A couple of years prior, Ladakh was a place where the hardiest and most adventure freaks used to travel. It's rugged landscape, and harsh climate barred many tourists as well as traveller to explore this enchanting ex-Buddhist kingdom, and it was generally the road trip enthusiasts, with their trusty Royal Enfield, who fuelled their wanderlust at this mystical land.
In any case, circumstances are different now, and with the prevalence of Ladakh becoming tourists' favourite location, individuals are frequenting this locale in numbers which are unprecedented. The once tranquil and unexplored region is now mapped, and relatively every town, pass and the lake have been explored by the thousands who visit every year which rose issues for those of us who jump at the chance to travel to unexplored and offbeat locations.
Be that as it may, fuss not, there are as yet a couple of shrouded pearls in this excellent piece of land and we are covering 3 such gems in our itineraries to Ladakh region.
DID YOU KNOW? We have two moonlands, One is up in the sky and second is in Lamayuru. Roughly 110 km from Leh towards Srinagar, Lamayuru is a small village in Ladakh, midway between Kargil and Leh on NH1-D, the Srinagar-Leh highway. Moonlike landscapes carved into the Greater Himalayas are its claim to fame.
Yes, it is so alike that moonland and Lamayuru have become synonymous. They even have guest houses named Moonland in Lamayuru! The best view of this 'moonland' is from the top of the meditation hill in Lamayuru. As you get to the top and proceed to the edge, a surreal landscape awaits you!
Another major attraction is the Lamayuru Monastery standing tall at an elevation of 11520 ft. Moreover, this religious monastery is one of the most visited places in Ladakh. Home to almost 150 monks, it lures vacationers as well as spiritual learners who wish to invest some energy at a lovely area amid the holy atmosphere. Believe us, tranquil climate and spectacular location of the monastery is so entrancing that you wouldn’t want to leave.
The second pearl on our list is Turtuk Village which is accessible by road from Hunder village in Nubra valley. On your way, you'd come across the IAF base at Thoise, and gradually experiencing the wide Nubra Valley starts narrowing in, the color of the rocks & mountains gets darker & darker, and the region more & more remote, till it finally bursts out into the verdant & full-of-life Turtuk region. Resembling the Silk route caravans back in the time when this was the trading route between Central asia and TIBET.
The wonderfully warm & hospitable locals with their cherubic European looks - especially the kids will take your heart away.
It is the last Indian village on Indo-Pak border and the Northernmost village in India. Lying on the banks of Shyok River, it is an extremely segregated, military-overwhelmed, and delicate region, as merely ten kilometres ahead is the outskirt or line of control between India and Pakistan.
The region technically falls in Baltistan - the Balti region of Pakistan and was annexed by India during the 1971' war so it is transcendently Muslim, and the general population here communicate in Urdu, Ladakhi, Balti, and Hindi.
Moreover, it is the passage to the Siachen Glacier, with the view of snow-clad pinnacles of Mt. K2, unmistakable in the skyline from the highest point of the town.
One can do a homestay with the locals, see the peaks of Mt. K2 and explore the best quality Apricot orchids nearby. Sounds amazing right?
Trust us, visiting this isolated village will be a great idea as it is one of the last unexplored places in Ladakh and is without a doubt the best place to go if you need to get away from the tourist group and witness a sight that not many individuals have had the benefit of seeing.
3. Stok Village
The third gem on our list is none other than Stok. Residing in the Indus Valley at a mere distance of 14km from Leh, Stok is a beautiful town with 300 families living in Ladakhi homes surrounded by poplar trees.
Moreover, it is home to the famous 14th century Stok Monastery where there is a 71 feet seated Gautam Buddha statue which was built between 2012-15.
Another major landmark is the 19th century Stok Palace which is the present residence of the previous royal family of Ladakh. Inside the castle is a museum where the crown, shrine, ceremonial Ladakhi dress and ornaments of the Ladakhi king are well-preserved.
Do you know this village is the starting point and has the base camp for one of the toughest treks in Ladakh, the Stok-Kangri summit? Though it is a tough one but the view from the top is spectacular, unusual, mesmerising.....we're falling short of words to personify the beauty. Let the picture do the talking!
Stok should be on your bucket list while visiting Ladakh where you will get to know the Ladakhi culture, try local cuisine, and interact with locals and hikers around there. Isn't that fun and exciting at the same time?
If these places entice you to explore Ladakh, Shoes On Loose will be your ultimate travel guide. Check out our specially customised Ladakh packages
where you can add these three hidden pearls of Ladakh to make your Ladakh trip a memorable one.
Do check out our Ladakh group departures