Ladakh is perhaps the only place in India that is home to water bodies, mountains and the desert. Its interesting and unique landscape as well as awe-inspiring culture are reasons enough to head there for a great vacation. While it’s quite something to visit the exquisite land in winter, the best months truly are from June to September. That’s when the jagged peaks and barren lands truly come alive; offering you a chance to indulge in activities that you perhaps can’t partake in during the rest of the year.
Visit the monastries
What makes Ladakh a great place to enjoy some peace and quiet are the gorgeous monasteries here. A morning prayer is highly recommended at the Hemis Monastery. In fact, there are provisions for an overnight stay, so make sure to experience staying at the monastery. Another stunning Buddhist monastery is the Namgyal Tsempo Monastery, situated at the backdrop of the famous Leh Palace. While it affords breath-taking panoramic views of the surrounding plains, the Indus river and the snow-capped peaks of the Zanskar Range, the highlight is this 3 stories high, golden statue of Maitreya Buddha. Spituk Gompa too is worth a visit.
Attend annual festivals
One of the best things to do in Ladakh is to experience their annual festivals such as the Hemis Festival or Ladakh Festival. What’s most fun about them are the locals performing the vibrant Chham Dance; decked in colourful vibrant clothes and larger-than-life masks.
Tryst with wildlife
There’s nothing more breathtaking than experiencing wildlife at close quarters in Ladakh. And the best place to do that is at Hemis National Park where you get the luxury of spotting snow leopards. However, they’re mostly seen in winters, so plan the trip accordingly. Also, Ladakh is the only place in India where you’ll find the Bactrian camels. A ride on the double-humped Bactrian camels at the sand dunes of Hunder is strongly recommended.
Try local delicacies
From yak cheese, yak cheese momos, noodles, butter tea, and even chang – a local brew made in a cylindrical porcelain pot by fermenting miller are some of the must-have authentic items to taste when in Ladakh.
Hang out with the locals
While Ladakh has some great luxury properties, the best way to experience the local life here is by staying with a native Ladakhi family. There are tons of home-stays that warmly offer a stay to the traveller. Also, remember to interact with the monks at the various monasteries for some great life lessons to back with you.