By the Editorial Team
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is a remote area offering multiple challenges. Sure, visiting it happens to be a tough proposition yet the lure of beating the odds gives a unique high to people eager to experience the thrill of adventure. The routes have opened up considerably now, with a number of travel operators offering Ladakh tour packages to adventurous souls. There are a number of visitors to Leh and other areas of Ladakh who want to try their hand at some of exciting activities there.
Do not sit by idly, dreaming of the bleak surroundings and monasteries of Ladakh. It might be the right time to embark on the journey today and give yourself the most awesome gift of trying out the following:-
While riding a bike seems common enough, it becomes an astounding feat when you manage to master it at a high altitude of 18,000 feet. You might be challenged to the extreme as you traverse through the exceedingly cold and rugged tracks as well as the mountain passes. Maintaining your balance while sheltering your face from the speedy wind blowing directly your way. It would be best to listen to a guide and take a few test runs before you travel through the entire length of the route.
Nubra Valley Camel Safari
Riding a double hump camel through the cold desert of Ladakh is an experience that will remain with you for life. You not only get to travel on the top of a camel and watch the fantastic surroundings open up before you but you also reach those parts of the desert and the top of the sand dunes that are impossible to negotiate on vehicles. The magnificent vista will make you revel in the glory while the ride from Diskit or Hunder Valley pales in comparison to the one through the Nubra Valley.
Go all out and try to reach Ladakh in the month of September. The reason is clear enough because this month sees the highest marathon race in the world taking place. Do remember to arrive at your destination well in advance, preferably a week before the D-Day in order to acclimatise yourself to the environment. You will have to race with competitors from across the globe as well as the local runners who are likely to be more attuned to the climate. A total of 72 km may not seem to be much of a challenge but you will certainly feel your breath coming up short when you try to run at the height of 11,500 – 17,618 feet. Being the winner is not the only goal here though for you will come across the most magnificent locale with mountains, snow covered valleys and gushing streams of icy water making you wonder at the beauty of nature.
It would be a shame to miss this trek while you are in Ladakh. You are certainly not the only one intent on completing this trek by treading on thin ice. Almost half of the adventure lovers of the world want to attempt it at some point in their lives. You will have to try it in the thick of winter though. That is the time when the rapidly flowing River Zanskar converts itself into a blanket of ice. The thrill of trekking on it has no parallels. Plus you get to see some of the most amazing mountain peaks on the way and catch the stunning view of the surroundings.
You just cannot miss out on the pleasure of negotiating the gushing waters of Ladakh by means of a raft. Try to navigate through the steep gorges and flow along with the current while watching the snow clad mountains all. This is likely to spoil you for any other place in the world. There is not a moment’s respite, for you must keep paddling to beat the obstacles that are aplenty. You might try it on the Zanskar River or the Indus River to appease your adventure thirsty mind.
Game of Polo
It is strange to come across a polo field amongst the wilderness of Ladakh. Surprisingly, it is a popular sport here with almost every village playing it enthusiastically. The beat of drums and loud blaring music greet every goal scored on the field while a game is on. The rules of the game are quite different from International Polo yet playing the Ladakhi version is exciting in its own way. Sports enthusiasts are sure to get a kick out of playing polo at an extremely high altitude.
Tracking the Snow Leopard
Forget staying at home, enveloped by blankets and warm clothes in the winter. Grab the advantage of one of the best Ladakh tour packages instead and try to move away from the beaten path this time. You will find yourself climbing the mountainous tracks steadily until you reach an area where there is very little human habitation. This is just the spot for finding the wild fauna and you might just be lucky enough to spot the elusive snow leopard, apart from coming face to face with blue sheep, Tibetan wolves and the Eurasian Brown bear. You would also be thrilled to learn of the old tales associated with the Rumbak Valley. This trek is not for everyone but only the most adventurous lot. However, the animal and nature lovers find it to be one of the best experiences of their lives.
You might try to outdo the local villagers at their traditional game of archery. There is an archery festival which takes place in Ladakh during the height of summer. However, knowing the rules will not help you here, for the local version comes with its unique regulations that you have to abide by. However, the competition is held amidst fun and light hearted banter. You will enjoy it wholeheartedly if you happen to be a wizard with the bow & arrow.
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