A road trip to Leh-Ladakh is something a traveler has on top of their priority list. Popularly known as the “Land of High Passes”, Ladakh provides a wide range of opportunities for adventure enthusiasts. Nestled as its capital, the town of Leh has been a significant part of Ladakh's history and still continues to be extremely popular among travelers.
From serving as the stop point for trade routes along the Indus Valley and also between India and China for centuries to now being the bridge that connects distinct cultures, Leh is a fascinating town brimming with diversity and heritage.
In this road trip to Ladakh, we traverse through many destinations that are not only major attractions but carry the essence of Ladakh in their very walls. From Buddhist monasteries that have preserved ancient relics and thangka paintings to the iconic motorable high passes that attract riders from all over the country, this Leh-Ladakh tour is specially curated to provide you the thrill you seek as well as give you a glimpse at the serenity that the beautiful valleys of Ladakh have to offer.
This trip starts from our arrival at Leh. Since the altitude is high and weather conditions are harsher compared to plain regions, it's necessary to allow your body to get acclimatized properly. Spending a day in Leh is a crucial part of this Ladakh road trip. Since the ascend isn't gradual, many travelers face certain health related issues when they embark on this journey but you won't have to worry if you let your body adapt to the conditions.
After spending a night under the starry skies, you will perhaps realize what you were missing out on while stuck in the daily hustle and bustle of your life in the metropolitan cities where the air isn't quite as fresh as the one that billows in the heart of Ladakh.
Our first stop for the Leh sightseeing in this Ladakh road trip would be none other than the confluence of Zanskar and Indus rivers, locally known as Sangam, , located at Nimmu on Leh-Srinagar highway. Indus, also known as Sindhu river, is the main source of water for the entire valley when it comes to irrigation practices. The blue waters surrounded by the earthly brown hues of mountain blend together to offer a view that is not only pleasing to the eyes but fill your heart with awe as you witness nature work it's magic.
Other tourist attractions in Ladakh that we make sure you must visit include the Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, a beautiful Gurudwara built in the memory of Guru Nanak Sahib in 1517. It is a sacred belief in Sikhism that Guru Nanak Dev travelled to many places during his lifetime and one of those places was Tibet. Even the Buddhists of this region consider him to be a Saint and call him by the name of Guru Gompka Maharaj.
The next stop during the local sightseeing tour in this Ladakh road trip is the Magnetic Hill. It has gained popularity for it's gravity defying phenomena. At a staggering height of 14,000ft, the uphill slopes seems to pull the vehicles upwards even if you wish to drive in the opposite direction. A board marks the location of the hill so you can't miss it when driving on the roads of Leh. What makes this cyclops hills even more interesting is that the locals believe that the road is a gateway to heaven.
One of the major attractions in Ladakh is perhaps the most symbolic embodiment of courage and valor. The Hall of Fame, a memorial constructed by the Indian Army to honor the legacy of the Indian soldiers who lost their lives during the many wars that occurred post partition. The museum has a wall named “The last post” where the last letter written by Captain Vijayant Thapar before his martyrdom is preserved in the frame. Simply being here, surrounded by the history of our soldiers and how they lived their lives, how they sacrificed it will surely leave you feeling overwhelmed and teary-eyed.
The next stop in our Ladakh road trip will provide you some much needed peace of mind. The Shanti Stupa is a beautiful white domed structure that holds ancient relics of Buddha in it's embrace. Apart from being the abode to such notable emblems of Buddhist culture, it is also enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself. It has gained popularity not just because of it's spiritual significance but the scenic view that is in the backdrop of Stupa.
We won't confine ourselves to Leh in this Leh-Ladakh road trip but explore the many valleys and villages the travelers paradise has to offer. We will make a small trip to Nubra valley from Leh first. In Tibetan, Nubra is called Dumra which means valley of flowers and the name perfectly suits the vast expanse of land that stretches like a blooming spring field. The best part about this mini road trip from Leh to Nubra is that you'll be traversing through Khardung La pass which is one of the highest motorable passes in the world, with a staggering height of 18,379 ft. The pass is a gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. Adventure enthusiasts from across the world come on this pass to experience the thrill of riding their bikes at high altitudes. You can also indulge in exciting activities like Double Hump Bactrian Camel safari, ATV rides and more.
One of the coolest things about this 7 day road trip is that this Ladakh tour comes with an expedition to Turtuk and Siachen Base Camp. The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern region of the Himalayas and is the point where the Line of Control aka LOC between India and Pakistan ends. The Siachen basecamp was also the center of a military conflict between India and Pakistan that started back in 1984. Turtuk is the India's last outpost and was once a part of Pakistan before the Indian Army captured it during the war of 1971. This road trip to Ladakh becomes perfect when you spend some time in Turtuk which is known for it's variety of fruits especially apricots.
The next destination would be Pangong Lake, a name you might be familiar with if you are into pop culture specifically Bollywood. The lake was featured in the iconic scene in the blockbuster Bollywood movie 3 Idiots. It has also been featured in some popular Shah Rukh Khan flicks like Jab tak hai Jaan and Dil se. Apart from being a treat to the eyes with its pristine blue waters, what makes the lake interesting is that it doesn't allow outflow to any other waterbodies.
En-route Pangong while on this Ladakh road trip, we will make a stop to pay our respects at the Diskit Monastery which is the oldest and the largest monastery in Leh. It is known for the 106 ft tall statue of Buddha that is perched on top of hill. The Monastery has its roots dating back to the 14th century with frescos and paintings depicting ancient tales of Buddhist culture.
After our days excursion, we will set up camp with the Pangong Lake in the backdrop. A night with starry skies and soothing breeze would give you the peace of mind that metropolitan cities have deprived us of. The next stop of our Ladakh tour would be Tso Moriri. Situated at an altitude of 14,836 ft, it is one of the largest high altitude lakes in the trans Himalayan region as well as in India. The water of the lake is alkaline and the lake itself is one of the remnant lakes which means that it used to be a part of significant structural lakes.
In a nutshell, this Leh road trip with Tso Moriri, Turtuk, Siachen base camp is one of a kind that covers majority of attractions in Ladakh and makes the experience the perfect blend of thrill and peace.