Ladakh literally means the land of high passes, but there’s more to it than mere geographical elevation. This arid, rugged mountain range is home to some of the most ancient Buddhist monasteries you are likely to find anywhere in the world. We at Cycling In India have created our Ladakh Cycling Tour to exclusively cover these holy sites and shrines to make you feel the elevation of the other kind – spiritual.
The history of Buddhism in Ladakh is, to use a cliché, as old as the hills. It goes back to the 2nd century CE when Buddhism was first introduced in the region, but it’s not until the 10th century that the religion took deep roots here. Monasteries and many artifacts dating back to the 12th century are still extant and they provide the most authentic glimpse into ancient Buddhism. Our Ladakh biking trip takes you to all these pit stops of Buddhist pilgrimage for an eye-opening spiritual experience that unguided travel can’t provide.
Starting off in Leh, we first cover the gompas (monasteries) to the east of the city, and then to the west. We visit the former royal palaces, the monasteries, the shrines, the assembly halls, the sanctum sanctorum, and witness many exquisite Buddhist artworks in the form of murals, paintings and sculptures. Doing so we bike across the otherworldly terrain of Ladakh. And we cap our Ladakh biking holiday with the ascent of Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world.
It goes without saying that cycling in Ladakh is never easy on your body. We’re talking about altitudes more than 3000 meters high. Acclimatization is crucial, but so is physical strength and mental resolve. All through the tour, our support vehicle accompanies you and whenever you don’t feel like pushing yourself, you can always hop in for an enjoyable ride.
Cycling in Leh-Ladakh on huge ranges takes over ten to twelve days and also base camp at undecided spots are part of the plan. For this reason travellers should carry their baggage with them when they go for the trip. For this cause, a car is essential to carry luggage so that travelers can have a relaxed journey.
One can cycle the 64 km road from Leh to Alchi. The route takes one on Zigzag paths through the hairpin turns of the Himalayan Roads. Leh-Hemis (45 km) is additional well-known cycling itinerary. Leaving Leh from the main road provides a last glimpse of magnificent Gompas at Thikse, Shey and Stok. Most of ladakh cycling tours follows the bank of the Indus River until Karu. At Karu the route continues across the bridge and onwards to the village of Hemis. For cycling in Ladakh motorable Khardungla pass., Jispa-Gondla, Marhi-Manali this are most famous courses. There are various travel agencies which arrange the cycling trips in Ladakh and offer their expertise. Their travel packages and schedules of itineraries may vary.