Ladakh Hill Station
Popuraly known as 'Hermit Kingdom', Ladakh is a land of snow carved peaks, translucent Lakes, barren terrain and mystic culture. It is also known as little Tibet and has a great Buddhist tradition. Visit the various mosteries out of which Shey, Thikse, Hemise, Lamayuri, and Likir are the most important ones. Every year in the month of June Hemis Festival is held which is a unique experience.This is the highest inhabited region in India and the River Indus with its tributaries, slice their way through the ranges.
The hill resort of Ladakh is surrounded by the Karakoram Range in the north. The Himalayas border Ladakh in the south. The Indus River flows through Ladakh and divides it into Leh, Nubra, Zanskar, lower Ladakh and Rupshu. Geographically speaking the landscape of Ladakh comprises of uplands, craggy, barren cliffs and plateaus.
Buddhism in Ladakh:
A religion that has bestowed mankind with the spirit of humanity is Buddhism. This revered compassion of mankind indeed is one of the greatest discoveries in the world of spirituality. Purity echoes the mantra of peace and ardent adoration for mankind and a deep anchored desire to serve human race
Hemis in Ladakh, is situated at a distance of 40 km southeast of Leh.
Famous for spectacular scenic beauty, exotic wildlife, varied cultural influences and the historic Hemis Monastery.
Noteworthy amongst the many treasures housed within the monastery, is the exquisite Buddha Shakyamuni, which is studded with precious gems. The serene-faced colossus sits in the Cho-khang chamber at the far end of the courtyard, along with some richly inlaid, silver Chortens.
In 2004, the monastery is where the antique Thangka is going to be displayed to the public after a span of twelve years.
Then there is the Thikse monastery whose architecture will not fail to sweep you off your feet. In the Shey monastery you must see the huge gold-plated copper statue of the Buddha. Amongst the other old gompas worth visiting in Ladakh are 1, 000-year-old Alchi, 11th century- Likir and Lamayuru.
Coming back to nature it is noteworthy that Ladakh is rich in flora and fauna. You may feast your eyes on the exotic flowers like iris and larkspurs in Ladakh. Moving on to fauna you will be able to spot Yak easily in Ladakh. The local people of Ladakh use the meat, horns, hooves, hide, hair and even the tail of Yak. Though you may use the animal for a ride. While in Ladakh you will come across the hybrid between the yaks and cow namely Dzo. Dzo can only be seen in Ladakh. Ladakh is home to several wool-producing animals like sheep, goats and yak.
Kargil, the second town of Ladakh, is situated on the Suru River just short of its confluence with the Dras-shingo. Almost equidistant, at a little over 200-km from Leh, Srinagar, Padum in Zanskar and Skardu, the capital of Baltistan, it was in the old days the centre of a network of routes joining these places. Since Partition, Skardu has been lost to Ladakh, but Kargil remains the main staging-point between Srinagar and Leh, and the Gateway to the Suru valley and Zanskar.
Trekking in Ladakh:
When Ladakh was first thrown open to tourism an average itinerary encompassed visits to Leh and its environs with some treks into nearb 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.
- By Air: Leh is the main airport for this area. Direct flights link it to Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar and Jammu. Kargil, Suru and Zanskar valleys - Srinagar and Leh airports are both convenient.
- By Road: Leh - Srinagar-Leh road is the main route with an over night halt at Kargil. The road is open between mid June and November. Ordinary and deluxe buses of the J&K state road transport corporation regularly ply on this route.