Ladakh The Cold Desert Ladakh, the region of mountain passes, a piece of broken moon land- a perfect place to witness the unmatched beauty of nature. Ladakh is the highest plateau of the Indian state of Kashmir with much of it being over 3,000m. It lies between 32 to 36 degree north latitude and 75 to 80 degree east longitude. The total area of 45110sq km makes Ladakh the largest district in India. Ladakh region is bifurcated in Kargil and Leh districts. Kargil lies at an altitude of 2750m and Leh at 3505m. The largest town in Ladakh is Leh.
Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. It spans the Great Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges and the upper Indus River Valley. The district bordered Pakistan occupied Kashmir in the west and China in the north and Eastern part and Lahul Spiti of Himachal Pradesh in the South east. Ladakh’s ethnic composition consisted of Mongoloid and a mixed Indo-Aryan population of Mons and Dards. It is sometimes called little Tibet due to strong cultural and geographical similarities with Tibet. The approach to Ladakh is invariably marked with many long walls running 2-3 kms, decorated with engraved stones bearing the mantra Mani Padme and Chortens which symbolizes Buddha’s mind.
Ladakh is a high altitude desert as the Himalayas create a rain shadow thus prohibiting the entry of monsoon clouds. The main source of water here remains the winter snowfall on the mountains that forms the glaciers. Like in the rest of the parts of the country where people pray for rain, here Ladakhis pray for the glaciers or snows to melt for irrigation and drinking purposes. Surprisingly though, the thin air makes the heat of the sun even more intense than at lower altitudes. Only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke n frostbite at the same time.
The summer temp. is quite pleasant but in winter it touches the extreme. The winter temp touches as low as minus 30 degree (Leh & Kargil) and minus 60 degree in Drass. Subzero temp prevails from December to February throughout Ladakh, whereas, zero degree temp is experienced during rest of winter months. This results in freezing of all conceivable water resources. During summer the maximum temp rises from 20 to 35 degree Celsius in July and August.
How To Reach:
Srinagar-Leh 434 Km
Manali-Leh 473 Km
Srinagar-Kargil 204 Km
Delhi-Leh 1047 Kms
Leh-Kargil 234 Km
Kargil-Padum (Zanskar) 240 Km
Leh-Deskit (Nubra Valley) 118 Kms.
Indian Airlines www.indian-airlines.nic.in operates 3 flight in a week between Leh and Delhi, 2 flights in a week from Jammu and once in a week from Srinagar. Jet Airways www.jetairways.com also operates six flights in a week between Leh-Delhi and Kingfisher Airlines www.flykingfisher.com operates daily flight Between Leh-Delhi.
The cheapest way to travel within the region is by public buses, which ply on fixed routes according to fixed time schedules. The most comfortable and convenient though expensive mode of travel, however, is by taxi, which are available for hire on fixed point-to-point tariff. For visits to the newly opened areas of Nubra, Dah-Hanu, Tsomoriri, Tsokar and Pangong Lakes it is mandatory to engage the services of a registered/recognized travel agency for making all the requisite arrangements including internal transport. Detailed information about bus schedules, taxi tariff, travel agencies can be obtained from the Tourist Office or Local travels guide “Reach Ladakh“, available at Book Shops.