The isolated beauty of Ladakh beckons many a traveller who wants to revel in the joy of the open skies, the towering and looming mountains and the fantastical landscape that is spread out like a feast. There are quite a few places to visit in Ladakh that will simply take your breath away. Starkly different from the rest of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh is a region that is all its own.
Apart from the places to visit in Leh Ladakh, there is also a great scope for adventure sports such as trekking and white-water river rafting here. Here’s a list of some of the best places to visit in Ladakh.
If you’ve decided which of these places to visit in Leh Ladakh, then do remember to check the SOTC website for some great offers and deals to make your Ladakh trip all the more memorable. Also check out amazing Kashmir holidays on offer.
One of the most beautiful places to visit in Leh Ladakh in June is Zanskar Valley. Many people come here in cars or on bikes to experience the thrill of driving or riding through this challenging terrain. It is simply an unforgettable experience. The roads here are navigable but extremely tricky. Once you reach Zanskar, you will be amazed by the clear blue streams, lakes and the glaciers which seem close enough to touch.
Nubra Valley’s beauty can be described as surreal and unearthly. This is one of the recommended places to visit in Leh Ladakh in July because the weather is pleasant and enjoyable. Most of the other time, the climate is too cold to enjoy. There are plenty of places to see here – Diskit, an isolated town on the edge of a desert feels serene and peaceful. You can also visit other nearby places like Somoor and Panamik. Being in Nubra Valley is a revelation. To understand how people can lead such a cocooned, yet difficult existence is an eye-opener. There are hot springs on the outskirts of Panamik exude an inviting warmth and are great for a dip.
Around 18km away from Leh is the Spituk Gompa, one of the most spectacular monasteries in North India. Spituk is located near the Indus River and sits atop a hill. The views from here are compelling and spellbinding. Inside the monastery, there is a huge throne and an old chapel with images of the Buddha. There are around a hundred monks who live here in the monastery. The beautiful carvings of the monastery, truly an architectural delight, makes it one of the most beautiful places to visit in Ladakh.
Known to be the largest national park in India, the Hemis National Park is home to several snow leopards and is definitely one of the most-recommended places to visit in Ladakh. The park doesn’t have much vegetation and there’s quite a bit of snow near the mountains. During summer, there’s also a bit of flooding because of the melting of glaciers. There are quite a few animals in the dry region – Great Tibetan sheep, blue sheep, Ladakhi Urial and of course, the snow leopards. Other animals include Tibetan wolf, red fox, Eurasian brown bear and Himalayan marmot to name a few. This is definitely one of the places to visit in Leh Ladakh for nature and animal lovers.
Another of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh would be the Magnetic Hill. It is located 30 km from Leh on the Leh-Kargil Highway. This place is a huge draw because of the jaw-dropping feats of the magnetic hill which draws stationary vehicles up the slope, defying gravity. Travellers from all over the world have experienced this phenomenon and it proves to be a popular attraction. Whether it’s an optical illusion or actual magnetic force, no one really knows but it’s certainly a cool thing to see. Remember to carry snacks and water with you as this area doesn’t have any restaurants or eating joints.
Shanti Stupa is one of the most important places to visit in Leh Ladakh. This peaceful monastery located in Leh’s Chanspa is simply magnificent. People often come here to watch the glorious sunsets and sunrises and the views are spectacular. The white-domed stupa is spread over two levels. The first level houses the Buddha statue while the other level showcases the life of Buddha from birth until death. You have to climb 500 steps up the hilltop to reach this beautiful Stupa. This is one of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh in July.
One of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh is the Hemis Monastery. It is a picturesque monastery located 45 km from Leh. Hemis sits on a mountain on the west bank of the Indus. The monastery is affiliated to the Red Sect of Buddhism. During one of the most famous festivals of Ladakh – Hemis Festival, several paintings or Thangkas are exhibited here. The monastery is renowned for its spectacular architecture. There are two large statues here – one of Lord Buddha and one of Guru Rimpoche. During the Hemis Festival, one of the things to enjoy would be the Masked Dance or the Cham Dance.
One of the most exciting places to visit in Leh Ladakh is the Khardung La Pass. It is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. The views here are spectacular. This is an important road, especially for the Indian Army as it is used to transport various necessities to the Siachen Glacier. This is a favourite spot for bikers who love adventure and travel here on bikes under the blue open skies. This isn’t an easy trip, but one that is simply unforgettable.