Leh is one of the most remarkable locations in India, also known as little...Read More
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Ladakh is a cultured taste for mountain lovers. On first sight, the stark colors of the cold desert mountain latitudes is striking and feels nothing like the green Himalayan slopes of the other sides. Soaring high and barren beyond treeline, on the rain shadow zone of the Zanskar Range, Ladakh features nature at her extremes and yet her most beautiful. You will find the most striking paradoxes of nature here-- the burning sun in the face of ice cold freezing winds, glacial highs to sand dunes, and from bleak and arid desert horizons to warm blue waters. Adventure lovers are naturally drawn to Ladakh to try out freewheeling ride-outs on some of the most amazing motorable roads in India, experience trekking on rough hewn boulder obstacle paths, and make successful photo ops in the lush landscapes amidst stark cold desert topography. Diverse wildlife, nomadic tribes living in temporary settlements sharing interesting communal bonds, intricate alpine lake ecosystems as found in Tsomoriri, Tsokar, & Pangong, myriad colorful festivals, and everything from monasteries to mountain magic makes up the true fabric of Ladakh.
Part of the Indo-Tibetan geographic area, recognized as the rooftop of the world, Ladakh is an absolute rough-hewn rugged wonderland for trekking souls. Leaden desert highlands in their multiple folds has many trekkable peaks, lush valleys hidden away from the common eye, rare wildlife, and ancient civilization of a different making. Here is a look--
Here is to list the treks that a true trekker’s bucket list cannot do without-
Lamayuru to Alchi Trek
Designed for trekkers who wish to explore beyond Ladakh’s natural grandeur and expand to the rich legacy of ancient Tibetan monasteries and the cultural heritage of Ladakhi people, perhaps this trek will bring home the best value. The thousand years old Lamayuru Monastery stands still in time, with a majestic backdrop of the Zanskar range. Legends tell of a monk who when fascinated by nature’s magical aura had blessed the lake and the water body had moved uphill, divinely creating the space for Lamayuru Monastery to exist. The storied monastery of Lamayuru, the village of Alchi, and the impressive three-storeyed 11th-century monastery - the Alchi Gompa are the major landmarks on the Lamayuru to Alchi itinerary. This trek is one of the most sought after feature on the listing of Leh Ladakh trek packages.
Markha Valley Trek
A tea house trekking venture that accommodates travelers in cozy parachute tents under the care and warm hospitality of local people, offers awe-inspiring views of arid cold desert valleys against the astounding backdrop of Ladakh and Zanskar ranges and forays inside the Hemis National Park, Markha Valley Trek is a popular trek in Ladakh for all the right reasons. Do this trek to ford the Markha River flowing icy cold but invitingly, crossing two high passes -- Gandala La (15748 ft) and Kongmaru La (17,060 ft), with the breathtaking view of Ladakh and Zanskar ranges. The close proximity of Ladakh Markha Valley Trekking to the district capital Leh makes the trek greatly suitable.
Chadar: The Frozen River Trek
An iced up trail along the frozen Zanskar River Gorge is truly one of its kind. On this trail, the average trekker can hike 16 km a day. January to February is the peak time to attempt this winter trek in Ladakh that’s absolutely thrilling to the core. At the harshest of winter, the area sees a temperature drop from -30 to -35 degrees. While survival at sub-zero temperature remains the biggest risk and challenge factor on this trek, there is a different kind of beauty to be found on this journey too. The most amazing visual comes with a cascading high waterfall frozen in the flow! It’s a phenomenal sight to behold but makes all the effort trekking on ice worth it.
Hemis Rupshu Darcha Trek
A trek remotely explored, rolled out along the electrifying Leh-Manali Highway in the depths of Trans Himalayas, lies the Hemis Rupshu Darcha Trek. Journey on this trail to hike along the colorful alpine meadows, far-off villages showing traditional Ladakhi colors, mountain passes up high like the Kongma La Pass at 5,150 m, Zalung Karpo Pass at 5,100 m, Yarla Pass at 4,950 m, Marangla Pass at 5,200 m, and Baralacha La Pass at 5,300 m. Advancing, the path is steeped in the far flung villages of Ltaza Kongamaru, Nimaling, Khar, Dat, Jabuk, Sarachu, and Darcha, offering trekkers a close look into typical Ladakhi lifestyle. Sweeping views of the Indus River Valley, the river bank studded with glistening rocks, the slender river gorges, and spectacular panoramic view of Mount Kang Yatze at 6400 m are the high points of this Leh Ladakh trekking trip. You will find the trail is dotted with innumerable Tibetan Buddhist religio-cultural relics-- a treasure of Chortens and Manis holding up against a brilliant blue sky.
Kang Yatse and Dzo Jongo Trek
Listed as the two top trekking peaks in India, Kang Yatse II (6250m) and Dzo Jongo (6280m) make for a different strain of Ladakh trekking tours. Trekkers must come with a diligent mindset to slug it out. The twin ascents are possible without any formal trekking in technical climbing but prior fitness and strength training are a definite requirement. Besides the thrilling test of fortitude and will power which is this twin peak climb, there is the enchanting beauty of Markha Valley on this trek to explore, cherish, and capture in stunning frames.
With the exception of the bitter cold and chilly winters, Ladakh treks are open in all other seasons. April is the time when Ladakh begins to warm up after a period of bleak winters. By the second week of May, the Srinagar-Leh highway, crucial for accessing Ladakh opens to tourists. The tourism activity and energy surges further during May to July, when the high altitude lakes like Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri melt welcoming tourists to the unadulterated view of the crystal waters. In the August to Mid-September window, the monsoon hits the hills of Ladakh, rendering Leh-Ladakh trekking trips inconvenient for the better half of this period. Mid-September to October is another amazing period to visit Ladakh. The fall colors are something to look for. However, beware of the temperature fall to sub zero at night.
By Air: Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh is the airport closest to most of the trek base camps in Ladakh, connected to a number of major cities of India-- Delhi, Srinagar, Jammu, Chandigarh, etc.
By Rail: The railway station closest to Ladakh is in Tawi, located 700 km away from Leh. Tawi is connected by rail with Kolkata, Mumbai, Delhi, and other stations. Other stations from where Leh can be accessed from nearby are Chandigarh and Pathankot.
By Road: Leh-Manali Highway stretching to 490 km is the major connecting path between Leh and the lower districts of northern India. The route only remains open between May to September.