Ladakh is a part of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakh consists of two districts - Leh and Kargil. Leh is at an altitude of around 3505 m while Kargil is roughly at an altitude of 2750 m. Due to the strong influence of Tibetan culture on it, Ladakh is often called 'Little Tibet'.
Ladakh has sparse vegetation. Fauna is generally similar to that found in the Central Asia, exception being the migratory birds coming from the warmer parts of India during the summer.
If you ever dreamt of a vacation in an exotic land shrouded in mystery, then you should travel to Ladakh, which offers you everything from adventure sports to spirituality. Ladakh lies at altitudes ranging between about 9,000 feet and 25,170 feet. Ladakh is a land of freezing winds and burning hot sunlight, it is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time!
Ladakh, "The Land of High Passes" is known universally for its unique culture and tradition which has been preserved beautifully. The mystic aura of this snow-covered desert attracts tourists from all corners of the world.
Connectivity has been provided on the arduous routes of Ladakh through air as well as road. The Ladakh region is open for tourist from May to October; reaching Ladakh becomes difficult during winters in Ladakh.
By Air: The nearest airport in Ladakh region is in Leh. Flights to Leh are available from Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar and several other cities.
By Train: The closest railway station is Jammu Tawi, which is about 700 km away from Ladakh. From Jammu Tawi to Ladakh taxis are available and are rather costly, it takes nearly 2 days to complete the journey.
By Road: There are only two routes to reach Ladakh. One is from Srinagar and the other from Manali. The route from Srinagar to Ladakh via Kargil remains open from early June to November.
However, due to Insurgency in Jammu and Kashmir the main route now is the Manali-Leh Highway from Himachal Pradesh. The Rohtang Pass on the Manali-Leh highway opens between July and September.
The HRTC and J&K SRTC operate daily bus services both deluxe and ordinary from Manali and Srinagar. Various transport facilities like mini coaches, shared taxis and rented motorbikes are also available to reach by road and the rates are pretty reasonable.
If you wish to take some memorabilia from the world's highest hill station, then shopping in Ladakh will be the ideal option. You can find traditional curios and all kinds of trinkets in the colorful markets of Ladakh.
The popular items of shopping in Ladakh are Pashmina shawls, stoles and woolen garments. Hand-made woolen socks, gloves, caps and sweaters, which are locally made, are also favorites with tourists. You can also check out the hand-woven rugs, carpets and shawls which are available in a range of prices. With floral or geometric designs or dragon motifs on them, they can also be hung as decorative wall hangings.
If you are interested in Tibetan handicraft items, then you can find fascinating ones like the prayer wheels, Buddhist masks and thangka paintings. Also popular are the Tibetan silver jewellery and traditional turquoise jewellery from Ladakh. If you wish to take some delicious edibles as souvenirs from Ladakh, then apricots are the best.
The main markets in Leh are the Tibetan market of Leh Road and Moti market near the bus stand. There are both government run craft emporiums and the open markets, the latter requiring skillful bargaining
Popularly known as the Lama Land or little Tibet, Ladakh has it all from trekking and mountaineering to Buddhist tours of various monasteries. There are interesting tourist attractions in Ladakh. Those on a pilgrimage tour should visit the Hemis monastery, the largest monastery in Ladakh.