After a wonderful trip to south, I explored the northern part of India. A travel tale of a travel lover girl, who was set to visit to the north and successfully completed her dream place in the journey of 7 days.
My trip to Ladakh was long awaited one. And some Bollywood movies scenes from 3 idiots, Jab tak hain jaan, Race 3 etc. made me more desperate to visit this heaven. And in the last week of May, I finally got an opportunity to travel Ladakh with office colleagues and this trip has given me the beautiful memories worth a lifetime.I have made a simple 7 days Itinerary which covers almost all the tourist places and can be used as a reference for many people who are planning a trip to Leh- Ladhak.
Leh Ladakh Here we come…
We started our journey from Mumbai airport in the morning at 4 am. It was 2.30 hours journey from Mumbai to Leh airport. While we were in the flight, there was dazzling endless views of the snowy Himalayas. Damn…It was so alluring!
10 minutes to landing the Pilot came on advising all travelers to take precautions to avoid mountain sickness. People travelling to Ladakh are more susceptible to mountain sickness due to the sudden altitude changes.
We landed at Leh Airport in morning at 6.30 am. We already started feeling the changes in attitude. I walked into the airport where a recorded announcement once again warned against AMS (nausea, vomiting etc.) and recommended to stay away from various things like: Physical exertion or exercise amid our first 24 hours, taking sleeping pills, or consuming alcohol, Smoke for 24 hours.
Our driver was waiting for us to pick up at the airport. So without wasting too much time, we head out to our hotel Dimbri, We all took direct flight to Leh, so our local travel guide asked us to take some rest for at least one day. But we can go on a short trip to Shanti Stupa, Leh local market etc.
After having some rest and a light breakfast in the evening, we headed towards Shanti Stupa, a face of Ladakh, situated at a height of 4267 meters and located at distance of about 5km from Leh city.
Shanti Stupa is one of the magnificent Tibetan structures, and was constructed in the year 1991 by Japanese Buddhist, Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. The Stupa is a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh. The Stupa is spread over two levels. First level has Buddha idol, and second features relics depicting the “birth” of Buddha, the death of Buddha (Mahanirvana) and Buddha “defeating the devils” while meditating.
“Stupa offers pleasant views of its wonderful surroundings and draws the significant attention of thousands of tourists every year. Facing towards the Leh Palace, the Stupa overlooks the entire vibrant and bright city of Leh and offers panoramic view of the Changspa town as well.
Local Tibetan Market
One of the features of travelling to new places is sampling the local food and bringing back souvenirs to remind you of your holiday. And Leh will surely not disappoint you on this.
Tibetan handcrafts items such as Prayer wheels, Buddhist masks; Tibetan silver and traditional Ladakhi jewellery with turquoise and winter garments are very popular with tourists.
Leh Tibetan Bazaar have their own charm and you can spend hours simply browsing through the curios and souvenirs available here.
Hall of fame museum
The Hall of Fame museum located on the Leh-Kargil Road, approx 4 km from the main city. This historical museum was built in memory of the brave soldiers who lost their lives battling for India at the Indo-Pakistan war. Maintained by the Indian Army, the museum displays seized arms and amenities of Pakistani Army, pictures and biographies of brave soldiers.
This museum remains open from 9 A.M to 1 P.M. and from 2 P.M. to 7 P.M. And you need to purchase an entry ticket Rs 50 and if you wish to capture the glory on camera then an additional Rs 100 needs to be paid.
This is the only place in ladakh which kept open for visitors throughout the year.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
In the land of Buddhism and beautiful serene monasteries, a Gurudwara on Kargil Leh Highway will make you peer closely to ensure you are seeing right. The place is surrounded by typical Ladakh Mountains.
Devoted to Guru Nanak Devi Ji, the founder of Sikh Religion, the holy place flawlessly remembers his visit to Ladakh. The place is laden with history and has an extremely interesting story about Guru Nanak.
A stop at Gurudwara en route to Magnetic Hill is a must for every traveler. This place is such a calm and serene to visit. There are bandhanas to cover your head before entering. They also serve food and chai which is so tasty. Don’t miss out on it.
Situated at a separation of 30 km from Leh city on the Leh-Kargil Highway is a small stretch of road that challenges the wonder of gravity. Blessed with amazing natural beauty and mysterious magnetic abilities, traveler stops here to to experience the strange, gravity-defying phenomenon.
There is a yellow box marked on the road which indicates that the vehicle must be parked in neutral gear. When parked at the indicated spot, car begins moving forward at a speed of almost 20km/h.
ATV bike rides can be done this spot on the hill behind the road. They will charge you Rs 1200 /- pp for 4 km ATV ride. A ride was worth to experience the different adventure.
Magnetic hill an ideal photography haunt, wherein visitors can click photos of the surroundings. Some people are not aware about this place and just pass through here. But the ones who stop their vehicle to verify whether what they heard was true or just a made-up story.
Spituk monastery is one of the spectacular religious communities in Northern India. It is a Buddhist monastery in Leh and located 8 Km from Leh.
This monastery offers a scenic beauty of nature. It is surrounded by green pastures and mountains to as far as you can see. People visit this place not only for the monastery but also cherish the spectacular view of Indus River. We also got amazing views of the entire Leh Valley including Leh Airport and Hall of Fame from the top.
The monastery is the oldest and famous monastery in the Ladakh. It is famous for its color and architecture too. This monastery has many ancient Statues but their faces are covered throughout the year and uncovered only once in a year during the festival time. Photography is prohibited inside the monastery. but you can click photos of beautiful views. This must visit spot in leh.
White water rafting at Sangam
There are some places, you can’t avoid.. And this place is one of that for me. A fantastic experience in Leh is river rafting at sangam point. Leh offers rafting on two rivers – rafting on the Zanskar River and Indus River. I have done rafting at Kolad before, which was quite amazing but I always wanted to do this adventure in mountain covered. And i finally got a chance to do rafting at the place I wanted!
Total length of 14 km river rafting is divided in two parts, the upstream is 8 km, the main rapid rafting point and downstream 6 Km water is still. This rafting area is from Chilling to Nimmu. The duration of rafting is 2 hours.
They brought up us to the rafting point at chilling, which took 30 minutes to reach. While reaching to the rafting starting point you will be amazed to see the scenic and wonderful area loaded with beauty of river, a union of blue water of Indus River and brown water Zanskar River. It resembles a beautiful painting, difficult to take one’s eyes of…!
When we reach the point and got out to the car, saw the beauty of the outside nature; we did not believe our eyes. The sound of Water, the pleasing view and wind could make you fly!
Before starting the river rafting, we got s from instructor. The water was calm, clear and peaceful. There were some rapids on the route which was quite difficult because of cold climate. It was a unique and memorable experience of rafting between two hills. A huge mountains and steady flow of river, where you will feel the real essence of life.
You cannot believe in your eyes that this place is in India. Great experience! This is the place you must visit once you are in Leh.
Enrouts to Nubra valley on 3rd day , we passed through Khardung La pass, which is the highest motorable pass in the world.
Situated at an altitude of 18,379 ft. above the sea level, this place makes one feel on the top of the world. It lies between Nubra valley and Leh in Ladakh. According to the ‘Border roads organisation’ this is the world’s topmost motorable road which is lies at a distance of 39 km from the Leh.
Thrilling ride amidst snow, charming view, and tricky street and a journey was the most beautiful part; it’s like a pure heaven. Those white snow covered mountains offering the picturesque view. And the view from the top is stunning. The climate is very windy and chilling.
The temperatures at Khardung La keep on fluctuating rapidly. It is really difficult to predict the correct temperature here. When we reached top, a temperature was -10℃ and suddenly started heavy rainfall. I must say, we could not stay there more than 10 mins. However visiting this place take guts to reach the top, as it’s not advisable to those people who has breathing problems.
Nubra valley located in North east of Ladakh and situated in Diskit village which is 120 Kms from Leh. The valley through which river flows in the midst of Monster Mountains has numerous landscapes scenes which left fascinating. Numbra valleys offer tremendous scenery on a grand scale, surrounded by greenery.
Climbing to very high altitude of Khardung La from Leh and then sleeping at low altitude of Nubra Valley which was very special and have never experienced before in my life. A snow covered mountain in Khardungla , greenery in Nubra and Sand dunes, you will see all three things in a day while going to Nubra village.
Just before entering the sand dunes we had an ATV ride that costs us RS 1000 per bike. ATV ride in nubra is far better than Magnetic hill ATV ride.
I would suggest doing ATV rides in Nubra instead of doing at magnetic hill.Climbing to very high altitude of Khardung La from Leh and then sleeping at low altitude of Nubra Valley which was very special and have never experienced before in my life. A snow covered mountain in Khardungla , greenery in Nubra and Sand dunes, you will see all three things in a day while going to Nubra village.
A night stay at Nubra will not just delight you, but make you feel complete and at peace with yourself.
After a leisurely breakfast, we left for Leh, via Khardungla. Stunning drive, yet again!
Sand dunes are another lovely place to see. Sand Dunes Park at Nubra valley is the only major attraction of the Nubra valley, but one must visit this place while visiting Ladakh. We skipped camel ride as we all are animal lover. So instead of hurting them we enjoyed in sand dunes and took some photographs. The harsh mountains and white sand was amazing to capture the best moments in your cameras. Great place to have wonderful pictures of your dreams.
The main and unique attraction of Diskit monastery is a tremendous statue of Lord Buddha on the top of it. Diskit Monastery is also known as Diskit Gompa. This Buddhist center is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Leh Ladakh. Travelers love to experience the glorious view of Nubra valley from the top of the monastery where the statue is installed.
Chang la pass
A journey to Pangong Lake will stay one of the most memorable travel experiences. The view of the valleys was priceless. During journey to Pangong Lake, you have to travel by the third highest motorable mountain pass in the world, “Changla pass”, situated at an altitude of 5,360 meters above sea level and at an elevation of 17,586 ft. Here, the temperature dropped impressively even on a bright day. Crossing these passes with snow capped mountains, desert landscape and view of valley add to the adventure of Leh Ladakh travel. We experienced snow, fog, rain all at the same time. The entire route is filled with amazing views and foggy clouds which is the most glorious experience in my life.
We learned some lesson during our Khardungla visit, we stay 5 for mins at this spot, took a deep breath and captured some pictures and back to the car. It worked really well, no headache, no vomiting, and no issues. And then, continued our journey to Pangong Lake.
You should simply take a five hour drive from Leh to reach Pangong Lake. The beautiful and sparkling blue lake is situated near Leh-Ladakh in the Himalayas, approximately at the height of 4350 meters. Owing to its altitude, the temperature here reaches from -5°C to -10°C as a result of which the lake freezes completely. A unique feature of the lake is that it doesn’t stay blue throughout the year or even the day, rather it changes colors from purplish blue to light blue to green and grey too! And this spot has also been a most loved among many photographers.
The wonderful beauty, crystal stone waters and gentle hills of Pangong Lake are a remarkable example of the beautiful scene of the region. This lake is such a calm beauty and in the day it seems like the colors have thrown in the lake like shower painting. Pangong Lake is a home for many birds in summer; you can witness many ducks surfing. We have also spotted some wild horses and yaks on one of the green valleys. This place got fame after 3 idiot movie shoot. A last scene was shot at Pangong Lake.
We stayed overnight in a camp on the shore of the lake. We had a born fire at night near the tent. Had some drink, dance..Then our group had bonded so well. And we began to enjoy each other’s company.
You make sure to carry a lot of winter clothes if you are staying overnight. The atmosphere is cold and after sunrise it gets harsher.
The beauty of Pangong Lake cannot describe in words… It has to be seen, felt and captivated within you. I feel lucky to visit this place, the whole sight literally made me feel speechless. Don’t miss a visit here otherwise your eyes will miss the beauty of nature.
After having an early breakfast, we head out of Leh – Ladakh and on our way back, we stop at the Hemis Monastery which is hardly 7 km from Karu.
Hemis is a Tibetan monastery belongs to the Drukpa Lineage. The monastery has quite gold statues and Stupa is decorated with precious stone. The Monastery also has a museum within its premises where some historical and religious paintings, weapons are displayed in the Museum.
Hemis is the most beautiful place in Ladakh where young Lama’s are trained for the royal monasteries.
Rancho School – Druk white lotus School
Apart from experience the ancient monastic, valleys, lake you can also visit Rancho’s school of 3 Idiots’ in Ladakh. Rancho is the name of Bollywood actor Amir Khan in the Movie “3 Idiots”. There is nothing to say wow about this place. Visitors are only allowed to see 1 wall of the school where the shooting of 3 idiot’s movie happened. You aren’t allowed to speak to the students.
I would personally suggest you to skip this spot and remove from your itinerary.
Leh palace known as the “Lhachen Palkhar” is a former royal palace of the Leh Kingdome. Located in Leh city, this palace is one of the tallest buildings of its time with nine stories. In the exhibition hall of the palace, there are old paintings and picture. Some of the paintings are as old as 450 years and were created using colors that were made from powdered gems and stones. You can also spot the collection for royal jewelry and ornaments. And from the top, the view of Stok Kangri, Ladakh mountain.ranges and Leh city are simply breathtaking.
With lots of memories, it was a time to say bye to Leh and fly back to Mumbai.
If you are a nature lover, want to see a glimpse of heaven…Ladakh is a perfect place to visit.
There Is much to see, much to cherish and much to enjoy in nature. We got some unforgettable memories from a trip to Leh, so will you?