When you think ‘monk’, do you picture an unruffled individual whose sole aim is to contemplate the intricacies of the Universe? The lamas at Hemis conform to this ideal in principle, but every year on the day of Guru Rimpoche’s birthday, the mystical masks are taken out of storage, dusted off and adorned in a spellbinding spectacle of colours, larger than life puppets and an age-old story of good triumphing over evil.
It’s an amazing feeling to be on top of the world, literally. But if you’d rather not walk up snowy slopes tugging along your camping gear, Khardung La is where you want to go. The highest motorable road in the world beckons with a splash of colour on a typically white canvas. Take a selfie or simply write your name on the ephemeral snow at Khardung La; it’s a once-in-a-lifetime journey.
Best known for the oldest monastery in Ladakh, Lamayuru surprisingly has all the makings of an offbeat mountain adventure. The picture-perfect homes balanced precariously on ledges are just the tip of the iceberg. If you are seeking tranquillity, a short hike up to Meditation Hill is your best bet. The inscriptions on the colourful rocks strewn on the path are just a build up to a stunning vista of moonlike craters.
The remarkable Chadar Trek is a one stop shop for all your ice-needs. Dawdling like penguins and tracking pug marks of the elusive snow leopard are exciting prospects on a trek that already deals in the adventurous and precarious. While the frozen waterfalls are captivating, what will enrapture is when you plop down at night and lay your head down to rest, and the entire night sky is lit up with millions of stars.
It’s time to get wet and wild at the turbulent, but predictable Inuds and Zanskar Rivers. The melee of rapids ranging from Class I to V are an excellent opportunity to hone your skills or conquer the gargantuan rivers that have gushed forth for centuries. So, get out your GoPro’s and set off on a downstream adventure that ends in the luscious, idyllic valleys of Ladakh.
Padded feet fall softly on the rugged terrain deep in the Himalayas leaving behind pug marks like breadcrumbs. But no matter how close to a snow leopard you think you are, they always seem to be a few steps ahead of you. In an expedition like no other, prepare to spend a week in the frigid recesses of the mountain range as you plunge into the habitat of this predator. The mountains are a-calling.
One word that simply captures the essence of a vast expanse of lake set in a remote, unfrequented corner of India – Magic. A vehicle can only take you as far as Korzak, but the green barley fields and the purple mountains along your uphill walk to Tso Moriri make for a lasting impression. The pristine waters of the lake reflect the blue domed sky like glass; take a picture here to remember the exquisite vista.
The higher you get, the faster you fall…But at Magnetic Hill the fallen rise! Turn off your engine and watch in awe as the inexplicable magnetic aberration pulls you uphill! Whether you look to the laws of physics or local folklore to decipher the conundrum before you, one thing is certain, the excitement at Magnetic Hill is infectious.
Click for a quick taste of the region!
Unpaved lakeside trails, the uninhabited shores of a large lake and the vivid blues of the sky and the water paint a surreal picture in the mind. Rest assured, the actual views will far surpass anything you could possibly imagine.
The oasis villages nestled between dunes are an exciting find for first timers to the region. But if you’re here for culture as much as nature, then the Balti people will provide much food for thought. A sect of practicing Muslims steeped in the Buddhist traditions of Tibet will leave you questioning selfish acts of humanity.
The many stupas and gompas that dot the region speak volumes of the Buddhist culture that flourished here. But the flipside to that coin is Paradise on Earth; the side that draws visitors back into its fold repeatedly. The glassy lakes and clear night skies dotted with stars are a beautiful sight to behold.
This desert city is an intricate potpourri of small lanes, overlooked by the incongruous Potala Palace designed after the Dalai Lama’s abode. Once a popular stop for trading caravans, they have been replaced by four wheel drives and rugged motorbikes.
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