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11 Best Places to Visit in Ladakh

  

Ladakh is a whole new world. It's a delight for the avid travellers and paradise for the bikers. Blessed with majestic snow laden Himalayas and lush green landscapes, this place will get you out of the social internet trap and will bring you closer to nature. The Leh- Ladakh region is so beautiful that it should be on all traveller's list. The hypnotising beauty of Ladakh, the breathtaking lakes, the stunning meadows, the gushing rivers and the myriad shades of nature is something you must experience through once in your lifetime. The Land of Ladakh brims over with adventure as well as serenity.

From the Ladakh valleys to the Ladakh monasteries, this place so much for you to explore that you just can't get bored here. The place holds so many surprises together that one can’t help but be awed. In fact, there are several popular trekking points such as the Zanskar Valley trek and the Chadar trek for the adventurous ones. Every year numerous tourists flock to Ladakh to view its outstanding beauty. Here we have made a list of 10 places that you must visit when you are in Leh-Ladakh. It will undoubtedly help your visit in Leh Ladakh be a little more happening, and you will keep admiring the beauty of Ladakh mountain range for a long time after even after you've returned. Some of the major attractions in Leh Ladakh are as follows:

1. Pangong Lake

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Remember the breathtakingly beautiful lake in the last scene of the movie 3 Idiots? Pangong Tso lake is one of the most popular places to visit in Leh and is situated at the height of around 4,350 meters above sea level. Extending from India to Tibet, it is one of the highest brackish lakes in Asia. Pangong Lake is at a distance of approximately 150 km from the town of Leh. Which means it is only five hours of drive from Leh. The main reason this lake draws so many tourists is that of the fact that this lake keeps changing its colour from azure, light green, blue to purple and grey. Many travellers and riders, set up their camps near the lake to enjoy the serene ambience of the lake. Sounds exciting right?

During the winter season around November to March, the Pangong lake remains wholly frozen in spite of being saline. Furthermore, the Pangong lake attracts a lot of rare breed of migratory birds like the Brahmani ducks, black-necked cranes and seagulls. Pangong Lake is undoubtedly one of the major attractions in Leh Ladakh. For people who are interested in bird watching will fall in love with this place. Camping at the shores of the Pangong Lake is like a dream turning to reality. It will be so delightful you will remember it for the rest of your life.

Want to know more about the Pangong? Click here for the complete travel guide.

2. Shanti Stupa

11 Best Places to Visit in Ladakh-2 Located on a hilltop in Chanspa, Shanti Stupa is pearl-white domed stupa which is a famous tourist destination not only for its religious importance but also for the panoramic view of the surroundings that one can marvel from here. The stupa was built in 1991 and is a part of the Peace Pagoda mission. The astonishing Buddha statues, holy books and holy relics are sealed here for the future generation to see. The gold-plated panels of Shani Stupa depict the life stories of Lord Buddha. The monument was built to celebrate 2500 years of Buddhism.

It looks only better at night when illuminated by the moonlight. Do visit this place when in Ladakh. The stupa is divided into two layers. The first layer has a statue of Lord Buddha while the relics of the other layer depict the birth and the death of Lord Buddha. It also represents the Buddha defeating the devils while meditating. The Shanti Stupa remains open for the tourists from 5 in the morning to 9 in the evening. Make sure you get the sunrise and the sunset views from here. The sunrise and sunset views from Shanti Stupa are views to die for, and these are sights you cannot afford to miss at any cost!

3. Khardung La Pass

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Situated at an altitude of 5359 meters, Khardung La is one of the highest motorable passes in the district of Leh. While this might not be a typical tourist attraction in Ladakh, it is definitely amongst the must-visit places for adventure junkies and bikers to experience an enthralling ride on the dangerous roads of Ladakh. Khardung La Pass also known as the "Pass of the Lower Castle" connects Leh with the Nubra Valley and serves as a boulevard to the Siachen Glacier. The months of May to November is the best time to visit Khardungla Pass. It remains accessible during these months unless the weather changes drastically. The Khardung La Pass is widely famous among the youngsters as an ideal spot for motorbike, automobile and mountain biking expeditions. During the snowfall in winters, the Khardung La Pass remains drowned under 10 feet of snow.

4. Leh Palace

11 Best Places to Visit in Ladakh-4 Although a significant part of the palace is in ruins now, you shouldn't miss this palace for the awe-gaping views that it has to offer of the whole Leh city along with the vistas of Stok Kangri and Zanskar mountain. Along with this, there is a museum inside the Leh Palace which gives a sneak peek into the ancient royalties of Leh. Built-in 1553 AD, the nine-storey edifice is one of the tallest buildings of its time. The walls of this palace are made up of mud and wood, so the interiors of the palace remain cool and pleasant despite the scorching heat. More so, the entrance of the palace is adorned with wood carved figurines.

The Leh Palace is also known as the "Lhachen Palkhar". It is a nine-storeyed regal edifice which makes a part of the Ladakhi heritage. The impressive high walls and wooden balconies will only make you feel like you are walking through the hallways of the infrastructure of an ancient era. You can also revel the sight of victory tower which overlooks the entire Leh city and was built in memory of the Ladakhi soldiers.

5. Hall of Fame

11 Best Places to Visit in Ladakh-5 Similar to the Hall of Fame of Hollywood, it is a museum in Leh that was built to pay homage to the brave martyrs who lost their lives during Indo-Pak wars. The museum is now maintained by the Indian army to keep intact the soldiers in pages of history. It also has a captivating display on the Siachen battlefield – the highest and the most arduous battlefield in the world. Along with the display of apparels and amenities used by the Indian army, it also showcases items related to Ladakhi culture, history vegetation and wildlife. The two rooms of the Hall of fame celebrates the Indian Army's role in Ladakh. From assisting with the cloudburst relief to the high-altitude battles fought with Pakistan during the 20th century, the Hall of fame has very well commemorated the contribution of Indian Army in the region of Ladakh.

6. Shey Monastery

11 Best Places to Visit in Ladakh-6 Most of the monasteries in Ladakh are situated at a high altitude. Shey monastery, also known as Shey palace is located on the hillock of Shey. Just 15 km from Leh, it was once the residence of Deldan Namgyal, the king of Leh. Shey monastery is famous because of the magnificent metal statue of Buddha, which is the second largest statue in Ladakh. Shey Monastery holds two seasonal festivals every year. The two festivals are Shey Doo Lhoo and Shey Rupla.

If artifacts, wall paintings and statues are something which interests you then you must visit Lamayuru monastery. Most of the monasteries of Ladakh are situated at a high altitude which adds to the charm of these time old infrastructures.

Want to know more about the monasteries of Ladakh? Click here.

7. Magnetic hills

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One of the places to visit in Leh is the Gravity hill having strong magnetic properties which can pull cars uphill. Magnetic Hill located 30 kilometres from Leh on the way to Alchi and Kargil. A sign at this spot invites you to stop your car over a white square marked on the road, switch it off and leave it in neutral. You do this, and your car starts moving uphill slowly on its own at a speed of 10-20 km per hour.

8. Nubra Valley

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A desert between snow-capped mountains is magical, and yes it exists. The white desert of Nubra valley offer the tourists Arabian Nights like experience and is the home to double-humped Bactrian camels. Take a ride across the desert on a Bactrian camel and enjoy the beautiful surrounding. While you are there, you can also visit the Hunder gompa which is the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh.

The Hunder sand dunes at the Nubra Valley is nothing less than a mesmerising beauty. It is home to the Bactrian camels also known as the double-humped camels. In fact, tourists can also take a safari ride on one of these Bactrian camels and get a feel of the old times when the trade was prominent in Central Asia and to the distant village of Hunder. The best time to visit the Nubra Valley is between June to August. This desert garden during these months exhibits its beauty with all grandeur.

9. Sangam Point

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Between the gigantic peaks of Himalayan ranges, you would find two rivers flowing fiercely in Ladakh. The confluence point situated at the National Highway 1 to Srinagar is also known as Sangam point in Ladakh is where the two flawless rivers- Zanskar and Indus meet. Two different shades of blue emerging together is a sight to behold. The point is situated at a distance of 30 km from Leh city.

10. Hemis National Park

11 Best Places to Visit in Ladakh-10 Hemis National Park has the distinction of being the largest national park in South Asia. It is the home to numerous endangered mammals like snow leopards, Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear and the red fox. For nature lovers and bird watchers, this has to be on your list of places to see in Ladakh. The park has approximately 200 leopards and is the only home of Shapu also known as the Ladakhi Urial in India. The confluence of the Indus river and the Zanskar river guard the premises of this national park and act as its boundary. The park is mostly a sought-after destination among trekkers. Also, there are not many facilities available for accommodation. You will have to make do either with tent houses or dormitory rooms.

11. Tso Moriri Lake

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The Tso Moriri Lake is the largest lake in the Ladakh region. This lake is a little higher and slightly saline than the Pangong lake. The Tso Moriri lake is a source of as good as 34 species of birds. Between January to March, the lake remains frozen. It is only from April that the lake starts melting down to the different hues of blue and you can see the crystal clear waters. Moreover, the proximal areas to the Tso Moriri lake are rich in wildlife, and the chances of spotting cranes, wild ass, marmots and hare are so much better. Your trip to Ladakh will remain incomplete if you happen to miss out on this beautiful and mesmerising lake.

Note: Keep your medicine box handy because you never know when altitude sickness might strike you. Click here to know about the Do's and Don't in Ladakh.

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