Wedged between the Karakoram and the Himalaya, Ladakh is truly spectacular. Stark cliffs and emerald lakes form the backdrop for rich Buddhist culture and a unique way of life in this high-altitude desert. Experience local customs, traditions, and nature in this remote region.
As a cradle of Buddhist culture, Ladakh’s stark landscape is interspersed with several iconic monasteries and gompas. These whitewashed structures cling to cliff tops and appear in small hillside hamlets. Colourful prayer flags flutter in the wind, and the chanting of monks fills the air. Go on a driving circuit through Ladakh to visit some beautiful and ancient monasteries. You’ll see stunning views of valleys and glacial rivers, beautifully carved prayer wheels, and some incredible Ladakhi architecture. Each monastery holds within it unique treasures: at the Diskit Monastery, you’ll see a towering statue of the Maitreyi Buddha and the Alchi Monastery houses some beautiful works of art.
The 200-year-old Stok Palace is a testament to Ladakhi craftsmanship. Within this architectural masterpiece is the Lhakchung Temple, where Buddhist monks perform their daily prayers and rituals. Join in their routine as an observer, and for a truly special experience, create a sacred amulet under the guidance of a monk. The amulets feature hand written prayers on a piece of paper, which are then sown into a piece of handwoven tapestry. Amulets make special and customized gifts for loved ones, often featuring prayers for good health or peace.
Tucked into the fold of the great Stok mountains lies the charming village of Stok. Whitewashed homes of sun-baked mud and wooden beams stand surrounded by willow trees, in stark contrast to the barren colours of the mountains. Take a leisurely walk through the quaint settlement to meet the local community and understand their sustainable way of life in this cold, high-altitude desert. Visit a local home, and chat with your hosts over a steaming cup of traditional butter tea.
Snow leopards are most elusive creatures, skilled in camouflage and blending seamlessly into the crevices and rocks of the high altitude mountains they inhabit. The rugged landscape of Ladakh is a perfect habitat for these solitary creatures. The stealthy cats are so rarely spotted that they’ve earned the title of the ‘Grey Ghost of the Mountains’. Join experienced wildlife photographers and naturalists as they lead you on the trail of these mysterious grey ghosts. Stay in Ladakhi homestays and campsites, learn about the surreal environment, and if you’re lucky, catch the glimpse of the beautiful snow leopard.