They say a good traveler never has fixed plans and is not hell-bent on arriving. This becomes unquestionably true when you visit the mesmerizing North India. Once you visit North India, you simply can’t wait to claim, “That is it and I’ve seen it all!” You take a few steps and you may see an unexplored beautiful waterfall waiting to welcome you. While the interest of visiting North India is on the rise among the travelers, very few finally end up visiting. So, we decide to offer you a comprehensive guide on the best attractions of North India and an insight into their divine and eclectic culture which is totally different from the rest of India. You can be assured that North India will never cease to educate, amaze and excite you.
North India – Destination 1- Leh-Ladakh
Get ready for a permanent hangover – Plan a trip to Ladakh
It is true that an angelic destination often leads to a major missing soon after you’re back, but in case of Ladakh, it can give you a permanent and long-lasting hangover, without a doubt. The fresh, unadulterated and real beauty of Ladakh and its residents never fail to shake the entire core of your being. My admiration for Ladakh led to different cultural, spiritual, adventurous and heritage tours but this time my trip was a little different because I planned to follow the journey from where the mighty Indus starts and end up in the land which is bestowed with its natural essence.
The Indus River hails from the Northern side of the highly deified Mt. Kailash, then enters India through Demchok located in Changthang valley and flows quietly through the most secluded parts of Changthang valley for a distance of 670 km before reaching Nimu. At Nimu, the river coalesces with Zanskar River, thereby creating a beautiful ‘sangam’.
Once I arrived in Leh on a fresh morning, I could fill my eyes with the awe-inspiring beauty of the majestic Himalayas. I booked myself at the Zaltak guest house. During noon, accompanied by my Ladakhi friend, I grabbed the innerline permit to visit Changthang. Before you travel to this place, you need to acclimatise as Changthang is located at an altitude even higher than that of Leh. I utilized the rest of the day in accomodating myself by visiting some of the hot spots in and around Leh. The spots, Leh Palace, Spituk, Hemis, Alchi and Lamayuru are all located at the banks of River Indus.
There are constant monasteries in Leh and a pious visit to any of the monasteries will give you a rather amicable experience. Within their calm and serene environments reside the most knowledgeable and benevolent people, the monks. They take a step ahead in order to make you feel at-home. In fact when I visited Hemis Gompa, I enjoyed a long chat with a Lama where we discussed about the vitality of education and how we can leverage technology to combat global warming.
Hall of Fame Museum – Enroute Leh
While on my way to Leh, I halted at the Hall of Fame Museum which is a home to many stories on our chivalrous and valiant soldiers. I can still remember Captain Vijayant Thapar’s last epistle to his parents before he bravely made the ultimate sacrifice. Another breathtaking view is that of the sunset on the Shanti Stupa, the very next stop on my way back. It was as if the sun kept reiterating the message of staying dignified and gracious even during hard times.
Quick Facts on Leh-Ladakh
- Ladakh is primary a land of Buddhism where you can find Gompas, monasteries, Stupas and Chortens everywhere. Some of the most revered monasteries of Leh-Ladakh are Thiksey, Hemis, Diskit, Lumayuru and Alchi.
- By road, you can travel between Srinagar to Leh from June to November and Manali to Leh from mid-June to October. Only vehicles that are registered by J&K are allowed in Ladakh but you can effortlessly hire bikes and cabs for day tours. Public buses are the cheapest options.
- Perhaps the best time to visit Leh-Ladakh is June to September. There is abundance of lush green valley during this time and the weather is not only nice but also festive as well. However, there are some who believe that there is a unique experience in watching Ladakh covered in snow during extreme winters.
A road map of the must-visits
- Chumathang: When you drive from Chumathang to Demchok, you can witness some of the best sights. The delectable views of the wandering Indus Valley, somewhere frozen and surrounded by the Himalayas are a sight to be etched in your memory forever.
- Demchok: The drive to Demchok is a slightly tough one as the roads are slushy and slippery depending on the season. Your vehicle will be allowed very little grip and hence you need to drive with care.
- Namshang LA: This is a high mountain pass which is located 16,273 feet above the level of sea. Hundreds of Buddhist prayer flags can be seen on the summit.
- Korzok: This is the best place to pitch your tent as there are no such restrictions on camping. However, you may need to show your permit here.
- Tso Moriri: This is the largest among all the high-altitude lakes in India. A splendid view of flora and fauna can be seen during summer. The best part about this lake is that it changes colors 6-7 times in a day.
Leh-Ladakh is the place which helps you enter a new world where you can rejuvenate, relax and offer a treat to all your senses. This destination attracts millions of tourists not only from India but from the world simply due to its incomparable natural beauty. Leh boasts of some of the best trekking trails which can make the adventure enthusiasts fall in love with this place and enjoy an incredible trekking experience.