A trip to Leh, Ladhak is a experience, not just any vacation.
Being the hottest holiday destination, you must think, it’s packed with tourists and there will be a lot of hubbub. You will also wonder that due to this entire crowd, you will have to struggle to witness the beauty of Leh and the shop owners of the trinkets’ stores would be screaming at you for your attention. But the scenario is very different. The quaint little town, enveloped in the midst of the hills, is drowned in calmness. You can savor every little moment and enjoy your holiday in every way possible. Leh, you realize, is not just a vacation; it’s an experience.
Leh, at an altitude of more than 11,000 feet, is blessed with nature’s gift. Simple things like waking up to a beautiful blue sky and the scenery of snow-capped mountains, or star-studded night sky (you would have hardly seen so many stars in the night sky!) and wishing each time a shooting star passes by, goes on to make Leh more than what you wondered. This place is to leave you with happy memories and once you have visited this place, you will be back, to relive the quest.
You should prefer taking a road trip to Leh, mostly because of the journey, you can see the ever changing landscapes, the different shades of the sky, and the beauty just seizes you. Plus, you get to drive past the ‘magnetic hill’ (from Kargil to Leh) when your car defies gravity to move a short distance of slight road elevation on its own! Cool Right!
From Leh, one has to cross the Chang La Pass to reach the breathtakingly beautiful Pangong lake. This lake became more famous when you enjoyed it in “3 Idiots”. The lake, 60 percent of which lies in Tibet, is outstanding amid the bordering barren hills. One can count the amazing shades of blue in the water. Its ever changing.
Driving on the world’s second highest motorable road at Khardung La, at an altitude of more than 18,000 feet, is a must-do. It’s especially popular among bikers who make sure to get embroidered T-shirts back in Leh declaring their deed – a souvenir worth wearing back home. Also there is the Nubra valley, the cold desert, humping on a camel’s back, up and down, very much fun! Another admired entity to take home is a string of multi-coloured prayer flags, also available in small size.
There is the splendid Shanti Stupa, the 400-year-old Jama Masjid, and the ancient Leh Palace which, unlike the decorated royal palaces, is a meek multi-storeyed structure from whose balconies you get a beautiful view of the entire town. The view instantly connects you with this place and is certainly one of the most beautiful views. After experiencing all these places, Leh will certainly be added to your list of” The most beautiful places I have ever been to” (Bit long right! Sorry). All said, Leh in itself has a lot for guests to accompany.
For those looking for adventure, there is much to do – river rafting, kayaking, trekking, and hiking – at close distance. For others looking for a calm, hassle-free time, Leh is best travelled around on foot. This place is the “Best of both worlds”.
Shopping wise, a word of concern: be ready to loosen your purse strings because things are generally priced high. Shops are laden with exquisite artifacts, woollen shawls and jackets, carpets, and jewellery in silver with different gemstones. So, be careful.
In all, Leh is an amazing place and you should definitely go there, not for the sake of it but to earn a lifetime of memories.