Shreen Group Of HouseboatsLife just Floats
Ladakh, a part of Jammu & Kashmir State in north of India consisting of two districts Leh and Kargil. At a distance of 434 kms from Srinagar and 474 kms from Manali, Leh is situated on the banks of the river Indus, at a height of 11,000 feet. The land of majestic mountains, Leh is a complete beauty in itself. Leh has quite a few amazing places to offer its tourists. The most striking sight of Leh is the group of women, traditionally attired, selling fruits, vegetables and household articles, spinning and knitting, and exchanging gentle banter between themselves and with passers-by.
Leh airport is Ladakh's only link with the outside world for the seven months of the year. Leh is one most frequented destinations for the trekkers in India. Rumbak and Markha offer exciting treks, while Stok Kangri is the best for a climb. One can also go for boating and river running on the Indus.
The town of Drass, 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar, is located at an altitude of 3,300 m in a relatively flat and open space in the centre of a valley. The town of Drass, 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar, is located at an altitude of 3,300 m in a relatively flat and open space in the centre of a valley. It has extensive willow groves along the river. In winter it is covered with a thick blanket of snow. Drass experiences the lowest temperatures in the Ladakh valley and is said to be the second coldest inhabited place in Asia. The mercury may drop to as low as 40 degrees Celsius below freezing point, and communication with the outside world is often completely cut off. During the spring and summer, however, the valley around the township becomes very picturesque as the gently undulating hillsides turn into lush green pastures splashed with a variety of fragrant wild flowers.
This region once formed part of the erstwhile kingdom of Ladakh. In fact, it was the first to be inhabited by the early colonists of Ladakh - the Indo-Aryan Mons, the Dards of Central Asia and itinerant Tibetans. Also, its valleys, by virtue of their proximity to Kashmir, Kishtwar, Kulu and Gilgit-Baltistan served as the initial receptacle of the cultural waves and ethnic movements that emanated from across the Greater Himalayan wall. As the area receives abundant water from rivers originating in the Greater Himalaya, the undergrowth here is more luxuriant than in eastern Ladakh. The upper Suru valley, in particular, is famous for its grassland, which attracts a large number of Bakarwal herdsmen from the Jammu hills.
As the Zanskar road winds down the steep slopes of Penzi-la to the head of the Stod valley, the majestic " Drang-Drung" glacier looms into full view. A long and winding river of ice and snow, "Drang-Drung" is perhaps the largest glacier in Ladakh, outside the Siachen formation. It is from the cliff-like snout of this extensive glacier that the Stod or Doda tributary of the Zanskar River rises. Zanskar is a tri-armed valley system situated between the Great Himalayan Range and the Zanskar mountains, the three arms radiating star-like towards the west, north and south from a wide central expanse. Here the Zanskar River comes into being by the confluence of its two Himalayan tributaries, the Stod/Doda and the Lingti-Tsarap rivers. It is mainly along the course of this valley system that the region’s approximately 14,000 strong, mainly Buddhist population, live.
The first Lamayuru monastery was built under Rinchen Zangbo at the end of the 10th century, under orders from the king of Ladakh , who altogether had 108 Gompas built in west Tibet. It was built on the broken mountain in the valley and consisted of five buildings, of which only the central building stands today. One can still see some remains of the four corner buildings to the west. The Gompa has an impressive 11-headed, 1,000-eyed image of Chenrezig. In its heyday up to 400 monks lived in the monastery but today there are only 20 to 30 who belong to the yellow hat sect. Many Lamas from Lamayuru now go out to other parts of Ladakh as teachers.
In the 16th century the monastery was declared a holy site in which even criminals could seek sanctuary. For that reason even today it is known to Ladakhis as 'Tharpa Ling', 'Place of freedom'.
A major landmark on the old silk route, the Gompa numbers among the 108 (a spiritually significant number, probably legendary) founded by the Rinchen Zangpo in the 10th and 11th centuries. However, its craggy seat, believed to have sheltered Milarepa during his religious odyssey across the Himalayas, was probably sacred long before the advent of Buddhism, when local people followed the Shamanical 'Bon' cult.
Khardung La at 18 380 ft (5602 metres) is said to be the world's highest motorable mountain pass. Situated in India's northernmost part Ladakh, it is many biker's dream.
Khardung La at 18 380 ft (5602 metres) is said to be the world's highest motorable mountain pass. Situated in India's northernmost part Ladakh, it is many biker's dream. Khardung La in India’s Ladakh is known as the world’s highest motorable mountain pass. Individuals with their own GPS equipment have, apparently, measured less than the official 18 380 ft that is proudly stated on top of Khardung La, but this does not matter to most bikers who dream about driving their motorbike to the top of the world. Khardung La, 26 miles outside Ladakh’s capital Leh, is to many bikers the ultimate goal after the tough and challenging trip from Manali to Leh
Driving past on the nearby Srinagar -Leh highway, you'd never guess that the cluster of low pagoda roofed cubes 3-km across the Indus from Saspol, dwarfed by a spectacular sweep of pale brown and wine coloured scree, is one of the most significant historical sites in Asia. Yet the Chos-khor, or "religious enclave", at Alchi, 70-km west of Leh, harbours an extraordinary wealth of ancient wall paintings and wood sculpture, miraculously preserved for over nine centuries inside five tiny mud walled temples. Alchi is the most impressive, the least remote and the only place where one doesn't need a special permit to visit. Nestled beside a bend in the milky blue river Indus, amid some dramatic scenery, it's also a serene spot and the perfect place to break a long journey to or from the Ladakhi capital. The Chos-khor consists of five separate temples, various residential buildings and a scattering of large Chortens, surrounded by a mud and stonewall and a curtain of tall poplar trees. If one is pushed for time, concentrate on the two oldest buildings, the Du-khang and the Sumtsek, both in the middle of the enclosure. Entrance tickets are issued by a caretaker lama from nearby Likkir Gompa, who will unlock the doors for the visitors. To make the most of the paintings vibrant colours, one will need a strong flashlight; but don't use a camera flash as it will damage the murals, last restored in the 16th century.
An inscription records that Alchi's oldest structure, the Du-Khang, was erected late in the 11th century by Kaldan Shesrab, a graduate of the now ruined Nyarma Gompa near Tikse, itself founded by the "Great Translator" Rinchen Zangpo. Approached via a walled courtyard and a path that runs under a hollow Chorten, the square temple's wooden doorway is richly carved with meditating Bodhisattvas.
Once one's eyes adjust to the gloom inside, check out the niche in the rear wall where Vairocana, the "Buddha Resplendent", is flanked by the four main Buddha manifestations that appear all over Alchi's temple walls, always presented in their associated colours: Akshobya ("Unshakable"; Blue), Ratnasambhava (""Jewel Born"; Yellow), Amitabha ("Boundless Radiance"; Red) and Amoghasiddhi ("Unfailing Success"; Green). The other walls are decorated with six elaborate Mandalas, interspersed with intricate friezes.
Nubra Valley Known as Ldumra (the valley of flowers) is situated in the north of Leh. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 ft. above the sea level. The main attraction in this area is the Bactarian Camels (Shaggy double hump Camel) around sand dunes, Deskit and Samstanling monasteries. The road journey to Nubra valley leads through the world highest motorable road, Khardongla Pass which is at a hight of 18380 ft above sea level and around 50 kms from Leh. After crossing the pass, you can have a view of Khardong village, Khalser and Deskit (the main villages of Nubra valley).
The Ladakh range is crossed by the Chang-la (18,000 feet / 5,475 m) which despite its great elevation is one of the easier passes, remaining open for much of the year even in winter, apart from periods of actual snowfall. Tangse, just beyond the foot of the pass, has an ancient temple. But the main attraction of this circuit is the Pangong Lake, situated at 14,000 feet (4,267 m). A long narrow basin of inland drainage, hardly six to seven kilometer at its widest point and over 130km long, it is bisected by the international border between India and China. Spangmik, the farthest point to which foreigners are permitted, is only some seven km along the southern shore from the head of the lake, but it affords spectacular views of the mountains of the Changchenmo range to the north, their reflections shimmering in the ever-changing blues and greens of the lake's brackish waters. Above Spangmik are the glaciers and snowcapped peaks of the Pangong range. Spangmik and a scattering of other tiny villages along the lake's southern shore are the summer homes of a scanty population of Chang-pa, the nomadic herds people of Tibet and south-east Ladakh. The Pangong Chnag-pa cultivate sparse crops of barley and peas in summer. It is in winter that they unfold their tents (rebo) and take their flocks of sheep and pashmina goats out to the distant pastures.