ladakh

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Ladakh is among the highest of the world’s inhabited plateaus. It is a region of Jammu and Kashmir – the northernmost state of India. It lies between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the Great Himalayas to the south. It is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Kashmir. Its culture and history are closely related to that of Tibet.

Ladakh offers great scope for undertaking adventure activities amidst landscapes of breathtaking, rugged beauty. The most popular and best established among these are trekking, mountaineering or mountain climbing and river-rafting. Exciting river rafting options are also available along the Indus river and its major tributaries in Ladakh. A paradise for mountain climbing as there are so many peaks and mountains to climb. Climbing and conquering the lofty peaks of Ladakh needs extreme fitness. However, before attempting to climb any peak acclimatization to weather is necessary. The Nun-Kun massif, easily accessible from the Kargil-Padum road, is the most popular climbing option in Ladakh. The climbing season extends from mid-May to mid-October, the ideal period being from June to September because during this time only Ladakh remains unaffected by the monsoon.

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Essential things required while mountain climbing are :

  1. Map
  2. Compass
  3. Extra clothing for changing
  4. Matches
  5. Fire starter
  6. Knife or multi purpose camp tool
  7. Sunglasses
  8. Extra food
  9. First aid kit and Toiletries
  10. Flashlight with extra batteries
  11. Sunscreen
  12. Water filter or other method of water purification
  13. Whistle

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There are considerable fluctuations in day and night temperatures even during the peak summers. While days are pretty warm, even hot, evening become chilly, requiring additional clothing. It is advisable to keep a jacket handy.

The easiest way to go on a trek or a safari is through a Tour Operator or Travel Agency. They will take care of all arrangements for camping gear, portage, provisions, etc. The Tourist offices provide camping equipment at the Srinagar, Leh and Kargil. Imported items like insulated ground sheets, two man tents, sleeping bags, insulated jackets, trekking shoes and rucksacks are available. If booked with travel agency all your provisions and fuel from Leh or Kargil for the entire duration of the trip will be taken care of, as nothing is available in the outposts of this difficult area and tourists really may not expect from the villagers for their basic winter provisions.

Tourists can enjoy the soft adventure of camel safari in Ladakh in the months of July, August and September. As one explores the rugged mountain terrain on a camel back, one feels far removed from the earth. It will be a real memorable experience that one won’t be able to forget whole of life. The main reason is that beside the extreme image of this cold desert lies the adventure of exploring the beautiful landscape and passage through remote villages, camping in tents and spending the night under the stars. Camel Safari provides a commanding view of the valleys, villages and Buddhist Gompas.

To cycle the Zig-Zag roads in Ladakh, one needs to be technically perfect biker as the roads are rough, though paved. A support car to carry ones’ luggage comes handy and helps to enjoy the great Himalayan range without any worry. The best time for cycling is from mid June to September end.

The jeep safari through Ladakh is an excellent way to explore the remote region and it is one of the popular adventure activities in Ladakh. The pretty landscapes in and around Ladakh beckon nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. The mountains of this high altitude desert and deep ravines reveal the natural beauty of Ladakh. For everyone visiting Ladakh, the jeep safari is a must.

The landscape of Ladakh is glorious but stark and the surrounding mountains are painted in colors that only nature could choose. The region is predominantly Buddhist and several important Buddhist monasteries dominate the region. Some of them are located within visiting distance from Leh and normally day excursions are ideal to visit most of them. The clean, dry air, magnificent scenery and the warm hospitality of the happy people makes Ladakh truly memorable.

HINAL SHAH       

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