When you embark on trekking in Ladakh expect to tread rugged terrains with breathtaking views. And when you are in the heart of Ladakh, it would remind you of the old cobbled footpaths used by the eighteenth century English folks in old London. This has been the same for Ladakh for many centuries and it is because of this rustic nature, the calmness of the place, the remote beauty and the warm friendly Ladakhi’s that many tourists from across the globe, such as me, throng to visit this Himalayan kingdom.
The trails while hiking are usually on foot, but then these days you also have mountain biking trips conducted. However, call me old-fashioned if you please, I still prefer tiring my legs walking than on a bike. Trekking through Ladakh made me come in close contact with the religion and culture of the place, the traditions and moreover the monasteries of the beautiful kingdom. Ancient as they are, the monasteries stand tall and show you their grandeur in the crispy sunshine of Ladakh. And as you trek further out of town, you would be welcomed by hillocks and farming communities, the local inhabitants toiling their way and yet not forgetting to wave out to you and smile back with love.
With my tour guide I set out for Chilling, which is a small hamlet that sits cozy by the gorges of the river Zanskar. I started out trekking in Ladakh from Lamayuru and passed the beautiful monasteries on the way. As you trek through this route, you would come across two main passes of this region, and at amazing heights of 4950m and of 4700m respectively, be ready for a breathtaking view, which you may have only heard of or seen on one of the popular travel shows on television. The Zanskar Mountains show you the rocky terrains, the highs and lows and dotting along the landscape you would find small colourful houses inhabited by locals and the tribal folks of the region. When you are at Chilling, one of the striking features would be heading back to Leh. Enjoy this by rafting back and experiencing the challenging Zanskar rapids.
Ladakh trekking is incomplete without having time spent at this famous trekkers spot. The trek is not very strenuous and the demography of the place is very diverse for you to enjoy. If you are at the lower Markha valley region, the canyon walls in all its pristine colors would keep you hooked and spellbound, don’t forget to bring along your camera. From there you would be lead to trails which take you to the large spread of grass lands near Nimaling. At this spot you would find groups of shepherds herding their flocks at various locations, seems straight like a scene from a medieval movie. Sheep, goats, yaks, snowy peaks around, the Gongmaru La, Hemis way down on its trail etc will keep you busy and walking for long.
Don’t miss out on these wonderful places while trekking in Ladakh. At 6153m Stok Kangri can be very demanding to trek, but if you are Ulysses at heart and physically ready to take up the challenge, there is a spectacular view awaiting you up there. The Zanskar range is a seducer of sorts, right from the rugged terrains it throws open and the widespread flora and fauna to endure and immerse in, the range would keep you busy and throw you into a different world altogether. And finally, the Rumste to Tso Moriri trek would take you to the Rupshu plateau. At this point you would be at the remotest areas around Ladakh, mingling with the tribal and nomadic communities. It is a very barren place, but you would find plenty of wildlife such as the Himalayan Marmot, the Ass Kiang, the Himalayan Ibex and the Tibetan Antelope as well. For those of you who would love to kayak, you can do so at the Tso Kar or even at the famous Tso Moriri lakes, which are situated at Korzok, a small but warm and colourful village of the region.
About the author: This is a guest post from Divij who writes for Thrillophilia.