Ladakh is much more than just a great place for bikers! In fact, it has a lot to share. Whether it be the values of Buddhism, the tranquillity of its unending landscapes, fervour in the cultural music & dance forms, the sweetness of simplicity in its cuisine, the flavour of barley beer & traditional beverages, everything about Ladakh will keep you hooked on this picturesque travel destination.
In short, it is a rich folk heritage to take pride in. While everything about this city is great, what really intrigues the wanderers is the Ladakh Festival that is hosted in September for travellers from across the globe. It is believed to be an event that is as unique and as beautiful as Ladakh, itself!
Ladakh festival is an endeavour to revive, showcase and popularise the rich culture, festivals, and cuisines of Leh-Ladakh. This annual festival, which takes place in the month of September, features exhilarating lama dance performances, masked dance, music performances, folk singing, Buddhist ceremonies, food and lots more to admire and appreciate.
The culture of Ladakh has a powerful influence from the adjoining nation-states like Tibet, and China. The geographical location of Ladakh is such that in the old times it was conveniently accessible for travellers from Central Asia and especially East Asia, who gradually shaped and influenced the culture in this region. Apart from being politically, geographically and environmentally significant, the region has been a good host and a paradise for the tourists for a long time now.
Leh-Ladakh is a place that has developed its culture over the years and the warmth of their hospitality is enough to keep you comfortable in the cold climate of this region. Participating in the event is an opportunity to experience life, culture, and fervour at high altitudes.
Major Attractions of Ladakh Festival 2023
1. Wild Adventures. The alluring landscapes of Leh and Ladakh are a hub of adventurous activities such as trekking, jeep safaris, mountain biking, mountaineering, camping, and more. The place is a paradise for adventure enthusiasts.
2. Spiritualism & the Buddhist Connection. Ladakh is home to a lot of old monasteries where one can find contentment at the central institute of Buddhist studies. This is a great place to learn about Buddhism and its fundamentals in detail. Hemis monastery, Thiksey monastery, Alchi Monastery, Diskit monastery, and Phyang monastery are some popular monasteries here, where a lot of ceremonies happen throughout the year and are popular visiting spots for tourists and Buddhist followers.
3. Colourful and Functional Attire. The traditional Ladakhi attire will also grab your attention. The attire for Ladakhi men is known as Goucha which is a woollen robe that people tie from around the neck up to the waist. The robe protects them from the cold and makes quite a fashionable statement. This garment is tied with a vibrant sash which in the local language is known as Skerag. Women wear a similar type of woollen robe which is known as Kuntop. And not to forget the Perak hat that adds more colours to the dress and makes it much more fashionable.
4. Savour the Flavors. Visiting the festival will not just give you a sneak peek into the unique culture of Ladakhians but also a savoury delight through its local cuisines. Thukpa, Tsampa, Momo, Skyu, Tingmo, and butter tea made in a special vessel offers scrumptious flavours that will leave you content.
5. Historical Delights. It’s impossible to explore complete Ladakh in a week or two’s time. Its beauty knows no boundaries and the city is huge. Every view till the horizon is picturesque that’s worthy of being framed. Leh Palace (17th century), Stok palace (18th century), Hall of fame museum, Drass War Memorial, Magnetic hill and Drang-Drung Glacier are some other places that are worth visiting destinations if you are in Leh-Ladakh.
How to Reach Ladakh Festival
Ladakh is a land of alluring landscapes, monasteries, tiny villages, motorable roads, and amazing people. The Leh district of Ladakh is home to many popular tourist destinations like Pangong Lake, Magnetic Hill, Leh Palace, Chadar Trek, Zanskar Valley, Spituk Monastery and a lot more. The district receives tourists all around the year and makes them a part of their unique and vibrant culture through its festivals, events, and hospitality.
From New Delhi, Mumbai, and Chandigarh, Ladakh is located at an approximate distance of 1,098 km, 2,500 km, and 868 km respectively. Though Ladakh is known for its motorable roads amongst the biker community in India but there exist many more comfortable and budget-friendly travel modes and routes that you may consider.
By Air. You can reach Leh to be a part of this enormous celebration by air which will save a lot of your time and will be convenient and comfortable as well. The nearest airport is Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport located in Leh.
It has overall good connectivity to other cities like Srinagar, Jammu, Chandigarh, and Delhi. AirIndia, GoAir, and SpiceJet run non-stop flights from Delhi to Leh with one-way fare starting from Rs.2500. Air India can be picked for its direct flight to Leh from Chandigarh. From Mumbai, Kolkata, and Bengaluru airport you can get connecting flights to Leh with stopovers in Delhi, Chandigarh, Srinagar or Jammu.
By Road. Leh Ladakh is well connected through roads hence you can plan a trip by road via motorable National and State Highways. Following are the best routes that you can consider if arriving from nearby major cities and states:
Delhi - 1000km via Leh-Manali Highway
Manali - 475km via Leh-Manali Highway and Keylong Leh Road
Chandigarh - 760km via Leh-Manali Highway
Amritsar - 870km via Leh-Manali Highway
Shimla - 720km via Leh-Manali Highway
You can also travel via the J&K State Road Transport Corporation deluxe and ordinary buses from Srinagar to Leh. The bus fare starts from Rs.470 per passenger which can go up to Rs.1000 in case of deluxe buses.
By Rail. Jammu Tawi is the nearest railway station to Ladakh if you wish to travel and explore the Ladakh Festival by rail. Arriving from Delhi one can board trains like Jammu Rajdhani, Shri Shakti Express, Shalimar Express or Jhelum Express. Trains like Himgiri Express and Navyug Express can be considered to travel from Ludhiana Junction train station.
If you are coming from Mumbai and Kolkata, then you can consider travelling by direct trains such as Swaraj Express, and Jammu Tawi Express respectively. There is no direct train from Bengaluru, hence you have to travel via connecting trains. From the Jammu Tawi railway station, you have to travel another 700km by road to reach Leh. For this, you may hire private cabs or buses at budget-friendly prices.