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LEH LADAKH SIGHTSEEING TOUR

Ladakh is the highest plateau of the Indian state of Kashmir with much of it being over 3,000m. It lies between 32 to 36 degree north latitude and 75 to 80 degree east longitude. The total area of 45110sq km makes Ladakh the largest district in India. Ladakh region is bifurcated in Kargil and Leh districts. Kargil lies at an altitude of 2750m and Leh at 3505m. The largest town in Ladakh is Leh.

Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It spans the Great Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River Valley. The district bordered Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the west and China in the north and Eastern part and Lahul Spiti of Himachal Pradesh in the South east. Ladakh’s ethnic composition consisted of Mongoloid and a mixed Indo-Aryan population of Mons and Dards. It is sometimes called little Tibet due to strong cultural and geographical similarities with Tibet. The approach to Ladakh is invariably marked with many long walls running 2-3 kms, decorated with engraved stones bearing the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hun” and Chortens which symbolizes Buddha’s mind.

Around the first century, Ladakh was a part of the Kushana Empire. Buddhism came to western Ladakh via Kashmir in the 2nd century. Buddhism is the religion of the majority of Leh District’s population. The most attractive features of the Landscape of Leh are the Buddhists Gompas ( Monastries). The Gompas are situated on the highest points of the mountain spurs or sprawl over cliffsides, located in vicinity of villages and provide focus for the faith of Buddhists. Gompas have a wreath of artifacts. There are also some religious places of Muslims which constitute slightly more than 15% of the district’s population.


Sightseeing Attractions in Ladakh

Drass (3230 m), 
is situated about 60 kms. west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar. Drass is a small township lying in the centre of the valley of the same name. Drass is the first village after the Zoji La pass. It has become famous as the second coldest inhabited place in the world due to the intense cold and snowfall that descends upon the valley during winters. In winters, the temperature sometimes go down to minus 50 degrees and heavy snow and strong winds cut off the town.

 

Kargil (2704 m), situated about 204 kms from Srinagar in the west and 234 kms from Leh in the east, is the second largest urban centre of Ladakh and headquarters of the district of same name. The town lies nestling along the rising hillside of the lower Suru basin. Two tributaries of the Suru River that meet here are the Drass and Wakha. The broad Kargil basin and its wide terraces are separated from the Mulbekh valley by the 12 kms. long Wakha
Kargil, Ladakh gorge.

 

 The land available along the narrow valley and also the rising hillsides are intensively cultivated in neat terraces which grow barley, wheat, peas, a variety of vegetables and other cereals. Kargil is famous for the fine apricots grown here. In May the entire countryside becomes awash with fragrant white apricot blossoms while August, the ripening fruit lends it an orange hue. A quite town now, Kargil once served as important trading and transit centre on the two routes, from Srinagar to Leh and to Gilgit and the lower Indus Valley. Numerous caravans carrying exotic merchandise of silk, brocade, carpets, felts, tea, poppy, ivory etc. transited in the town on their way to and from China, Tibet, Yarkand and Kashmir. The old bazaar displayed a variety of Central Asian and Tibetan commodities even after the cessation of the Central Asian trade in 1949 till these were exhausted about two decades back. Similarly the ancient trade route passing through the township was lined with several caravanserais.

Leh

Leh, the capital of Ladakh is spreading rapidly in all directions. Leh is situated in a fertile side valley of the Indus river at an altitude of 3521 meters, towards the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir. Since the 17th century Leh has been the capital of the Ladakh region. Leh and Indus Valley are earlier capitals of the region. The centre is about 10 km from the river. It was  developed as an important trading post and market and attracted a wide variety of merchants from Yarkand, Kashgar, Kashmir, Tibet and northern India. Tea, salt, household articles, wool and semi-precious stones were all sold and bought in the city which became a hub for the business traveler to South Asia. While Leh has come a long way from the time when most of the activities took place on its main street, it still retains its pleasant traditional


Leh Gompa, Ladakh  quality. Due to tourism, there are various hotels and guest houses in the city. Tourism has certainly had the impacts on the society of Leh. The best season to visit Leh is from May to November. From traveler by road we recommend to check if the road is open before to proceed. We recommend to carry plenty of warm clothes. When the sun is up it gets quite hot but in the shade it can still be very cold. Leh is a beautiful destination with so many attractions and is the center of Tibeto-Buddhist Culture for ages. Its colorful gompas have attracted the devout Buddhists from all over the globe. Besides, it is also a favorite hiking locale and is known for some of the best hikes in the country.

 

Phugthal
Phugthal is the most spectacularly located monastic establishment in Ladakh. The Phugthal complex spills out of the mouth of a huge cave high up in the sheer mountain face of a lateral gorge through which a major tributary of the southern Lungnak (Lingti-Tsarap) River flows. It is the most isolated monastic establishment of Zanskar and its foundation date back to the early 12th century. One old chappel, among the several of which it is composed, has frescos and ceiling decorations reflecting strong Indian artistic and iconographic influence. Phugthal is accessible from the Padum-Manali trekking route through a 7 km long trail that branches off from the Purney Bridge on the main trail. A visit to Phugthal, including Bardan and Muney monasteries enroute, makes a good 5 days round trek from Padum. This unique monastic establishment is inhabited by a resident community of about 40 monks.

Nubra Valley

The Nubra Valley, once on the trading route that connected eastern Tibet with Turkistan via the famous Karakoram Pass has been opened recently to the tourists. The Nubra Valley literally means the valley of flowers. Nubra Valley is situated in the north of Leh. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 feet above the sea level. The Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit are the main villages of Nubra valley. At first glance, the valley seems parched and dry, but this is prime farming Nubra Valley, Ladakh land by Ladakhi standard. 

The main attraction of the Nubra valley is Bactarian Camels (double hump Camel). These camels can be seen around sand dunes. Other attractions include Deskit, Samstanling monasteries and Khardung la Pass (18,380 feet) above sea level. For tourists its ideal to spend here two to three nights. However, you do need a permit, which only allows travel as far as Hunder and Panamik for a maximum of seven days. You must handover the photocopies of your permit on both sides of the Khardung La and also by the bridge to Sumur.


Padum

Basking under an endless sky, Padum is the capital of Zanskar, but don't expect more than a few dusty streets and a bus stand. Around Padum, the zanskar valley shimmers in the wan desert light. Yaks and Dzo graze calmly in the fields and the plain is dotted with small farms and villages. Padum has a little town mosque, catering to a small community of Sunni Muslims amd two ruined gompas. A short walk across the valley is the medieval monastery at Pibiting, topped by a massive chorten with views over the plain. Like a smear of whitewash on the mountainside across from Padum, Karsha Gompa is Zanskar's largest and oldest Buddhist monastery, dating back to at least the 10th century. Around 150 monks maintain the gompa, helped by the French charity Solidarijeune. There are two main chambers, both containing the stunning murals and old trasures.

The annual Chaam dances are held in the July as part of the three day Gustor festival. You can reach the gompa from Padum by car or a two hours walk across the exposed plain to the new bridge over the Zanskar river. There are more historic gompas in the small villages of Pishu, Stongde and Zangla, accessible by car or on foot from Padum. a more challenging destination is the isolated gompa of Phuktal, squeezed into a cave clinging to the side of the near vertical Shadi gorge. Inside you can see a sacred spring and some 700 year old murals in the Alchi style. The gompa can only be reached by walking, typically as part of the Padum to Darcha trek.

Sankoo

Sankoo, about 42 kms south of Kargil is a picturesque area surrounded by colorful rocky mountains. Sankoo is a new town with a small bazaar and numerous villages around. Dense plantations of poplars, willows, myricarea and wild roses fill the bowl shaped valley, giving it the ambience of a man-made forest tucked within the mountain ramparts. Two side valleys drained by large tributary streams of the Suru river, the Kartse flowing from the east and the Nakpochu descending from the west, open up on either side of the expanse. The Karste Valley runs deep into the eastern mountains mass with a large number of isolated villages tucked within its course. The 4-day trek between Sankoo and Mulbek follows this valley. The route passes through some very beautiful alpine areas on the way to the 4950 m high Rusi-la. The high altitude settlement of Safi and its mixed Buddhist-Muslim population is struck between the Rusi-la and the Shafi-la over which the final leg of the trek passes before entering the Mulbek valley. A southward diversion from the foot of the Rusi-la leads to Rangdum across the glaciated Rangdum pass where the Karste River rises. The 3-day trek to Drass across the Umba-la (3350 m) follows the western valley.

Suru Valley

The Suru Valley is one of the most beautiful areas of Ladakh and a rather recent addition to the tourism map of Ladakh. The Suru Valley forms the mainstay of Kargil district. Lying nestled along the north-eastern foothills of the great Himalayan Wall, it extends from Kargil town, first southward for a length of about 75 kms Upto the expanse around Panikhar, hence eastward for another stretch of nearly 65 kms upto the foot of the Penzila watershed  Suru Valley, Ladakh where the Suru valley rises. The hills of Suru Valley are cultivated intensively than anywhere else in Ladakh. Enough snow and water during the winters and fertile land makes it possible to yield two crops annually.

The valleys are especially picturesque in spring when the apple, apricot and mulberry trees are all in bloom and in autumn when they are laden with fruits. Its composite population of about 30,000 - mainly of Tibetan-Darad descent, are Muslims who had converted their Buddhist faith around the middle of the 16th century. At Thangbu, a little village, the traveler gets a first glimpse of the spectacular Nun (7135 m) – Kun(7935 m) massif which loom over the skyline in their crystalline majesty. Pahikhar, about 12 kms. away is the base for treks to Kashmir and Kishtwar. The road goes past the glaciers of the Nun-Kun massif to descend to Rangdum gompa with a little stream forming a moat around it, looks like an ancient fort protecting the valley. Only the basic accommodation is available at most of the tourist spots of Suru Valley.

 
 
  SIGHTSEEING IN KASHMIR
 
  SRINAGAR SIGHTSEEING TOUR
  GULMARG SIGHTSEEING TOUR
  PAHALGAM SIGHTSEEING TOUR
  SONAMARG SIGHTSEEING TOUR
  YOUSMARG SIGHTSEEING TOUR
  LEH & LADAKH SIGHTSEEING TOUR
 

TREKKING IN KASHMIR

 


Sonamarg Trekking 

Sonamarg is the staging point for some of the most popular treks in the higher altitudes. A pleasant one day excursion from Sonamarg is to the Thajiwas glacier, 8 km away, and approachable by a pony over a well maintained track. The most popular trek originating from Sonamarg is the Kashmir Lake Trek. It covers the lakes of Gangabal, Vishansar, Kishansar, and close to the Harrnukh peak. The trail first crosses the Nichinai Pass (13 ,387 ft) and then enters the alpine valleys that eventually lead to the Gangabal Lake. Vishansar, Vishnu's Lake, is just over 12,000 ft and slightly larger than the 12,500 ft Kishansar, Krishna's Lake. Gangabal lake is the highlight of this trip. Protected by the three peaks of Mount Harrnukh, Gangabal is 5 miles in circumference and offers the finest trout fishing anywere in Kashmir

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Thajiwas trekking

The Thajiwas trekking can be done in 6 days starting with Thajiwas glacier and moving ahead covering Nichnai and then Vishnasar to Krishansar Lake and then to Gadsar to Poshpatri and finally to Gangabal Lake. The day by day trek plan is as follows -
An important point should be considered before planning for Thajiwas trekking tour. Since this is a hardcore 6 days trekking and night is to be spent in tents so trekkers should first get their routine medical check-up before picking up for this adventurous trek. It could get difficult for a person having diabetic, BP problem, asthma or any other health problem. Moreover some initial training for staying in a tent and living on your own in some hard conditions along with basic initiative health related information should be there with the trekker.
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Pahalgam Trekking Route

One of the famous trekking routes is towards the Kolahoi glacier via Aru. And also on the way to Amarnath cave up till Sonamarg can be trekked. The equipments required for camping are very easily available in Pahalgam. Another popular trekking route is from Sonamarg to Pahalgam and also routes towards Chandanwari and Sheshnag lake can be used for treks. Pahalgam is the base camp for several excursions and expeditions like Kolahari glacier, Sonamarg, Amarnath cave, Sheshnag and much more.

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