Spectacularly jagged, arid mountains enfold this magical, Buddhist ex-kingdom. Picture-perfect gompas dramatically crown rocky outcrops amid whitewashed stupas and meditational mani walls topped with mantra-inscribed pebbles. Colourful fluttering prayer flags spread their spiritual messages metaphorically with the mountain breeze. Prayer wheels spun clockwise release more merit-making mantras. Gompa interiors are colourfully awash with murals and statuary of numerous bodhisattvas.
Ladakh’s remarkably well-balanced traditional society has much to teach the West in terms of ecological awareness. While most Ladakhis are cash poor, traditional mud-brick homesteads are large, comfortable and self-sufficient in fuel and dairy products, organic vegetables and barley used to make tsampa (roast barley flour) and chhang. Such self-sufficiency is an incredible achievement given the short growing season and very limited arable land in this upland desert, where precious water supplies must be laboriously channelled from glacier-melt mountain streams.
Best places to stay in Ladakh
Trekking in the Indian Himalaya - Delhi, Ladakh & Kashmir (Chapter)
This chapter contains the Delhi, Ladakh & Kashmir chapters from Lonely Planet's Trekking in the Indian Himalaya guidebook.
Exploring India's remote Nubra Valley
Ladakh - the ‘Land of the High Passes’ - is among the most stunning parts of the Indian Himalayas. Wedged between Pakistan, Tibet and Xinjiang Province (China) and India’s Himachal Pradesh, it forms the eastern part of the contested state of Jammu & Kashmir...
Trekking in the Indian Himalaya travel guide
Our expert author, trekking the Indian Himalaya since 1970, will be your guide to some of the world's most awesome trekking. Whether you are an experienced trekker or a first-timer, you're sure to find the ultimate trekking experience here.
Ladakh destination guides
Planning your dream Himalayan trip
For mountain lovers and the vertically inclined the Himalayas represent nothing less than the crowning apex of nature's grandeur. Here dramatic forested gorges rise to skylines of snow-capped glaciated peaks through a landscape that ranges from high-altitude desert to dripping rhododendron forest...
Hidden Valleys of Ladakh
Trek ‘Little Tibet'', attend the famous Hemis Festival and complete a journey to the borderlands of Tibet
Zanskar Ice Trek with Andrew Lock
A challenging and remote trek following the frozen Zanskar in winter
Heading to Ladakh after the landslide? Here's what you should know.
Much beloved by India travellers, predominantly Tibetan-Buddhist Ladakh is a beautiful, high altitude area of mountain deserts that was seriously affected by landslides and mudslides on August 6, with a death toll to date of 185...