The Land of Lamas

Remember the song “Satrangi re” from the movie Dil Se ?? or “Behti hawa sa tha woh” from 3 idiots ?? The colorful monasteries, steep curves, snow-topped peaks, burning sun, freezing winds and a destination that comes straight out of the world of fantasies. Yes, that’s Leh-Ladakh for you! Alluring hundreds of tourists and filmmakers alike, Leh-Ladakh is ruggedly beautiful. So, if it has to be a vacation in India that's to be lived in memories for a lifetime, it has to be LEH-LADAKH! Bordered on the northwest with Pakistan, north with the Chinese province of Sinkiang and east with Tibet, stands this GIANT kingdom.

The photographers around the world await for the Rohtang pass to open up its jaws for the road trip that takes you through the steep curves of Keylong, followed by riverside camps amidst mountains at Jispa, and the beautiful roads of Baralancha La that leaves you spellbound by its beauty. If you have time in hand, you definitely must hit the road trip, for this is the place where the journey would mean more than reaching the destination.

Once you are in Leh, relax and let your body acclimatize to this sudden change of altitude. Reach the Khardungla pass, and feel proud to be at the highest motorable road of the world. Speak to the military men on the route, they have some inspiring stories to share and then head to the Nubhra valley. The major attractions here are White sand dunes and double humped camels for ride.

The another well-known place to be is the colour changing Pangong Tso lake located next to China border through Changla pass. You would be awfully smitten by the beauty of this lake featured in the movie “3 idiots”. For nine months of the year, Ladakh is virtually cut off from the outside world. Situated in a high altitude desert, surrounded by almost impenetrable snow-capped mountains, the high passes do not open until mid-June, and the road link with the world becomes impassable again in September. Outside the short summer season, goods and visitors can only arrive by air. Ladakh’s inaccessibility and harsh environment ensured its unique character was preserved for centuries, but its position at the crossroads of Asia meant it would never be completely isolated from the rest of the world. In Roman times, Leh was an important trading post feeding into the Silk Road, and later fell victim to 16th century marauders, eyes greedily set on the local pashmina trade. In the 1950s, China annexed part of the region – even building a road to facilitate the occupation while India wasn’t looking. Not intending to make the same mistake twice, India’s military presence in the area now seems to dwarf the local population.

The same urge for isolation that led Irish monks to the Skelligs has filled the valleys around Leh with beautiful, brightly colourful monasteries. Monks and Lamas are still drawn to these areas, and Ladakh’s monasteries are thriving. A keen visitor could spend a month in the region and visit a different monastery every day. Life at Ladakh is characterized by intense spiritualities. When you are here, visit the monasteries of Alchi, Diskit & Hunder, Hemis, Lamayuru, Shanti Stupa, Spituk, Thiksey etc. Another thing to look here is the priceless antiques and art. You might even bump into students from different parts of the world, studying Buddhism here. Other major attractions for the tourists worldwide have been the cycling, rafting and trekking expeditions at the region.

Thousands of tourists the world over come visiting Leh-Ladakh every year. Also many women-led tours are conducted to this part of India. With women no more hesitating to holiday on their own, Leh-Ladakh is proving to be a sought-after destination among women. Even if you are an Indian traveler, this world would not be same like the one you have left behind. Take this road, for this is less travelled… this leads to a whole new unseen & magical world.

Team Veena World