20 Things to do in Leh-Ladakh

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Travel far enough, you meet yourself..

Travel is life changing affair..True !!! Our trip to Leh-Ladakh changed our perspective towards travel forever. It was in month of July 2012 ,we headed towards Himalayas and rediscovered the true beauty of nature in its diverse form.

We spent 9 days in Ladakh exploring Buddhist culture & heritage, experiencing varied landscapes, passing by high altitudes & eating thupkas and momos.

Here are things to do in Leh-Ladakh:

  1. Experience Peace & Serenity with Scenic view at Shanti Stupa–  White domed stupa situated on top of the hill offers breathtaking panoramic view of city. Built in 1991, Shanti stupa symbolizes peace and harmony & is one of the major attraction in Leh.  IMAG0558IMAG0566.jpg
  2. Discover 39ft Shakyamuni Buddha in Shey Monastery-Once the capital of Ladakh, Shey now holds ruined palace and a monastery known as Shey Monastery, originally built in 1655. Make a visit to experience “Shey” era &  39ft Shakyamuni Buddha gold-plated copper statue placed in monastery.078
  3. Visit Tibetan Buddhist Monastery in Ladakh- Thiksey Monastery is associated with Gelug and one of the prime monasteries of Tibetan Buddhism in Ladakh. Located at 11800 ft, this monastery has 12 storeys which includes assembly hall, temples, nunnery, Maitreya Buddha statue & is home for more than a hundred monks063047.JPG
  4. Must see the wealthiest monastery- Hemis Monastery situated 45 km away from the main city has been in existence before 11th century and was re-established by King Singay Namgyal in 17th century, it holds copper statues of Buddha, Stupas of gold and silver as well as holy thangkas. One should not miss the extravagant Hemis festival in month of July, which we did sadly.029.JPG019.JPG
  5. Spend time in Lamayuru Monastery-Located on Srinagar-Leh highway, with stunning landscape this should be on your list for sure. With its existence dating back in 11th century this cave monastery(one of a kind), leads the way to 50 monasteries in the lower Ladakh.089080
  6. Visit Alchi for exquisite artwork –  Known as Alchi Choskhor, the monastic complex has detailed wood carvings and artistic wall paintings. An ideal place for art lovers, but no photography is allowed inside the monastery. As it is dark inside one should carry flashlight with him/her. alchi
  7. Confluence of Indus & Zanskar river- It sounded surreal to us before witnessing the two colored confluence of Indus and Zanskar river. The picturesque sangam is one of the best experience of our trip, still fresh in our memories. 164.JPG
  8. Experience Moonland landscape in Lamayuru- When we reached Moonland ,it took us a while to come around the fact that this place actually exist !!!! Located on NH1-D, jaw dropping landscape gives an impression of some other planet as it resembles moon like surface due to it’s peculiar terrain.  106
  9. Strange but worth a try-We did tried this, putting our car in neutral, it feels car is pulled uphill by Magnetic Hill, which is believed to defy gravity. Scientific or not, reality or illusion…it’s an interesting place you come across with. 170
  10. Stop by Gurudwara Pathar Sahib25 miles away from Leh, this Gurudwara stands at the spot where Guru Nanak tamed a mighty demon, who tried to crush him by rolling a boulder(big rock) downhill, while he was meditating. It is believed that the rock softened without hurting Guru Nanak. Sacred rock can be seen inside the Gurudwara with the impression of Guru Nanak’s back.gurudwar
  11. Drive through highest motorable road Khardung La We started feeling amazed by snow covered mountains all around us in the month of July while heading towards Khardung La. The road conditions are not the best but Army and Border Road Organisation try to keep the pass accessible. It was a pride moment for us to be at Khardung La as it’s a once in a lifetime experience. Don’t forget to have black tea & Maggi at Rinchen Cafeteria. IMAG0684.jpg
  12. Make a stop at Chang La PassLiteral meaning ‘A pass in the south’, known for it’s great height lies on the way to Pangong Lake. Special pass is required to get through, as China is in close proximity. Enjoy a cup of tea in mighty Chang La in bone chilling wind. 239.JPG241.JPG
  13. Contemplate the clear blue water lake Pangong TsoLocated in vicinity where it is least expected, Pangong Tso is 134 kms long with 1/3rd part in India & 2/3rd in China, spreading across 3 countries India, China and Tibet. After a good 5 hrs drive and moving through rough roads and barren lands, we got a glimpse of lake getting through the last mountain. This blue water lake is serene & heavenly. Couple of hours spend there, we were hypnotized by the mere fact of its existence.200196
  14. Camel Safari in Nubra Valley- We have never heard of sand dunes in Ladakh before our visit, and Camel Safari just bewildered us (specially me). A short ride on double humped Bactrian Camel should be a definite on your itinerary. 312328
  15. Kali Mata templeGoddess Kali temple located on hilltop near the airport, gives another aspect of the cultural diversity. It is advisable to admire the view & spend some time in tranquility. 188190
  16. Enjoy coffee next to Druk School from “3 idiots”With 3 idiots, Druk White Lotus School gained popularity (school shown in last part of movie), now a tourist spot with a cafe named Rancho’s Coffee Shop. Have a coffee and take a walk around the school. 066.JPG
  17. Book a cottage Planning your visit to Leh-Ladakh?  Apart from visiting major tourist attractions, book a cottage in Nubra Valley or Ulleytokpo on the bank of Indus to inhabit with nature .116.JPG
  18. Meet locals and make friends–  People of Ladakh are very generous and friendly.  What we learnt from our trip. “Life is about meeting new people & the things you create with them”. Leh-Ladakh will leave you mesmerized in many ways for sure, but one thing we still cherish about, our little poser friends from Ulleytokpo, Thiksey and Pangong. The moment they saw camera with us, they started posing. Finally we became friends by exchanging the only word they knew..JULEY !
  19. Take time-off with nature Travelling and exploring the unparalleled beauty of Ladakh might be tiring. Try to take some time-off to re-energize. While staying in Ulleytokpo we spent our day on the bank of Indus river, watching mountains and rejuvenating ourselves for the remaining trip. ban of
  20. Capture MomentsLast but must.. Take pictures, Make memories and be a storyteller !!!

     

Photo Blog: Chandigarh-Bikaner-Delhi Road Trip

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Agra Fort-An Epitome Of Mughal Architecture

A visit to Agra is incomplete without Agra Fort, another UNESCO World Heritage monument. Situated on the bank of Yamuna river,this fort had confronted many invasions and ruins. Originally, there was a brick fort known as Badalgarh built by Raja Badal Singh at the place of Agra Fort.

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Agra Fort-Entrance

This fort has been known to be home of many famous rulers like Lodi’s, Suri’s and Mughal’s. The marvel we see today is the great work that happened in reign of Akbar who rebuild it from a brick fort to red sandstone one . When Shah Jahan,grandson of Akbar came into power he preferred Marble instead of red sandstone, so the exquisite work of white marble inside the fort shows his sheer love towards it.

Inside the fort there are many buildings one after the other like Diwan-I-am, Diwan-i-Khas, Khas mahal, Sheesh Mahal, Shah Jahani Mahal, Jahangiri Mahal, Anguri Bagh and Musamman Burj depicts glorious Mughal Era.

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Diwan-I-Am
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Diwan-I-Am

 

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Anguri Bagh

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Musamman Burj was build by Shah Jahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. He was confined to this place by his son Aurangzeb for 8 years and was taken care by his daughter Jahanara Begum. He spend his last days in this burj over viewing Taj Mahal.

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Musamman Burj- Interior

Most remarkable building inside fort is Jahangiri Mahal, built by Akbar. It was the principal Zenana (palace for Royal women), mainly used by the Rajput wives of Akbar.

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Jahangiri Mahal
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Jahangiri Mahal Courtyard

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Courtyard outside of Jahangiri Mahal
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Jahangir’s Hauz
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Inscription on Jahangir’s Hauz

Agra Fort is a perfect example of a dynasty with glorious past,their succession & love for architecture…!!!!

Interesting Facts about “Taj Mahal”

Agra, a city known for its cultural heritage, Mughal Architecture,food delicacies and one of the seven wonders of the world.

Taj Mahal, a world class monument of love built by ShahJahan for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. It was on our list for long to visit this magnificent piece of art.IMG_0338

As a Delhiite,it became more easier for us with Yamuna expressway, a straight 165 km 6 lanes highway to make it happen.
We made our trip in peak of summer that’s why we decided to visit this monument early in the morning around 6 a.m. After reaching at the parking of Southern gate from there onward we had tuktuk ride (you can also opt for horse cart or camel cart). We opted for government approved tourist guide who provided minute details.

Entrance Fee –Indian Rs. 20/-, Foreign tourist Rs.750/-

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Here are some interesting facts we came to know through our guide:

Aayats of Quran

This 17th Century monument depicts the best of Mughal style architecture. The most striking feature of monument is the Arabic inscriptions written in black marble on Royal Gate and main mausoleum entrance. The Aayats of Quran, are so written that they look alike but actually their size increases from bottom to top. IMG_0325

Domes represent years of completion

There are 22 domes (11 on both inner and outer side of Royal Gate), signifying the number of years taken to complete it.IMG_0274

Astonishing Symmetry with one exception

Amazingly, all fountains were placed in symmetry with center line of Taj Mahal, even inside the Mausoleum Mumtaz Mahal’s grave is aligned to it. Only the grave of Shahjahan which is quite big compared to Mumtaz Mahal’s, is asymmetrical(as it was placed later on). I wonder, without any technology and equipment putting everything symmetrical be it gardens, trees, floor-tiles pattern and fountains. IMG_0348

Artistic “Charbagh” enhance the beauty of Taj

Moving on there are 16 gardens 8 on both sides of fountains and each of same size, gives the best panoramic view, even today it could not have been bettered out.IMG_0321

Mosque & Jawab- An Architectural Equilibrium

Firstly, a mosque on the west was built and then an identical building called Jawab on east side of main dome, just not to break the symmetry. IMG_0317

Tilted Pillars

How many of you have noticed that four pillars of Taj are tilted outwards?  Actually, the pillars are not perpendicular to the ground but leaning outwards so that the main dome will not get affected even if they fall due to any natural calamity. What an architectural vision !!!

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Yamuna river flowing back of Taj

We have just presented what we had captured from our visit, as it has been spoken and detailed out a lot everywhere and believe us getting a glimpse of this is more than words could explain.

We would love to know your experience with Taj Mahal in comments.