Lamayuru, the moonland of Ladakh

“Where can we find moonland?” “It’s right behind this hillock.” That’s a normal conversation in Lamayuru!

Lamayuru is a small village in Ladakh, midway between Kargil and Leh on NH1-D, the Srinagar-Leh highway. Moonlike landscapes carved into the Greater Himalayas are its claim to fame.

Lamayuru is a small village 100 km before Leh on the Srinagar-Leh highway. It's claim to fame is the moonlike landscape surrounding Lamayuru.

Mountain pass of Fotu la or Foto la

Lamayuru is roughly 100 km before Leh, right after Fotu la, the highest pass on the Srinagar Leh highway. The roads on Fotu la are in an excellent condition and it is a pleasure to drive through this pass.

Fotu la is the last and the highest mountain pass on the Srinagar-Leh highway. The roads are in an excellent condition and it is a pleasure to drive.

This is an army setup just at the end of Fotu la near a small town called Lamayuru, famous for its moonlike landscapes.

This is an army setup just at the end of Fotu la. If traveling by bus, the stop for Lamayuru is a few minutes ahead of this set up.

The best location to view the moonscapes of Lamayuru is to climb up what is known as a meditation hill.

Monks from the Lamayuru gompa stay here, on the top of this meditation hill. They have a medical laboratory up here where the monks churn out medicines from the local herbs.

We saw these stupas while climbing up the meditation hill. These were the most decorated stupas we saw in Ladakh.

These were the most decorated stupas we saw in Ladakh. They are otherwise only plain white in colour, without any embellishments. We saw them on the way to the Lamayuru meditation hill.

These stones were strewn on the way up the meditation hill. These prayer rocks are an important part of the Buddhist culture, some of them being centuries old. Carved meticulously with the beautiful Tibetan script, these stones are a piece of art. Their colours are a glimpse into the stunning colours of the mountains of Ladakh.

These stones are an important part of the Buddhist culture, some of them being centuries old. Carved meticulously with the beautiful Tibetan script, these stones are a piece of art. These were strewn on the way to the meditation hill in Lamayuru in the Ladakh region. Their colours represent the colours one sees in the mountains of Ladakh.

View of the monastery at Lamayuru from the Lamayuru meditation hill. Lamayuru is a small village 100 km before Leh on the Srinagar-Leh highway. It's claim to fame is the moonlike landscape surrounding Lamayuru.

View of Fotu la as we climbed up the meditation hill in Lamayuru. Lamayuru is a small town in Ladakh famous for its moonlike landscapes. Fotu la or Foto la is the last and the highest pass on the Srinagar-Leh highway. The roads are in an excellent condition and it is a pleasure to drive. Read more on the Himalayan Passes at Mountain passes we crossed.

As we climbed up the meditation hill we could see the entire village of Lamayuru. The winding roads of Fotu la slithered into the horizon.

We started to see the “absurdity” of the landforms surrounding Lamayuru. Even more striking were the white blocks of houses balanced precariously – but perfectly atop these landforms.

We crossed through the monks’ residential area (taking care we didn’t disturb anything or anyone around) to the other end of this hill.

That is where a surreal landscape awaited us – the famous Moonlands of Lamayuru!

Lamayuru is a small village 100 km before Leh on the Srinagar-Leh highway. Its claim to fame is the moonlike landscape surrounding Lamayuru. So much so, that Lamayuru and moonland have become synonymous. They even have guest houses named Moonland in Lamayuru! The best view of this

Lamayuru is a small village 100 km before Leh on the Srinagar-Leh highway. It's claim to fame is the moonlike landscape surrounding Lamayuru. So much so, that Lamayuru and moonland have become synonymous. They even have guest houses named Moonland in Lamayuru! The best view of this

Lamayuru and moonland have become so synonymous with each other that they even have guest houses named Moonland in Lamayuru!

There are many other homestays and guest houses in Lamayuru.

We stayed at Temple View homestay which is right by where the bus drops people.

We stayed at the Temple View Homestay in Lamayuru. We will forever and ever be obliged to all of them for making us feel at home when we were really down.

This was the kitchen of our hosts at the Temple view homestay.

A severe stomach infection on the way to Leh forced us to spend a night at Lamayuru! And we are glad it did! The family we stayed with, are the kindest and the most generous family we have ever come across.

The family who own the Temple View Homestay. We will forever and ever be obliged to all of them for making us feel at home when we were really down.

They made us feel at home, so far away from home. It is the most precious gift we have ever received in our travels!

For its other worldly moon like landscapes and the kindness we came across, Lamayuru holds a special place in our hearts.

Top tips for Lamayuru

  • Lamayuru is an easily accessible village of Ladakh where one can experience the local life of the Ladakhis.
  • It is a sufficiently offbeat place in Ladakh, without having to get too adventurous – suitable for a family holiday.
  • Homestays in Ladakh are inexpensive. It is a convenient location if you are looking to spend some peaceful time in the mountains. A couple we met at our homestay had spent a month in Lamayuru, practicing yoga and meditation!
  • Lamayuru has decent bus connectivity with Leh.

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Sandeepa and Chetan. Married. Indians. Exploring Travel as Lifestyle. Featured by National Geographic, Yahoo. We hope that through our travel stories we inspire others to make their dream into a reality.

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Comments

23 thoughts on “Lamayuru, the moonland of Ladakh

  1. Chitra Bhate

    Oliver your blog on lamayuru very much.Is it possible to see all the above mentioned places in one trip?I mean kargil ,lamayuru,dras,zanskar and two moriri? Which is the best season?and approximate costing ?please tell.

  2. RETINA CHARMER

    Hi Sandeepa and Chetan,

    Indeed a very nice post with some beautiful images. I am actually travelling to Leh In July and I am looking fwd to spend at least 2-3 days in Lamayuru, thus I was just wondering that could you please provide some contact details of homestays there?

    Would be so grateful

    NAVIN
    Retina Charmer

  3. Nidhi

    Hi,

    Liked you post. Just 2 weeks back I visited this place & I must say its an awesome place. I was there only for day visit, so i saw Lamayuru monastery, amazing moonland. Specially I enjoyed the drive from leh to kargil & again from kargil to srinagar.

    Thankyou!!

  4. Bankim

    Can we have some phone numbers of these homestays at Lamayuru? Does not want to get disappointed without an advance booking.

  5. krishna ba

    dear sir/madam
    i am travelling single from srinagar to leh i had plan to halt in kargil after reading your articular i changed my mind to half in Lamayuru
    please me suggestion sir

  6. VINEET GUPTA

    Nice photography…Lamayuru is a small village between Kargil and Leh. Last year I visited that place..This place has some special memory in my journey..There my bike stopped working and there is no mechanic out there in lamayuru. But local people there helped me a lot to load my bike on truck as i have to go back to kargil to find a mechanic for me. Its a great place and people are very generous.

  7. acewings1

    Great post & pics. The tip is best: Meditation hill is the view point to see the Moonland of Lamayuru and you have mentioned the home stay too! Temple view homestay. Can this home stay be booked by calling them or something? Or it is a walk-in? Take your chance type?

    1. sandeepachetan

      Hello Sai, thanks for writing to us. The army set up here is right on the road and there is nothing secretive about it. We have been to places which are sensitive in this matter. In such places, even if we do take photographs, they do not leave our hard disks.

          1. Harshul Shah

            Hi we plan to stay in Lamayuru for 1 night while going to Leh from Srinagar. it is worth a night stay? or should we only consider day visit

          2. Sandeepa Chetan Post author

            Hello Harshul, as always, the answer depends on what you want to experience at the place. While the things to see can very well be visited in a day visit from Leh, there is more to experience in Lamayuru. It is a easy to access opportunity to experience the tranquility of the local life of Ladakh. While Leh is more buzzing and catering more to the tourist needs, Lamayuru is still just a village. Most stay options are homestays. We enjoyed living with a family,sharing meals with them in their kitchen. Also, the views of the moonland, from atop the meditation hill are wonderful as the sun sets. We would recommend a stay in Lamayuru, but again a lot delepnds on your interest and the time that you have. Happy travels and wish you a great trip to Ladakh.