Ladakh|The Land of High Passes & Magical Monasteries

Ladakh|The Land of High Passes & Magical Monasteries

Ladakh|The Land of High Passes & Magical Monasteries

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 Ladakh

 

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Ladakh evokes memories of peace and tranquility, between the silent elegance of the mountains and living heritage of the Buddhist monasteries. At Black Swan Journeys we have facilitated, inspired and enabled experiences to Ladakh over the past 5 years.

So we decided to collect some of the best experiences, across our travellers and make a list of the must do’s in Ladakh. Tick any 3 experiences through your visit to Ladakh and we assure you would have had a fulfilling journey of your body, mind and soul.
Ladakh evokes memories of peace and tranquility, between the silent elegance of the mountains and living heritage of the Buddhist monasteries. At Black Swan Journeys we have facilitated, inspired and enabled experiences to Ladakh over the past 5 years.

Feel like a royal, visit the Leh royal palace overlooking Leh, modelled on the Potala Palace in Tibet, it is a nine story high structure. Towering over the Leh palace is the huge Victory Tower. The Palace Museum holds a rich collection of jewellery, ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns as well as the Tibetan thangka or sooth paintings which are more than 450 years old. Other places for the history oriented in you are the Stok Palace which is the royal abode of the royal family since 1857, where one can learn the history of the Namgyal clan. The Raisi fort has a nice collection of stamps, coins & other treasures.

Spend time amongst the flowers and nature, a must visit is the ‘Valley of flowers’ in the Nubra Valley. Drive through the magnetic hill to feel as if you are rolling uphill in defiance of gravity. Visit the confluence of Indus and Zansar rivers, and see the merger of the waters of different colour spectrum.

Cuisine

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The Ladakhi cuisine has some hidden gems, over and above the must have Momos, Thukpa & Khambir. Chang is the local brew prepared by fermenting the miller with yeast in a cylindrical porcelain pot. The preparation is topped with warm water, till the miller looses its strength. Skyu is made of kneaded thumb sized wheat flour dough with meat or vegetables. Chhupri is cheese made from Yak’s milk available in sweet, salty and plain form across the main market area.

Shopping

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For the Shopaholics some popular items are the Pashmina shawls, stoles and wool garments. You can shop from local markets on Main Bazaar Road like Ladakh Art Palace, Tibetan Handicraft Emporium or Women’s Alliance or the Cottage Emporium in Changspa. Tibetan handicraft items including prayer wheels, Buddhist masks and Thangka paintings can be purchased in Ladakh. Tibetan silver jewellery and traditional Ladakhi jewellery with turquoise are also popular with tourists can be brought from the Tibentian markets.

Festivals

blackswanjourneys-Lamas-monks-perform-mystic-mask-dances-in-Hemis-Festival-at-Hemis-Monastery-gompa-in-Ladakhj.pg Before travelling to Ladakh, do ensure that you try and align your calendar to the various festivals that are held there. Live the true Ladakhi culture through the various festivals that celebrate different aspects of living in the region. Hemis festival conducted at Hemis monastery, every year on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month. It commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, is a two-day affair in which the Lamas participate in mask dances religious plays with accompaniment of drums, cymbals and long horns.The Losar festival is a mixture of Buddhist and pre-Buddhist religious practices which is heralded with the end of the harvesting season. Locals dress up in new attires and fine jewellery and Chang, the local brew flows freely during the celebrations.The Ladakh festival is a 7- day long festival held before the start of the winter and consists of long processions followed by various types of dances like lion dances, Yak dances etc. Stalls display the finest exhibitions of handicrafts, excellent and tasty local food.

For the trekkers

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Trek amongst the mountains & endless passes of Zanskar and Ladakh Mountain Ranges. Ladakh is a highland that is layered in a spectral of colours green, white, blue, brown and red. Ladakh is known as the land of high passes. For the vertically inclined travelled the some of the recommended treks are:
Lamayuru to Darcha Trek (14-18 days),
Ripchar Valley Trek (7-10 days),
Lamayuru Stok Kangri (10-14 days).

For the adventurous in you the Chadar – The Frozen River Trek and Stok Kangri Climb are highly recommended.

Movie Buffs

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Walk along the never ending lake of Pangong Tso (Of the 3 Idiots fame) at an altitude of over 14000 feet, with a great opportunity to spend a night or two under the stars camping. Another must visit place is to go to the Tso Moriri Lake, which is a salt water lake at 15000 feet, set amongst mountain ranges and hence called the Mountain Lake, attracts range of wildlife, including migratory birds, marmots, wild asses, and Tibetan wolves.

A Dash of Tibet

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Drive on the Highest civilian motor road of Khardungla Pass in the world and be on the top of the world literally at 18000 feet. the huge number of Tibetan flags are said to ward off bad spirits and keep you safe set up a beautiful contrast with the white snow.

Monasteries

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The buddhist influence can be see through the these gompas at Ladakh which are cultural and architectural delight. Visit the monasteries, spend time with the monks and interact with them at various levels. The Lamayuru Monastry is the oldest Tibetan Buddhist monastery in the region maintained by the Red Hat sect of Buddhism with a beautiful collections of wall paintings, murals, thangkas and scriptures.

Hemis monastery is amongst the richest monasteries in India with some very rare & exquisite antique collections like the copper statue of Buddha, inctricately carved gold and silver stupas and some exotic Thangkas. The Shanti Stupa, one of the youngest Stupas in Ladakh built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu, Gyomyo Nakamura is popular not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

The Alchi monastry with the Indus in the the background is more of a monastic complex.
Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa is home to 100 monks as well as a giant statue of goddess Kali, which is shown to the public during the yearly Spituk festival. Thiksey Gonpa is amongst the most beautiful of all the Monasteries in Ladakh, belongs to the Gelukspa order and is home to over 80 monks. The Diskit monastery with a huge 106 ft tall statue of Maitreya Buddha is a major attraction.

Into the wild

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Last but not the least, a great way to round off the trip in the lap of the wild. One could go leopard spotting at the Hemis National Park with over 200 Snow leopards. Other attractions at the National park are the Tibetan wolf, the Eurasian brown bear which is endangered in India and the red fox. Its also a great place to watch the golden eagle, the lammergeier vulture and the Himalayan griffon vulture. On the other side, a Yak safari brings you closer to local culture and lifestyle that locals lead in Ladakh.

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Once can have a experience of a lifetime by experiencing the lakes, glacial valleys, gurgling streams, cascades, chiselled snow peaks, meadows, forests on the back of a yak. Camel safaris in Ladakh are very popular in Nubra Valley from Hundar Village to Diskit. One can can experience the double hump Bactarian Camel safari on cold sand dunes by the breathtakingly beautiful Shyok and Nubra river.

So whatever is your reason of travel, Ladakh offers a purposeful, soulful experience with a Glimpse of the In-between Heaven and Earth.

To enquire, write to knock@black-swan.in or call us on +91 9146154074 

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