Ladakh

Dhahanu

 

The villages of Dha and Hanu are situated at a distance of approximately 163 km to the northwest of the town of Leh. In this area, you will find a number of villages. However, tourists are allowed to visit the villages of Dah and Hanu only. Being situated on a lower altitude, these villages experience a climate that is a little warmer than that of Leh. One of the major attractions of Dha & Hanu is a chance to have a glimpse into the life of the Drokpa community.

 

This community is believed to be the last race of Aryans, confined to the valley. With their pure Aryan features, these people seemed to have preserved their racial purity down the centuries. However, as far as their culture as well as religious practices is concerned, they come up as quite alike the ancient pre- Buddhist religion, known as Bon-Chos. Tourism in Dhahanu, Ladakh, is still not so popular and a tour takes only two days, with the nights being spent in tents.

 

Location

Approximately 163 km to the northwest of Leh

 

How to Reach

The nearest airport is that of Srinagar, while the nearest railhead is that of Jammu.

 

How to spend Time/Attractions

Enjoying the beauty of the villages and a glimpse into the life of the Drokpa community

 

Accommodation

Tents

Changthang

 

This remote trail follows the traditional trade route between the people of Spiti, Changthang and Tibet. It begins in the high altitude meadows of Kibber, the breeding ground of the famous Spiti horses and also called the Snow Leopard country

 

The trail descends the Kibber gorge and then climbs over the Parang la (5600 mts), the source of the Pare Chu river, the only one of its kind to have its source in India, flow into Tibet and enter the country again in Spiti. Across the pass, the trail follows a broad valley till the confluence of the Pare Chu with the Phirtse Phu at Norbu Sumdo. A river crossing here brings one to an almost incredible change of scenery as we walk towards the Rupshu plains of Changthang, known for the abundance of Kiangs (Tibetan Wild Ass). For the last two days, we camp by spectacular campsites, one being on the southern edge of the Tso Moriri (15,000 ft) , a high altitude lake 27 kms long and nearly 8 kms wide. This lake is also the breeding ground for the bar-headed geese, black-necked crane and the Brahminy ducks.

 

The trail goes along the Tso Moriri till we reach Karzog, a permanent settlement of the Changpas (Changthang Nomads) on the banks of the Tso Moriri. We also visit one of the Changpa settlements in a bowl high above Karzog, where they breed Pashmina, one of the trade items, to over these high passes.

 

A challenging trek for the enthusiastic walker in one of the more spectacular areas of Ladakh recently opened for tourism.

 

Note

Minimum 04 pax required for inner line permits.

 

Average walking time per day

5 - 6 hours.

 

Average altitude (all altitudes are a close approximate) Parang la

18,480 ft.

 

Tso Moriri

15,000 ft.

 

Kibber

14,000 ft.

Nubra Valley

 

Nubra Valley is the geographical backbone, and the historical heartland of Ladakh.

The common way to access this valley is to travel over the Khardung La from Leh where one will first encounter the Shyok Valley. To enter the Nubra valley, one must cross over the Shyok River via a small bridge and pass through a military checkpoint. Non-locals require an "Inner Line" permit (easily obtained in Leh town) to pass. The Sasser Pass and the famous Karakoram Pass lie to the northwest of the valley which connect Nubra with Xinjiang. Previously there was much trade passing through the area with East Turkestan and Central Asia. The Nubra valley contains the small towns of Sumur and Panamik. Sumur has a Buddhist gompa or monastery while Panamik is noted for its hot springs. Most of the people are of mixed Tibetan and Central Asian origin and speak varieties of the Balti language.

 

The beautiful village of Baigdandu is located in the valley. Here one can suddenly find beautiful people boys and girls with startling blue eyes, auburn hair and ruddy cheeks as against the typical mongoloid features of the Ladakhis.

 

 

Buddhist monasteries flourished in the valley among which the famous Diskit Gompa. This monastery, over 350 years old, is the oldest in the Nubra region. It is also one of the largest.The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa (Yellow Hat) Sect. The Nubra valley is accessible from Leh via a number of high passes. One of them is the Khardong-la, the highest motorable pass at 5600 m.

 

Location

150 km north of Leh

 

Altitude

3500 m

 

Significance

Historical heartland of Ladakh

 

Also known As

Orchard of Ladakh

 

Places to see

Drok-pa village, Baigdandu village, Shyok Valley, Diskit and Hundar

 

How to spend time/Attractions

Camping, Photography, Trekking and Mountaineering

 

Leh

 

Leh India is one of the favorite tourist destinations located in the northernmost parts of the country. Lapped in the snow-covered fringes of the Himalayas, Leh India has been the center of Tibeto-Buddhist culture since ages. Its colorful gompas have attracted the devout Buddhists from all over the globe. Besides, it is also a favorite hiking locale and is known for some of the best hikes in India.

 

The capital of the Ladakh district, Leh is towards the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir. It is perched at a height of 3,505 m above sea level. The region is watered by the Zanskar River, which flows into the Indus River just below. The Stok mountain range lies just south of Leh, while towards the north one can find the snow-capped Ladakh range. In the winters, it is freezing cold with temperatures going below 0°C.

 

Leh India became the regional capital in the 17th century, when King Sengge Namgyal shifted his court here from Shey (15 km southeast) to be closer to the head of the Khardung La-Karakoram corridor into China. Very soon, the town blossomed into one of the busiest markets on the Silk Route. Leh's prosperity, managed mainly by the Sunni Muslim traders, came to an abrupt end with the closure of the Chinese border in the 1950s. Only after the Indo-Pak wars of 1965 and 1971, when India rediscovered its strategic value, did Leh's fortunes begin to look up. Today, khaki-clad soldiers and their families from the nearby military and air force bases are the mainstay of the local economy in winter, when foreign visitors are few. It was in 1974 that Leh was opened up for tourists.

 

Zanskar - A world Above Imagination

 

Lying in the eastern half of Jammu and Kashmir, Zanskar is a small town, spread over an area of 7000 sq. km, at an altitude ranging from 3500 m to 7000 m above sea level. Zanskar definitely is one of the remotest regions in the world to reach and the fact becomes more prominent as it remains virtually inaccessible for 8 months due to bitter cold and heavy snowfall. Zanskar is a semi desert that is surrounded by mountains from all sides and is cut through by Zanskar river which is the reason many people come to Zanskar braving all the adversities. Zanskar River is one of the best places in the world where you can indulge in river rafting.

 

River rafting is not the only adventure sport that you can enroll in here. Trekking and mountaineering also have a great presence here. In fact Zanskar can be completely seen only by trekking through the high rises. It is next to impossible for unprepared tourist to travel inside Zanskar or even reach it during the winters. The summer days though are pleasant, nights turn a bit chilly, so it is advised that you carry woolen clothes with you, no matter which time of the year you are coming to Zanskar.

 

Places of Interest

 

Padum town is 234 km from kargil around 12 hours journey crossing through.

Panz:- La pass (4401m). padum is the most popular of Zanskar.
Zanskar wih a large concentration of Gompas, is explorer’s most desired destination.

Sani Village:- 6 Km west of Padum on the road of kargil.The chief attraction here is the Sani Gompa a castle like monestry exhibits the Kanika stupa which unlike other monasteries of the region is built on level ground.By legand its initial foundation is associated with Kanishka on account of the Kanika Stupa which stands in the background of the walled complex. The main building composes a huge multi-columned central prayer hall housing an array of status of popular Buddhist divinities and Drugpa (old schools) high saints.
Sani is also associated with Narapa the famous Indian yogi from Vikramsila, who is said to have sat in meditation for some time under the Kanika Stupa. The site is now occupied by a small roomhousing a veiled bronze figure of the Yogi which is unveiled. Once a year in late july. A 2 day long festivali is held to celebrate this occasion which attended by people from far and wide monks from burden monestry perform masked dances as ritual offering.

Karsha:- it is a human settlement with ba\sic facilities. Karsha monestry 14 Km from Padum. The Gelugpa monestry at Kursha ks a must visit to know the importance of the religion in the livee of the inhabitants of Zanskar. The moral art displayed a labrank is other must check outing in zanskar

Stongdey:- the monestry of stongday lies 18 Km to the norh of Padum. On the road leading to the zangla. An old foundation associated with the Tibetan yogi. Marpa stongdey is now the second largest monestic establishmen of zanskar, inhabited by resident community of about 60 Gellkpa monks. The spreadly white washed complex has the number of temples, each a respositor of the regions which monestic legacy. Stongdey can be reached by foot in about 4 hrs by road. The climb up to the monestry is rather strenneous but it is worth to travel for the breathtaking scenery of the valley seen from here

Zungkhul:- the other spectacular cave monastery of zanskar are in Zongkhul. That falls on the Padum-Kishtwar trekking trail. Just before the ascent of Omesila Pass begins situated like a swallows nest on the rock face of the Ating.

Rangdum:- Rangdum (3675m) the farthest and the most isolated part of theSuru valley. Rangdum is an elliptical expanded plateau surrounded by colorfull hills on the one side and glacier encrusted rocky mountains on the other. Situated 130Kms south-east of Kargil. It falls midway between Kargil and Padum.
The chief attraction of the area is an imposing 18th century Buddhist Monestry with about 40 monks in residence. Perched pictures quely atop a centrally rising hillock which is entrenched around by the bifurcated course of a wild mountain stream. The Rangdum monestry has the aura of an ancient fortification guarding a mystical mountain valley.

 

Zanskar landscape is probably the most unique on entire earth. So, even the attractions in the town are unique from anything you would have seen till now. The main attraction definitely is the river rafting in the Zanskar river. As a matter of fact, every inch of Zanskar is stunning enough, that you just can't afford to miss it.

 

Penzella Pass

 

This is the pass that divides Zasnkar valley with the Suru Valley. Situated at an altitude of 4200 m above the Zanskar range, the slopes of the pass are covered with snow in the winter season. In summers, when the snow melts, a large variety of flora and fauna can be seen on the slopes of the pass. The either side of the pass is suited for camping and is often used by travelers and migratory people.

 

Karsha

 

Karsha is a large community settled at a distance of 8 km from Padam. The settlement seems to be self-sufficient. It has everything that is required to make it a livable place like market, school, dispensary, and even telegraph and post facilities. You would also like to visit the monastery at Karsha, which highly believed in, by the locales.

 

River Rafting

 

River rafting probably is the most indulged in activity in Zanskar. The rafting is done in the highly challenging Zanskar River. The rafting experience takes you through one of the most breathtaking gorges of the World. The water in the river is freezing cold and it is advisable that you take this ride only with a wet suit on. This exhilarating adventure through the entire river takes around four days and in between, you will spend the nights in camps set up on the rocky banks itself.

 

Trekking

 

Apart from river rafting, trekking also attracts huge number of adventure lovers to these lands. Zanskar has few of the highest mountain passes in the country. The trek routes through them are surely enthralling but trekking here requires ability to take immense physical strain. The most famous trek route is named Chadar Ice Trek. The trek is carried out on the frozen zanskar river during the winter season. You will have to take extra precautions and clothing as you will be literally walking over ice. Other breathtaking treks are Padam to Lamayuru which takes around 12-16 days and Padam to Leh which is 15-17 day long trek.

 

Where to Put Up

 

Places to stay are ample in Zanskar. There are numerous tourist complexes apart from budget hotels. You can also opt to stay in your private space by setting up a camp. Monasteries and homes also prove to be a comfortable staying option.

 

Getting There

 

By Air

 

The nearest airport to Zanskar is at Leh. Although it is equally convenient to get here from Srinagar as well

 

By Road

 

Easiest way to come to Zanskar is by road from Kargil. The distance is around 235 km and state transport has its buses running between Zanskar and Leh. You can also hire luxury coaches and taxis from Kargil.

 

Local Transport

 

Transportation inside the city generally comprise of taxis and jeeps. Most of the locales prefer walking.

Kargil

 

Kargil, situated at a height of 2704 m, is located approximately 204 km to the west of Srinagar. Located 234 km to the east of Leh, Kargil is the second largest city of the region and the headquarters of the district with the same name. The township of Kargil in Kashmir served, at one point of time, as an important hub for trade and transit in the Pan-Asian trade network. Convoys to and from China, Tibet, Yarkand and Kashmir regularly passed through Kargil. These convoys carried some exquisite goods consisting of silk, brocade, carpets, tea, poppy, ivory, etc. Today, Kargil serves as the perfect night stop for the tourists traveling between Srinagar and Leh. As we traverse through Kargil, you will come to know more about this wonderful and serene destination.

 

Kargil is encircled by the Himalayas, lying in the heart of the region. Due to this strategic location, Kargil has an enormous potential for adventure activities. In fact, it is an important start off point for the numerous adventure tours to the Himalayas, along with being the base station to the Zanskar Valley. Suru basin forms another important feature of the landscape of Kargil. The Drass and Wakha streams of Suru River meet here, providing enough water for cultivation of barley, wheat, peas and a number of other vegetables and cereals. However, the specialty of Kargil is the fine apricots grown here. As the fruit ripens, it changes the hue of the valley from serene white to flaming orange.

 

A popular attraction of Kargil is the archery contest held in the month of May every year. Kargil is quite well known for its delicious dry apricots and the apricot jam. For the shoppers, the town offers Pashmina shawls, local carpets and woolen handicrafts. Apart from it's scintillating landscape, Kargil has a number of other attractions to offer to the tourists. One of them is the Buddhist monastery of Mulbek Gompa, situated 45 km from Kargil. It is an architectural beauty with magnificent murals and amazing statues. Other examples of architectural brilliance in Kargil are the Trespone and Sankhoo imambaras.


Places Of Intrest In kargil

Zojila:- this is one of the few unsurfaced stretches on the srinagar- Leh route and it is also the first pass to snow over in the winter and the last pass to be cleared in summer.

Drass:- 60Km west of Kargil and 144 Km from Srinager on the Srinager-Leh highway. This is the first village after the Zajila pass. In winter Drass noted for its heavy snowfall and said to be second coldest place in the world. The famous Tiger hills are clearly visible from the main highway in Drass village;
Trek to Muushkoh valley from drass is a favorite among the adventure travelers.

Panikhar:- 25 Km ahead of sanskoo is surrounded by NUN and KUN peaks. Some of the most adventurous treks start from this village towards Kashmir valley, Kishtwar and zanaskar while passing through high passes NUN (7135m) KUN (7035m).

Suru valley:- Suru valley 140Km from Kargil is much different from Ladakh. The Suru valley forms the mainstay of Kargil district lying nested along the north eastern foothills of the great Himalyan wall. It expends from kargil town first southward for a length of about 75Kms upto the expense around panukhar.

Zojila
:- this is one of the few unsurfaced stretches on the srinagar- Leh route and it is also the first pass to snow over in the winter and the last pass to be cleared in summer.

Drass:- 60Km west of Kargil and 144 Km from Srinager on the Srinager-Leh highway. This is the first village after the Zajila pass. In winter Drass noted for its heavy snowfall and said to be second coldest place in the world. The famous Tiger hills are clearly visible from the main highway in Drass village;
Trek to Muushkoh valley from drass is a favorite among the adventure travelers.


Mulbek:- Mulbek 45Km from east of Kargil in the road to Leh. Mulbek (3230m) is an area dominated by Buddhists. It is situated along either banks of the Wakha river which orginates from the Zanskar. Range and drains in the Suru Kargil;
The chief attraction of Mulbek is a 9 mitre high rock sculpture in deep relief of Maitreya Buddha.

Location
Approximately 204 km to the west of Srinagar.

How to Reach
There are regular bus services between Srinagar and Leh/Kargil.

Best time to Visit
Summer season of May and June

How to spend time/Attractions
Trekking and sightseeing

Accommodation
Hotels and tourist bungalows

Adventure/Sports

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