Ladakh or the ‘Land of High Passes’ is barren yet beautiful region located in Jammu and Kashmir state in northern India. Cut off from the rest of the country for major part of the year, Ladakh shares its east border with Tibet, Lahaul and Spiti to the south and Valley of Kashmir to its west.
Strategically placed on ancient trade routes, Ladakh lies between the Kunlun Mountains in the north and the Himalayas in the south.
In the past the region comprised of Baltistan valleys, the Indus Valley, Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti, Aksai Chin and Ngari which included Rudok and Guge and Nubra Valley. The main inhabitants of the region are of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent. Majority of Ladakhis are Tibetan Buddhists and the rest are mainly Shia Muslims.
The beauty of Ladakh – snowcapped peaks, clean blue sky and vistas of barren mountains broken only by blue meandering rivers – has attracted the intrepid traveller since the region was opened to tourists in the 1970s.
Tourism is the main source of livelihood for Ladakhis. Indian Army maintains a strong presence in Ladakh due to its strategic location.
Ladakh is a favourite with trekking and mountaineering enthusiasts. The scenic beauty, rugged terrain, majestic mountains and the challenge of roughing it out, has been a heady cocktail for those looking for a rush of adrenalin.
Because of its remote location and high altitude, Ladakh is not for those looking for a quick holiday. You need time on your hands and oodles of patience. Time, as you need a while to get acclimatized. Modernity is yet to reach the region which has helped preserve its natural, rustic splendour.
WHERE TO STAY
There are a plethora of options for accommodation in Ladakh to suit every budget. From family run establishments, to guest houses to budget hotels to rooms in monasteries, Ladakh offers it all.
The maximum options are available in Leh with accommodation options ranging from guest houses in Changsva, budget hotels near the Central Library in Leh to luxury hotels on Old Sheynam Road.
Camps and hikers huts are a common feature in Nubra, Changthang and Drok-pa area during the summer months. Tourist camps spring up every season in Korzok village too.
WHERE TO EAT
From street-side stalls, restaurants, cafes to garden restaurants, Ladakh offers several options in terms of places to eat. A wide variety of cuisine from Tibetan, Korean, Chinese, Indian and Continental cuisine are also available. While in Ladakh, do not forget to try the local specialties like Momos and Marchwangan Korma. And do try the local tea made from yak’s butter.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Ladakh is as given below. The best time to visit Ladakh is also specified.