Belongs to Ladakh, part of India

Ladakh

Welcome to the so-called Little Tibet!

Ladakh is often referred to as Little Tibet, as the area is known for the Tibetan Buddhist culture that exists there. The area in the far north of India with a population of around 290,000 is in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, of which it takes up almost half of the total area. It was annexed to India in 1940. The capital of Ladakh is the city of Leh, which is located near the Khardong Pass. The pass is located at an altitude of about 5360 meters above sea level, it is one of the highest, drivable roads in the world.

That's what you can see in Ladakh

The mountain region is particularly known for its numerous monasteries, which testify to the Buddhist history of the vast area. In summary, there are 3 large monasteries in Ladakh that you should definitely visit on your trip:

Alchi: This monastery is known for its incomparable examples of Buddhist art, which can be seen in the form of refined wood carvings and frescoes from the 11th and 12th centuries within the monastery walls. This makes the monastery one of the few examples of the unique, no longer practiced Kashmir painting style. It is about 70 kilometers from Leh and according to tradition it was built by the Guru Rinchen Sangpo between 950 and 1050 AD.

Thiksey: The Buddhist monastery is about 18 kilometers from Leh and is located on a hill at the height of 3300 meters and was founded at the beginning of the 15th century. The monastery complex consists of a total of 10 temples, which are littered with holy shrines and paintings. In one of the temples there is also a golden, ornate Buddha statue, which is about 15 meters high. Today it is possible for visitors to spend the night in an inn in the immediate vicinity of the monastery complex.

Hemis: About 40 kilometers south of Leh is the Hemis monastery. It was founded at the beginning of the 17th century in a remote side valley by the monk Tagtsang Repa. As it has escaped looting in the past due to its remote location, it is now considered the richest monastery in all of Ladakh. A visit here in July is particularly worthwhile, where traditional mask dances are performed by the locals.

Of course, it is just as essential to pay a detailed visit to the capital Leh, because there are some sights that every visitor should not miss. On the one hand there is the Tsemo Gompa monastery and the associated fort ruin on the Tsemo hill. The Anglage was built in the 15th century. The Maitreya Temple, which was built in the 14th century, is also located directly below the fort. Here is a statue of the future Buddha Maitreya, which extends over 3 floors.

At the top of a hill in Chanspa, about 10 minutes by car from Leh, is the impressive Shanti Stupa. In the lower part there are relics of the holy Buddha, which were placed there by the 14th Dalai Lama when the stupa was built in 1991. However, this place not only impresses with its religious significance, but also offers its visitors a fabulous view of the adjoining mountains.

The Royal Palace of Leh, which was built in the 16th century on the model of the Potala Palace in Tibet, is also an impressive sight. Due to the ruling wars between Kashmir and Ladakh at the time, the palace was abandoned and regrettably fell into disrepair. Outside of the capital there are a few other interesting places besides the monasteries already mentioned. Nubra, for example, is about a 3-hour drive over various passes at an altitude of over 5,000 meters from Leh. The people there live in beautiful oasis villages, in which countless camels live, reminding of the times of the merchant caravans. The way to Nubra is often used for exciting trekking tours, but you should plan a few more days for this.

A wonderful alternative to get to know the flora and fauna of the area is, among other things, a visit to one of the 3 large salt lakes Pangong, Tsomoriri and Tsokar, which are located in the Changthang. The Tsokar Lake, for example, offers a colorful variety of animals. Here you have the chance to observe wild wolves, foxes, gazelles or kyangs. The Hemis National Park is also located near the aforementioned Hemis Monastery. There is even the chance to see a wild snow leopard or Eurasian lynx.

    history

    The history of Ladakh is closely linked to the history of Tibet. There are writings in which it is reported that Ladakh was conquered by Tibet in the early 7th century, which was at war with China during this time. This was due to the fact that many of the mountain passes between Tibet and Turkestan were in Ladakh, and Tibet was at war with China over Turkestan. As a result, Balistan in Ladakh became the scene of armed conflicts between the Chinese, Kashmiri, Tibetans and Arabs in the 8th century. After the then king of Tibet died in the 9th century, the country broke up into individual states. As a result, Ladakh became an independent kingdom under the eldest son of the descendants of the Tibetan ruling family. Campaigns by the Muslim Ghaznavids prompted many Indian Buddhists and Hindus to relocate to the Himalayan region, which culturally influenced the already Tibetan Ladakh even more. In 1681, after another dispute with Tibet, the then Dalai Lama attempted an invasion. Only with the help of the Mughal Empire was Ladakh able to repel the attack and reach the kingdom, whereby it committed itself to future cooperation with it. After the Mughal Empire was dissolved over the years and Ladakh was conquered by Jammu, Ladakh, together with Kashmir, became part of the British-ruled India in the mid-19th century. Today this part belongs to Pakistan and India.

    getting there

    The easiest way to get to Ladakh is by air. Leh can be reached with several airlines from Delhi, Jammu, Srinagar and Chandigarh, but you should organize a flight early, as these are often booked out very early. Reaching Ladakh by motorized vehicle is a bit more difficult, but it is recommended in terms of the travel experience. The two roads leading to Ladakh start in Manali and Srinagar, with most visitors choosing the former. For the way you should calculate at least a two-day drive and take it into account. That the route is closed from mid-September to mid-June due to heavy snowfall. It should also be noted that a special permit is required for driving on passes at an altitude of over 6000 meters.

    Has Ladakh piqued your interest? Then plan your individual India tour now and call us at 0221-93372-854. Send us an email to [email protected] or fill out the request form. We will call you back and will be happy to advise you!

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