Ladakh is a barren frozen land in the northernmost part of India. No doubt Ladakh is known as a paradise on earth, therefore, it is one of the most sought tourist places in India. Accompanied by snow-laden peaks and surrounded by majestic glaciers, it casts a subtle spell on the visitors. Bounded by scenic natural beauty and serene water bodies, this place never fails to amaze an individual with its beauty. And to add 5 stars to the beauty of Ladakh there lies the highest trekkable summit of India called Stok Kangri. It offers a striking contrast of hiking in a barren chill desert valley while delivering beautiful views of Ladakh & Zanskar ranges.
Stok Kangri Trek commences from Leh which is encountered at an altitude of 11,500. Leh is attainable directly by roadways and airways whereas it is indirectly accessible by railways. The air network is quite good. You can put up with an explicit flight to Leh from Delhi, Mumbai, and Leh. Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is approximately 3.8 km away from the central city. Leh is connected to the rest of India by two major highways- NH 1D Srinagar-Leh Highway and Manali-Leh Highway. The Srinagar-Leh Highway passes through Kargil and Zoji-La pass whereas Leh-Manali Highway passes through Rohtang Pass and Tanglang La pass., although Leh route is widely preferred over the Manali route. Jammu Tawi is the nearest railway station to Leh and is well connected to most major cities like Delhi, Mumbai, and Chennai. After reaching Ladakh, it is substantial to get used to the climate and temperature of Ladakh. In short, it is very vital to get acclimatized in the complexions of Ladakh. There is a composure of a number of monasteries and chronological structures which are good for sightseeing.
Reaching out on the voyage to Stok Kangri, 30 minutes ride from Leh borrows you the delightful Stok village. Here, you will be astonished to witness the verdant hue amidst innumerable mountains in the proximity. The picturesque landscapes trimmed with green flora persuades to give you a blissful experience of life at such high altitudes. The porters act as a lifeline in these harsh regions. They are the only medium for hauling all the essential things to all the camps in order to operate the treks smoothly.
The subsequent step is the hike to Chang Ma which is tracked down at a high altitude of 13,087 feet. Chang Ma acts as the first camp on your voyage to the Stok Kangri peak. This might be a complicated trek. You are inevitably going to be inducted into the snow at this point in the trail. From Changa Ma, the next task is to advance to Mankorma standing tall at an elevation of 14,200 feet. This is the 2nd camp of our trek which transmits us a slight nearer on our expedition to reach the pinnacle of the mountain. During this trek, you will have to pass over a few streams and the serenity that these water bodies provide will surely make you admire the magnificence that nature extends to the human race.
The following trek is to Stok Kangri base camp from Mankorma which is placed at an altitude of about 16,300 feet. This region has an abundance of water bodies in the form of serene lakes and tiny streams. You will witness some beautiful peaks like Gulap Kangri, Parcha Kangri, etc. At the base camp, it is mandatory to relax your body and keep it completely fresh without any trace of fatigue before your ultimate attempt to the mighty Stok Kangri peak. The oxygen level is deemed to be less than 10 percent in this region and there is a drastic alteration in the weather conditions in the vicinity.
The ultimate attempt to the peak or the summit from the Stok Kangri base camp is considered to be very tough. A trekking duration of around 10-12 hours is required to reach the conclusive point of the summit. For sluggish climbers, an extra 2-3 hours must be kept aside. The long trail includes mountains, meadows, frozen ice and glaciers which adds up to the difficulty of reaching the summit. You can get a remarkable and elegant view of the Karakoram range in the north and the Zanskar range in the south. The temperature revolves around -12 to -15 degrees Celsius in the summit region which makes the survival more and tougher. The sentiment of coming this far is worth the dangerous trail. It’s not the altitude, sometimes it’s the attitude that matters. Surging of the highest trekkable peak of India gives you a strong sensation like you have overcome the whole world.
It is said that Stok Kangri trek is a once in a lifetime expedition. Enacting through the wonderful hamlets of Ladakh, the trek also exposes you to the nuances of the vibrant Ladakhi culture and way of life. At 20,180 ft; you can hear nothing but the howling mountain wind and the hammering of your heartbeat as you try to gulp in the magnificent, rare views of the surrounding peaks and the unfolding valleys below.