More restricted areas opened for tourists

March 5, 2013 at 3:39 pm

Jammu and Kashmir Government has decided to open more areas of Ladakh to tourists, in a bid to promote tourism in the state.

Now Indians and Foreigners alike can travel up to Pachathang and Tyakshi Villages in Nubra Valley.

While foreigners can now travel up to Merak Village along Pangong Tso and up to Loma bend in Nyoma District.

Jammu and Kashmir Government has also opened the following routes for foreigners in the Kargil District.

Kargil – Khangral – Shaker – Chiktan – Leh

Dah – Garkone – Darchik – Batalik- Slimo – Kargil

Permit norms for foreigners have also been relaxed and now foreigners in a group of two or more can apply for permit, earlier four or more foreigners had to apply for permit.

We hope that J&K Government continues to open more and more sectors of Ladakh to not only Indian tourists, but also foreigners and thus provides employment opportunities for people living in the remote areas of Ladakh.

Hot Spring Resort, Chumathang

March 5, 2013 at 9:31 am

During my winter trip to Ladakh in 2012, I stayed at the Hot Spring Resort in Chumathang, which is a small town en route to Tso Moriri.


While the so called resort doesn’t looks like much and even its restaurant was closed during the winter. Thanks to its proximity to the hot springs, it remained relatively warm during the night, even though the outside temperature was easily -15 degree Celsius at night and there was no heater in the room.

Room was also quite cozy and did have electricity in the evening, along with an attached Western Style Toilet, though understandably there was no water in the taps during winter.


There were a total of four rooms available at the hot spring resort and we paid Rs. 500 per room at that time.

The reason we stayed at Chumathang was due to the fact that little if any accommodation was available at Korzok in December and Chumathang is much warmer and is located at a much lower altitude than Tso Moriri. Chumathang also has mobile phone connectivity (BSNL only).

Of course the fact that one could witness warm water of hot springs merging in to the partially frozen Indus River and enjoy an outdoor steam bath was just a big bonus for me and my travel partners.


Overall, we really enjoyed our stay at Hot Spring Resort in Chumathang and even though we would have loved it if their restaurant was operational as well, it wasn’t a major turnoff, since we could get decent food at Chumathang Village.

Phone no. +91-9469457880 (Tsewang)

Rezang La War Memorial, Chushul

March 4, 2013 at 7:10 am

Rezang La War Memorial, located a few kilometers after the town of Chushul, was created in the remembrance of the brave soldiers of 13 Battalion of Kumaon Regiment, deployed under the leadership of Major Shaitan Singh, during the 1962 Indo-China War.

On the 18th November 1962, Major Shaitan Singh and his men bravely faced the onslaught of a much bigger and better equipped Chinese army, which was backed by heavy artillery fire. Major Shaitan Singh and his 114 men paid the ultimate sacrifice to protect the integrity, sovereignty and honor of India.


As one enters this small tribute to the men who laid down their lives to protect ours and that of our families, one cannot help but be swept away by a surge of emotions, especially as one reads the names of the martyrs for the battle of Rezang La.


There is also a Chushul War Memorial, made to commemorate the sacrifice and bravery of Indian Soldiers from the Artillery Division in the 1962 Indo-China War. It is located half way between Chushul Village and Rezang La War Memorial.


Getting there: Unfortunately, access to Chushul Village and Rezang La War Memorial is severely restricted, due its closeness to the Line of Actual Control (1962 ceasefire line between India and China) and permit for Indian Nationals are only occasionally issued by the DC Office in Leh, while foreigners are not even allowed on this route.

If you are one of the lucky few, who manage to get the permit for Chushul, then you can take the dirt road from Spangmik Village, which runs along the Pangong Tso and takes the following route, Spangmik – Man – Merak – Khalsar – Chushul – Chushul War Memorial – Rezang La War Memorial. Alternatively you can take the road from Mahe to Chushul, following this route, Mahe – Nyoma – Loma – Tsaga – Tsaga La – Rezang La War Memorial.

Neha Sweets, Leh Main Market

March 4, 2013 at 3:58 am

Neha Sweets located in Leh’s Main Market is the place to be for not only sweets, but also delicious north Indian food at an affordable rate.

In fact during my winter trip to Ladakh, Neha Sweets was the only place (apart from the dhaba in Karu and Nimmu) which provided food that not only provided much needed nourishment for the body, but also made me want to eat food to satisfy my taste buds.

Because during winter majority of hotels and restaurants in Leh-Ladakh are closed and the ones which are open, offer mostly bland food which coupled with the appetite reducing effects of AMS, does little to make one want to eat food, which is essential when traveling in such an unforgiving place in temperatures low enough to freeze diesel in a matter of minutes!

At Neha Sweets I ate Chole-Bhature (amongst the best I have eaten and being a Delhiite, I have had a lot of them) and Samosas with Chole, which too were delicious. Although I didn’t eat sweet dish, hot gulab jamuns served at Neha Sweets are supposedly great, along with tea and coffee. They also offer the usual South and North Indian cuisines like Dosa, Rajma-Chawal, Rotis, Paratha, Dal etc. and it is strictly vegetarian affair, if I remember correctly.

Overall Neha Sweets is a nice and affordable place to eat and the ambiance is in line to what one sees at the budget eateries all over India.

Ladakh Monastery Festival Calendar, 2013

March 2, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Ladakh is home to numerous monasteries. In fact it is for this very reason, Ladakh is often termed as the Land of the Lama and each year these monasteries come alive to celebrate their respective Monastic Festivals.

These Monastic Festivals not only represent the cultural, historic and religious side of Ladakh that is often hidden from a brief visitor but also give an opportunity to the locals to unwind from their harsh lives at this unforgiving land and pay their homage to the local deities and Buddha. Add to that, Ladakhis are very playful and cheerful people, who love to celebrate, even in the dead of winter, when the temperatures drop to as low as -30 degree Celsius!

Here is the 2013 Monastic Festival Calendar for some the main monasteries of Ladakh, where you too can be a part of the celebrations and enjoy the rich and ancient culture of Ladakh.

Spituk Gustor: 9th and 10 January
Likir Dosmochey: 8th and 9th February
Diskit Gustor: 8th and 9th February
Stok guru Tseschu: 19th and 20th February
Matho Nagrang: 24th and 25th February
Saka Dawa: 25th May
Yuru Kabgyad: 5th and 6th June
Hemis Tseschu: 18th and 19th June
Shachukul Gustor: 25th and 26th June
Stongde Gustor: 26th and 27th June
Karsha Gustor: 6th and 7th July
Phyang Tserup: 6th and 7th July
Korzok Gustor: 11th and 12 July
Dakthok Tseschu: 18th and 19th July
Sani Naro Nasjal: 21st and 22nd July
Thiksey Gustor: 20th and 21st November
Chemday Angchok: 30th and 1st November
Galdan Namchot: 27th December