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About Ladakh

Situated on the western end of 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 8000 ft. to 15000 ft. while passes of upto 20000 ft. and peaks reaching above 25000 ft. can be seen all around. The world’s largest glacier outside the polar region, Siechen is here. Such daunting heights no wonder determine the land’s temperature.

 

The major waterway of Ladakh is the Indus which enters India from Tibet at Ldemchok. Starting near Mt. Kailash, the Indus according to Mythology, sprouts from the mouth of a loin, and is therefore known as Senge Khababs. Thus summer temperatures rarely exceeds about 27 C in the shade, while in Winter they may plummet to minus 20 C even in Leh. Surprisingly, though the thin air makes the heat of the sun even more intense than at lower altitudes. It is said that only in Ladakh a man sitting with his feet in the shade suffers from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time!

 

Ladakh is bounded by world's two mightiest mountain ranges the great Himalayan and the Karakoram, It lies athwart two others The Ladakh and the Zangskar range.

 

It lies at altitude ranging from about 2,750m to 7,673m. The temperature in summer goes upto 27C and in winter it drops down to minus 20C.
It leaves the first time traveler awestruck by its geographical and cultural difference as they land at Leh. The features of Ladakhi people, their clothes and dialects are similar to Tibetan and Mongoloid then Indian.

 

The Mons from Kullu and Tibet were the first population immigrants to Ladakh as shepherds' nomads and settled down near Indus River. Later drads and others immigrated to Lower Ladakh. Due to cultural and geographical similarities Ladakh is popular among tourists as Little Tibet. Buddhism is the dominant religion in Ladakh while Kargil district is dominated by Muslims and Buddhist. The approach to Ladakh is invariably marked with many walls that are long upto 2 to 3m, decorated with engraved stones bearing the mantra "Om Mani Padme Hum" and Chortens which symbolizes Buddha's mind.

 

The Villages and Mountains are ornamented with gonpa or monastery residing thousand of Buddhist monks, hermits and Nuns .Islam came to Ladakh from central Asia and Kashmir after 15th century AD. Now the Kargil, Drass and Suru valley is populated by Shia and Sunis are in Leh and Kargil in smaller scale.

 

How to Reach
Overland Approach - The overland approach to Ladakh from Kashmir Valley via Kargil is approx. 434 Km, which remains open for traffic from early June to November. The most dramatic part of this road journey is the ascent up the 11,500 feet / 3,505 m high Zoji-La, the pass in the Great Himalayan Wall that serves as the gateway to Ladakh. Manali to Leh - Since 1989, the 473 km. Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second overland approach to Ladakh. Open for traffic from around mid-June to early October. This high road traverses the upland desert plateau of Rupsho, altitude ranges from 3,660m to 4,570m. A number of high passes fall enroute among which the highest one known as Taklang-La is world's second highest motorable pass at an altitude of 17,469 feet/5,235m.

 

 

Road Distances
Srinagar-Leh434Km 
Manali-Leh473Km 
Srinagar-Kargil204Km 
Delhi-Leh1047Kms 
Leh-Kargil234Km 
Kargil-PadumZanskar)240Km 
Leh-Deskit (Nubra Valley) 118 Kms.

 

Air Travel
Indian Airlines operates regular flights to Leh from Delhi, Four flights in a week from Jammu and once in a week from Chandigarh and twice from Srinagar. Jet Airways operates daily flights between Leh-Delhi.

 

General Informations
Ladakh is spread over an area of 97,000 sq. kms. and lies at an average altitude of 3,500m above the sea level. Ladakh has a population of around 2,5000.

 

Languages Spoken
Ladakhi is the main language of Ladakh; other languages spoken are Balti, Shina, Brokshat and Changshat. In hotels and restaurants staff speak English and Hindi, while tourist guides are well versed with the language.

 

Permit and Passport
Tourist don't require permit for Leh, however, all foreigners are required to be registered at Drass, Rumtse and Serchu if they are travelling overland. Those traveling by air get themselves registered at airport. Tourists are required to get permit for restricted areas like Tsomoriri, Tsokar and Pangong Lakes, Dhahanu and Nubra Valley, which can be obtained from District Magistrate, Leh, through Travel Agents at Leh.