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Location: Ladakh, J&K
Trekking Season: May To Mid-October
Accessible Mountaineering Peaks: Suru Valley, Nun & Kun, Korakoram Range
Mountaineering Season: Mid-May To Mid-October

The captivating landscape, with an incomparable diversity of flora and fauna: Ladakh is regarded as the 'trekkers' paradise' and, indeed, is a refreshing treat to the trekkers. Ladakh is the ultimate destination for a trekking holiday, offering everything from short and easy excursions to the long challenges of the snowy peaks, invoking visions of the spectacular views, the lush meadows, green woodland and fragrant orchards. Ladakh and its adjoining areas like Zanskar valley provide excellent trekking routes, which allow the traveller to visit the remote village in the far-flung area of these regions. The high mountain passes, monasteries, yak herds on the high slopes would all give a feeling of the land beyond.

trekking in the rugged terrainAt an altitude of more than 9000 ft, Ladakh offers adventure amidst beauty which surpasses any other mountain range. Tucked between two of the world's greatest mountain ranges, the Himalayas and the Karakoram, this forbidden valley lay hidden from the outside world-- inaccessible at first because of its hostile terrain and then banned to tourists due to its strategic geographic position. Its snow-clad peaks, translucent lakes, barren terrain and mystic culture has attracted tourists and explorers from all over the world.

The main hindrance in trekking in this region is due to cold waves and snow i.e extreme wintry conditions. For trekking in Ladakh, one has to be physically fit and prepared to face the rigors of back country travel as well. The fluctuations in the day and night temperature takes its toll. The best season to go on trekking expeditions in this region is between July and September.

Trekking possibilities include short, day-long walks or long mountain treks involving weeks of walking and camping in the wilderness. Depending upon the time and budget, tourist offices at Leh, Kargil or Padum can design trekking programmes for you. But the easiest way to go on trek is through a travel agency, which will take care of all arrangements including camping gear, provisions, porterage, staff and all other matters. As the terrain is inhospitable and ecology very fragile, it is advisable to take as much provision and fuel as possible from the base camp.

The Trekking Season:
The traditional trekking seasons extends from early June to mid-October. But localised treks within the Indus Valley can be undertaken even in May. On the other hand, some routes are suitable only for late autumn, as during the summer, the bed of narrow valleys through which the tracks lied become turbulent streams, as in the case of the 13-day Hemis-Markha-Padum trek. The winter access to the Zanskar valley is actually along the frozen surface of the Zanskar River. This route, known as "Chaddar", calls for elaborate arrangements, but it is perhaps the most exciting trek in the world.

enjoy the beauty
Scenic beauty of the mountains

Keeping The Environment Clean :
The Ladakh environment is ecologically fragile as the survival of the inhabitants depends upon the land, despite its apparent starkness. As such, it is absolutely important that trekkers keep the routes and campsites clean and avoid disturbing the region's delicate environment. Before striking camp, trekkers and travel agents should ensure that no garbage is left undisposed at the campsites. Plastic containers and polythene wrappers must be incinerated, while other types of garbage should be properly buried.

Must-carry equipment :
The evenings are chilly and the days are rather hot. Thus, special clothing is required for trekking in this region. Pullovers and anoraks should be kept handy. A sturdy pair of walking shoes with strong rubber or synthetic soles for grip, thick cotton socks and good sleeping bag together with an insulated ground pad are essential gear for going on a trek even if you may be passing through inhabited areas with the possibility of accommodation in village homes and monasteries. A waterproof tent will have to be carried besides provisions and cooking gears, all packed in a good quality rucksack. A good quality water container is a must to carry the drinking water so essential during high altitude trekking in arid conditions. Do not forget to carry a flashlight with sufficient batteries, a sun-hat, first-aid and a pair of good quality sunglasses with sufficient filter-factor to check the sun's brightness and UV rays.

Shopping For Trekking Equipments :
The J&K Tourism Department maintains trekking equipment hire shops in its Srinagar, Leh and Kargil Offices. Imported items like tow-man tents, insulated ground sheets, sleeping bags, insulated jackets, trekking shoes and rucksacks are available at these shops at reasonable charges fixed by the Government. Some private establishments and, trekking agencies in Leh also provide similar trekking gear on hire.

Some trekking routes :
The trek from Lamayuru in the Indus valley to Darcha in Lahoul across Zanskar takes nearly three weeks. The 10 day Markha Valley trek and the 11 day Lamayuru-Padum traverse and the Stok-Khangiri round trek are the most popular treks. In the late autumn season treks like Hemis-Markha-Padum, a 13 day trek becomes operational. This trek is not suitable for the summers.


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