Ladakh, India is one of the few regions for a summer Himalayan trek!
Leh, the capital of Ladakh in Northern India, is only an hour’s flight away from Delhi. For the more adventurous, and don't suffer from motion sickness, you can opt for a bone-jarring 22 hour plus bus ride. The stunning scenery on this drive has to be done once in life! Ladakh means land of high mountain passes. The Buddhist monasteries, spectacular pastel colored deserts, jagged peaks and colorful prayer flags flapping in the wind are Ladakh’s characteristics.
Although stark, Ladakh’s landscape is magically colorful. The summer is green in the valleys with snowmelt streams feeding the green pastures and fields of crops. Brilliant colors of the prayer flags flutter on the roofs of traditional whitewashed houses. The bright sun shines intensely nearly throughout the year in Ladakh making it sensible to use solar Para boilers to boil water or to cook. It shares its borders with China and Pakistan. India has had wars with both, which makes Ladakh a militarily strategic area. It was opened for overland travel in 1974 when the tensions lessened with China. The local population and military presence stand about in equal numbers – 250,000 each. Ladakh once a Kingdom and an essential part of the Silk route is now part of Jammu and Kashmir state. The Ladakhis are an exciting mixture of Tibetan, Central Asian, and Indo Aryan. It became part of Independent India in 1948.
Ladakh is one of the few areas in the Himalayas that sits in the rain shadow where the mighty mountains block the monsoon clouds of the Indian Sub-continent from passing through. Ladakh is fast becoming a playground for the fans of Himalayan Adventure holidays during the summer season. Having said that they do get “freak rain falls” every few years. In 2010, she witnessed a catastrophic flash flood in which close to 200 people were killed in Leh. You can walk on ancient paths through Buddhist villages with Tibetan architecture, which brings you back in time.
On the way to Leh Palace, you will encounter numerous Tibetan refugees selling prayer flags, turquoise and coral jewelry alongside the Kashmiri merchants who offer pashminas and beautiful silk carpets.
The Leh Palace was a crumbling ruin until it was refurbished recently. The re-renovated Palaces with its sloping, buttressed walls and overhanging wooden balconies stand majestically over the city of Leh. Carved lion heads guard the entrance of the palace, and the throne room is painted with tigers and Buddhist murals maintaining its ancient grandeur.
You will be greeted with “Jullay” by smiling locals while strolling in the market/bazaar area. “Jullay” is Ladakh’s traditional greeting, which is used for all times of the day. It can mean – “Hello,” “Thank you,” “Goodbye.” Most visitors to Leh visit Hemis Monastery, which is an hour drive south of Leh. Hemis is one of the most important monasteries of Ladakh and on the ride back to Leh, most tourists stop to visit Thiksey monastery as well. The Thiksey monastery sits on top of a hill with its whitewashed temples with magnificent paintings. One can walk from temple to temple with the scent of burning incense, butter lamps and if you are there early in the morning or the evening, you might even hear the monks chanting. The main attraction of Thiksey monastery is the two-story high Maitreya Buddha statue.
Another popular acclimatization tour is the walkthrough fields lined with poplars and willow trees to the fortress and monastery at Shey, once the king's summer palace.
The popularity of the Ladakh’s natural beauty has increased the number of visitors from the West as a choice for summer trekking vacations. There is a growing number of hotels and guest houses in Leh. Ladakh’s popularity has grown tremendously with a domestic tourist after a movie that had scenery from Ladakh became a super hit. Previously the tourist season used to be in July and August. Now with the new economic boom in India, it has become an all year destination.
Some treks we offer in Ladakh
The treks from Jingchen to the Markha Valley
The Zanskar Trek
The Sham trek also is known as Likir to Temisgam trek
Other articles on Ladakh:
10 Amazing Festivals of Ladakh
Amazing Photos of Ladakh that will entice you to go trekking.
People of Ladakh
Monasteries to stay and unwind in Ladakh
Best reasons to visit Ladakh
Six best treks in Ladakh
Buddhist Mask dances by Tibetan monks
Travel Guide to Ladakh
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