Ladakh, a word which means “Land of passes”, is a mountainous region in northwest Jammu & Kashmir, in North India and in the area known as Trans-Himalayas. A hill station and a cold desert, Ladakh is one of those places with unparallel beauty.”Little Tibet”, “Heaven of Adventures”, “The Moon-Land”, “Biker’s paradise”, are the phrases Ladakh is often associated with. The well preserved Tibetan culture is a main attraction in Ladakh along with its unique natural landscapes. Read on to learn more about the amazing treasure-trove of Ladakh…
- ZANSKAR VALLEY
Nestled in between the majestic Himalayan ranges, Zanskar valley is considered to be the most fascinating and adventurous hub for tourists. It is higher than any other valley in Ladakh and is isolated and scantily inhabited. A devour of pretty landscape and cultural diversity, Zanskar is rich in pungent, therapeutic foliage and aromatic plants. The area remains inaccessible for most part of the year due to heavy snowfall. Summer time is ideal for visiting Zanskar.
The valley features lush green landscape, snow-capped mountains dotting the horizon. There are many natural trekking routes for adventure enthusiasts.
In winters ‘Chadar’ or the frozen-river trek is very famous among adventure seekers. It has to be experienced at least once in a lifetime. The mesmerizing journey through the frozen Zanskar River is a voyage to the heart of this isolated place and there are adventures and mysteries hidden in every nook and corner of this river valley. While in summers river-rafting and kayaking are done on Zanskar river.
The natural beauty of an unspoiled landscape with breath taking scenery of marvelous glaciers makes a spectacular panorama. Major tourist-destinations in Zanskar are:
Padum is a small town and administrative headquarter of Zanskar. It is located at an elevation of 3505m above the sea level. It has quite a few facilities including an internet cafe, phone booths and a bunch of hotels and restaurants.
The landscape-composition is wonderful with different shapes and colors of the mountains, rocks and boulders. Yaks and Dzo graze calmly in green and golden fields
Zangla is a small village. It has an old castle which is in ruins except for a small monastery. Exquisite frescos adorned the monastery in nearby village called Tsa Zar
An old nunnery worth visiting displays the austere lifestyle of the small monastic community of nuns.
Zongkul has an amazing cave monastery. The monastery is linked with the famous Buddhist Yogi Naropa who lectured in the universities of Nalanda and Vikransil. It was used by him for solitary meditation purpose. It stands on the rock face of Ating gorge like a nest. The frescos and murals reflect high degree of artistic accomplishments. The murals are said to be done by Zhadpo Dorje, who was a celebrated scholar/ painter.
Phugthal is the most amazingly located monastic establishment in ladakh. It is a challenging destination because it is located high on the sheer mountain face of a lateral gorge. Its foundation dates back to early 12th century and is now housed by a community of about 40 -50 monks. The interior of the monastery displays frescos and ceiling decorations reflecting strong artistic and iconographic influence.
Stongde is located at an elevation of about 3500m. The village has some historic gompas or monasteries. You will come across a couple of lakes on the way surrounded by marmots- holes. Beautiful scenery of green meadows, snow-clad peaks and swift flowing rivers make it a perfect place for picnic-spots and for nature-lovers
Shagma Karphu is known for its spectacular views of the sunset and sunrise, and adjoining mountain peaks. The land is dotted with marshy lands that are formed by the melting of snow. The grass in autumn has shades of orange color making the place a speechless beauty.
Karsha has the famous Gelupa monastery. The place is a perfect retreat for travelers.