9 Soulful Reasons to Visit Ladakh.

By Archana Singh.

Ladakh tso moriri, Ladakh lakes
The Himalayas are not just a destination for me. They are home. Despite their popularity, I have found hidden delights, and discovered beauty in places, cultures and people from fresh angles. In my attempt to get off the beaten path, I discovered that Ladakh is not only its landscapes, it is indeed the beauty you find in its heart and soul.

1. Share a roof with descendants of Alexander The Great.

Ladakh people, Ladakh culture
The Brokpa people.

The Brokpa (or Drokpa) community is spread across five villages - Dha, Hanu, Biama, Garkon and Darchig, and claimed to be the purest Aryans in the world, direct descendants of Alexander the Great. Brokpas have distinctive features and culture. They are tall, well built and fair complexioned, with blues eyes. Their traditional dress and way of styling is also very distinctive. They speak their own Brokpa language and follow Islam. They are shy, but like all Ladahkis, warm and welcoming. The custom of marrying within the community to retain the purity of their Aryan genes, has however, limited the population of Brokpas. The community hardly numbers over 2000. So do visit them while you still can.

2. Participate in India’s very own ‘Tour De France’.

Ladakh bike trip, Ladakh cycling
The cyclists from Bangalore.

Mountain biking in the land of high passes is something else. I met 15 people from Bangalore, who cycled from Manali to Khardungla Top in 11 days. The sheer joy of having a cup of black tea and Maggie at 18,380 ft after cycling for 516 km, is something MasterCard can't buy, only human spirit can earn. If you don’t want to exert yourself that much, you could try downward mountain biking - less taxing on body but great test of nerves and control. Time to junk that SUV and get on the bicycle!

3. Visit what was once the LOC battleground.

Turtuk ladakh, Ladakh villages, Ladakh LOC

When I finalised my Ladakh itinerary, Turtuk village wasn’t a part of it. But thanks to my local friends, I managed to see a little hamlet, tucked away in heaven. Turtuk is one of the most remote and most beautiful villages of Ladakh. 80 kms ahead of Hunder, it is located at the last corner of Nubra valley at LOC and situated on the bank of mighty Shyok River. Since it was opened to tourists only in 2010, it is still culturally intact, untainted by tourism and delightfully pristine. Turtuk's apricots are the sweetest in the entire Ladakh region and the only thing sweeter than them are the innocent smiles of Turtuk people.

4. Treat yourself to mesmerizing views at the lakes.

Ladakh tso moriri, Ladakh lakes
Tso Moriri Lake

While Three Idiots put Pangong Tso Lake on every Indian’s bucket list, Tso Moriri is still relatively quiet. Pangong Tso is shared between India and China but Tso Moriri is all ours. The first view of the lakes left me completely spellbound. Flat, calm, unending; they were so impossibly beautiful that I wondered if I was daydreaming. This is where nature gets to paint its own verse on its own canvas. The romance of the sun, sky, mountains and water is such a spectacular sight, you’re bound to be left awestruck. 

5. Rejuvenate your tired soul at Shanti Stupa.

Shanti stupa ladakh
Shanti Stupa at night.

Many people visit Leh-Ladakh to assess and rediscover life. And what better place than Shanti Stupa? The Japanese Buddhist organization constructed Shanti Stupa to promote world peace and prosperity, and to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism. It offers panoramic views of the entire Leh city. And if you are a photographer, look no further than the magnificent views of sunrise and sunset from up top. 

Also See: A Journey to Ladakh

6. Discover your spiritual side at the Buddhist monasteries.

Hemis festival ladakh, Ladakh monasteries
The Hemis Festival

Ladakh is a jungle of gompas and stupas. These holy structures are an integral part of life in Ladakh. Visit any monastery for peace, tranquillity and life-enriching philosophies. Small talk with any lama will enlighten you more than a textbook ever would. If you're looking to imbibe the local culture, club your trip with local festivals like The Hemis Festival, held every year from July to September.

7. Rafting in the icy cold Zanskar River is the real deal!

Zanskar river rafting
Rafting in the Zanskar river.

Being an adventure buff, I have experienced a lot of thrilling adventures, but Zanskar river rafting gave a different kind of high. I took the 28 km white water rafting challenge. What an enthralling experience it was in the freezing Zanskar River! Mighty rapids were determined to overturn our raft but our determination proved to be stronger than theirs.

8. Find a home away from home.

Ladakh homestays
Shashipa homestay.
Ladakhi homestays might not offer you the luxuries of fancy hotels, but you'll be pampered with unflinching love and care of the hosts. My homestay experience in Ladakh made me theirs for life. Ladakhis go out of their way to make you feel at home and ‘No’ doesn’t exist in their dictionary. Himalayan Homestays and Ladakhi Women's Travel are great resources.  

9. Don't just visit Ladakh, get involved. 

volunteer ladakh
The Himalayas on Wheels program.

Who says holidays are just meant for clicking pictures for Facebook? You could create everlasting memories instead, and help bring a bright future and happiness in someone’s life. Picturesque Ladakh is one of the most difficult terrains to live in, and people here have limited resources and education avenues. Volunteer your time and skills with an organization that needs it. PAGIR for instance, works for people with disabilities; their program ‘Himalaya On wheels’ promotes tourism for people on wheel chairs and senior citizens. 

How did Ladakh help you reconnect with yourself?


AUTHOR BIO: Archana earns her bread from advertising and media, but harbours a dream to travel the world and document her journey. When she is not working or travelling, she loves to watch sports, photograph, read and write. Read her blog at travelseewrite.wordpress.com or follow her on Twitter @TravelSeeWrite.


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  1. Great! Thanks for this inspiration and info! Ladakh in 2015!

  2. what a simply brilliant-looking almost mythical place


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