Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Top 10 Treks in Ladakh (India) that blew me away

Trekking in Ladakh has been the most exhilarating experience of my life. The snow capped mountains of Ladakh and Himalayan Ranges standing proud bordering India from China and Tibet are truly majestic. Due to its location, Ladakh has been able to retain its authenticity and culture. It is completely isolated from the modern world and technology which makes it an idle place for anyone looking for a break from his routine life and spending some time to rejuvenate and relax in the lap of nature. Be it the local food or life style of Ladakhi people, there is something ancient and serene about the whole place. I am self motivated and wanted to explore these rocky terrains on foot. There are many trekking trails at various altitudes in Ladakh and I wanted to choose from something simple and less arduous to begin with and then head on to more demanding trekking trails. My journey through the rugged terrains of Ladakh is jotted down in my memory forever and I am making my top 10 favorites available for anyone who would want to explore the cold desert of north. 

1. Enlighten your soul on the Lamayuru Alchi trail
I began my day by visiting the oldest monastery of Ladakh dating back to 11th century, Swastika. The unique monastery is located on top of a hillside at an altitude of 3450m with spectacular view on all sides. It was a short trek of 2 days and I crossed four rivers and various streams brimming with fresh water and inviting for a break. Weather was pleasant and the trip was quite enjoyable.

Chadar Trek (2)
2. Mesmerizing beauty of Frozen waterfalls and icicles
I couldn’t wait to start my next expedition on the Chadar trekking trail, as I found it quite unbelievable that the name was based on the literal meaning. My doubts were over as I reached there, the whole Zanskar River was frozen and covered with a sparkling sheet of thick ice. The experience of sleeping in caves and crossing frozen waterfalls was beyond any words to express my feelings. I was overwhelmed at nature’s wonderful beauty.

Markha Valley
3. Awe- inspiring wonders of Markha Valley that are open from June To September for tourists
After being surrounded by ice all around for a few days, I headed out to explore the Markha Valley. This trail had its own uniqueness as the trek was alongside gushing Markha River and I was amazed to find the extremely high altitude plateaus inhabited by people. There were nomads walking with their yaks and also local villagers smiling and waving at the tourists. I crossed three passes- Stok La 4848m, Kongmaru La 5270m and Gandla 4878m.

4. Multi- colored hues dancing across the sky on the way to Stok Kangri
The Stok Kangri trek was quite challenging and needed a good level of fitness. The prominent peak of the mountain is visible from the base almost playing around with clouds. I visited the beautiful monasteries of Shey and Thiksey before starting the trek. The wow moment of this trip was when I reached the Nimaling Plain, it is vast grassland dotted with tents of different colors. It was quite inspiring and the view of Karakoram is gorgeous.

5. Picture perfect post card looks of Kang Yatse trail
The Peak of Kang Yatse Mountain is visible from Markha Valley and looks quite attractive. It is a relatively short trail and offers breath taking views of Ladakh. It was hard to resist clicking photos as every view was picture perfect. The trek was easy and the altitude was 6200m which gave enough time to go on a slow pace enjoying the natural beauty.

6. The enchanting valley dug by course of 2 playful rivers
I took the permit to enter Nubra as my next trekking trip took me to Nubra Valley. The unmatched beauty of this valley is further enhanced by the Shyok River and Siachan River flowing into each other to form a valley separating Ladakh ranges and Karakoram. I visited the isolated Esna Gompa and also visited the tiny quaint villages nearby. It was quite fascinating to see the natural hot springs in Panamik.

7. Journey through the gorgeous desert and tranquil lake of Rupshu Valley
I started along the Indus River towards an ancient nomadic route which is remote and less frequented by tourists. The Rupshu Trek took me to a few high altitude passes and breath- taking scenery of mountain desert and the weather was ideal for trekking. I saw lovely blue sheep and marmots on the way and the view was fresh and bright with sunlight. There was a low route for some time and then I saw the marvelous Pangong Lake with turquoise blue water. It was a rare sight and I took a break and rested on the edge of the lake surrounded by ducks.

8. Get acquainted with authentic culture of Tibet 
I observed some real Tibet customs and traditions on the Indus Valley Trek. The Indus River has carved this trail and has left rocky and desert mountains behind. The cold desert is quite a sight and the high altitude makes it even more impressive. I visited the Spituk Monastery and camped with group of strangers at Likir. I crossed few gorgeous passes with wonderful scenery.

9. Interact with enlightened Lamas and enjoy the bright meadows of Sham Valley
On my next trekking trip on the Sham Valley Trek I visited some unique and marvelous monasteries where the Lamas were quietly engaged in their routine. The villages I crossed through in this trail were very rich and there was lush greenery and orchards of apricot trees. I reached the altitude of 3800m and the view of barley fields was lovely.

10. Challenge your abilities and face your fears 
I was standing amidst the Zanskar Mountains ready to hit the trekking trail to Padum from Darcha. I had a hearty breakfast and headed to a little more challenging route. The camp site was 6 hours away and the backdrop was spectacular and inspired to keep going. Next day I crossed through Shingo La at 5100m and it the route was not easy. 

A Trekking trip to Ladakh is the best adventure I have indulged in; it tested my physical abilities and also the mental attitude to be able to do something. It’s a great experience and memories are unforgettable. I am sure to try mountain biking on my next road trip from Manali to Leh before I hit the hills again with full enthusiasm.

Guest Post by Divij.


Cheap Flights to Goa said...

Hinduism is a living organism liable to growth and decay subject to the laws of Nature. One and indivisible at the root, it has grown into a vast tree with innumerable branches. The changes in the season affect it. It has its autumn and its summer, its winter and its spring. It is, and is not, based on scriptures. It does not derive its authority from one book.

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