impressions from

Likir to Temisgoan La: Introduction

The Sham Trek through Ladakh's villages

Ladakh in the far north-west of India is a stunning high-altitude mountainous desert. Villages seem like oases, monasteries on commanding positions overlook the fertile fields. Despite the harshness of nature, the area features a rich cultural heritage, and more importantly, stunning people which make it an even bigger pleasure to travel there.

Countless passes separate the fertile valleys.After two days in Leh I feel acclimatized enough to do a short 3-day trek on my own.

Starting in the village of Likir, it takes four hours to the next village, in a scenery of stark contrasts. Arid valleys and gullies lead to low passes. 

From the second pass I look into the valley of Yangtang, where a large area is covered by bright green barley fields. At the bottom lies the village of a dozen whitewashed houses where it's possible to stay in a simple guesthouse.

Whitewashed houses stand between the green barley fields.I leave the beautiful Yangtang in the morning and make a detour to visit the monastery of Rizong.  From there it is a hard climb up a pass with splendid views. The barren Rizong canyon is contrasted by the fertile and wide valley of Hemis, whose fields look like a carpet of green in the desert. The snow-covered Ladakh range forms the horizon. From Hemis the trail continues westwards. In the dry scenery after the village, the chortens and trail are easy to see and to make out the route. 

The barreness seems hostile at first, but reveal its charm after two hours of walking.The path winds itself up to the last pass, from there it is another hour of downhill through colourful scree slopes.

Abruptly the desert ends and another colourful village begins. Betwen green and yellow fields lie the houses of Ang. Descending in the same valley, I soon reach the old capital of lower Ladakh - Temisgom. 

After spending a night in a guesthouse, I take the daily bus to Leh, just in time to attend the famous Hemis festival.


Gallery Likir to Temisgoan

In-depth travelogue with pictures: Outside sources of information: