Trekking in Ladakh Himalaya and Other Adventure Sports
Trekking in Ladakh’s Himalaya are immensely rewarding , bringing one into close contact of the country. The warmth and hospitality of a charming and happy people also provide an unforgettable experience.
TREKKING IN LADAKH’S HIMALAYA
The Himalayas provide superb opportunities for trekking in a wide variety of landscapes. While crossing the Great Himalayan Range for instance, one passes from arid and wild terrain into beautiful alpine meadows and verdant forested valleys.
When Ladakh was first thrown open to tourism an average itinerary encompassed visits to Leh and its environs with some treks into nearby valleys. The most popular of these were the 8 day Markha valley trek, the 11 day Lamayuru-Padum route and the Stok-Khangri round trek. Now with growing interest in adventure tourism the focus has shifted to the mysterious valleys of Suru and Zanskar with their spectacular scenery.
TREKKING IN LADAKH’S HIMALAYA THROUGH SURU AND ZANSKAR VALLEY
Sankoo, Panikhar, Rangdum and Padum in the Suru and Zanskar Valleys are the base for a variety of trekking routes. From Sankoo for instance, one can trek to Drass or to Mulbekh in the opposite direction. Treks originating from Panikhar in the Suru valley lead to different destinations in the Kashmir and Kishtwar valleys across the main ridge of the great Himalayan Range.
Rangdum offers more challenging treks. One route wanders across the Kanji-la through the Kanji gorge to Henaskut on the Kargil-Leh Highway. The other crosses the glacial Chillung-la behind the Nun Kun massif to get to the Kishtwar Valley. From Padum four main trek routes go to different destinations-one to Manali in the Kullu Valley, one to Lamayura and Hemis respectively and the last to Kistwar.
Areas of Ladakh that were once closed to foreign visitors have been opened now. Movement here is restricted to designated circuit and the maximum time allowed is 7 days. There are different categories of entry permits. Enquire about the specific permit applicable to you at Jammu and Kashmir Tourist offices or Government of India Tourist offices before planning a trip here.
TREKKING IN LADAKH’S HIMALAYA THROUGH THE DROKPA AREA
An expedition to this area takes the trekker to the picturesque villages of the Drok Pa people. Though Buddhist in religion, they are distinctly different, both racially and culturally. Possible early Aryan settlers who came in from the Gilghit area, the Drok Pas have preserved ancient traditions that resemble Bon-chos,a preBuddhist religion. Two of their villages Dah and Biama may be visited. The route following the Indus after Khalatse goes past the attractive villages of Domkhar, Skurbuchan and Achinathang, set amidst fields of ripening crops and orchards of fruit trees.
TREKKING IN LADAKH’S HIMALAYA THROUGH NUBRA VALLEY
Along the eastern ridge of the Karakoram range in northern Ladakh is the Nubra Valley comprising of the Upper Sshayok and Nubra river Valleys.
The trekking route to this area is demanding and traverse the Kardung-la (18,380 ft.) pass along the ancient Leh to Central Asia. It is the highest motorable road in the world. The breathtaking view from the pass surveys an entire length of the Indus Valley in the south and a magnificent panorama of snow clad peaks.The route follows the valley past attractive villages to Deskit, the largest village in the valley. Onwards to Hundar down the Shayok valley, the trail wanders past rolling sand dunes. There is a small population of double humped Bacteria camels here and visitors can avail of a marvellous moonlight camel safari on the dunes.
Another trekking route proceeds up the Nubra River past pretty villages and the monastery at Samstaling to Panamik the last village on the corcuit. The natural hot springs here are a bonus after the trek.
TREKKING IN LADAKH’S HIMALAYA THROUGH THE PANGONG LAKE CIRCUIT
The beautiful high altitude Pangong Lake is also another popular destination with trekkers. It is a picturesque route that covers Shey and Thikse with their interesting monasteries, before turning off into the side valley of Chemrey. It goes over the Chang-la(5475 m), the pass over the Ladakh range which despite it height is not too difficult to tackle. At the base of the pass, Tangse has an ancient temple. The trek ends at Spangmik which is the furthest point to which foreigners are permitted-about 7 km along the southern bank of the lake. Pangong Lake at a height of 14,000 ft(4267 m), is breathtaking. Its blue green water reflects the entire mountainscape of the Changchenmo range. The largest Pangong water lake in Asia-the Pangog Lake is practically an inland sea, being 150 km long and 2 to 10 km wide.
TREKKING IN LADAKH’S HIMALAYA THROUGH THE TSO MORIRI LAKE
The Leh-Manali road goes through the upland desert plateau of Rupshu inhabited only by the nomadic Chang-pa herdsmen and their flock of pashmina goats. Its bare rolling hills interspersed with dusty valleys are the setting for the spectacular Tso Moriri Lake and other lakes in the area.
One treks wends its way to Korzok (4572 m) located just 5 km along the lake’s 23 km length. This route takes off along the Leh-Manali road over the Taglang-la, proceeds to the twin lakes of Startsapuk Tso(a fresh water lake) and Tso-Kar (a salt water lake) and then on to Korzok.
The lake is sparkling blue in its bleak surrounding the breeding ground for a variety of water birds, notably the bar-headed gooses, brahminy duck, the great crested grebe and the brown headed gull.
Exciting rafting options are available along the Indus and its major tributaries. The best stretch for guided white rafting trips is between Spituk and Saspol on the Indus close to Leh. For easy runs the area from Spituk to Karu is popular.
The Nun-Kun massif easily accessible from the Kargil-Padum road is the most popular climbing option in the area. The Stok-Khangri massif in the Zanskar range is accessible from Leh. The climbing period extends from mid May to mid October. Major peaks in the Karakoram range accessible from various points in the Nubra Valley include Saser I(7415 m), Saser II(7513 m), Saser III(7495 m). Foreign climbing expedition to these peaks require clearance from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation in Delhi.
More Information on Links Below
Permit for Ladakh
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