Best of Leh and Ladakh

Ladakh is a union territory in India bursting with unique local culture and a celebrated Buddhist history. Unbeknown to most travellers, Ladakh is a stunning region in Northern India set amongst the Himalayas with breathtaking scenery and monuments. Here’s a little bit about Ladakh and why this beautifully picturesque destination should be on your bucket list. across the northwest area of the Indian state, Jammu and Kashmir, located north of Himachal Pradesh. It’s a breathtaking mountain range region with a population of just over 200,000 people.


“When the wind calls, you know, that somewhere in the mountains, it has found the answers that you were looking for."

– Vikram Oberoi



Ladakh’s capital of Leh provides a satisfying mix of natural wonders and cultural sites such as the numerous Buddhist temples. While Monsoons season overwhelms the south of India, Leh remains unaffected by the monsoons, making the city an attractive destination for those looking to travel in the summer or monsoon seasons. Leh has connections by rail, air and road and unlike other parts of India, driving in Leh is a peaceful activity with your journey accompanied by undulating hills, flowing tributaries and gorgeous snow-capped mountains. No matter your choice of travel, Leh and the greater Ladakh region provide opportunities to explore the highest plateau in India and the sights unique to the Himalayan foothills.



Leh is one of the highest altitude cities in the world, standing at a massive 3500 meters above sea level. It’s cold desert climate makes it one of the most unique and otherworldly cities in the world. Few cities exist in such cold desert regions, and of those that do, Leh stands out as a city that has it all: nature, culture, stunning architecture, and endless sights to see and activities to do. Pangong Lake is a natural marvel also situated in Ladakh, known for it’s everchanging shade of blue, appearing deep blue, turquoise or even green. Many travel to the lake to see the various species of migratory bird that stop there throughout the year, including the beautiful ruddy shelduck. The lake also gained notoriety as the setting of a scene in one of Bollywood’s biggest hits, “3 Idiots”.

Another draw to the territory is the annual “Hemis Festival”, constituting one of the most important holidays in the Tibetan Buddhist calendar. This festival is a colourful display of local talent through singing, an instrumental performance, traditional dances, and the unfurling of two giant “thangkas” (Buddhist painting). The festival usually takes place in either June or July. Dedicated to the birth of Buddhist Lord Padmasambhava – the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism in Ladakh, Hemis festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month, usually falling in June or July.

Depicting the tales of war between good and evil, the Chams (masked performers) dominate the festival with their vibrant dance moves. Dressed in bright coloured attire and paper-mache masks, coupled with dance and the sounds of traditional music makes this event an incredible experience to behold.



Mountainous landscapes are a natural draw for adventurous thrill seekers, however few places offer the wide range of activities Ladakh does. Ladakh’s many outdoor experiences include trekking, mountain biking, peak climbing, river rafting, jeep safari, camping, horse riding, camel safari and so much more. Ladakh offers some of the highest mountain peaks and passes you can trek in the world, making it the perfect destination for nature lovers looking to explore a landscape unlike any other.

Another great trek is the Markha Valley trek. This trek is more for beginners and is an amazing trip that introduces you to the magical and remote Buddhist Kingdom of Ladakh.During winter, the flowing Zanskar River grinds to halt, freezing over for the season and providing one of Ladakh’s most popular treks. The “Chadar Trek”, for those who are brave enough to face the icy climate of the winter, takes trekkers through remote villages and some truly beautiful scenery.

While many come for the scenery, visitors to Ladakh often stay for the delicious food on offer. Ladakhi Cuisine includes dishes such as thukpa (noodle soup), momos (dumplings) and tsampa. These hot dishes are made all the more satisfying when consumed in the frigid cold of the Himalayan mountain range. Wash it all down with the famous Tibetan butter tea, a drink so popular that some locals are recorded as drinking 60 cups a day.


himalaya himalayas horse


The 17th century Leh Palace will dazzle visitors, who will be spoiled for choice between exploring the grounds, looking over the breathtaking view of Leh or visiting the gallery and museum that occupies the palace today. If the art of Leh leaves an impression on you, head to the Ladakh art palace to see some of the beautiful wares the region is known for, including jewellery, textiles, sculptures, and traditional masks. The Palace showcases the history of the Namgyal dynasty, a dynasty of rulers that asserted authority over the region for almost four centuries. Another grand building is the Stok Palace, situated next to the Stok monastery and intended to serve as the holiday home for a once-powerful dynasty. Today the palace has been converted to a hotel, with a huge level of attention to detail to ensure the traditional character of the building was not lost.

Ladakh is home to some of the most striking Buddhist monasteries; with a strong Buddhist culture spanning centuries, these monasteries are a part of history. There are large number of you can visit; some of the most famous are Shey, Hemis Monastery, Lamayuru and Rangdum. We’ve only listed a few but there are dozens more, each just as beautiful as the next.

If you have a passion for shooting with your lens, Ladakh is perhaps your dream destination. With everything from striking mountains to beautiful deserts and rivers, your landscape photography options are endless. In Ladakh you truly have the most gorgeous backdrop for any photo. Of course you can’t afford to miss a photo of the heavenly sunrises and sunsets creating dramatic rainbows of colour across the mountains and lighting up the sky like nowhere else.

The talented locals of Leh often sell their goods at the Leh market, with all kinds of souvenirs and eateries at your fingertips. The Library Road vegetable market makes for a wonderful photo opportunity as locals line the road with their produce. In addition, the nearby Tibetan refugee market sells handcrafted goods, made up of fine jewellery, sculptures, traditional bowls and prayer wheels. Take part in an unmatched shopping experience and contribute to a society firmly rooted in arts and culture.

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