India's own Moonland
Ladakh is a union territory located in the Kashmir region of India. Ladakh is unlike any other place on earth between the Siachen Glacier and the Great Himalayas. Ladakh is dominated by dramatic landscapes and the world’s coldest desert.
It is a tumult of elaborate murals and red-robed monks in Ladakh, where gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries) flutter with prayer flags. A man suffering frostbite and sunstroke simultaneously in Ladakh is the only place in the world where this can happen. With a culture like Tibetan culture, the people of Ladakh are friendly and hospitable to tourists. You need to balance your soul with the elements of Mother Nature, and Ladakh is the best place to beat mental fatigue and that of your soul. Take a holiday this winter to relax, sleep, eat and repeat! And to avoid exploring destinations.
And there is nothing like what Caravan in India offers for an outdoor “adventure holiday”. At the same time, you enjoy the intimate interaction with Mother Nature and the social distance at “caravan camping” is the best step to solitude with loved ones.
For those constantly confused about the difference between these twin places, Leh-Ladakh, here is something that might help you. Ladakh is divided into two districts: the Leh district and the Kargil district. Formerly, this district had a famous town called “Leh”. It is a major tourist attraction because of the beautiful monasteries nearby, the Shanti Stupa, and the Leh Bazaar, which define the place’s culture.
Tourist attractions of Leh and Ladakh
Pangong Lake, the most trending tourist attraction in Ladakh, is an endorheic (landlocked) lake at 4350 meters altitude. It is commonly referred to as Pangong Tso and stretches from India to Tibet. Almost 60% of Lake Pangong lies in the Tibet Autonomous Region. A distinctive feature of the lake is that it does not stay blue all year round but changes colour from sky blue to light blue to green and grey! The lake is known among tourists as Ladakh Lake, where the Bollywood film “3 Idiots” was shot. You can park your caravan on the shores of the lake and enjoy campfires and barbecues with your family.
Khardung La Pass
Khardung La, also called Khardzong La, is a high mountain pass in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, near Leh. It serves as a gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. The Khardung La is the highest motorable road in India, with an altitude of 5602 meters. However, contrary to widely held belief, the actual altitude is 5359 meters, making the Dungri La the highest motorable road pass in India. The Khardung La Pass is an ideal excursion destination for adventure seekers, peace seekers and mountain bike fans.
The pass is crucial for India as supplies to the Siachen Glacier are transported through it. From the top, you have a picturesque view of the Karakoram Range and the Himalayas.
Nubra Valley – “Orchard of Ladakh.”
The Nubra Valley is in the Union Territory of Ladakh, about 140 km from Leh. It lies on the ancient Silk Road. Enjoy your caravan ride along the Silk Road, the Shyok and Nubra rivers meander through the valley, and there are some beautiful monasteries.
Hundar in the Nubra Valley, with its barren mountains in the background, is famous for its rides on Bactrian camels. Bactrian camels are one of the rarest species, having two humps, and were the main means of transport on the Silk Road. The Diskit Monastery in the Nubra Valley is famous for the 32-metre-high Maitreya Buddha statue near the monastery. Most tourists travel from Leh to the Nubra Valley via Khardung La, where there are many activities, such as ATV rides and ziplining.
The Shanti Stupa in Leh is a splendid white Buddhist monument perched on a steep hilltop at a dizzying height of 11,841 feet. It is a religious site for Buddhists as it houses the Buddha’s relics, which the 14th Dalai Lama consecrated. The 14th Dalai Lama consecrated it. It is also popular with tourists as it offers sweeping views of Leh and the nearby village of Changspa. The Shanti Stupa looks particularly beautiful on the night of the full moon when it is naturally illuminated by moonlight.
The Shanti Stupa is ideal for those who seek peace by offering prayers to God and those who want to be enchanted by the wondrous beauty of nature.
Lake Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri Lake is the largest high mountain in India and is located at an altitude of 4,595 meters. It is between Ladakh and Tibet in the Changtang region and is a twin of Lake Pangong. This lake offers a picturesque place of peace and tranquility flanked by mountains. It is about 28 km long (from north to south) and 8 km wide. A permit for the inner line is required to visit Tso Moriri.
A few birds can be seen at Tso Moriri, such as the naked-headed goose, great crested grebe, Brahmin duck and brown-headed gull. Himalayan hares are also abundant here. The lake is also called ‘mountain lake’, surrounded by 2000-metre peaks that shield it from the outside world.
The enchanting Zanskar Valley is in the Kargil district in eastern Ladakh (about 105 km). It is called Zahar or Zanskar by the locals and is separated from Ladakh by the Zanskar mountain range, which is part of the Tethys Himalayas. Zanskar is known for its rugged landscape and is mostly travelled for trekking and river rafting.
The easiest way to reach Zanskar is from Kargil through the Suru Valley. The semi-desert region is flanked by snow-capped mountains and sparkling clean rivers and boasts unique flora and fauna. The challenging Chadar Trek is the only way to go Zanskar in the winter months from December to February.
Things to do in Leh and Ladakh:
Leh-Ladakh, as mentioned earlier, is a must-visit for all photography lovers – especially Astro photographers! The main reason Ladakh is so popular with Astro photographers is the clear night skies complementing the scenic beauty. The sky is usually not so evident in the cities due to pollution.
Experience the thrilling river rafting in the Zanskar River
River rafting is one of the most adventurous and exciting things you can do in Leh Ladakh. Ladakh’s white water rivers, including the Zanskar, are considered one of the best rafting destinations in India. However, be aware that this is only possible in summer. The water is still cold enough to freeze you to death should you fall in. Only if you are planning extreme adventure sports in Ladakh should you go for this trip on the river.
Experience the exciting Chadar Trek
The Chadar Trek, as it is popularly known, is a trek across frozen rivers. The trek across the Zanskar River is the most popular and is often done in large groups of adventure seekers. The Chadar trek is usually done in November when the river is frozen and safe to walk on while the rest of the environment is still friendly enough to let you survive. This is one of the most challenging and adventurous treks.
Experience the Bactarian Camel Safari
How about being seduced by a camel ride amidst magnificent dunes? These camels are not even the ordinary ones you must have seen in Rajasthan or pictures. They are Bactrian camels, which have two humps and were the primary means of transport on the Silk Road.
Experience anti-gravity in Magnetic Hill
The science behind the phenomenon is unknown, but it has been observed that if you leave your vehicle at the bottom of the hill with the brakes released, it will slowly move uphill by itself. Magic? Not. It is simply the superpowers you get when you reach this place;