Placed at the base of the mighty Himalayas and the Karakoram mountain ranges, Ladakh boasts of owning a varied yet picture-perfect landscape. Ladakh is flanked by Tibet in the east, the Xiniang province of China in the north, Pakistan in the northwest, Kashmir in the west and in the south by the Lahaul and Spiti valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
Famed as a Buddhist ex-kingdom, the region is dotted with a number of attractions, Gompas or monasteries being the most popular of all. Also referred to as the ‘Land of high passes’, Ladakh has been bestowed with natural beauty in abundance.
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, has been an important junction on the famous Silk Route of the olden times. Located at an altitude of 11,562 ft, it is still dominated by the ruins of the Leh Palace (a major tourist attraction), the former residence of the royal family of Ladkah, built on the lines of the Potala Palace, Tibet. One of the most-visited destinations in Ladakh it boasts of being home to several known ancient Buddhist monasteries.
Kargil, located 8,780 feet above the sea level is the second largest town of Ladakh after Leh, situated on the banks of Indus (Suru) river. This town has a population of around 10,657 where most of them are a mix of Dard and Tibetan descent.
It is a transit hub with roads leading to Leh, Padum (Zanskar) and Srinagar. The region is well known due to the war between Indian and Pakistani troops in July 2009, which was known as Kargil war. There are a number of monasteries here which host several annual festivals.
Nestled in the Kargil district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, 60 km to the west, Drass sector is often dubbed as ‘The Gateway to Ladakh’. The region is well known due to the Kargil war between Indian and Pakistani troops. It is a starting point for a three day trek to the Suru valley. The trek passes through some breathtaking highland villages and flower filled meadows on both sides.
Places in Drass
Drass War Memorial
Drass Memorial was built in the memory of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives in Operation Vijay that aimed at getting India back from the intruders during the Indo-Pak war which took place in 1999.
Brigade War Valley
It was constructed to commemorate the martyrs of Kargil war in Drass.
Located 18 km away from Drass, Draupadi Kund is the place where queen Draupadi took her final bath before dying in the Himalayas.
Famous for its variety of wild flowers, Mushko Valley is a prime attraction during the summer season.
Best time to visit
Best time to visit Leh Ladakh is usually from May to September when the weather is most amiable; the snow has melted and there is a buzz of activity with the colourful and vibrant nature. On the other hand, winters have their own charm when the nature is all covered with snow and the views are most breathtaking with very few tourists around.