Ladakh often branded as the land of numerous passes, mystic lamas, the Broken Moon and the last Shangri la, beckons tourists to discover its mountains, gorges, winding rivers, glacial slopes and shimmering lakes. The vast wilderness here has its own charm and mysticism.
Ladakh is bounded by two of the world’s highest mountains ranges, the Karakoram and the great Himalayas. The altitude varies between 9000 to 14000 feet above the sea level.
Before the Indo-Pak ceasefire between India and Pakistan the Ladakh region comprised the three district of Leh, Kargil and Skardo. Later the district of Skardo and a part of Kargil became the territory of Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK) and Ladakh remained with Jammu & Kashmir state. During the 1962 war between China and India, a part of Leh was also usurped by China.
Afternoon at leisure in Leh, where we can take a walk to the colorful bazaar. Overnight Leh Hotel.
We leave the Indus valley and head south. We progress along the river whose banks are punctuated with ochre rocks.
After crossing narrow gorges, we start our ascension towards the Kongmaru La.
From the pass, there are great views north towards eastern Korakoram and China, whilst the southern view is dominated by the shapely Kang Yatze (6400m) and the Ladakhi range. We take a ridge trail and descend zigzagging across scree. Afterwards, the path meets the Nimaling summer pastures, used by Hankar and Markha shepherds.
We steadily descend through meadows to Thachutse and cross the Nimaling river. The trail follows the Markha river now, and will do so for the next few days.
Several monasteries and ruins are scattered along the trail to Markha. After Umlung the valley narrows and becomes a gorge just before Markha. This large village has a fort and a monastery perched on the northern hill. The gompa is reputed to be one of the oldest in Ladakh.
The trail passes through quite lush riverside vegetation . En route, we come across more derelict monasteries, some well maintained shortens and at least one good example of a wolf trap. Wolves become a nuisance during the winter as hunger forces them into the villages.
We criss-cross the Markha river and cross it on bridges set at many of the most difficult crossing places. From a tiny group of stupas, we leave the valley and continue upwards along a river bounded by willows and wild rosebushes.
Shingo – Ganda La (4920m) – Rumbak (3750m) in 7 hour
At the pass, colorful prayer flags flap in the wind, with the Zanskari range in the background. Afterwards, we descend steadily along the Jingchan river. We get great views towards the Stock summit and the Stock Kangri (6121m).
Descending from the pass, we enjoy excellent views towards the Indus valley. Eventually, we reach Stock, which is famous for its palace and museum.
Transfer to airport and fly back home