About Ladakh
Ladakh ("land of high passes") is a region in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that currently extends from the Kunlun mountain range to the main Great Himalayas to the south, inhabited by people of Indo-Aryan and Tibetan descent.It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir and its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet. Ladakh is renowned for its remote mountain beauty and culture. Historically, the region included the Baltistan (Baltiyul) valleys (now mostly in Pakistan), the entire upper Indus Valley, the remote Zanskar, Lahaul and Spiti to the south, much of Ngari including the Rudok region and Guge in the east, Aksai Chin in the northeast (extending to the Kun Lun Mountains), and the Nubra Valley to the north over Khardong La in the Ladakh Range. Contemporary Ladakh borders Tibet to the east, the Lahaul and Spiti regions to the south, the Vale of Kashmir, Jammu and Baltiyul regions to the west, and the southwest corner of Xinjiang across the Karakoram Pass in the far north. Aksai Chin is one of the disputed border areas between China and India.It is administered by China as part of Hotan County but is also claimed by India as a part of the Ladakh region of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. In 1962, China and India fought a brief war over Aksai Chin and Arunachal Pradesh, but in 1993 and 1996 the two countries signed agreements to respect the Line of Actual Control In the past Ladakh gained importance from its strategic location at the crossroads of important trade routes,[8] but since the Chinese authorities closed the borders with Tibet and Central Asia in the 1960s, international trade has dwindled except for tourism. Since 1974, the Government of India has successfully encouraged tourism in Ladakh. Since Ladakh is a part of strategically important Jammu and Kashmir, the Indian military maintains a strong presence in the region. The largest town in Ladakh is Leh, followed by Kargil.Almost half of Ladakhis are Shia Muslims and the rest are mostly Tibetan Buddhists. Some Ladakhi activists have in recent times called for Ladakh to be constituted as a union territory because of perceived unfair treatment by Kashmir and Ladakh's cultural differences with predominantly Muslim Kashmir.
Drass
Second Coldest inhabitant place in World A small town that is 60 km away from Kargil, and 144 km away from Srinagar, located on Srinagar Kargil National Highway. Drass is often refered to as 'The Gateway to Ladakh'. The Drass valley is formed by the Drass River which rises in the Machio glacier located at the famous ZOZILA pass. The river is joined in its course by other river & small streams following in from snow fields nearby mountains. Drass has become famous as the 2nd coldest inhibited place in the world after Siberia. The temperature in Drass drops to minus 45 and the wind chill factor is even greater during summer. Drass can be quite pleasant till ending September and sometimes it is hot at noon.One the most popular activities which travellers can enjoy is trekking. Drass also offers soft and moderate treks; the famous trekking in Drass is Suru Valley trek. The people of drass are of Dard Descent and Indo – Aryan race believed to have originally migrated to Ladakh from central Asia. The language of Drass is Shina which is an Indo – Aryan Language. Camping and hiking are very pleasurable. Picnicking is popular in summer in Drass. Drass has extensive Willow Grove along the river. The Altitude of Drass is 3300 mtr. It also snows in Drass. Drass has other tourist attractions like Dropati Kund (a sacred pond for hindus), Bhimbath or the Bhim’s Stone, Rock Carving at Stiaqbo. There are some war sites also. The Famous Tiger Hill is also visible from Drass.



Kargil
Kargil town is 204 kms away from Srinagar and 230 kms from Ladakh. Kargil is the 2nd largest town of Ladakh. The town is located at the junction of famous silk route and caravans from china, Yakkand, Afghanistan, and Indian plains used to go through Kargil in the past. These countries were dealing with silk, carpets and precious stones. Now there are only ruins of these caravan Sarais which once was very famous for trade and silk route. Kargil is the main town which connects Srinagar – Leh , Leh – Zanaskar. The town Kargil is situated on the famous River Suru and Nallah Wakha at an altitude of 2700 mts. Kargil has about 1,43, 388 souls as per the current census. Kargil is also located 60 kms from Drass which is the 2nd coldest place in the world. Kargil facing the northern areas across the LOC like other regions Kargil has temperate climate. Summers are hot with cool nights while winters are long and chilly and sometimes temperature often dropping to - 480C. Present day, Kargil district was once known as "Purig" earlier consisted of a number of small, but independent kingdoms, which includes Chiktan, Pukhar, and Suru Valley and these kingdoms often fight among themselves over small issues.



Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley was originally called LDUMRA which means the valley of flowers. Now, it is also known as Orchard of Ladakh. Nubra Valley is a Tri-armed valley, which is located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Nubra valley is formed by the Shyok River, which is a tributary of the Indus, and the Nubra or the Siachen River. Nubra Valley is about 150km north from its principle town, Leh. Nubra Valley was the ancient gateway for the famous Silk Route. The average altitude of Nubra Valley is about 10,000ft above from the sea level. Nubra Valley is surrounded from all the sides by snow-capped Himalayan ranges. Nubra valley is famously known as "BROKEN MOONLAND" because in winter, the whole valley looks like the landscape of moon. Nubra Valley lies in between Tibet and Kashmir. The main attractions of Nubra valley are Shaggy Double humped Bactrian Camels around sand dunes, Panamik, Yarab Tso Lake, Diskit Monastery or Diskit Gompa, Hunder Monastery, Lachung temple, Maitreya Buddha statue, Samstanling Monastery, and mainly for the world's highest motorable pass, Khardung La Pass (18,380 feet).



Khardung La pass
Khardung La pass The Worlds Highest Motor-able Road Khardung La pass or the "Pass of Lower Castle" is the world's highest motorable pass and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valley in Ladakh. One of the most picturesque locales in Leh, Khardung la Pass is situated 39 km by road North of Leh and is at a height of 18,380 ft from the sea level. The road from Leh to Khardung La is asphalted for about 24 km till the South Pullu check post but from there the road is made up of gravel (Loose Rock) and dirt track till the North Pullu check point (15km) and occasional rivulets of snow melt. Khardung la pass connects Leh and Nubra Valley and also serves as a gateway to the famous siachen glacier. Khardung La pass offers amazing views of the valley and the roads winding up the mountain. The pristine air, scenic vistas and the feeling of being on top of the world have made Khardung La a popular tourist attraction. Inner line permit for Indians and Protected area permit for foreigners is required to visit Khardung La top. A steady climb over winding road gave a panoramic view of Leh town below with Stok Kangri peak in the background. An isolated gompa on a small hill provided an enchanting picture as one climbs up. The weather is highly unstable and can change surprisingly fast leaving you stranded for hours or even days so you need to come prepared when planning to visit Khardung La. Once you are there, the feeling is no less than conquering the world.



Pangong Lake
Pangong Lake also known as Pangong Tso is a beautiful endorheic lake situated in the Himalayas and is 134 km long, extending from India to China. Pangong Lake is situated at a height of 4350 m and is one of the biggest tourist attractions of the country. The beauty and allure of this lake has attracted people from all over the country and beyond. The lake is said to be in the process of being identified as a wetland with international significance under the Ramsar Convention and if everything goes as expected then the Pangong Lake will be the first in South Asia to be a trans-boundary wetland and that too under this convention. The one factor that makes this Lake so popular is the fact that it keeps changing colors. Situated in the Himalayan range it is approximately 156 km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir. The name of the lake Pangong was got from a Tibetan word Banggong Co that means a narrow and enchanted lake. And now you know that the lake has got its name rightfully. You will know this when you visit the beautiful lake of Pangong. You are sure to be enchanted by the charm. And because the lake is a long stretch, one third area of the lake lies within our country and the other two third portion lies with Tibet and is controlled by China.



Tso-moriri Lake
Tso-moriri Lake also known as Mountain Lake is a spectacular site amidst mountain ranges in Leh. Tso-moriri or Lake Moriri is a High Altitude Lake (officially named as Tso-moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve), located in the Changthang (literal meaning, northern plains) area with an altitude of 4,595 m (15,075 ft). The Tso-moriri Lake measures about 28 km in length from north to south and about 4-6 km in breadth and about 100 feet average in-depth. Maximum depth of Tso-moriri Lake is 248 feet. Tso-moriri Lake is surrounded by barren hills, with the backdrop of beautiful snow-covered mountains. Tso-moriri is mind-numbingly beautiful, Calm and sacred lake for Ladakhis. Tso-moriri is slightly higher than Pangong Tso and the water is far less brackish supporting more birdlife. The water is crystal clear and of a deep blue color. However, since the Tso-moriri Lake has no outlet, its waters are consequently brackish, although not very detectable to the taste. In fact, the Tso-moriri Lake was once a popular source of salt.



Shey Palace
Shey used to be the capital of antique Ladakh. Shey palace Leh is located beside Indus River. Shey is approximately 15 kilometers from leh and is the beautiful villages in ladakh. Shey palace is one of the ancient palaces in Leh. The Leh Shey palace is the famous tourist destination in leh ladakh. Shey Palace is reconstructed in the mostly ruined state. Shey used to be the capital of ancient Ladakh. Shey palace Leh is placed on a hill Shey includes a gold topped victory Stupa. The monastery has a two storied statue of Sakyamuni Buddha shaped with copper and gold. The walls of the Du-Khang are decorated with beautiful frescos. In view that the monastery is exclusive, it's most excellent to make preparations to peer this monastery with the top Lama beforehand. Many chortens will also be obvious to the east of the Monastery. A traveller should not miss the engraving on a rook-face beside the primary avenue beneath the monastery which symbolizes five Buddha's in meditation.

Lamayuru
Lamayuru is on the Leh - Srinagar Highway, and can be visited from Leh (if you fly in) or on your way from Srinagar if you drive to Leh. Lamayuru monastery is situated at a distance of 127 KM from Leh at a height of 3,510 meters. Lamayuru can easily be covered in a day return trip from Leh. Lamayuru is known for its monastery, and for its "lunar" landscape - quaintly promoted as a "Moonscape" for tourists. The landscape is certainly incredible with its spectacularly odd geological formations, though this is not unique to Lamayuru. Lamayuru monastery is ancient, built into the 'moonscape'. It has some beautiful frescoes and frightening masks. Visitors can also see the glassed in meditation cave of the Lama Naropa. Lamayuru is a part of the Dri-Gungpa sector in western Ladakh. Lamayuru was founded in the 11th century by Mahasiddacarya Naropa. Lamayuru has the appearance of a cave monastery with moonlike landscape. Lamayuru consisting of 5 buildings, the structure is in ruins today.