What is Mecca for devotees, Ladakh is for travellers. Ladakh gained popularity post the film 3 idiots that featured the beautiful Pangong Tso in its final scene. Most travellers flock to this lake exploring the commercial identity of Ladakh. But Ladakh is so much more! And to the relief of most travellers, it has resisted capital commercialization in entirety. Ladakh is the beautiful rugged landscape, the shades of mountains, heavenly lakes, unique wildlife and the people. Here are some offbeat things to do to enjoy the real Ladakh post lockdown (and Chinese tensions).
It is for that adventurous spirit who packs their bags and heads off in search of something. Moreover, interactions with the locals over butter tea and immersing yourself in the silent echo of the desert valleys is where Ladakh excels as a destination. Ladakh offers troves of mesmerizing places to explore – ones that will truly ache the heart of the beholder.
UNUSUAL THINGS TO DO IN LADAKH
The article lists offbeat things to do in Ladakh post lockdown. We have selected all the places after careful consideration of time and budget. Unique and crowd-free, the beauty of Ladakh is something that you should explore for yourself, alone, in its raw form.
A camel ride through Nubra Valley
Tune in – history buffs and adventure seekers! Nubra Valley provides more than just an ethereal aesthetic but a camel safari as well. Standing at 10,000 ft. The Nubra Valley was once a trade route between Tibet and Turkestan. This Valley of Flowers offers a beautiful landscape of snow-covered mountains surrounding the area and atop a camel, the looks of it are even more enhanced.
Ladakh is, technically, a cold desert. Therefore, a camel ride in the Nubra Valley will provide an offbeat yet unique experience of travelling through the desert upon a double-humped animal, that is, the Bactrian Camel. The unsteady movements of the camel adds a thrill into the whole experience as you explore the Nubra Valley from another vantage point.
Live the culture and heritage in Turtuk Village
As you drive along the gurgling Shyok River, the beautiful stream will lead you to a culturally rich village amongst the mountains of Ladakh. Not known to many, this village is a site of babbling brooks, wheat farms, apricot orchards and best of all, friendly locals. However, the main experience of Turtuk is the social interaction with the locals that live here. Unlike the majority, the locals of Turtuk are Baltis who follow Islam.
Once in Pakistan, the place remains close to the current Line of Control and became accessible to the rest of the public only in 2010. Explore the lanes of the village and sit down to engage with the locals. Moreover, they have a beautifully rich history to share and important personal stories to offer. For a better experience, we suggest that you opt for a homestay here. With a stunning view, scrumptious local meals and the smiling locals in the vicinity – how else can you truly know Ladakh?
Try yak cheese momos and hot butter tea
The most basic diet of a Ladakhi involves momos, noodles and butter tea. Yak rearing is one of the major livelihoods opted within the region. Hence, Yaks provide them with meat and dairy products that form part of their diet. So, it isn’t a huge surprise that Ladakh’s cuisine is known for its delicious yak cheese momos and piping hot butter tea!
There is no other place in the world where you can try the delectable yak cheese in the delicate covering of momos. Hence, one of the heart filling offbeat thing to do here. Ladakh’s butter tea is something that you will be drinking frequently along your journey. Furthermore, these two together form a great and heavy snack that’ll keep you warm and help you beat the cold climate.
To try out delicious yak cheese momos with butter tea, you must go to Gesmo restaurant in Leh, Ladakh.
Take a dip in Chumathang Hot Springs
The freezing climate of Ladakh is something one has to weather in order to explore this rustic beauty. But what’s to say if you can spend a day soaking in hot water that can help you beat this cold weather? Well, it definitely isn’t a bathtub with hot water. We’re talking about the natural hot springs of Chumathang. It’s quite fascinating how nature offers remedies to its own creations.
Further on, the Chumathang Hot Springs is known for its high sulfur concentration which is said to have great medicinal benefits. A dip in the Chumathang Hot Springs provides a relaxing effect on your body and mind. However, Chumathang Hot Springs are easy to overlook if you’re not aware of them hence the offbeat attraction. On the banks of the Indus River, you’ll come across small water bodies that are boiling with high sulfur.
Visit the 400-years old Chemrey Monastery
One can see the strong influence of Buddhism in Ladakh through the monasteries that dot the place. It’ll be hard to explore each and every monastery in Ladakh but we highly recommend the 400-year old Chemrey Monastery for your itinerary. The Chemrey Monastery is, surprisingly, an unexplored and offbeat destination.
The Monastery houses almost a storey-high statue of Guru Padmasambhava. Moreover, you’ll find ancient scriptures preserved in the monastery emboldened with gold letters for the content and silver for the titles. Decorated with prayer flags, the magnificent structure of the monastery holds shrines, two prayer halls and a Lama temple.
Ignite Your Adventurous Spirit at Uleytokpo
If you’re en route to Lamayuru, then a stop at Uleytokpo is a must. Uleytokpo unlocks your adventurous spirit. Nature, spirituality and culture are some of the facets of Uleytokpo that you can explore. A trek through the wooded valley to Rozdong Monastery is a treat for nature enthusiasts. As you get to witness the flora of the region, your journey will be rewarded with the calming presence of Rozdong Monastery.
Furthermore, another activity to opt for is cycling to Alchi Monastery. This offers a lovely trail and an adrenaline-pumping activity for people looking to break the monotony of drives. Finally, you can either drive or walk up to the Mangti Temple which has some of the most beautiful and oldest frescoes in Ladakh. If you’re in luck, you’ll be able to spot an Ibex and Snow Patridge while exploring Uleytokpo.
Learn About the Significant History of Basgo
The offbeat town of Basgo will have history enthusiasts buzzing towards its abode like a bee to nectar. The significance of Basgo is even mentioned in the Ladakhi chronicles. Once, it was the capital of Lower Ladakh. Moreover, a visit to the town of Basgo is met with warm greetings and a cup of butter tea, courtesy of the locals. A driven conversation with the locals itself will lead you to understand the local legends that prevail in this place.
Furthermore, Basgo also holds a beautiful mud-brick fortress called Basgo Gompa that will evoke intrigue in history enthusiasts. A visit to the vast fortress of 15th-century Basgo Gompa will show you the remnants of a citadel. With it, you will see some of the oldest surviving structures in Ladakh such as the temples dedicated to the Buddha of the future.
Experience the Spiritual Aura of Lamayuru
One of the beautiful places that can offer peace to that weary soul of yours is Lamayuru. It often stays away from the attraction of the crowd and therefore, it remains an offbeat spiritual treasure. Lamayuru is a tiny hamlet that shelters highly kind and friendly locals. They lovingly refer to the place as the “moonland of Ladakh” Staying with these locals and exploring the beautiful surroundings is highly cathartic for your soul.
Moreover, within a short distance, you will also find Lamayuru Monastery. The Monastery was founded in the 11th century and is one of the largest and oldest one in Ladakh. Home to around 200 monks, your time at Lamayuru will be spent watching the locals and the monks go about their day. We recommend opting for a homestay for a relaxing retreat.
Go on a Trek to Tso Moriri Lake
A trip to Rumtse often accompanies the trek to Tso Moriri. Given that, Rumtse is the base camp for the trek. Rumtse is flocked by trekkers for their journey onwards to the beautiful shimmering Tso Moriri Lake. But one does not fail to capture the idyllic beauty of Rumtse. The village is cradled in the Rupshu Valley blessed with immense natural beauty. Riddled with pastureland and plains that are enclosed by lofty brown mountains – Rumste embodies the rugged beauty of Ladakh.
Interestingly enough, Rumtse is the legacy of the first human settlement on the route from Lahaul to Ladakh. Furthermore, the trek to Tso Moriri Lake which begins from Rumtse will definitely change your perspective. It is a 9-day hike enhanced with lush green environment and lovely alpine lakes to feast your eyes on. We advise you to wear appropriate trekking equipment and carry essentials.
Spot the Pashmina Goats in Upshi
The talk goes around about the heart-warming Ladakhi hospitality and one really can’t get enough of it. Upshi is a beautiful offbeat location nestled along the Leh-Manali highway. You can explore the physical beauty of Ladakh extensively but the journey is incomplete without the mental one. Upshi is an unambitious destination that is a great place to relax and explore just as it is.
Moreover, one of the most interesting factors of Upshi is the Pashmina Goats. The renowned Pashmina Shawls of the north are something that everyone vies to buy but Upshi lets you look beyond that and explore the scene of goat farming that the locals depend on for their livelihood. Engage with the locals, revel in the breathtaking beauty and finally, capture those unique goats on your camera!
On another note, Woovly requests the countrymen to stay inside their houses and follow the guidelines issued by the government. In these times of need, please help the needy and do whatever is under your capabilities to help the country.
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