in the northern most extremity of India, Ladakh lies among parallel mountain
ranges running from south-east to the north-west. To the north the towering,
stark snow clad mountains of the Karakorum and Kun Lun range separate Ladakh
from Central Asia and Tibet. The stunning granite hills of the Ladakh range,
the silver waters of the roaring Indus river, the drawn-out mountain maze of
the Zanskar range and the mountains of the Himalayas are what make Ladhak's
landscape so unforgettable. Down the centuries Ladakh's political isolation
and geographic inaccessibility has helped preserve a culture that is unique
and frozen in the past. Its people have adopted to the vagaries of this
harsh, barren land and comfortably reside at altitudes ranging from 2700 to
4500 meters while the nomadic Changpa roam and camp at even higher
altitudes. The people here are predominantly Buddhists, followed by Muslims
and a small population of Moravian Christians in Leh. The many ancient
monasteries dotting the countryside and colourful prayer flags flutter in
stark contrast to the grays and browns of the landscape.
A Jeep safari is a superb way to explore this land, it is easy, fast and
very comfortable. Though Ladakh is noted for its treks but they are mostly
strenuous and need a level of physical fitness before they can be
undertaken, the lack of oxygen at such a high altitude is another factor
that makes physical exertion difficult. Though the roads are rough,
exploring the remote regions of Ladakh on jeep has been gaining continuous
popularity with tourists as it allows the freedom to tailor one's own
itinerary, cover the most famous sites and enjoy the panoramic surroundings
and pretty landscapes without too much exertion and in much lesser time than
a trek on foot or horseback. The preferred and also some of the toughest
jeep safari destinations in Ladakh are Tsmori-Ri, Nubra and Dah Hanu.
Khardungla pass is the second highest motorable pass in the world and
affords sweeping views of these vast mountain ranges. One can hire our
services and be safe in the knowledge of a well-planned tour including the
arrangements of meals, accommodation, guides and porters.
Popular Jeep Safari Routes and Destinations
The Manali Leh Drive
The 480-km Manali Leh Highway is snowed in nearly eight months every year
so when it does open from mid June to early October it sees a fair bit of
traffic. This 26-30 hours drive takes over 2 days and is a journey that
passes through one of the most desolate areas of the country, over four
mountain passes and the second highest motorable road in the world.
Unparalleled views are what one should watch out for.
The Nubra valley is also popularly known as the 'Valley of Flowers', a
strikingly beautiful area of Ladakh it offers breathtaking views of the
Shyok river cutting through the mountains in ribbons of silver. This valley
lies between the Ladakh range to the south and the mighty Karakoram range to
the north and east, its borders touch both Pakistan and China. It requires a
visit permit and is approached by the second highest motorable pass in the
world the Khardung La. The road approaches from Leh and after a steep climb
and crossing the Khardung La pass and the Khardung village one reaches the
valley of Nubra. From here one has the choice of going ahead to Diskit, an
idyllic village with a famous gompa (monastery) and Hunder another hamlet in
a green valley surrounded by sand dunes, or to cross the bridge and head out
to the sleepy villages of Sumur and Panamik.
High Altitude Lakes
The Pangong Tso and the Tso Moriri are two stunning aquamarine lakes
situated on either side of the Indus river. Both are two day Jeep safaris.
The visually enchanting Suru valley falls on the way to Zanskar. A long
days drive west of Leh gets one to Kargil which overlooks the Suru river.
This safari offers some spectacular scenery, scree covered slopes, towering
rock faces in shades of wine red to moss green and the lush carpeted floors
of the valley itself.
The Zanskar Valley
Zanskar is one of the coldest inhabited places in the world, a good three
days from Leh it sees few tourists and is perfect for those looking for
something off the beaten path. Idyllic villages, weather hammered roads and
views of magnificent glaciers are what make this trip unique.
Jeep Safari Essentials
While on a safari do check on the availability of dry foods, portable water
and juices, camping tents and other gear, spare parts for the jeep,
first-aid kit and fuel before starting out on the trip. If you are driving
yourself, then you must be confident enough to handle the treacherous
mountainous roads. Don't forget to account for the inner line permit for
Ladakh and the possible effects of acclimatization.