9 Things To Do And Places To Visit In Ladakh
Ladakh is beautiful! It lets you discover yourself and connect with nature as you disconnect from the tech-savvy world outside. If you happen to visit or plan to holiday in this Mystical Land of Lamas, then here are 9 places to visit in Ladakh for an ultimate experience.
#1 The Magnetic Hill
Ladakh’s Magnetic Hill almost always features on articles about ‘obscure places in India‘. Tourists flock here to see the ‘magic’ of this hill, but its reality is way more interesting. The layout of the land surrounding the hill creates an optical illusion, which makes a slight downhill slope appear uphill. The result – you see vehicles moving up at a speed of 20km/hour with the engines off.
Did You Know? The locals believe that the Magnetic Hill is a pathway to heaven. While the deserving people get pulled ahead, the less-fortunate ones will not.
#2 The Beauty Of Pangong Tso lake
Ask people to list the places to visit in Ladakh and Pangong Lake will certainly find a spot there, such is the beauty of this lake! FYI: Pangong in Tibetan stands for “long, narrow, enchanted lake”. Apt, don’t you think?
Did You Know? During the winter season, a gala ice skating festival is organised on the surface of the frozen Pangong Tso lake.
#3 The View From Tsemo Fort
When you’re in Leh, you just cannot miss the sight of the Leh Palace (you’ll know what we mean once you’re there). It is one of the best places to visit in Ladakh. But try to look a bit higher and you’ll notice the Tsemo fort. Perched right above the palace, this fragile looking edifice was originally built in the year 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal and many centuries since. So just in case you haven’t yet had your fill of some of Ladakh’s best views, then a climb up the Tsemo Fort may just do the trick!
Did You Know? Beneath the Tsemo Fort lies a Tsemo Gompa that house an eight meter tall gold-faced statue of Maitreya Buddha.
#4 Butter Tea!
There’s tea and then there is Yak Butter Tea! This Ladakhi favourite is prepared with tea leaves, yak butter, water and salt. It has plenty of caloric energy, particularly suited for the high altitudes.
Did You Know? Yak Butter Tea is known as ‘gur gur’ chai because the churner makes gur gur noise while the tea is being prepared.
#5 Khardungla Pass; World’s Highest Motorable Road
Every person who visits Ladakh dreams of the prefect selfie at Khardungla Pass. Why should you go here? Well, other than the fact that it is the world’s highest motorable road at 18,380 feet, the Maggie here tastes absolutely delicious. Of all the places to visit in Ladakh, you cannot afford to miss this delicious pass.
Did You Know? The word ‘La’ means pass in Tibetan language.
#6 The Prayer Wheel
Quick Fact: Every prayer wheel contains trillions of prayers rolls. So when you spin the wheel once, you are actually spinning millions of prayer rolls simultaneously. The purpose of the prayer wheel is to end the cycle of life and pray for the happiness of all central beings. The tiny bell that rings with every spin indicates the state of awareness, which teaches us to live in the present rather than the past or the future. While prayer wheels are a common sight in Ladakh, spinning one at the Alchi Monastery will be special for three reasons…
- It is the oldest monastery and Buddhist learning centre in Ladakh
- Easy to access as you don’t have to climb uphill. Unlike most of Ladakh’s monasteries, Alchi is situated on a flat ground.
- The art inside this monastery has a different style, unlike any other in the whole of Ladakh. Especially the old thangka paintings, which distinguishes this place from other religious sites around and makes it one of the popular places to visit in Ladakh.
Did You Know? It is believed that even an insect that crosses a prayer wheel’s shadow will receive some benefit.
#7 A Frozen Ice Trek On Zanskar River
Camping in caves and walking on the frozen river of Zanskar is truly an adventure. Thanks to the unpredictable weather (the temperature can go as low as -30 °C) and and the remoteness of this area. Besides, the spectacular views don’t hurt the eye either. This frozen ice trek is one of the famed places to visit in Ladakh.
Did You Know? The Zanskar river remains inaccessible for nearly eight months a year due to heavy snowfall.
#8 Sand Mandalas
The creation and destruction of sand mandalas are an important part of the Buddhist culture. These mandalas are constructed with extreme precision and are a representation of the world in the divine form which makes it one of the top places to visit in Ladakh. Head to the Diskit monastery and watch the monks pray over these sand mandala for the healing of its inhabitants and then ritualistically dismantle them.
Did You Know? The sand mandalas could take several weeks to build due to the intricacy of the work involved.
#9 River Rafting At The Indus River
The Indus river offers a spectacular rafting course amidst deep gorges, snow-capped peaks and hilltop monasteries. Adventure lovers, this is one of the best places to visit in Ladakh to pump up the adrenaline rush.
Did You Know? The Indus river is locally known as the Singhe Khababs which means ‘out of Lion’s mouth’.