LEH LADAKH JEEP SAFARI

Ladakh is a barren high altitude desert in one of the most remote regions of India. The beauty of its barren and rugged landscape, unique flora and fauna and culture have much more to offer than just a good holiday. Ladakh is perfect objective for experiencing real Jeep safari. Once you do this, it’s almost certain that you will go through the highest motorable road in the world Called K-top 5600m on the way to Nubra Valley, not only that but you will also drive across Changla 5360m on the way to Pangong & Taklangla 5328m on the way to Tsomoriri & Manali.


Leh Ladakh Jeep Safari takes you from Manali to Ladakh through some of the highest motorable roads in the world as we visit breathtakingly beautiful places like Leh, Sarchu, Pangong Lake, Nubra Valley etc.

HIGH PIONTS OF LEH LADAKH JEEP SAFARI:-

ROHTANG PASS

Rohtang Pass, is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh, India.

PANGONG LAKE

Pangong Tso, Tibetan for “long, narrow, enchanted lake”, also referred to as Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m. It is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet.

KHARDUNGLA TOP

Khardung La is a high mountain pass located in the Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The local pronunciation is “Khardong La” or “Khardzong La,” but, as with most names in Ladakh, the romanised spelling varies.

NUBRA VALLEY

Nubra is a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Diskit the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh town, the capital of Ladakh district, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra.

TSOMORIRI LAKE

Tso Moriri or Lake Moriri Tibetan: is a lake in the Ladakhi part of the Changthang Plateau in Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. The lake is at an altitude of 4,522 m.


Beside these, it’s always going to be a different experience driving through the high altitude deserts and wetlands of Kadakh through rugged terrains, sculpted canyons, fantastic rock formations, medieval villages, Buddhist gompas and snow-capped Mountains. Also there is always an opportunity of spotting rare species of wild animals.


Major jeep safari regions in Himalayas are : Trans Himalayan Region The trans Himalayan Tracts are something that will really attract the explorer in you to unwind the natural and manmade wonders situated within the picturesque landscapes. Take up any of the customised jeep safari tours offered by the tourism board of India to the high altitude destinations of Leh, Ladakh and Kinnaur – Spiti, where the wilderness is still intact from commercialisation.


Ladakh Jeep safari at the high altitude lake of India is another new attraction that has recently come up in this adventure activity. The high point trip of a trip to Leh is the drive to Pangong Lake . The drive takes round about four hours to Changla Pass. At the first sight of the lake through the ‘V’ of the ridges of the valley all cameras, digital videos etc. came tumbling out. The azure lake beautifully set off the golden yellow of the mountainside, painted thus by the mellow rays of the evening sun, on a canvas of crisp blue sky.The jeep safaris in the Himalayan range are particularly popular among the adventure sport lovers. Tibet


Being a high altitude plateau area, the accessibility in Tibet is very hard and to reach certain remote areas you have to travel on certain un-metalled stretches. That’s why travelling in these remote areas is best done by a strong, Jeep type vehicle. These jeep safari tours, gives a golden opportunity for travellers to visit the monasteries and lakes situated in the high reaches of the Tibetan Himalayas.



ADVENTURE SPORTS IN LADAKH

The trans-Himalayan district of Ladakh is simply a storehouse of adventure. Travellers from all across the globe keep flocking to Ladakh almost all the year round. When it’s about adventure in India, Ladakh happens to be second to none. Adventure in Ladakh has its own taste and meaning. You have a good number of adventure sports in Ladakh to choose from. Most famous adventure sports in Ladakh include mountaineering, jeep safari, trekking, cycling and river rafting. Ladakh adventure holidays have everything to offer an adrenaline junkie might be looking for. There are high mountain ranges, scenic trails, expansive lakes, deep valleys and high passes that add to the joy of your adventure in Ladakh.


Before you actually arrive in the adventurous land of Ladakh, we would like you to enrich your knowledge about various adventure options available in Leh-Ladakh. Give below is a list of some of the most famous adventure sports in Ladakh. Start planning your adventure holidays in Ladakh right away!


[one_third]WHITE WATER RFTING LADAKH

[tg_accordion title=”WHITE WATER RAFTING LADAKH” icon=”” close=”1″]River Rafting is an adventurous sport for the strong hearted. If you want to enjoy the experience in the Himalayas there is no other suitable destination than Leh-Ladakh. River rafting in Leh-Ladakh takes you through picturesque landscape. Traversing through the deep waters amidst deep canyons and soaring snow-covered peaks it is an experience every rafter would love to enjoy. There are many options for river rafting in Leh Ladakh; the main ones being Indus River rafting and Zanskar River rafting.River Rafting in Indus River and its tributaries provide the rafters with many opportunities. The best of the stretches in River Indus is the one between Spituk and Nimu or Saspol. But those who are new into the sport should choose the easiest stretch upstream from Spituk up to Karu. River Rafting in Zanskar River provides some exciting though difficult stretches. Through a deep ravine in the Zanskar Mountains there is a stretch between Padum and Nimu that can be the most exciting of all stretches. River Rafting in Leh-Ladakh can be a fulfilling way of enjoying the mountains. Discover Ladakh offers you the facility to book River Rafting tours in Leh-Ladakh well ahead in advance.
The best time for river rafting in Leh-Ladakh is from June to October.
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[one_third]MOUNTAIN BIKING

[tg_accordion title=”MOUNTAIN BIKING” icon=”” close=”1″]A bike ride to Leh, Ladakh passes through some of the most breathtaking, challenging and awe-inspiring landscapes found on Earth. But by any means it is not an easy ride since most parts of the road are at altitudes of 13,000 feet and above in the Himalayas. You have to Buckle up for the most precious bike trip of your life time. Stopover in sapphire lakes, rusty terrains, peaceful outback and almost anywhere your heart wants to. Discover Ladakh welcome you all to come, visit our region and be a part of the experience & thrill of riding a motorbike and travelling around the beautiful region through – mountains, valleys, high plateaus, crossing – villages, streams, rivers, high mountain, high mountain roads, visiting – temples, monasteries, small towns and making numerous friends all around. We guarantee you that the touring experience would be a lifelong memory and to cherish for times to come. Did you know that the road leading to Ladakh is the same trail that was used by caravans going to the Silk Route centuries and centuries ago? If this isn’t awe inspiring enough, the roads leading into the region are only open four months of the year – for the remaining eight, they are covered in snow. For many riders, the highlight of bike tours to Leh Ladakh is Khardung-La, the highest motorable road in the world. To pass from Leh into the Nubra Valley, you will need to drive your motorcycle along a road that sits at 18,380 feet. It is surely a terrifying, yet exhilarating experience.
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[one_third_last]MOUNTAINEERING LADAKH

[tg_accordion title=”MOUNTAINEERING” icon=”” close=”1″]Ladakh offers many challenging peaks for a mountaineer. Stok Kangri Peak (6121 m) in Zanskar, Kangyaze Peak (6400 m) to the south east of Leh and the Nunkun Massif, which can be reached from the Leh-Kargil road are popular with serious mountaineers. All climbers need to get permission from the Indian Mountaineering Federation in Delhi, before attempting the ascent of an peak in Ladakh.[/tg_accordion]
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[one_third]DARCHA LAMAYURU TREK

[tg_accordion title=”TREKKING” icon=”” close=”1″]Ladakh is one place which is considered as a heaven by those who search places to gain the thrill of adventure. Ladakh trekking tour is always a thrilling and a great experience for every tourist. While a lot has been written about Leh Ladakh but, people are still unaware of the hidden getaways in Ladakh. There are lots of interesting and exquisite offbeat destinations in Ladakh. The best way to thoroughly enjoy the place is to experience the adventurous and fun trek. There are many ‘must do’ treks in this paradise Ladakh. Trekking in Ladakh offers a vast diversity with its unique landscape and exquisite culture, from the green oasis of the hidden Valleys and Plateaus with abundance of wildlife, nomads, wetlands, pastureland, fresh water springs, streams, and the famous lakes such as Tsomoriri, Tsokar & The Pangong. There are a lots of trek trails and options available here for trekkers such as Chadar Trek, Markha Valley trek, Indus Valley Trekking, Lamayuru-Alchi trek and many more.
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[one_third]ARCHERY LADAKH

[tg_accordion title=”ARCHERY” icon=”” close=”1″]Archery is a traditional sport of Ladakh and Archery contests are held regularly in villages and at the National Archery stadium in Leh. Archery contests are accompanied by festivity including drinking singing, dancing and betting on the result. Watching an archery contests is sure to offer an interesting adventure into the cultural life of the Ladakhi people.[/tg_accordion]
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[one_third_last]POLO LADAKH

[tg_accordion title=”POLO” icon=”” close=”1″]Polo is a popular sport in Ladakh and is usually played every Tuesday and Saturday in summer on the Leh polo ground. There are usually 6 men in a team riding on sturdy Zanskari ponies. A polo match in Ladakh consists of 20-minute halves and is played in an exhilarating atmosphere with the crowd cheering on both teams with great enthusiasm. Polo tournaments are also held during the Ladakh Festival held in the first half of September[/tg_accordion]
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WILDLIFE IN LADAKH

Ladakh is rough area where only the fittest animal and plant life survives. Although the environment is harsh, it boasts of a bounty of wildlife, endemic to this region. Its exotic highland flora springs up in the summer and engulfs the landscape in various colour. The fearsome predators include the elusive snow leopard, lynx, mighty brown bear, Shanko or wolf, fox and wild dog. The herbivores include the wild yak, the kiang, marmot, wild hare, niyan marcopolo ship, shapo, bharal ibex marcher, goat and the chirru, now almost hunted to extinction for its downy under coat worth it weight in gold for the shatoosh shawls made from it. Ladakh is also home to some beautiful and rear birds like the critically endangered black necked crane. Bar headed geese, woodpeckers, ducks, partridges, barbets, kingfishers, parakeets, swifts eagle, owls to name a few are some birds commonly seen in Ladakh. This rich rather exclusive wildlife however, is severely threatened by habitat loss and poaching.

FAUNA

The fauna of Ladakh have much in common with that of Central Asia generally, and especially those of the Tibetan Plateau. An exception there is huge variety of birds, many of which migrate from the warmer parts of India to spend the summer in Ladakh. For such an arid area, Ladakh has a great diversity of birds — a total of 225 species have been recorded. Many of these birds reside or breed at high-altitude wetlands such as Tso Moriri.

WILDLIFE

In Ladakh there is also a famous wildlife Sancturity called “Hemis National Park” covers around 4,000 square kilometre, is now the largest national park in India, extending from Hemis to north of Zanskar, and this park is considered prime snow leopard (Panthera uncial) habitat, which have a breeding population of more than 200 snow leopards. Hemis National Park is also home to four species of wild sheep and goats that form the prey base for this apex predator, including Great Tibetan Sheep, locally called “Nyan” or “Tinetan Argali”,(Ovis ammon); Himalayan blue sheep, called “Bharal” or “Napo”, (Pseudois nayaur); Uriel, locally called “Shapo” (Ovis orientalis), Asiatic ibex Skin(Capra sibirica), and among the predators are Red Fox, Tibetan Wolf, Lynx, Pallas Cat, and many others.

BIRD WATCHING

For bird watchers, it’s a dream destination. Besides golden eagle, Lammergeier vulture and the Himalayan griffon vulture, the park is home to Brown Accentor, Robin Accentor, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Streaked Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowfinch, Chukar, Fork-tailed Swift, Red-billed Chough, Himalayan Snowcock, and the Fire-fronted Serin. Pollution free environment and noise free surroundings make birding a joyful experience.

HEMIS NATIONAL PARK

LOCATION

Located in the eastern part of Ladakh district in Jammu and Kashmir in north India, Hemis National Park has the distinction of being the largest national park in South Asia. Hemis National Park also has the distinction of being among the largest contiguous protected region, second only to Nanda Devi Biosphere Reserve.

FAUNA

Spread over 4400 sq km, the park is home to 16 species of mammals and 73 of birds. The park is protected home for endangered mammals like leopards, Asiatic ibex, Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear and the red fox. The park boasts of 200 leopards and is the only habitat of Shapu or the Ladakhi Urial in India. It is also home to small mammals like Himalayan marmot, mountain weasel and Himalayan mouse hare.

BIRD WATCHING

For bird watchers, it’s a dream destination. Besides golden eagle, Lammergeier vulture and the Himalayan griffon vulture, the park is home to Brown Accentor, Robin Accentor, Tickell’s Leaf Warbler, Streaked Rosefinch, Tibetan Snowfinch, Chukar, Fork-tailed Swift, Red-billed Chough, Himalayan Snowcock, and the Fire-fronted Serin. Pollution free environment and noise free surroundings make birding a joyful experience.

Fast Facts:

  • Major Attraction – Snow Leopard
  • Established – 1981
  • Total Area –  4,400 sq km (1,700 sq mi)
  • Nearest Airport – Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport (5 km)
  • Nearest Railhead – Kalka (Haryana)
  • Nearest Highway – Leh-Manali Highway and National Highway 1D (Srinagar – Kargil – Leh)
  • Nearest City – Leh (10 km)
  • Nearest Town – There are a few villages, and Monasteries (Gumphas) in the national park

Six villages exist within the confines of the park. The villages –Rumbak, Kaya, Sku, Shingo, Urutse and Chilling – are home to about 16oo people. Several gompas and chortens are also located within the park. The 400-year-old Hemis Monastery is also located within the park. Revered as the largest monastic institution in Ladakh, a trip to the monastery is a thrilling experience. Camping and trekking are other popular activities that can be indulged in the park.

The national park is also known for its scenic beauty. Lofty mountains and alpine forests of juniper and subalpine dry birch make it a treat for the eyes. The Stok Kangri peak is situated withing the park. The confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers acts as the park’s boundary and is a treat for the eyes. It also includes the catchment area of Markha, Sumdah and Rumbak, and some portion of the Zanskar Range.

ACCOMMODATION

No hotels are available in or near Hemis National Park. There are six villages in the Hemis National Park where home stay facilities are available. The villages are Rumbak, Kaya, Sku, Shingo, Urutse and Chilling. In addition, Hemis Monastery also offers rooms for visitors to stay. Options to eat are limited. It is advisable to carry food. Hemis Monastery does provide food to visitors. It also follows the tradition of offering butter tea to the visitors. Locals do also provide meals.

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The best time to visit Hemis is between May and September, when the weather is pleasant. Most of the trekking routes and passage to jeep safari are closed after November due to heavy snowfall.

MONASTERIES IN LADAKH

Ladakh is predominantly inhabited by people of Tibetan descent, leading to a very rich Buddhist culture. There so many beautiful monasteries that dot this high altitude desert that you cannot but visit them to be awed by their architecture and history. These monasteries in Ladakh are truly a living heritage of the Buddha and definitely warrant a visit.


[one_third]HEMIS MONASTERY

[tg_accordion title=”HEMIS MONASTERY” icon=”” close=”1″]The Hemis Monastery is the largest Buddhist monastery in this region, belonging to the Drukpa or Dragon order. It stands on the western banks of the Indus River, about 50 kilometres southeast of Leh on the Leh-Manali highway. The monastery was founded in 1630 by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso when he was invited by the then King of Ladakh, Singey Namgail and offered a religious estate. Beautiful statues and mural paintings adorn the monastery halls. It has a great collection of sacred thangkas and other artefacts in its 900-year-old museum. The most important festival here is the Hemis Festival where you can witness the enchanting sacred mask dance. It is held on the 9th and 10th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar.
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[one_third]SPITUK MONASTERY LADAKH

[tg_accordion title=”SPITUK MONASTERY” icon=”” close=”1″]Built on the side of a hill, the Spituk Monastery also known as the Spituk Gompa was founded in the 11th century by Od-lde as a monastic community. Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo, the great translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan, gave the monastery its present name, meaning exemplary, as he felt an exemplary religious community would arise here. The old gompa has been restored, while a new one has also been constructed within the monastery complex. The largest building, the Dukhang Hall, has seating along the wall with a throne at the far end. Miniature stupas and sculptures adorn the altar. A little higher up the hill is the temple of Goddess Vajrabhairva. The statue of the goddess is kept covered and is unveiled only once during the Spituk Festival.

One hundred monks reside in the monastery and during the annual two day Spituk Festival held in the 11th month of the Tibetan calendar, the monks perform masked dances representing good over evil and stories depicting the life of Buddha. Located just seven kilometres south-west of Leh, it is not a very difficult climb up to the monastery. The views of the airport and town below are spectacular, as are the sunrises and the sunsets visible from here.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third_last]THIKSEY MONASTERY

[tg_accordion title=”THIKSEY MONASTERY” icon=”” close=”1″]This is undoubtedly the most beautiful of all monasteries in the region. A fine example of Ladakhi architecture, the Thiksey Monastery is located 17 kilometres south of Leh. It is a smaller version of the Potala Palace of Lhasa in Tibet. First built by Sherab ZangpoIt in Stakmo, it was later established on a hilltop by his nephew Paldan Sherab, where it stands now. The monastery belongs to Gelukspa or the Yellow Hat order.

There are 10 temples in this 12 storied monastery with the main prayer hall housing a 40-foot statue of Buddha seated on a lotus. Many precious and rare statues, mini stupas and swords are on display inside the monastery. There is also a temple dedicated to Goddess Tara here. The Thiksey Gustor Festival is held here during the 10th month of the Tibetan calendar when the sacred mask or Cham dances are performed by resident monks and nuns as a part of a ritual.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]ALCHI MONASTERY LADAKH

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The Alchi Monastery, built in the 12th century, is the oldest Buddhist learning centre in Ladakh. Located 70 kilometres west of Leh on the banks of the Indus River, it is also the largest and most famous of the gompas built by Lotsaya Rinchen Zangpo. With the lack of a monarchy, he appointed four families to look after the monastery till the 15th century when it was taken over by the Lekir Monastery.

Different from other monasteries, this one is built on flat ground instead of on a hill top. It has three main structures. The Du-khang is the assembly hall and the largest part; the Sum-tsek is a three-storied structure with a four armed statue of the Bodhisattva occupying two storeys with figures of Maitreya Buddha, Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri on the ground floor; the third structure is Jampe Lhakhang, a temple of Manjushri. This temple also has a sculpture and painting of Rinchen Tsangpo.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]STOK GOMPA AND PALACE

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Located just 15 kilometers south of Leh, this gompa is the residence of the Royal Family of Ladakh. It was founded in the 14th century by Lama Lhawang. The library at the monastery has 108 volumes of Buddha’s teachings. The entrance veranda has beautiful mural paintings of the guardians of the four directions. The main assembly hall is decorated with thangkas and banners. The walls have images of Vajrapani (the deity with the thunderbolt), Sukyamuni (Buddha as a sage) and Avalokitesvara (the four-armed deity). The Dalai Lama is believed to be a reincarnation of the Avalokitesvara.

The Palace has a museum with a collection of the king’s crown, the queens head gear with 108 turquoise pieces, royal dresses, jewellery, old currency, the wooden palanquin in which the queen arrived here when she got married and various other personal items of the Royal family. Early June sees a ritual mask dance being performed near the monastery. The two-day Stok Guru Tsechu Festival is held here every year in February. The interesting thing about this festival is that the prayers are not offered by a priest but by a common man, who is selected by the lamas and then groomed for the occasion.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third_last]SHEY GOMAPA AND PALACE

[tg_accordion title=”SHEY GOMPA AND PALACE” icon=”” close=”1″]En route to the Hemis Monastery, 15 kilometres from Leh is the Shey Gompa. Shey was originally the capital of Ladakh and Lhachen Spalgigon, the first king, built this hilltop fortress. In 1655, King Deldan Namgyal built the Shey Palace. There are hundreds of stupas and the Dresthang Gompa built around the palace. Currently, the palace is a monastery with the largest Buddha statue made of gilded copper, covering three floors of the building. Beautiful paintings and murals adorn the walls and the sculptures are marvellous. The lower chapel has a library with the largest collection of thangkas in Ladakh. Below the palace, along the roadside, are five Buddhas carved out of rock. Close to this monastery is the Druk Padma Karpo Institute, now renamed Rancho School. This was the school featured in the Hindi movie 3 Idiots. There are two festivals held at this monastery every year – Shey Srubla on the 30th day of the 1st month and Shey Rul-lo on the 10th day of the 7th month.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]DISKIT MONASTERY IN NUBRA VALLEY

[tg_accordion title=”DISKIT MONASTERY” icon=”” close=”1″]Diskit Monastery, also known as Deskit monastery is not only the oldest but also the largest Buddhist Gompa in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh. The prayer hall of the monastery consists of a statue of Maitreya Buddha, various images of other guardian gods as well as huge drum. This monastery is of the Gelugpa sect (Yellow Hat) of Tibetan Buddhism,  founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, founder of Gelugpa, during the 14thcentury. The monastery’s cupola is same as the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. Every year this monastery plays host to the popular Dosmoche festival, held during the month of February, which is a famous tourist attraction.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]Phyang Monastery

[tg_accordion title=”PHYANG MONASTERY” icon=”” close=”1″]Seventeen kilometres west of Leh, on top of a hill is the Phyang Monastery. It is one of the two monasteries that belong to the Dri-gung-pa sect of Buddhism. Legend has it that Denma Kunga Drakpa laid the foundation stone of this monastery. He pitched his tent on top of the hill and during meditation, saw the protector Achi riding her blue horse. He took this as a sign and built the monastery there. The monastery has a 900-year-old museum housing a vast collection of idols, firearms and weapons, old thangkas, wall paintings and murals of Mahakala. The old temple of Mahakala (the Gomkhang) was built at the time of the foundation of monastery. Phyang Monastery is home to a school, which imparts modern education along with Buddhist studies to its students. The Phyang Tseruk Festival held on the 2nd and 3rd of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar attracts a large number of tourists. The spectacular Cham dance is the highlight of the event.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third_last]Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery

[tg_accordion title=”KARMA DUPGYUD CHOELING MONSATERY” icon=”” close=”1″]Situated around 9 kilometers from Leh, the Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery is one of the major Dharma centers in the Ladakh region. Founded by Lama Chime  Dorje Rinpoche in 1973, this monastery is run by the Karmapa sect of Tibetan Buddhists. At present, there are 17 Karmapas in this region. This monastery has played an important role in the proliferation of the traditional Buddhist culture and values. It includes an original mud-brick complex housing the Dukhang (Assembly Hall) and living and working quarters including classrooms, office, kitchen and library. Since it was founded by a Tibetan  national, it depends on the munificence of private organizations and individuals for monetary funds.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]MATHO MONASTERY

[tg_accordion title=”MATHO MONASTERY” icon=”” close=”1″]Located around 26 kilometers away from Leh, on the picturesque Indus Valley, Matho Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery built under the Saskya Monastic Establishment. It was constructed around 500 years ago. It was established by Lama Dugpa Dorje in 1410, who belongs to Sakya order. It houses a marvelous collection of ancient Thangas and known for its Matho  Nagrang Festival. It is an annual festival which takes place in the first half of March. It is a nice place where you can understand Buddhist teachings and philosophies. The nearby attraction of this place is Stakna Gompa.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]LAMAYURU MONASTERY

[tg_accordion title=”LAMAYURU MONASTERY” icon=”” close=”1″]Located on the main highway between Bodhkhabru and Kha-la-che, at an altitude of 3.510 meters, Lamayuru Monastery is amongst the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. It is said to have been built around the same time as Alchi monastery. It was founded by Mahasiddhacharya Naropa in the 11th century and belongs to Red-Hat Sect of Buddhism. There are several legends associated with this Gompa. One such legend is that Lamayuru was a lake that drew back up to the mountains after blessings from a lama, in order to evacuate space for this monastery. It features a rich collection of wall paintings and Thangkas.

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[one_third_last]Rangdum Monastery

[tg_accordion title=”RANGDUM GOMPA ” icon=”” close=”1″]Nestled at an altitude of 11,998 feet above the sea level, Rangdum Gompa is situated halfway between Kargil and Padum. It was founded by Losang Geleg Yeshe Drogpa in the 18th century. It rises above a centrally ascending mountain, established around the diverged route of a mountain stream. It appears like an ancient fortification, which stands as a guardian of a mystical mountain valley. It is located alongside Julidok village and around 25 kilometers from the Pensi La pass which leads to Zanskar. This monastery is home to around 30 monks and monasteries.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]Likir Monastery

[tg_accordion title=”LIKIR GOMPA” icon=”” close=”1″]Likir Gompa, around 62 kms to the West of the main city of Leh. The 5th king of Ladakh, Lhachen Gyalpo ordered the establishment of this monastery and thus it was established in 1065 by Lama Duwang Chosje. The monastery is of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. In the times  of today, Buddhist teachings and the three basic Pratimoksa disciplines are preached on the site. The monastery also plays host to the annual festival that is in the 12th months of the Tibetan Calendar, from the 27th to the 29th . During the festival,  religious dance performances are given by the local artists.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third]Rizong Monastery Ladakh

[tg_accordion title=”RIZONG GOMPA” icon=”” close=”1″]Rizong  Gompa, also known as Rhizong monastery belongs to Gelugpa or Yellow Hat sect of  Buddhism is situated on the hilltop of a rocky valley to the north of river Indus. It is also known as the Yuma Changchubling in Ladakh region. Established at Ri-rdzong  in 1831 by Lama Tsultim Nima under the Gelukpa order, today it has around 40 monks who have to abide by very strict rules and regulations. It is also famous as ‘the Paradise For Meditation’. It is around 73 kms from the main city of Leh. The monks residing in this monastery cannot own anything except books. The complex also consists  of a number of religious shrines.[/tg_accordion]

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[one_third_last]Stakna Monastery Near Leh

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Stakna Gompa or Stakna Monastery is a buddhist bonastery located approximately 45 km from Leh. Enshrined by Chose Jamyang, a Bhutanese saint and scholar who established the monastery in the second half of the 16th century, this gompa is a visual display of the religious and cultural heritage of India and Buddhism. As it is erected on a hill looking like a tiger’s nose, Stanka Monastery derives its name from the same hill. The monastery inside has the image of Arya Avaloketesvara from Kamrup (Assam). The Stakna Gompa belongs to the Dugpa sect of Buddhism and is the residence of about 30 Monks.

On entering the courtyard, there is a big assembly hall known as Dukhang whose walls are adorned with beautiful paintings of Sakyamuni, Tsephakmad and Amchi. On to the right of courtyard, there is a seven feet tall silver gilded chorten having figure of Lord Buddha with some notes. Then parallel to the hall there are paintings of Bodhisattva, Tshong-san-Gompa and Padma Sambhava.  The successive reincarnations of Stakna Tulku serve as the incumbents of Stakna Monastery and they spread the teachings of Dugpa order. This monastery also has a number of sister monasteries, 3 of which are in Zanskar-Bardan, Stakrimo and Sani. From the roof of Stakna Monastery tourists can have a striking view of Indus valley and river. There is also a Tathok Moonastery nearby Stakna, an attraction 50km from Leh where Guru Padmashmbhava mediated.[/tg_accordion]

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LADAKH – LAND OF HIGH PASSES

LADAKH – LAND OF HIGH PASSES

Ladakh – the land of many passes, of freezing high barren landscapes lying across the lofty Asian tableland – is among the highest of the world’s inhabited plateaus. Remote yet never isolated, this trans Himalayan land is a repository of a myriad cultural and religious influences from mainland India, Tibet and Central Asia.


Situated on the western end of the Himalayas, Ladakh has four major mountain ranges – the Great Himalayan, Zanskar, Ladakh and the Karakoram – passing through it. A maze of enormously high snow capped peaks and the largest glaciers outside the polar region, dominate the terrain where valley heights range from a mere 8,000 feet to 15,000 feet while passes of up to 20,000 feet and peaks reaching above 25,000 feet can be seen all around. The world’s largest glacier outside the polar region, Siachen is here. Such daunting heights no wonder determine the land’s temperature where Leh and Kargil experience temperatures as low as – 30° C and Dras -50°C.


Three months of sub zero temperatures (Dec-Feb) and the, rest of the months facing zero degree temperatures, it is a long and hard winter here. Waterways, waterfalls and lakes freeze, and the water vapour freezes to break into the most intricate and attractive crystal patterns. But on clear sunny days, when the average temperature goes over 20° C, the sun can be scorching hot in its intensity and its ultra violet rays cause deep sun burn. Rainfall is a mere 2 inches and it is the melting snow in summer which sustains life in this arctic zone. High aridity and low temperatures lead to sparse vegetation as a result of which the landscape is desert-like with sand dunes and even occasional sand storms occur.


The major waterway of Ladakh is the Indus which enters India from Tibet at Demchok. Starting near Mt. Kailash, the Indus, according to mythology, sprouts from the mouth of a lion, and is therefore known as Sengge Chhu. Sengge (Sinh in Sanskrit) means lion and Chhu is Tibetan for a flowing water body.As it flows down, Sengge Chhu is joined by its other tributaries, the Zanskar, the Shingo and the Shyok, and these river valleys form the main area of human habitation.


Ladakh also has one of the largest and most beautiful natural lakes in the country. Pangong Tso, 150 km long and 4 km wide, is nearly an inland sea at a height of 14,000 feet, with intensely clear water of an incredible range of hues of blue. Having no outlet the water in the lake is highly brackish and the lake’s basin houses a large wealth of minerals deposited by the melting snows every year. Tso Moriri, a pearl shaped lake, and Tso Kar, both contain large mineral deposits. Among the fresh water lakes Yaye Tso, Kiun Tso and Amtitla offer great scenic attraction.


Ladakh, though a remote border land with virtually no surface communication for more than six months a year, has surprisingly never been isolated. Continuous cultural and commercial contact existed with the surrounding regions of Tibet, Himachal, Kashmir, Central Asia and Sinkiang. This interaction helped maintain trade ties between the places. Pashm, salt, borax, sulphur, spices, brocade, pearls, metals, carpets, tea and apricots were the merchandise exchanged in their marts.


Covering an area of approximately 98,000 sq km, Ladakh has a sparse population of about 1,35,000. All habitations are situated along water courses, where long distances are traversed by using animal transportation of mainly the yak and the pony, the broad backed hunia sheep and the Bactrian two-humped camel. Ethnically, the Ladakhis comprise an amalgam of four prominent strains, namely the Mons, Dards, Tibetans and Baltis. Mons belong to the Aryan race. They might be called professional entertainers, as they move from place to place playing their musical instruments and for the most part are denied the privilege of inter-marriage with the other groups. Dards are confined mainly to Dras and the Indus Valley. At Dras, they are Muslims and retain very little of their past. But those in the Indus valley below Khalsi display a distinctive identity, preserving their original Buddhist religion as well as their cultural entity.


The Tibetans are the dominant racial strain in eastern and central Ladakh, but over the years have merged with other groups to form a homogeneous Ladakhi entity. Two ethnically and culturally distinctive groups are the Tibetans proper living at Choglamsar and the nomadic Changpas with their herds of pashm bearing goats in the eastern plains. Baltis are mainly found in western Ladakh in the Kargil region, but isolated pockets exist in the Nubra valley and near Leh. They are believed to be descendants of the Sakas, a Central Asian race.


All groups have together contributed their own perceptible share in the distinctive physiognomy, language and homogenised culture of Ladakh. The Ladakhis are a simple and hardy people with an immense capacity for work and the fortitude to not merely survive but remain cheerful under the most adverse physical conditions. Living as close to nature as they do, they have maintained a harmonious balance with their surroundings.


Some of the passes which you can explore while on the tour are:

Khardung La

Khardung La being one of the most popular destinations in Leh and the gateway to Nubra and Siachen glacier, one might encounter a lot of traffic and army convoys on the way and it is best to start off the journey early in the day to avoid as much traffic as you possibly can. The drive to Khardung La can get very bumpy as the weather and landslides that frequently happen here doesnt augor too well for well maintained roads! Having said that the drive to the summit of Khardung La is relatively easy compared to a few other rides in Leh. Road beyond South Pallu is in bad condition & gain in altitude is substantial and the elation of reaching the Khardurng la top is mind numbing!

Baralacha La

Located about 75 kms from Keylong, Baralacha La at an altitude of 16,040 feet across the Bhaga river  is the start point of several treks in Leh Ladakh region which include the famous Suraj Tal  trek and Chandra Tal trek. It is always advisable to cross Baralacha La pass before noon. The melting of snow on the higher altitudes of this pass makes it difficult to cross it as the day advances.

Tanglang La Pass

Tanglang La on the Manali – Leh highway at an altitude of 17582 ft is the highest point on the highway. Tanglang la is like the gateway to Leh on the Manali – Leh route. Gata Loops and Tanglang La are the highlights of the Manali – Leh highway. Like most of the mountain passes in Leh on Tanglang la also there is a small temple and a marker stone whith the altitude of the pass mentioned on it!

Chang La Pass

The gateway to Changthang, Chang La at 17,590 ft is the third highest motorable pass. At the pass there is a shrine dedicated to Chang La baba after who the pass is also named. Tangste is the nearest settlement. Indian army serves tea here free of cost to tourists visiting Chang La pass!

Zoji La Pass

Zoji la Pass is one of the highest mountain passes on Srinagar – Ladakh highway about 100 km from Srinagar ahead of Sonmarg. Zoji la pass remains closed to traffic for nearly six months in a year due to heavy snowfall in winter. (Opens by April end)

Marsimek-La

The Marsimek-La pass built by ITBP at 18634 ft also makes unsubstantiated claims of being the highest motorable pass in the world! Marsimek-La is on the northern-most tip of the Plateau 35 kms from Pangong Tso.

Fotu La Pass

Fotu La pass on the Srinagar-Leh highway of the Himalayan Zanskar Range stands at a height of of 13,478ft (4,108m) above the sea level. This mountain pass is referred to as the highest point on the highway, going beyond the well-known Zoji La. The drive through the pass is a beautiful journey where you can stop to get an amazing view  of the snow-clad mountain ranges.

Lachulung La Pass

Lachulung La, located in Ladakh separates the valleys of the Tsarap Chu Chu and the Tozay, where both are on the flow of the Zanskar and the Indus rivers. Situated on 16,600 feet above the sea level, the pass is quite close to the Sarchu and Pangong lake. The pass on the Leh-Manali Highway is around 8 kms from La Nakee that is around 24 kms towards the north of Pang. The road is visible from the narrow gap of the Lachulung Lungpa. While crossing the pass, the tourist buses and taxis take a halt here most of the times, to let the tourists admire the local natural beauty of the surrounding mountains. It is one of the favorite passes amongst the hikers as well as trekkers.

Namikala Pass

Namikala pass, located at the Zanskar range that connects Srinagar- Leh highway. This pass located at the height of 12,139 feet above the sea level is also known as the pillar of the sky passes. Namikala pass is situated on the way to Mulbek valley. Tourists here can see the rock carvings of Maitreya Buddha as well as a Gompa. It is one of the most important passess in Ladakh and the last one too, before one enters the Kargil region. You will find a number of signboards giving important information. Although a barren  land, but once you cross the pass you can  admire the breathtaking view of the lush green surroundings and snow-covered peaks.