The Roof of the World is far removed from the reaches of the common man, save a few parts of the terrain that are accessible to adventurists and tourists. There are still parts of the Himalayas that remain unexplored, and most likely have their own share of secrets. Ladakh as we know it too is a treasure trove of facts, interesting, mysterious, and stunning.
Let’s cover some of the lesser-known facts of this remote part of the country.
- The no man’s land along the Indo-Chinese border in the Himalayan region is believed to house a subterranean UFO base. The disputed Kongka La Pass area is under constant vigil of both countries but from an agreed distance. Several UFO sightings have been reported in this area. Do watch out for UFOs if you are planning a trek here!
- An endangered cat species was reportedly sighted in Hanle village, Ladakh a couple of years ago. The Pallas Cat is densely furry and has a bushy tail with 4 rings and a dark tip. It is a native of cold arid landscapes. There are just 117 of these cute animals left on this planet. They are poached for the fur or poisoned as they compete with livestock for grazing land.
- Hanle, in fact, has also been shortlisted as a prospective site for Thirty Meter Telescope International Observatory. If chosen it will house the world’s largest telescope!
- Ladakh is home to the highest Baily bridge in the world located at an altitude of 5,602 meters above sea level. Built by the Border Roads Organization in 1982, this bridge lies between the Suru and Dras Rivers in Ladakh. Kudos to the Indian Army for this amazing structure!
- The Magnetic Hill of Ladakh is a stretch of road along the Srinagar-Leh highway that can cause your vehicle to pick up speed and move forward even with the engine turned off, on what looks definitely like an uphill slope. While science calls it an Optical illusion, the rumour is that there lies a direct path to heaven from a special patch on this road, Make sure to explore this strange gravity-defying phenomenon while traveling from Leh to Kargil, 30 Kms down this road. One other Magnetic Hill is located in Moncton, New Brunswick in Canada.
- The Hemis Monastery in Ladakh reportedly housed documents that account for “lost years” of Jesus. Discovered by Nicholas Notovitch in 1887, “The Life of Issa” documents are believed to account for the time that Jesus (from the age of 13 to 29) spent in India and Tibet. He was a teacher as well as a student of holy men both Hindu and Buddhist and went by the name of St. Issa.
- A small quaint monastery located along the Indo-Tibetan border houses the best of Tibetan Buddhist art. The stunning paintings and murals at the Alchi Monastery in Ladakh continue to draw enthusiasts who are indeed lucky to catch a glimpse of neatly preserved art pieces, some of them nearly 900 years old. With climate playing truant, widening cracks and water seepage has begun to threaten these historic masterpieces. An Indian photographer, Aditya Arya has been documenting these precious works since 2008.
Ladakh indeed is a cold desert with so many valuable facts waiting to be discovered. The different Ladakh Tourism packages available can help you explore your areas of interest in this remote part of the country.