Ladakh is a beautiful Himalayan city located in India’s northernmost state of Jammu and Kashmir, at an altitude ranging from 1500 ft to 25000 ft. Ladakh has a challenging territory full of extremities like the barren mountain peaks, rough terrains and dynamic climatic conditions. But these virulent conditions have not shaken the travelers a bit to stay away from the mystical challenges posed by nature. Adventure travelers and nature lovers throng this place and try to acclimatize to its harsh conditions, to enjoy the view of snow laden peaks, valleys,lakes, springs and Buddhist monasteries.
Enveloped between the commanding ranges of Karakoram and Himalayas, Ladakh offers a plethora of options for an avid trekker. The Ladakh Range, Zansker ranges, Indus Valley, Tsomoiri Lake, Frozen River, Nubra Valley, Rupshu Valley and Stok Kangri are some of the most common places for trekking. Trekking in Ladakh is a unique experience in itself as one can explore the culture and lifestyles of the region, along with the scenic blessings.
Some of the leisurely trekking options available in Ladakh includes the Dodital Trek that begins in the Bhairathi valley and ends near the Dodital Lake, passing through the green meadows of the alpines. Other options for light treks are Ruinsara Lake Trek, Spiti Trek and Singalila Ridge Trek. Some of the moderate treks include trekking to Rupkund, Indrahar Pass Trek, Ripchar Valley Trek, Pangarchulla Peak Trek and Goecha La trek. The most challenging treks of the region would be Stok Kangri Trek, Shitidhar Peak trek, Markha Valley, Kalindi Pass Trek and the Parang La Trek.
Most of the treks would require you to allocate around 12-15 days on an average, to enjoy the expedition fully and at a moderate pace. From Delhi, the traveler first heads towards Leh, the capital city of Ladakh. Leh is well connected to major trekking sites like Padum, Rumtse, Lamayuru, Chilling and Stok. A relatively easy trekking route is from Hemis to Jugtak which lets you explore the local wildlife and learn about the life of Chanpas, the local traders of the place, who move in caravans.
The trek from Lamayuru to Hemis starts and ends with two of the most famous Buddhist Gompas and takes you through the hilltop villages of Ladakh, like Chilling and Hinju. The trek includes traversing through five passes, crossing the Zansker river, Namaling Plateau and the imposing view of the Kangyatse Peak.
Stok Kangri, located at an altitude of 6,153 m, is really a nerve wrecking climb. But, it is worth the spell binding views of Zanskar and Karakoram ranges. An extreme trekking route is the ice path of the frozen river Zanskar. It involves walking 15 to 20 km on the tough icy terrains in minus 15 to 20 degree Celsius. The adventure doesn’t end up with walking in the extreme temperatures but you will have to take shelter in either the local huts or even caves present en route and feed on whatever is locally available.
It is important to keep in mind some important points before you plunge into the back-breaking activity. Don’t overexert yourself by walking fast in the beginning, rather save your energy. Be cautious at narrow passages, wet lands and steep slopes. Keep taking breaks, and try to keep your feet at a height when you relax. Carry water and a first aid kit handy, along with other important stuff like a torch, gloves and a sunscreen, sunglasses, hat, walking stick etc. arranged neatly in a kit bag. The baggage should be kept light. Hope this information lets you plan your trekking trip to Ladakh in a befitting way.