Ladakh, a region that is accessible by road for only a few months per a year, belongs to the Tibetan world. Mountainous and isolated it is sometimes called Little Tibet. But this sometimes moonlike landscape is, unlike the real Tibet, dotted with oasis in fierce green colors. The heartland of Ladakh is the Indus Valley. That is were most of the people are and most of the agriculture takes place. It is a fascinating sight how the green abruptly gives way to bare rock.
The trip from Leh to Manali, with a sleepover at Keylong in a tented camp, is like a trekking, with endless barren landscapes. My trip also included a trekking to Likir, Yantang, Themisgang and Rizong. And the Hemis festival.
In and around Leh there are many monasteries, stupa's, markets, a mosque and a photogenic city gate. Among other things. And there is Leh palace that reminds a bit of the Potala. But then a low-budget version. Of the monasteries the Spituk, Thiksey and Mathot monasteries are the most interesting.
Close to Leh is the Kardung La, the highest motorable mountain pass in India. And small places like Likir, with its impressive monastery, the fields near Yantang and Themisgang, that also has a monastery on a mountain ridge and Rizong, with, again, a monastery.
Also in the vicinity of Leh is the Hemis Monastery, the main seat of the Kagyu lineage of Buddhism. Once a year a big festival is held in the honor of Padmansambhava (GuruRinpoche) who brought Buddhism to the region.
Leh to Manali
One of the ultimate road trips. Two days of spectacular travel at heights of over 5300 meter. Barren landscapes, snow, prayer flags with vast empty spaces.