Discover the Culture and Landscapes of India’s Himalayas
With the exception of Rajasthan, which can be a riot of verdant colour during the monsoonal rains, it’s fair to say that India is not the ideal summer destination. Not ideal apart from one small corner that is …
The ancient (ex) mountain kingdom of Ladakh is one of the country’s most staggeringly beautiful locations and perfect for visiting in the summer months when the rest of country is either struggling with the heat and/or dealing with the challenges of the wet season.
I’ve visited Ladakh several times during the course of my long, and ongoing, love affair with the Indian subcontinent and every time I’m in reverence of the region’s diversity. From the moon-like landscape that encompasses the district’s capital, Leh, to the deep blue serenity of Pangong Lake (which hasn’t that long been accessible to foreigners), Ladakh is one of the most awe-inspiring places on earth.
Getting to Ladakh
Just reaching Ladakh is an adventure in itself. Both the mountain flight from Delhi to Leh and the journey overland from Manali are equally as thrilling, although the latter is certainly better at aiding acclimatisation. Taking it slow for the first day or so upon arrival is also a good way to reduce the effects of altitude. Leh is an affable place and besides an easy stroll through the backstreets of the old town or a wander through the bustling bazaar, it’s a good idea to not do very much at all and, every time I’ve visited, I’ve never felt guilty about relaxing in one of the town’s numerous bakery-cafes and enjoying a nice cup of sweet, milky chai accompanied by a freshly baked piece of apple pie. It is, after all, part of the acclimatisation process!
Monasteries are part of the landscape in Ladakh
Out and about, I don’t tire of exploring some of the fantastically located monasteries that dot the Ladakh landscape. Thiksey, Shey and Hemis are among the most important and each is steeped in Tibetan culture. The distinctive aroma of yak-butter tea (taste it at your peril!), whitewashed walls, murmuring monks reciting mantras and the fluttering of prayer flags are all part and parcel in understanding why Ladakh is often called ‘Little Tibet’. But there are many more monasteries besides and in some locations, such as Diskit in the Nubra Valley, there is even the opportunity to spend the night in a seasonal luxury camp. To wake up and gaze out upon rugged mountainous scenery while enjoying breakfast is otherworldly and not an experience to be forgotten in a hurry.
Walking in Ladakh
There is also magnificent trekking in Ladakh and it doesn’t need to be hardcore. The establishment of a number of simple yet comfortable mountain lodges means it is possible to combine day hikes and enjoy, in relative comfort, the snow-capped mountains, fertile valleys and tumbling rivers that make Ladakh one of the most exhilarating places to trek on the Indian subcontinent.
With Tibet to the north, Kashmir and the might of the Karakoram Mountains to the east and the Pamir Mountains not too far away, Ladakh truly is situated on the ‘Roof of the World’ and if, like me, you are a mountain junkie who can’t wait until the winter months, when the neighbouring Himalayan mountains of Nepal are at their best, then consider glorious Ladakh for your next holiday destination.
Luxury Holidays to Ladakh
Specialising in bespoke travel to the East, contact Corinthian Travel to discuss your luxury holiday to Ladakh. With the knowledge and experience to make your trip as memorable as it can be, get in touch and start discussing your perfect Indian experience today!