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Finally Leh(d)Road trip Delhi - Kud - Srinagar - Sonamarg - Kargil - Leh - Pangong - Nubra - Sarchu - ManaliTotal No of days - 15Dated - June 2011

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Trip Advisory Leh

Until the 1962 Sino-Indian war Leh was one of the major crossroads of Asia, and a stopping point on the ancient migration routes of the Trans-Himalaya connecting Central Asia with the Indian sub-continent. The old caravan trails led westward through Kashmir to the Silk roads, northward across the Karakoram Pass to Central Asia, eastward across the Chang-thang highlands to Tibet and China, and southward through what is now Himachal Pradesh to the plains of India.

Many migrants have come through Leh, some settling on the way, giving a distinctive characteristic to Ladakh's population, from the west early Dardic settlers and later invaders from Baltistan, from east Tibetan settlers and rulers, from north traders from Yarkand and much later Dogra conqurers from Jammu in the south.

The people who settled here established Ladakh's long religious and cultural heritage, the shamanistic Bon-po with roots across the Tien Shen to Southern Siberia's Attai mountains, and later Buddhists from Kashmir some five centuries before Buddhist reached Tibet. The invasion of the Central Asian warlord Mirza Haider in the 16th century brought Islam and the 19th century Moravian missionaries brought Christianity. The rock carvings that are still to be found along the Indus Valley Civilization and its tributaries are a indication that carves Ladakh's pre-history.

Best time to visit

The climatic conditions are mainly dry and desertic with little or no rainfall. The months from October to March ie winters in Leh are the coldest ones as the temperature dips to as low as -20C below 0. Summers ie April to September ranges between 20 to 30C so this is the best time to visit Leh & Ladakh. In Kargil summers are warm with cool nights, while winters are long and cold with temperatures often dropping to -40C with recorded temperatures of -60C in Drass. During winter most parts of Ladakh are snow bound and all the land approaches are blocked.

Internal Transport

main public transport is provided by coach and mini bus services. Tourist transport is essentially by 4 wheelk drive taxi vehicles which are easily available at Leh at specific fixed rates. A national highway that includes the Zojila pass connecting Srinagar to Leh cuts through Kargil. This highway is open for traffic only from June to mid November every year due to heavy snowfall at the Zojila.

Accommodation Info

Leh town has a variety of accommodation options in hotels and guest houses. Most of the hotels are family run establishments. These are classified into A, B and C/Economy categories while Guest houses are divided into Upper, Medium and Economy classes.


Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS) can occur to anyone at altitudes above 3,000metres/ 10,000ft. The most common symptoms are : breathlessness, coughing, disturbed sleep, headache, inability to concentrate, loss of appetite, nausea etc. As Leh is situated at an altitude of approximately 3,500m/11,500ft you are advised to acclimatize your body by taking complete rest for upto 36 hours after arrival. Moving about slowly and breathing deeply so that your body can get used to lower oxygen levels. When trekking do not permit your trekking guide to go any faster than you can comfortable move.

Gastro-enteric infections

Gastro-enteric infections may occur due to different sanitary and bacteriological conditions in different countries, need to be taken into account. It is recommended therefore that:-
  • In the town use water purification tablets or drink only bottled or freshly boiled water.
  • If trekking or on a safari, use water purification tablets, freshly boiled water, or drink from springs but not open streams and rivers.
  • Check eating places choosing only those with the cleanest cooking conditions. In case of a gastro-enteric infection report the name and location of the eating place to the Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Leh who is responsible for the public health of the region.

  • Inline permits
    For visiting Khardung la, Nubra valley, Pangong lake, Tsomoriri lake and Dah-Hanu area of Leh district. It is mandatory to obtain Protected Area permits from the Deputy Commissioner's office at Leh. Try to get it done by the hotel guys or your travel agent.

    Tourism Office
    Tourist Reception Centre, Leh-Ladakh
    Tel - +91 1982 252297/252094
    Fax - +91 1982 252297

    Protection of the Environment
    Leh-Ladakh has a fragile ecosystem which sustains besides the sparse population, some rare fauna and flora which are especially adapted to the peculiar environment. This is aptly described in the document brought out by the Tsomoriri Conservation Trust and the WWF India under the title - 'Saving a sacred gift'.

    Among Ladakh's most important fauna are the bactrian camel, Brown bear, Ladakh Urial, Lynx, Red Fox, Siberian Ibex, Snow Leopard, Tibetan Antelope, Tibetan Argali, Tibetan Gazelle, Tibetan Wild ass, Tibetan Wolf, Wild dog and the Wild Yak. Among its indigenous and visiting wetland birds are the endangered Black necked crane and Barheaded Goose, whose only known breeding grounds are the Leh-Ladakh's wet lands and the Ruddy Shelduck, Gargeny, Northern Pintail, Northern Shoveller, Eurasian Pigeon, Gadwall, Mallard and Red-crested pochard.

    Other birds found on the area are the Golden Eagle, Himalayan Snowcock, Lammergeler, Osprey, Snow Partridge, Sparrow Hawk, Steppe Eagle and the Tibetan Sand Grouse. More than 500 medicinal plants, many rare species used by the traditional Ladakhi and Tibetan medical practitioners (Amchi) and much in demand by today's pharmaceutical companies. The following steps are required tobe followed by the visitors:-

  • Do not permit your car drivers to drive off any main or secondary roads in wildlife areas, particularly on the Chang-thang plateau.
  • Do not walk off the main trekking routes
  • Do not throw any rubbish including clothes, metal pieces, paper and plastics in any safari/trekking areas
  • Do not throw any waste material in animal holes eg that of a marmot nor in any waterways
  • Do not camp along lakesides and marshlands as the tourist season coincides with the breeding of the migratory birds.
  • Neither approach nor photograph nesting birds from a close distance. For photographic purposes only long focal length lenses should be used, and your camera flash should be turned off.

  • Fairs & Festivals

    Ladakh is famous for the festivals held in major Buddhist monasteries annually. The main features of these festivals are the dance dramas enacted by the Lamas donning colourful robes and fearsome masks representing various Buddhist deities. They perform mimes symbolizing key aspects of the religion and its history. The Hemis festival held in June is the most famous event. Every 12th year a huge Thangka of Padmasambhava, founder of Tibetan Buddhism is ritually exhibited during this festival.

    There are cultural festivals too. Summer archery festivals are held in many villages as per local traditions. The 15 day Ladakh Festival (1-15Sept) is a major event sponsored by the J&K Govt to showcase the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh. The 3 day Sindhu Darshan festival is sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism, Govt of India during June to showcase the historical and cultural importance of the Indus.


  • Leh is packed with souvenir shops.
  • Thangkas (Buddhist cloth paintings) and Ladakhi hats
  • Heavy turquoise jewellery or other semi precious stones
  • Wooden choktse (Tibetan tables)
  • Chaam dance mask
  • Tibetan trumpets, cymbals etc
  • Visit Sonambongo Barongpa & Sons for traditional costumes

  • Beware!
    Many souvenirs are trucked in from China, Kashmir and Nepal, providing little benefit to local people so try buying from localities like The Tibetan Children's Village Handicraft Centre in Potala, Chang Tang co-operative in Karzoo etc

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