Ladakh, a union territory in North India, is most popular for its stunning landscape and Buddhist culture. With rugged mountains, gorgeous valleys, pristine lakes, and alpine meadows, Ladakh is a place like no other. While Ladakh’s raw beauty draws nature lovers and its Buddhist Monasteries attract religious tourists, the myriad adventure opportunities this ‘Land of High Passes’ offers makes this isolated place a favorite among adventure enthusiasts. This cold-desert is home to many breathtaking attractions like Pangong Tso Lake, Nubra Valley, Zanskar Valley, Hemis National Park, and many more. If you are planning a trip to this beautiful place in India, here are the best places to visit in Ladakh!
At a distance of about 8 km away from Leh, Spituk Monastery is situated on the top of a hill like many other monasteries in Ladakh. Also known as Pethup Gompa among the locals, it is one of the beautifully carved monasteries in India and is home to more than 100 monks. Besides the statue of Lord Buddha, Amitayus, and many religious paintings and artifacts, the monastery also houses a giant statue of Goddess Kali which is unveiled only once a year during the annual Spituk festival. This peaceful place to visit in Ladakh also offers beautiful views of the Indus River and the Himalayas.
Pangong Tso Lake:
The picturesque Pangong Lake is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Ladakh. This serene lake along the Indo-China border became quite famous after being featured in the Bollywood movie Three Idiots. This high-altitude saltwater lake, situated at an altitude of 4350m, is a preferred tourist destination for night camping, bird watching, etc. The fascinating feature of this serene lake is the changing color of the water from clear blue to green to grey as well. This lake remains frozen during the winter months and doubles as an ice-skating ground. It is one of the best places to visit in Ladakh, irrespective of which time of the year you are booking flights to India for your Ladakh tour.
Although a desolate semi-desert region, Zanskar Valley in the Kargil district never misses its spot in the list of best places to visit in Ladakh. The valley’s surreal beauty lures the tourists to spend some lonely time here amid the snow-capped peaks exploring its steep terrain. This valley is also a hotspot for adventure activities like trekking, river rafting, etc. The scenic beauty of its crystal clear streams against the backdrop of rugged snowy mountains is a photographer’s delight. Also popular among photographers is the confluence point (Sangam) of the Zanskar and the Indus rivers, where the shiny blue and emerald green waters merge in Nimmu Valley.
One of the interesting places to visit in Ladakh is Magnetic Hill, known for its strange phenomenon that seemingly defies the basic principles of gravity. At an altitude of 14,000 ft above sea level, this hill is located along the Leh-Kargil highway. When you park your vehicle with the brakes unlocked at the marked point, you’ll see that your vehicle starts moving uphill against gravity! Although the clear reason behind this is not known, some scientists say that the strong magnetic field of the hill pulls the vehicle up the slope, while some others say that it is just an optical illusion. Regardless, tourists flock to this place to witness this fascinating phenomenon.
Hemis National Park:
Hemis National Park is the most recommended place to visit in Ladakh, particularly for nature lovers, birders, and wildlife enthusiasts. This high-altitude National Park is the largest national park in South Asia and is a protected habitat for the rare snow leopards. Situated at an altitude ranging between 3,300 and 6,000 meters above sea level, it is the only national park in the northern regions of the Himalayas. Hemis National Park is also home to many other endangered animal species like Tibetan wolf, Asiatic ibex, red fox, Eurasian brown bear, Himalayan marmot, Great Tibetan sheep, blue sheep, Ladakhi Urial, etc. Tourists love spotting birds and animals while following the hiking trail of this beautiful park.