskar and Shyok.
Ladakh is full of amazing sights. Magnificient gompas on the hillsides with snow capped mountains at the background, the barren landscapes with small but brilliant greens, ancient palaces on hillsides and its delightful people are Ladakh’s attractions..
The altitude of Ladakh varies between 9000 and 14000 feet above mean sea level. The religion followed by majority of people in the entire area is Buddhism. It is a part of State of Jammu and Kashmir.
Ladakh is not only home to some of the most beautiful and serene Monasteries you will ever see, but is also the land of rich natural beauty. Many travellers find themselves at a loss to understand how something so barren can yet be so beautiful.
The major tourist attractions include the Pangong lake, the Nubra valley, the Leh city etc. The well known Monasteries are the Hemis monastery, the Lamayuru monastery, the Alchi monastery, the Basgo monastery and the Spituk monastery. Come, join us in the journey through Ladakh and see why they say “ life is not complete without a visit to Ladakh”.
Here is the you tube video on first episode :
We started from Delhi Airport on 24th July, 2015 at 5.40 AM by Jet Airways and reached Leh by 07.15 AM.
Our taxi was waiting at the airport. We booked the taxi from 24th July to 3rd August from Chamba Rinchen, one of the best taxi owner in Leh. His rate was less than official rates and pick-up and drop to airport was included. His facebook contact is https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100008732079513.
We stayed in Sia La Guest house, one of the best guest houses of Leh. One can book rooms through Sia La guest House websites: http://www.sialaguesthouse.com or sialaguesthouse.free.fr. Also it is available through Agoda.
The room rate is Rs. 1800 for double room with breakfast with attached bath, having hot and cold water. Each room has a TV with a free cable connection. WiFi .is also available at an additional cost. They have their own generator whenever electric supply fails. Meals can be provided upon request at an additional charge.
For acclimatization, we stayed the whole day in the hotel, but in the evening, we went to Leh market nearby to have our dinner.
25th July, 2015:
After breakfast we went to the Hemis Monastery . It is a Himalayan Drukpa Buddhist monastery in Hemis. It is situated around 45 kms to the south of Leh on the western banks of the Indus River. The journey was beautiful with barren landscapes, Gompas at a distant hillock and green patches here and there.
Hemis was built in 1630. Impressive and intriguing, Hemis is decorated on all four sides by colourful prayer flags. The stones of the walls are decorated and painted with religious figures. On the northern side are two assembly halls, where one can see the guardian deities and the Wheel of Life. The Hemis Monastery also has an important library of Tibetan books and a very impressive and valuable collection of Thangkas, gold statues and Stupas embedded with precious stones.
After visiting Hemis we came to Thiksey Monastery. On the way we saw Stakna Monastery and Shey Palace from a distance, but did not go there as we have already visited them in our earlier visit.
Thikse Monastery is a gompa affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on top of a hill at an altitude of 11,800 ft in the Indus Valley, 19 kilometres east of Leh and 25 kms from Hemis. We had our Lunch at the Chamba restaurant inside Thiksey and the went up to visit the Monastery.
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. It is a twelve-storey complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya Buddha which is 15 metres (49 ft) high statue , the largest such statue in Ladakh, covering two stories of the building.
From the top of the Gompa the view of Indus Valley is excellent.
Then we went to the Druk White Lotus School which is located in Shey, Ladakh. Druk Padma Karpo ( White Lotus ) School is popularly known as ‘Rancho’s School’ and has become famous due to the Aamir Khan-starrer ‘3 Idiots’ film.
Our next stoppage was Sindhu Ghat. It is a beautiful riverbank, situated near the Shey village. It is known for its unique and scenic landscape of barren mountains . Sindhu Darshan Festival is held every year on full moon day here.
Our last Stop was Zangdok Palri Monastery in Choglamsar where His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited on August 7, 2014.
We returned to our hotel. Went to the market and had dinner in Gesmo Restaurant :
Some of the places we could not visit due to shortage of time :
1.The most attractive place of Leh is Leh main bazaar where you can have finest of cuisines and even shop for a variety of handicrafts and woolens, specially on Changspa road.
2. Sankar Gompa / Monastery is about an easy half-hour walk from Leh. They light it up in the evening, and because visiting hours are only limited to morning and evening, a short walk in the evening will be enjoyable.
3. Zorawar Fort is famous for General Zorawar Singh and is remembered for the struggle with Chinese. Europeans even termed him little Napolean of India.It is on hiking root from Leh and is also zeepable.
4. Datun Sahib is a Meswak tree that is located close to Leh Palace or just behind the Jama Masjid in the Leh Main Baazar and holds quite religious significance for the whole Leh Ladakh region. It is said to be the first-ever tree planted by Guru Nanak Ji, who blessed the town by planting it.
5. Phyang Monastery, 16 km west of Leh, has a museum having extensive collection of statues,, Thangkas and arms and weapons.
Popular local restaurants in Leh :
Sky Wok Ladakh
Budget Hotels in Leh :(with rating more than 8)
- Sia la Guest house : inr 2200 per room per night for two adults with breakfast
- Raku guest house : inr 2500 per room per night for two adults with breakfast
- Morning sky guest house : inr 1300 per room per night for two adults
- Youthok guest house : inr 1400 per room per night for two adults with breakfast
- Shaolin Ladakh : inr 1500 per room per night for two adults with breakfast
- and similar hotels you can book through Booking.com, Agoda.com etc.
Leh Taxi rates :
Ladakh taxi union has published the Leh – Ladakh Taxi Rates 2020 – 21: You can go to this site for the rates for different routes. There are some private taxi owners who offer 15 to 20 % less rates. If you make your own itinerary for a couple of days, they can offer even better rates.