Nestled in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir is one of India’s most remote and sparsley populated areas. Ladakh, often referred to as Little Tibet, is a land of snowcapped mountains, vast barren plateaus and deep turquoise lakes.
The area is framed by the mighty Himalayas to the south and the Karakoram to the north, the Indus River snaking its way through the arid landscape. Sitting at an altitude of 3,500m this high altitude desert is cold and dry, the summer months offering startling blue skies, perfect conditions for hiking and cycling.
Ladakh is an incredibly spiritual place, and is one of the last enclaves of Mahayana Buddhism, which has been the pricipal religion for almost 1000 years. Monasteries and whitewashed stupas cling to craggy cliffs, and colourful prayer flags flutter in the breeze.
The capital, Leh, is the main gateway to Ladakh and while the town itself may be a hive of activity, it doesn’t take long to get lost amongst the soaring peaks and sweeping plains.
When to go
Ladakh is a high altitude desert that experiences little rainfall. As such, sunshine is almost guaranteed. It is extremely dry and the main change in seasons is purely down to temperature. By late May, the long cold winter is over and spring brings with it clear days and average temperatures of around 20˚C. Nights can still be cold, however. May and early June is particaulrly beautiful as many of the mountains are still covered in snow. By mid to late June, the days and nights are getting warmer and by July and August, maximum daytime temperatures are around 30˚C. By September the temperatures are starting to cool off. From November to March, Ladakh can experience heavy snowfall and becomes inaccessible by road.
What to do
- Hike and cycle along the epic mountain passes
- Village walks that let you experience the local culture
- The Ladakh Festival is an annual event that showcases the region's unique culture through a series of music, dance and sporting events