By- Aaindrila Dey

Roam, if you want to. Traveling is about finding those things, you never knew you were looking for. Better to see something once, than hear about it a thousand times. And I think ladakh is the place where you want to go not once but thousand times. And when exploring ladakh, be traveler not tourist. Listen, the mountains are calling and you must go.

Some little info:

Ladakh is famous for its picturesque beauty, unique culture, Buddhist monasteries and exciting adventure spots. Leh, Ladakh’s administrative capital, is also a tourist’s haven with its beautiful surroundings and monasteries, in addition to the wonderful trekking routes.

Ladakh is known for its unique culture and awe-inspiring landscapes. The snow-clad high peaks, cold deserts, and massive glaciers define the topography of the region. And then there are some breathtaking lakes & rivers that captivate the visitors and offer ample opportunities for rafting. Other than river rafting and taking a sightseeing tour of the beautiful places to visit in this region, there are some of the things to do in Ladakh that you simply cannot miss. These tourist attractions and activities ensure a joyful and exciting trip to Ladakh.

Here goes for you 10 things to do in leh ladakh :

1.Hemis Festival

The colourful festival takes place in Hemis Monastery, which is situated about 45kms from Leh city. The monastery is believed to be at least 300 years old and has been under the Namgyal progeny.

Why is Hemis Festival Celebrated?

Guru Padmasambhav is reckoned to be second greatest figure of Buddhism after Lord Buddha. The legend has it that Guru Padmasambhav conquered the dark forces, which he did with the help of Vajrayana Buddhism. This tantric form of Buddhism not only defeated the dark powers but transformed them into protectors and guardians of the region. Thus, Guru Padmasambhav has been marked significant; and that is why his birth anniversary is celebrated with much zeal and enthusiasm in the Buddhist community. Hemis Festival is also celebrated to commemorate the sacred Guru on his birth anniversary. One of the best things to do in Ladakh is seeing the Llams perform the colorful Chhams. You haven’t felt the spirit and true magnetism of Ladakh if you haven’t seen the dance drama flaunting vibrant clothes and formidable masks. Attend the Hemis Festival or Ladakh Festival to be mesmerized by the colourful dances.

Where: Hemis Monastery

When: 11th July to 12th July 2019

Highlight: the Chham Dance is quite famous; people dance wearing masks and the dance is symbolic of good winning over bad.

2.Spot A Snow Leopard

When to go

Snow-leopard sightings are the best in winter, when mountain goats such as the bharal come down to the valley for food, bringing the snow leopards on their trail. So, the only window to see the grey ghost was the harsh winter of Ladakh—from December to March.

About Snow Leopard Trek

Hemis National Park is one of the major attractions in Ladakh that pulls a number of adventurists and animal lovers from all over the world. It stretches at an elevation of 4100 meters and covers up the entire Rumbak Valley. The national park is the home to varied species of animals including Snow Leopards and Himalayan birds. The Snow Leopard Trek, which is one of the popular winter treks in the Ladakh region, lies into a territory where human hospitality evanesces and brings forth a wild stretch of rugged mountains dotted with animals like snow leopards, Tibetan wolves, blue sheep, horned sheep and Eurasian Brown Bear and more. It is also an abode to several species of birds like the Golden Eagle, different species of vultures and migratory birds.

Snow Leopard Trekking Tour Highlights

●Enjoy the beautiful views of the Himalaya

●Explore the ancient kingdoms of Ladakh, architecturally

rich Buddhist monasteries and mud palaces

●Witness the lovely blend of unique flora and fauna or

the Trans-Himalayan region

●Relish the traditional Ladakhi culture and hospitality

●Spot the rare exotic species of Snow Leopard, Blue

Sheep, Wild Horse, Yak and birds

There is nothing as breathtaking as looking at a Snow Leopard seen in only a few places in the entire world. Spot the beautiful animal on the snow leopard trek in one of the popular Ladakh attractions – the Hemis National Park, home to more than 200 snow leopards which can be seen only in the winters.

3.Bactrian Camel Safari At Hunder

Among the several activities in Ladakh, one that lures both domestic and international tourists is camel safaris. Yes, it’s true! The camel is not confined only to the Thar Desert of Rajasthan but it has been one of the major modes of transportation in the cold desert of Ladakh for centuries now. But unlike usual single hump camels, Ladakh is popular for its double hump Bactarian camels. Camel Safari LadakhCamel safaris in Ladakh are very popular in Nubra Valley from Hundar Village to Diskit, the capital town of Nubra. Ladakh camel safari tour ends at Panamic village, another prominent village, famous for its hot sulphur springs. Travelers can enjoy this exciting safari from July to September; it takes about two hours for a single ride to complete.

A ride on the double humped Bactrian Camels at the sand dunes of Hunder is number three on our list of things to do in Ladakh for its terrain along the breathtakingly beautiful Shyok and Nubra River. This is the integral part of the caravans that used to travel on the ancient trade route.

Where: Hunder

When: during the summer months of June to September

Highlight: the scenic beauty that you’ll witness during your ride fromHunder to Turtuk

4.Highest Cafeteria In The World

For every adventure junkie, Ladakh is the topmost destination to be ticked-off from the bucket list. Isn’t it? From the scenic landscapes to the steep and rough trails, this region of India is a place straight out of a painted scenery. The name of Ladakh is synonymous to the adventurous road trip over the Khardungla Pass which is considered to be “highest motorable road in the world”. But apart from this can you imagine yourself sipping hot coffee sitting at a height of 18,360 feet above sea level?

Finding a cafe at this height might sound like a dream, but India is a country known as the land of the most unusual

things. Amidst the picturesque landscapes of Ladakh lies the Rinchen Cafeteria which is a gem in its own way as it is the highest cafeteria in the world.

One of the unique Ladakh attractions is the Maggi point at the highest cafeteria in the world. You may have eaten this noodle everywhere possible, but you have not truly enjoyed it till you savor the 2-minute noodle overlooking the Himalayan ranges at Khardung La Pass, one of the highest motorable passes in the world. Where: Khardungla Pass

When: the best time to visit Khardungla Pass is from April to June as well as September to October

Highlight: the fact that Khardungla Pass is the highest motorable road in the world is enough to give you a reason to visit this place.

5.Try Yak Cheese And The Yak Cheese Momos

The yaks in Ladakh bestow the nomads residing there with meat, butter and milk for their food. In no other part of the place are you are going to get an opportunity to try and relish the cheese prepared from Yak milk. The delectable and delicious Yak cheese momos is also known as Chhurpi. A wildly popular delicacy in the Northern part of India, the momos found here are extremely juicy, served with a broth! The bun is usually filled with minced vegetables, meat or both, and accompanied with chili sauce. Once you try the authentic Ladakhi momos, you won’t like anything else!

The wish-granting yak gives the nomads milk, butter and meat for the table and in absolutely no other part of the country are you going to get the chance to try out cheese made from the milk of Yak. Also called Chhurpi, try it in its local form or as the delicious Yak cheese momos. This definitely has to be on your list of things to do in Ladakh. Where: Gesmo restaurant, Opp. Hotel Yak – Tall Fort Road Leh Jammu and Kashmir, 194101

6.Go Cycling on the Uneven Terrain

Now, this is the perfect activity for the ones who are in Leh Ladakh for an adventurous deal. With irregular terrains and uncertain weather, this place offers heart throbbing experience to the visitors. On the whole, Leh Ladakh is a cyclist’s delight with a visual feast of the natural beauty of the snow -capped mountains. Leh Ladakh offers a numinous cycling experience.

Best Place– Paddle from Manali to Khardung La Pass

7.Witnessing Flora & Fauna

Due to its high altitude, Ladakh is always freezing cold and dry for most of the year. The air is so thin that you can feel the sun’s heat intensely. In summers, the temperature during the day is just above zero degrees and the night temperature is much below -30°C. In winters the temperature remains as low as -40°C most of the time.

Flora

Because of the extreme dryness, you would find sparse vegetation in the area. There are scanty patches of grasses and shrubs for animals to graze. During the summers, trees of fruits such as apples, apricots, and walnuts bloom.

Fauna

Several species of birds such as robins, redstars, Tibetan snowcock, raven, and hoopoe are common. Some of these are migratory birds. The animals include wild goats, wild sheep, yak and special kinds of dogs. The animals are reared to provide:

●Milk: Yak’s milk is used to make cheese and butter.

●Meat

●Hide

●Hair: The hair on the sheep and goats is used to make woollens.

With a number of bio-reserves located in Leh Ladakh, one can come across unique varieties of flora and fauna.

The highlight in this regard is the snow leopard which depicts a majestic and enigmatic picture to the tourists. Snow Leopards in Leh Ladakh are definitely worth watching and admiring.

Best Place– Hemis National Park

8.Adventurous Roads

To all the adrenaline junkies out there, a bike ride on the narrow & rocky terrains has to be on your list of adventurous things to do in Ladakh. Your trip is incomplete until you have driven the lonely but beautiful roads on a motorbike with nothing but the clouds above and the formidable mountains around. And if you are really in the spirit then drive to the Khardung-La pass, which at an altitude of 5,602 m is one of the highest motorable passes in the world.

Where: Khardung-La pass

When: if you want to experience the best of this pass, then

make sure you plan your visit here in the months of April to

August and September to October

Highlight: it is considered to be the world’s highest motorable

road.

9.Eat Hot Butter Tea And Local Brew Chang

Chang: This indigenous brew of Ladakh, is prepared by fermenting miller with yeast in a cylindrical porcelain pot. The preparation is topped with warm water, till the miller looses its strength. The liquid thus obtained is called Chang.

Butter Tea: This signature tea of Ladakh is mainly prepared by adding and stirring butter and salt to boiling milk.

You might have had chai on every other place in the country, but when in Ladakh you have to try out the local Butter tea and if you are in for a good time then try out Chang, the local brew made in a cylindrical porcelain pot by fermenting miller. For the tea lovers this is a must thing to taste while in Ladakh.

Highlight: the best thing about the two beverages is that they

give you a fair idea about the local culture of Ladakh.

10.Magnetic Hill For A Startling Experience

What is Magnetic Hill in Ladakh

On this particular part of the Srinagar – Leh highway, you would clearly see the road ahead going uphill. Yet if you turned off the engine and let your vehicle stand in neutral, it will slowly start moving and can go up to a speed of 20 kilometers per hour on its own. Mysterious? I agree.

The Myth

If you however would speak to the locals about it, villagers in particular, they would tell you a different version of the story. As per them, here once lied a pathway that led straight to heaven. People who were deserving of it would automatically get pulled up; however the undeserving ones could never make it up the path; no matter how hard they tried. For them, this entire concept and area is supernatural. As it usually happens with all places that have this kind of phenomenon attached to, some people believe it and some just waive it as merely a story. Some people blame the drivers for duping them stating that the vehicle was still in motion when he killed the engine. So it was quite obvious that it will continue to move. Some other people did not realize where this exact part of the road was hence they stopped elsewhere. And when their vehicles remained still, they believed the story of Magnetic Hill to be a fake one.

Is Magnetic Hill Real

But let me clarify first that it does work. If you are at the right spot, which is in fact marked by BRO, your vehicle will start to move very slowly even after you killed the engine. I was there on my Royal Enfield and upon reaching here, I bought the speed to bare minimum so I don’t have to put my feet down and then turned off ignition yet the motorcycle continued to move. We stopped and then waited for a car to arrive. The folks in a Safari brought it to a complete halt but moments later their TATA Safari; a vehicle completely loaded with luggage and passengers; still slowly gained momentum. So yes it definitely works but how and why is a different story altogether; that has nothing to do with a magnetic field and definitely not supernatural stuff.

When: the best time to visit this place is considered to be between the months of July and September

Highlight: there are some mythical stories attached to this hill which makes it all the more worthy to explore

So, hurry up, it’s Ladakh calling! If you can’t keep your adrenaline rush at bay and want to experience the best sightseeing around this pristine land, then make sure to indulge into these fascinating activities.