Located in the Northernmost part of India (Jammu and Kashmir) and bordering with China, Ladakh is the perfect spot for two main things — landscapes and monasteries (called gompa in Ladakh). It’s an ex-Buddhist Kingdom that is home to picturesque Tibetan monasteries set in Himalayan backdrops. Contrary to media hype, it’s generally safe to travel to Ladakh.
How to get to Ladakh
The best way to get there is by plane flying into Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport located in Leh. You can take an internal flight from Delhi and it takes around an hour and a half. The road trip from Delhi is long — approximately 24 hours straight with many roads inaccessible (it’s only reallypossible by road between June and September), so is not really advisable as flights are cheap (often less than $50!)
When to go to Ladakh
Mid May to July is the best time to go to Ladakh, because the snow has melted (this starts in April) and the weather is milder. Roads are easier to travel and beautiful landscapes are revealed. Temperatures in tourist season are generally around 16 degrees.
Visiting Ladakh Monasteries
In high season, there can be a lot of tourists in Ladakh, and so visit the main monasteries in the late afternoon or early evening to avoid the crowds.
Built during the rule of the King Singge Namgyal, Hemis is one of the largest and most popular monasteries in Ladakh. It is also one of the richest Buddhist monasteries in Tibet and Leh and shares its origin with an Indian Buddhist who attained enlightenment here named Naropa. A huge attraction of Hemis Monastery is the 12m long Thanka- which is largest in Ladakh and the Hemis Festival (celebrated during June-July). The festival is best known for masked dance performances, dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava.
Thiksey is one of the beautiful Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, resembling the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. At an altitude of over 11,000 feet, it is looked after by the people of Gelugpa sect. It comprises a 12-storey building complex and houses more than 500 monks. Thiksey monastery has a precious and large collection of Buddhist journals, books, statues, scripts, Thangka paintings and swords. It also has a 49 ft statue of Maitreya Buddha…