Discover 10 Amazing Places with Leh Ladakh Tour Packages

Leh Ladakh tour packagesWith Leh Ladakh tour packages, travellers can explore the land of valleys amidst lofty peaks, white snow-clad Himalayan and Karakoram ranges, Indus and Zanskar Rivers. Paradise for trekkers, Ladakh is an intriguing and delightful destination for all types of travellers. It features befitting venues for a number of adventurous sports such as skiing, paragliding, trekking and others. Here is a list of 10 attractions that are an integral part of the Leh Ladakh tours.

Leh Palace

Leh Palace, a magnificent nine-storey structure, was built in the 17th century by the king Sengge Namgyal. Travellers can enjoy panoramic view of the town of Leh and Stok Kangri, and Indus River from this palace. They can also explore the museum here that exhibits a wide collection of dresses, crowns, jewelleries, ornaments and a number ages old paintings.

Zanskar Valley

This beautiful valley amidst lofty mountains and deep gorges is delightful to see. By booking Leh Ladakh tour packages, travellers can enjoy quality time with their friends and family amidst nature. The Zanskar River flowing through the valley is one of the most soothing sights to see.

Khardung La Pass

Following on the trail from Leh to Nubra Valley, Khardung La Pass, at an altitude of around 18380 feet, is one of the highest motorable road in the world. With Leh Ladakh tour packages, travellers can admire the beauty of nature while treading through this pass. They can also explore Nubra Valley which is around 150km away from Leh.

Shanti Stupa

Located at height of around 4267 metres, this stupa sits on a hilltop in Chanspa. It was built in 1991 by Gyomyo Nakamura – a Japanese Buddhist bhikshu.

Hemis Monastery

Around 47 km from Leh, Hemis Monastery is the biggest monastery in the Ladakh, and is managed by Dugpa Kurgupta order. Perched on a green hillside, the monastery was founded in 1630. It houses a copper statue of the Lord Buddha, gold and silver stupas and sacred thankas. With Ladakh packages, travellers can visit Hemis National park located near the monastery, which is home to many endangered animals including snow leopard.

Pangong Tso Lake

This unending lake transverses international boundary to stretch from India to Bhutan. It is a favourite camping spot for tourists, who book  Ladakh packages.

The hall of Fame

Ladakh tour packages may include a visit to the Hall of Fame, which was built in honour of the struggle of the Indian army during the Kargil War of 1999. This museum displays the weapons, which were used in the war, also exhibits the belongings and outfits of the enemy soldiers that were left behind.

Availing Ladakh packages is a great chance to explore the land of mystery that never halts to thrill travellers.

7 Adventurous Sports to Enjoy during a Leh Ladakh Tour

Ladakh, the land of endless discoveries, is located in the Himalayas. It is popular among tourists for its picturesque landscapes, featuring snowy hills, azure blue lakes and deep valleys. Leh is the capital city of this Himalayan kingdom, and also one of the largest cities in the India. For adventure enthusiasts, this is an ideal destination. They can enjoy a range of adventure sports, such as mountaineering, rafting and trekking during Leh Ladakh tour. This place also offers traditional sports like polo and archery. Here is a list of some popular sports that can be enjoyed while exploring this picturesque city.

Mountaineering

As there are a number of high peaks in this region, mountaineering is one of the most popular sports, enjoyed by people here. Stok Kangri peak, located in the Stok village, is often climbed by tourists. In addition to this, Kang Yatze and Nun kun peaks are also popular destinations among sports enthusiasts, who book Leh Ladakh tour packages. However, it is worth mentioning that they have to take permission from the Indian Mountaineering Federation before attempting the ascent of these peaks.

River Rafting

Indus and Zanskar Rivers in this region provide a number of rafting opportunities to visitors. The Phey to Nimo, Upshi to Nimo and Upshi to Kharu are some of the popular rafting points in Ladakh. People who are looking forward to try these sports can book Leh tour between June and August as it is the best time for rafting expedition. Beginners can opt for easier routes, such as the run between Hemis and Choglamsar while experienced ones can enjoy the more challenging route between Alchi and Khaltsey.

Trekking

In addition to offering breathtaking views, valleys in this region also provide a number of routes of trekking. Trekkers can enjoy the trekking before snowfall in the months of June to October. Travellers can choose from Lamayuru chilling trek via Konze La along the Zanskar River, Likir to Temisgam, Hemis Gompa via Kongmaru La and Spituk to Markha Valley by booking Leh Ladakh tour packages.

Camel Safari

Camel safari in this Himalayan kingdom can be a memorable experience for tourists during their Leh Ladakh tour. People generally associate camel safaris with hot desert of Rajasthan, but they will be surprised to know about the camel safaris in the cold deserts of Ladakh. They can enjoy this ride in the months of July, August and September in Nubra Valley and capture stunning views of the villages, valleys and Buddhist gompas.

Polo

Almost every village in this region has a polo ground, and this testifies the popularity of this game in Ladakh. In addition to this, Polo tournaments are an important part of Ladakh festival. Usually, six players in a team ride on ponies, and each goal is greeted by music and crowd cheering both the teams. In addition to this, regular tournaments and occasional matches are also played here, keeping in mind the interest of locals

Archery

It is a traditional sport of this place, and hence, tourists as well as the local crowd attend it. In villages and at the National Archery Stadium in Leh, these contests are held on a regular basis. During these contests, men wear their traditional dresses and women wear their brightest brocade dresses paired with heavy jewellery.

Jeep Safari

Tourists can also opt for jeep safari to admire the beauty of the landscape and remote areas during their Leh Ladakh tour. Major routes of jeep safari of this place are Tsmoriri, Dah Hanu and Nubra in the Himalayas. Khardung La is one of the highest motorable roads in the world that can also be explored while going for jeep safaris.

These exciting 7 adventure sports can be enjoyed by tourists during their Leh Ladakh tour.

Story of the 45 Million Year Old Ladakh Plateau

Ladakh is the northernmost region of India and over the years, has become a favorite among travelers who visited this place or wish to come for adventure holidays. It lies within the state of Jammu and Kashmir and is an expansive cold desert-cum-plateau; most of it lies over 10000 feet above sea level. The plateau is bordered by the Himalayas in the south and Karakoram Mountains in the north; the Ladakh and Zanskar ranges are also part of the region. To its south, Ladakh has a heavily glaciated landform, from where most of the rivers of Jammu and Kashmir originate. The Ladakh mountain range is of moderate elevation and does not contain any significant peaks. It is only beyond Zoji pass that the altitude increases and crosses the 23000-feet mark. The Indus, Shyok, Zanskar, Suru and Nubra Rivers drain the plateau and form their separate valleys here.

Mostly below 10000 feet altitude, Suru Valley is among the most fertile areas here. The majority of the valley of the Zanskar River lies above 11000-feet and is connected to the rest of the Himalayan area by mountain passes. Most of the peaks in the Karakoram Range, which borders Ladakh in the northwest, are 24000 feet in height.

General Geomorphology of the Region

The mountains in the north-eastern part of the desert expose an underdeveloped formation called Ladakh batholith, which belongs to the Miocene age. A batholith is formed inside the crust of the Earth due to the cooling of magma, and it is exposed because of erosion. On the other hand, the Zanskar range presents meta-sedimentary origin, dating to the late Miocene or Palaeocene age. They were formed when the already-existing sedimentary rocks underwent a change in their geology due to metamorphism. When a part of Gondwanaland collided with Laurasia, it gave rise to what is now called Choksti Thrust. The phenomenon played an important role in the formation of gorges in the north-western and south-western parts of the desert.

Leh Valley: Geomorphology

A major part of the plateau comprises of the valley where Leh, the administrative centre of the region and a popular vacations spot is located. It contains many structures that were formed after the glaciers started melting like moraines, sand-sheets, duns, palaeolakes and alluvial fans. The valley is sandwiched between the Ladakh Mountains to the north and Zanskar range to the south. While studying its geomorphology, the formations of the valley are grouped into three sub-types. They have varied origins and exhibit glacial, fluvio-glacial, aeolian, mass-wasting and lacustrine formations. The first subtype is a high ground to the northwest of the valley, and it slopes towards the south-eastern direction. Subtype two comprises triangle-shaped formations with gentle slopes, and they are bordered by hills on three sides. The last type makes up a large chunk of the Leh valley, and it lies in a naturally-formed depression. Mass-movement, a process in which sand, rocks and soil slide down slopes, led to the formation of cone-shaped deposits called alluvial fans, along the foothills of the Zanskar Mountains. Aeolian deposits, formed due to erosion of the surface by wind; and Lacustrine surfaces, formed by sediment brought by rivers, are also well-preserved along the slopes and in the valley.

Glacial Formations

  • Transverse Mountain Valleys

Transverse mountain valleys in the Ladakh range and those along the Zanskar Mountains show different effects of the same natural processes. The former are a result of glacial processes, while the latter owe their existence to mass-wasting. These ranges have steep slopes, rocky peaks and small valleys at 18400-feet altitude and above. Less snow accumulates in the vertically aligned and elongated Leh and Phyang valleys and hence, no glaciers are formed here. Contrary to this, the northern slopes of the Ladakh range have zones that allow snow to accumulate and glaciers to flow. Alluvial fans in the valleys of the Zanskar region are formed due to the glaciers that arise in the mountains and flow southwards.

  • Amphitheatre Valleys

These formations are triangular and funnel-shaped, and steep rocky slopes border them on three sides. Their formation was a result of the deposition of sediments by melted glaciers. They have narrow tops, which join with those of mountainous valleys further upstream along rivers. Likewise, their wide edges slope down and join the surface of the Leh valley. As their area increases along with the rise in the area of the drainage basin, it has been concluded by researchers that their origins lie in glacial after-effects.

  • Moraines

Moraines are parallel ridges, formed along the lengths of glaciers due to the deposition of debris. In the region, they are found at four altitude ranges: 11100-12430 feet, 12800-14300 feet, 15390-15700 feet and 16900 feet. The majority of the 13 identified moraines are found between elevations of 11100 feet and 12430 feet above sea level. Their width varies from 300 feet to 450 feet, and they occur as discontinuous ridges, stretching for a few kilometres in length. These sediments are composed of cobblestones, gravel, boulders and pebbles embedded within each other.

Mass-Wasting Formations

This vast cold desert experiences great variations in temperature that results in the breaking of rocks. Along the mountain slopes, pebbles and gravel are brought down by rivers, and both these factors lead to occurrence of scree slopes.

  • Bajada

These alluvial deposits are quite small and studies say that the formation of the valley restricts their expansion. They are large in the centre of the region, and they decrease in size towards the gorges. Those, along the foothills of the Zanskar Mountains, are a result of persistent mass-wasting. Along the southern banks of river Indus, exposed sedimentary and alluvial deposits are seen. Their size varies from those of boulders, cobblestones, pebbles and clay to that of sand particles.

  • Aeolian and Lacustrine Structures

If travellers are taking tours through Ladakh, they are bound to see dunes and sand-sheets that are well preserved. In Spituk, Shey and Gumpuk, visitors will find numerous lakes of glacial origins, formed in the depressions between the dunes and hill-slopes. The gravelly formations in Spituk correspond to the meta-sedimentary formation of the Zanskar range, while their sands shows effects of wind erosion, and the silt shows glacial sedimentation. This silty nature also means that they were derived from mountain slopes, and they were exposed there due to the seasonal drying of glacial lak

Motorbiking to Leh Ladakh – An Exhilarating Experience

Ladakh, located in India, is among the most beautiful places on earth. The region, with its administrative centre in Leh, lies in the north of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Since the Indian government opened this high-altitude plateau for tourism, the response from travellers has been beyond usual expectation. As per official reports, till 2009, more than 750000 national and international travellers had visited the region. Much of this splendid region lies above 9000 feet in altitude, and it gets extremely cold here. In Dras, the temperature regularly falls to -45 degree Celsius, making it the coldest place in India.

When and How to Go

Summers are the perfect time to visit this part of the country as the weather remains on the cooler side, though not as cold as in the freezing winters. In Leh, between May and September, the day temperature stays between 16 and 25 degree Celsius while the nights can get sufficiently cold. There are two main approach roads to Ladakh: National Highway 1D from Srinagar and the Leh-Manali Highway, which forms a part of NH 21. To reach Srinagar by road, travellers need to first reach Jalandhar in Punjab and then follow NH 1A. The state is served by three airports, one each in Srinagar, Leh and Jammu and domestic carriers ferry passengers from Mumbai and Delhi. Those, coming by train, can avail the services of Indian Railways till Jammu Tawi and then take buses or taxis from there.

Biking

A way to travel up here, quickly gaining popularity, is by motorbikes. Over the years, a lot of motorcycle clubs have formed all over the country, especially in Delhi that organise regular road trips to this rugged and cold magnificence. Narrow roads, winding through the hillsides, beckon a lot of adventure-enthusiasts who combine their thrill-seeking personalities with their love for biking. At high altitudes, deep ravines and gorges are visible from roads that become perfect spots for taking photographs. The majority of the roads at higher elevations are narrow and often dotted with potholes, making it a bumpy ride that sometimes elevates the joy of biking. Many riders travel all up to Khardunga La, a mountain pass, more than 17000 feet above sea level. Riding on one of the highest roads in the world adds to the already adventurous journey. Due to being a high-tension zone, the area has a lot of military presence and seeing army trucks, meandering along the roads, in a single file is a sight, worth observing.

Note

A vehicle with a powerful engine and one with high fuel capacity should be chosen as the path involves a lot of ascent. Vehicles with low fuel capacity and less strong engines tend to get incapacitated at extreme altitudes. Riders are also cautioned to keep iron chains, arranged in a circle, ready with them. On soft turf and on snow, the rubber-tyres slip and the chains, woven around the wheels, provide the much-needed grip. Another important thing is that when travellers rest for the night, they should leave the engines of their vehicles on. Doing so, keeps them warm and they do not freeze due to the plummeting temperature.

Caution

Going to such extreme elevations carries with it a lot many health hazards, altitude-sickness, being the most common. As people reach Leh, they should spend a day or two there just to acclimatise before going any higher. The usual symptoms of altitude sickness are headache, nausea, weakness and dizziness and as soon as any of them is felt, medical attention should be sought. The Khardung La pass takes travellers to the valley of the Nubra River with its major town of Diskit. It is becoming quite popular with tourists as it is the site of the famous Buddhist monastery. The area lies close to disputed territories of Aksai Chin and the Siachen Glacier. Owing to it, the Nubra Valley too has a sufficient military presence and those, coming from outside India, are required to get special permits to enter it. At an army check-post just before Khardung La, everyone is required to get their permits and official documents like passports and visas checked and hence, travelling along with them is recommended.

Rising tourism in Leh and Ladakh- Braving the Cold

Ladakh, in the extreme north of India, is among the coldest places on earth. During winters, temperature here falls to as low as -40 degree Celsius and summers are also predominantly cool. Despite the freezing cold, for over 30 years, people have been visiting it. Until 1979, Ladakh existed as a single district and in the mentioned year, it was split into the districts of Leh and Kargil. The number of visitors to this unhindered wilderness is rising and a big chunk of travellers who come to Jammu and Kashmir, venture into this plateau as well. The major areas or regions, which are the most popular among visitors, are Leh – the administrative capital of the Leh district, Dras in Kargil and the valleys of the Shyok, Nubra and Zanskar rivers. In the past, traders from Tibet, across the Himalayas, kept the region always bustling with life, but the Chinese government after capturing Tibet, closed the borders.

 

Trends

 

In the mid-20th century, the plateau remained closed for locals due to the escalating tensions between India and Pakistan. A significant point of this conflict came in 1948 when the Indian Army held on the Siachen Glacier, lying in the north-west of the district. The Indian government finally opened the area for tourists in 1974, perhaps to provide a better livelihood to the mountain-dwellers. In the same year, about 527 people came here, with those from outside the country numbering at 500, making up the majority. Since then the trends have changed vastly and in contemporary times, the Leh District is recording gigantic rise in numbers. According to data collected from local authorities, between 1988 and 2001, 17000 people visited the town on an average annual basis.

 

The highest number in one year during this period is pegged at 25000 in 1988. Owing to the spread of terrorism in the state, Leh in 1991 witnessed an all-time low of less than 10000 visitors. From the next year up till 1999, the number kept increasing gradually and held firmly consistent between 10000 and 20000. Another significant lull came in 1999 in the wake of the infamous Kargil War. Since 2003, the tourist count has again picked up and has been rising steadily. As per reports, in 2010 and till August 2011, the numbers stood at 77800 and 148588, respectively. Many different factors, ranging from elevating peace, better infrastructure and more advanced technology can be attributed to the recent upheaval.

 

Factors

 A) Roads

 

The biggest factor in the growth of tourism in Ladakh has been the improvement in the infrastructure. One of the only two National Highways to link the region with the rest of India is numbered as 1-D. It had always been an important route as it was used extensively for trading between India and Tibet. After the Dogras took the region from the Sikhs, the former people improved the road, allowing caravans to pass. The British government in 1873 sanctioned around INR 2500 for its upkeep. Following the Indo-China war of 1962, the local government started building National Highway 1-D, reaching Kargil by 1964. It was for ten years used exclusively by the army and after it being opened for civilians in 1974, Ladakh has become closer to the country.

B) Internet and Motion Pictures

 

Holiday packages, being offered by the multitude of travel agencies, are also an important factor contributing to the increment. Internet has become one of the indispensable utilities and nowadays, it is filled with travel portals offering all kinds of holiday packages. A stiff competition among the companies to dominate the market has led to the cost of such packages falling continuously. These packages take care of everything like booking of international flights, making reservations in hotels, getting travellers to Ladakh, sightseeing and getting them back. They have made the place easily accessible to all and thus has contributed significantly in the upheaval of tourist activities.

 

The region has been featured in loads of Indian motion pictures, which has further elevated the amount of visitors. Kashmir, especially Srinagar has been used as location in Indian films since the 1950s and in the latter part of the first decade of the 21st century, various attractions of this rugged land are also being used to shoot. A notable recent motion picture is 3 Idiots that featured its final scene at the Pangong Tso Lake, at a height of about 4350 metres above sea level. The part in Bhag Milkha Bhag, depicting the training of the athlete, was also shot in the area.

 

Attending the Hemis Festival in Leh Ladakh

Almost every Ladakh tour takes people to Leh, the largest town in the mighty plateau. The average altitude here is 3500 metres and the weather is always on the cooler side. In summers, the temperature touches an average high of 25 degree Celsius and in winters, the mean low is around -2 degrees. However, the temperature may occasionally touch 30 degree Celsius in summers and drop to below -30 degrees in winters. Despite the rugged topography and extreme cold, people practise agriculture and grow barley as the main crop. Since ancient times, salt, grains, cannabis and wool have been traded from this town, passing along the silk route between India and Tibet. Buddhism is the chief religion of Leh, followed by Hinduism, Islam and Sikhism. Among the tourists attraction in this cold desert are various Buddhist monasteries, Hindu temples, gurdwaras, lakes and museums.

Hemis Monastery: History

Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery

 

The Hemis Monastery is situated in the town of the same name, about 40 km from Leh. According to legends, it has been in existence since the 11th century and was established by Naropa, a Buddhist sage. According to his biography, which was found in the monastery, he was a teacher in the Nalanda University of Bihar. The Turkish and Afghan invasion of the site forced him to leave Nalanda and go towards Ladakh. Tilopa, his teacher, gave him 24 tasks to enlighten him about the frivolities of the material aspects of life. Naropa is hailed as the founder of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism; hence, this monastery is the seat of this Himalayan sect of the faith.

The Festival

Large chunks of tourists visit this place of worship, mainly in June, to attend the festival celebrated in its courtyard. The namesake festival pays homage to Padmasambhava, who is considered an incarnation of Gautama Buddha and is also known as Guru Rinpoche. His purpose of life is generally taken as improving the spiritual well-being of the masses. He was born on the fifth day during the year of the monkey; and so, this day comes once in a 12-year cycle. The celebration of the birthday of Padmasambhava is thought to induce health and strength to revellers. It is held in the huge rectangular courtyard, which is in front of the main entrance of the monastic complex. Early in the morning, the entire town wakes up to the beating of drums, clashing of cymbals and the musical sound of pipes. A huge portrait of Dadmokarpo and many paintings known as thangkas are displayed for everyone to see.

On a raised square platform, a small and painted table on top of a decorated cushion is kept. Ceremonial objects including cups filled with holy water, raw rice, figurines made of flour and butter, and incense sticks are placed on the Tibetan table. A group of musicians plays traditional and ritualistic tunes on trumpets and long pipes, accompanied by cymbals and pan-drums. The best part of this celebration to witness during a Leh Ladakh tour is the colourful mask dance known as Cham. Elaborately-designed masks, symbolising various Buddhist deities and malicious creatures, are worn by the resident monks. Through complex movements, complemented by music, these performances signify the supremacy of goodness.

Paying Reverence to Maitreya Buddha at the Old Diskit Monastery

The Nubra Valley, lying in the north-eastern part of Ladakh, is a small paradise in Jammu and Kashmir. The average elevation of this cold desert is around 10000 feet above sea level. This valley is named after the namesake river, which forms it. The climate here is extremely arid, with little or no precipitation at all. Agriculture is practised in the region around the river, with the major produces being wheat, peas, barley, mustard, walnuts, apples and apricots. It is developing quite rapidly into a preferred destination and a Leh Ladakh tour can be availed to spend a vacation here. Diskit town, Khardunga La mountain pass and Turtuk village are some places that can be explored in the region.

Diskit Monastery

 

The largest and oldest Buddhist shrine in the Nubra Valley, Diskit Monastery was founded in the 14th century by Changzem Tserab Zangpo. This beautiful shrine is situated on a hill, above the Nubra Valley, at an elevation of 10315 feet above sea level. The architecture is typical Buddhist in character; the apartments and other structures being built along the slope of the hill. Tourists enter inside the complex via a flight of stairs, which lead to the main hall of worship. Housed inside is an exquisite statue of Maitreya Buddha, who in religious texts, is mentioned as yet to arrive. A large drum beaten during prayers, festivals and ceremonies is also kept here. On the second floor are paintings and statues of various Buddhist guardian deities. Their heads are masked and are uncovered only during festivals for devotees to seek their blessings.

A dome-like structure here has frescos, which depict the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. The temple also has various Tibetan and Mongolian texts, which speak about the bygone era. A demon is said to have been killed here, and his head and one of the severed hands are believed to be lying in the temple.

At the foothill is located the official residence of Nubra Lama that is dominated by a large statue of Maitreya Buddha. This idol is 32 metres tall and overlooks the valley. Many monks live inside the complex, which is the site of a school.

Desmochhe, also called the Festival of the Scapegoat, is an important festival celebrated at the monastery. It takes place in the month of February, in freezing cold. The biggest attraction here is the traditional mask dance, which draws spectators from near and far. Lamas perform the dances, which signify the victory of good over evil. They are thought to keep ill fates, during the Tibetan New Year, at bay. Balls made of dough are thrown to ward off demons and other evil, and to bestow peace and prosperity upon people.

Relevant Information

Ladakh is among the coldest regions on earth. Its temperature during winters can plummet to as low as -40 degree Celsius. The best time to visit this freezing dry land is in the months of June, July, August and September. Diskit is about 150 km from Leh and the two are connected via road. The National Highway 1D connects Srinagar – the summer state capital – to Leh.