A spectacular Himalayan pass in Ladakh | Adam Mussolum
The mountains of the Himalaya go beyond the borders of Nepal – and with the summer trekking season upon us from June to September, below are five unique ways to experience the Indian Himalayas on foot.
Traverse the dramatic region of Zanskar
It would be hard to surpass this challenging Trans Himalayan circuit of Ladakh which travels over high passes via ancient trails. Trek through isolated Buddhist villages to reach the secluded Himalayan kingdom of Zanskar.
This part of the Indian Himalaya is known for its rust coloured mountains and dramatic deep gorges, and villages which are cut off from the outside world for much of the year. Eventually, you will complete your circuit through the Indus Valley for an all-encompassing Himalayan adventure. This Zanskar to Indus Traverse is definitely one to add on your adventure list.
Best time to travel: September
Capture the spirit of trekking in Ladakh
What better introduction to the visually stunning and culturally rich region of Ladakh than trekking through hidden valleys. A land of high passes on the borderlands of Tibet, Ladakh offers timeless landscapes and vistas of spectacular scenery. This is where the snow leopard seeks out the highest ridges at the margins of the season.
The rugged region of Ladakh is characterised by remarkable Buddhist monasteries and ancient forts. Think of the striking Tikse Monastery and the historic Stok Palace just to name a few.
Best time to travel: late June and July
You can camp underneath the stars and alongside the vast waters of the stunning Tso Morari Lake in the spectacular Rupshu Valley.
Go Beyond the Markha Valley
Also known as ‘Little Tibet’, this ancient Buddhist enclave on India’s northern border is the highest plateau in the state of Kashmir. Explore on foot the Ladakh heartland, where the flutter of prayer flags and the ancient mani walls reflect the deep seated Buddhist heritage, and follow established trails linking whitewashed settlements and tiny monasteries, with spectacular views of the Zanskar Range stretching to the borderlands of the Tibetan Plateau.
Best time to travel: early July and late August to early September
Step into the world of mountaineering
Keen to extend your mountaineering CV? On a high-altitude foray in Ladakh you can get ideal (albeit challenging!) introduction to Himalayan climbing.
Within relatively easy distance from each other are the twin peaks of Ladakh: Stok Kangri (6,153m) and Kangyaze Peak (6,400m). You can ascend both of them in one mountaineering holiday and be welcomed by stunning views of the beautiful Markha Valley from their summits.
The region around these peaks offers some fantastic mountaineering activities as there are plenty of high passes to cross. It is home to the world’s highest road of ‘Khardung La’, and it is filled with trails linking tiny whitewashed settlements and traditional Buddhist monasteries.
Best time to travel: August
Photo: Brigitte Najjar
Combine trekking in Ladakh with little visited Kashmir
If you’re an intrepid travellers who loves to explore the most beautiful, little visited corners of the Indian subcontinent, Kashmir is your spot!
Experience the charm aboard the famous Kashmir houseboats which you stay on overnight, and relish the magnificent architecture of the fabled Mughal Gardens, which you can reach via a traditional shikara boat ride. Besides the beauty of Nagin Lake, the serene backwaters to reach them are a fantastic area to visit on their own.
READ MORE: Why Kashmir is not off-limits
Obviously going for trekking in Ladakh is a must when in this region. Our Where Two World's Meet Journey treks through Buddhist settlements and across grazing pastures (which are home to the elusive snow leopard), with an overnight stay in an exquisite monastery make for a long-lasting memory.
This trip will be led by adventurer and trekking legend Garry Weare who has been involved with World Expeditions since its inception in the mid-1970s and over the years he has devised a number of itineraries across the most beautiful corners of the Indian Himalaya.
Best time to travel: September
If these five different ways to experience this corner of the Indian Himalaya got you hungry for more, with World Expeditions you can choose from a range of travel options to experience trekking in Ladakh. If you like the trips a little different, we can help you build your own adventure.
Have you travelled to the Indian Himalaya? Share your experience below.