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leh and laddakh

  • Submitted by: Dr Siddharth Lakhotia and Major ( Dr ) Anjali rani, India
  • Submission Date: 06th Dec 2008

Our last trip to Leh-Laddakh region in Jammu and Kashmir was beyond our expectations.

The region's beauty is beyond words. The air is thin, low in oxygen which forces you to take complete bed rest for 36hrs on arrival.

We saw wonderful monasteries like Hemis and Spituk, palaces like Shey and Leh palace, heavenly lakes namely Tsomorori (7hrs drive from Leh along Indus river at a height of 15000 ft, 42 km long lake surrounded by beautiful snow covered mountains) and Pangong lake ( 5hrs drive from leh at height of 14000 feet, approx 142 km long) and also the highest metorable road in world at height of 18380 feet, which goes to Siachen glacier.

The night at Tsomorori Lake was great and adventurous too. We stayed in a hut of a local villager. The Karzok village on the banks of lake has a population of around 100 people, in summer from May to September they cultivate rice, said to be highest rice fields in world.

We enjoyed the local food and great hospitality and laddakhi bread with laddakhi tea with butter and salt in it was simply mouthwatering. Half of the lake was frozen when we went in early may. The tourist season starts from June to September. The markets in Leh are full of rare gems, woolens, dry fruits, handicrafts and Buddhist literature. There are plenty of restaurants along the main market road offering a wide variety of menu to choose from. Check out Tibbettan food and variety of tea that they have to offer.

An early morning or late evening trip to Shanti Stupa gives a grand view of whole Leh City. Our taxi driver cum guide Tashi made our trip a great experience. He was with us for ten days. Simplicity and honesty is the basic nature of Ladakkhis at least that was our experience.

The roads are wonderful, mountains are majestic, food is delicious and weather windy and chilly at that time. It’s a place which besides its harsh and tough climate is full of peace and happiness. A life time experience……..and to remain it a life time experience for coming generations we urge government not only to encourage eco tourism but also restrict the number of tourists per year, so that Leh is not transformed into another Manali, Shimla, Mussorie or Darjeeling soon.