Its that time of the year again, when we pack our woollens and get ready to go to the mesmerising land of Ladakh. The land of the bluest lakes, high passes, colourful gompas, eclectic cafes and sights that will you will take a whole lifetime to forget! An adventure like no other, Ladakh offers you a peek into its majesty and once is often not enough. We have been to Ladakh every year since our inception, and every year we try to do things differently, discover new facets to this magical land, which has won our heart over since the first time we went, The trips we design are very personal, with elements that appeal to us as travelers: local food, local stays, hikes, local experiences , without having to give up on the basic comforts. We hope to take adventurers to this mysterious land and help them see it from close quarters, its nuances, its heritage, and live its story every day. Trying to stay away from the mainstream and beyond the usual circuits, here are our 5 unique experiences on the Ladakh trail:
1. Visit a tibetan refugee school: Experience first hand the Tibetan exile community in India through visits and interaction with refugee school children. Your hearts will go out to the cute little red cheeked children that attend school here for 6months in the summer. Some of them travel all the way from Zanskar which is 465kms afar. They live with a foster mother who takes care of them while they are studying at the school and return home to their parents after the summer is done with.
2. Heritage walks in Leh: Every visitor to Leh should visit Old Leh and take the Heritage Walk.As part of the efforts to preserve the old town of Leh and its historic buildings, Tibetan Heritage Fund (THF) offer a Heritage Walk through the old town.The walk lasts for more than two hours in and around the old towns of Leh, Ladakh “Walking” is the main mode of commuting in Leh and also the best way to truly take in this quaint town.Th walks aim to recognise the community that lives here and exemplify their hopes and aspirations for the regeneration of the Old Town. Old Town continues to stand testimony to the grandeur of the artistic heritage and cultural legacy that once exemplified Ladakh but is today largely overlooked and forgotten.
3. Food trails in Ladakh: From butter tea to Thukpas, Leh has much to offer the food-loving wanderer. Food in Ladakh is a blend of Tibetan, Indian and Continental fare owing to the vast penetration of tourism in the state. Ladakhi cuisine, however, is seldom available as local ingredients cost more than imported ones.But there are a few places we have under our hat that serves authentic Ladakhi food with the right ingredients that are sure to create a hearty meal. Although it requires an acquired taste, one must try it for its sheer uniqueness.Read our post on 5 FOODS YOU MUST EAT IN LADAKH.
4.Curated stay: Most of our stays are in family run guesthouses or homestays, giving you a local flavour in your stay. Interacting with them everyday for your meals and tea, gardening with them as you see them work their farms, learning about their cuisine, their culture and getting a close up glimpse at their life can be rewarding. Their lives are so different from ours and yet so similar, its amazing. Despite being separated by 11000ft, You will start feeling like home in the mountains. They also tend to be located beyond the main market, so its far away from the chaos of the main road and the commercial establishment. Tucked away , beside a rivulet, overlooking the mountains or even with your own private garden, they are a well kept secrets. From camps to guesthouses and homestays ranging from basic to luxurious we have it all. Try it!
5. Treks: Ladakh is a land of varied experiences. There is spirituality to be explored, adventure to be had and the bliss of nature to be felt. While you can explore Ladakh in plenty of ways, trekking is one of the best ways to do it. Trekking in Ladakh brings together all the different experiences to be had in Ladakh- a trip to monasteries gives you a spiritual experience; walking through varied landscapes lets you be with nature; and trekking to the top of challenging peaks gives you an adventurous experience.A great way to explore the valleys and passes of the region is on foot. Starting from moderate 1-5 days treks to the Sham Valley to longer more intensive treks to Tso Moriri or the Zanskar. The fairly gentle trek gives you a chance to enjoy the views and experience village life, in this most remote area of India with its rich culture, where the way of life hasn’t changed for centuries. The 5day long treks is not too demanding and includes a visit to the monasteries of Alchi, Lamayuru as well as Thiksey.
Main Banner – Photo Credits – Matt Brandon