Stunning Gompas (Tibetan Buddhist monasteries), fluttering prayer flags, whitewashed stupas, Ladakh is a riot of intricate murals and red-robed monks. Dominated by dramatic landscapes, Ladakh is known as the world’s coldest desert.  It is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time. With a culture similar to Tibetan culture, the people of Ladakh are friendly and welcoming to tourists.

Ladakh is a union territory in the Kashmir region of India. Formerly falling in the state of Jammu & Kashmir, Ladakh was administered a union territory on 31st October 2019. Extending from the Siachen Glacier to the main Great Himalayas, Ladakh is a land like no other.

Ladakh is an adventure playground for climbing, jeeps tours, rafting and high-altitude trekking. Note that Leh Ladakh is inaccessible by road outside the summer months. The road passes close altogether from around October to May, and the only way to reach left is by air.

For those of us living in the constant confusion about the difference between these twin locations, Leh-Ladakh, here is something that might help you. Ladakh is divided into two districts: district Leh, and district Kargil. The former district has a popular town “Leh” and is a great tourist attraction because of its beautiful monasteries, picturesque locations, and interesting markets defining the culture of the place.

Must Know Before You Visit Leh Ladakh

Permits are required (also for Indian Nationals) to travel the inner line areas of Nubra Valley, the Durbuk Block, Khardung La, Dha-hanu Villages, Tso-Moriri and Tsokar Lakes and Pangong Lake. These are available in the Leh town and you are advised to get them from trusted travel agents. Take the photocopies of the Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP) with you wherever you go in Ladakh. Government authorities have launched a web portal http://lahdclehpermit.in/ on June 1, 2017, making it easier for travellers to obtain a permit.

A fee of INR 600 + INR 20 per day as an Inner line fee is applicable.

Note: There is no online payment option on this portal. Take the printout of the permit and visit TIC Office, Opposite J&K Bank, Main Market, Leh. You can get permits signed and stamped there. The timings of the office are 9.00 AM to 03:00 PM.

Validity: The validity of the inner line permit is 21 days for Indians.

Foreign nationals and NRIs are required to get a Protected Area Permit (PAP) or Restricted Area Permit (RAP)