Why travel international, when paradise is closer home. Jaya Siva Murty shares how you can mark this summer vacation with a top of the world experience.
A riot of colours beckon from the other side of the country. Leh and Ladakh, renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty, welcoming cool temperatures and unmistakable fresh air are calling. It’s a perfect time to escape the dreaded summer and embrace the Himalayas. Known to be one of the most travel-friendly destinations in the country, Ladakh is beautiful and offers enchanting scenery that one has to experience to believe. We bring you a list of things you should do when you’re visiting here.
Leh is the largest town of Ladakh, which is known as the land of endless discovery. So if you are planning on a summer vacation, do use the early morning hours or evening ones (if you prefer to sleep in on mornings!) for a short walk in the neighborhood. That is always the best way to explore a new place. You get to see the lifestyle of locals, experience the sights, sounds and rejuvenating smells first hand. And while you’re at it, do take your camera along. With mountains that kiss the sky and deep blue waters this enchanting land calls to be freeze framed.
Check out the cuisine
This region of Jammu and Kashmir has Kunlun mountain ranges to its North, the Himalayas to the south, Tibet to its East and the valley of Kashmir on its west. All this diversity reflects on the food as well. So if you’re someone who loves to experiment, do try the Ladakhi, Tibetan, Korean and Chinese cuisines here. The staples of Ladakh cuisine are Sku and Thupka, Pava and Khambir. Dry fruits are extensively used as well and the spices add an intoxicating aroma. Also try the original version of momos that are served with a spicy sauce.
Visit the must visits
Ladakh literally translates to mean the land of high mountain passes. The Khardungla pass, said to be the highest motorable road in the world, should be a part of your package. It leads to the beautiful Nubra Valley where more unusual sights await. Visit the magnetic hill, where rules of gravity cease to apply and cars in neutral gear are automatically pulled upwards without any acceleration. Ladakh is also home to many monasteries, so to visit at least one from the Hemis, Alchi, Thiksey, Shey and Lamayuru monasteries. And yes, do go on the day trips to see the Leh Palace, Hall of fame museum, beautiful castles, palaces, mansions and traditional houses of the region.
Now for some adventure
A host of adventurous avenues come calling here. The rugged terrains offer many trekking paths and mountain climbing activities for adventure enthusiasts. Traditional sports like archery, polo, cycling and camel safaris are available too. In fact, this is the only place where camels have two humps instead of one! The extremely adventurous can also go for white water rafting in the fast waters of Zanskar and Indus, where expeditions are organized from July to September.
With timeless splendor and changing technologies, traditionally styled buildings and modern amenities, Leh Ladakh is a land of contrasts. Wonderful package deals are available, tailored to suit individual requirements. However, do plan your trips from May to November, when it’s cold and pleasant and most of the pathways and activities are accessible. This will surely be an experience that will stay with you for a long time to come.