“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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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 otherworldly 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, practising yoga and meditation!
- Lamayuru has decent bus connectivity with Leh.
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31 thoughts on “Lamayuru, the moonland of Ladakh”
Hi sandeepa and chetan we have planned a trip from srinagar to leh on 29th april ….we have booked flights to Srinagar on 28th april …..suggest as I see on various blogs snow clearance this time is taking long …..cancellation of tickets is taking a bomb out of pocket as I have flight from mumbai to delhi and delhi to Srinagar
Sandeepa the pics is nothing but heavenly experience. If I am planning to travel solo and looking forward to stay in monastery would u recommend this place. Do you think it is a good idea to go for a solo trip and i dont want to rush, I want to stay, feel, meditate, talk to localites eat local food.
You guys seem to have a pretty good grip on the Ladakh travel scene. So could I take liberty to ask about the feasibility of a family trip with a 6 yr old to Leh in Aug/Sept for maybe like 4-5 days, if that would be enough? Also how about veg food availability there, we are core vegetarians and relish dairy products.
Thank you for good articles on travel!
I love your blog. I have planned a journey from Srinagar to Leh in September this year.
The route/halts i am planning is:
1st to srinagar – leave for (kangan to sonamarg) sonamarg/drass on 2nd morning – leave for kargil on 3rd morning – leave for lamayuru on 4th morning – for Leh on 5th morning
Is 1 day each a good idea or should i skip/extend any of these places that i encounter till Leh?
There’s never an upper limit to how long you should stay in each place. It’s great that you are taking all these breaks before reaching Leh and not rushing there in a day. But these are small places and spending a day there will give you a good idea of the character of the place. It’s a good plan.
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Hii….I have gone through several of your articles, and they truly worth reading describing about the off beat destinations in a unique writing style….You have captured the real India, the simplicity of the locals and their culture….Keep up the good work
Thanks, Ishita! Happy to know our thoughts are coming across in our travel stories!
Hello Sandeepa; I’m back ! Still planning a fall trip to Ladakh with another question or two. Yes, I want to spend time in Lamayuru but I hope to take in a festival at Diskit, in the Nubra Valley. Now, on some maps, either online or in older guidebooks, I note a trail that goes from near Hunder to Basgo, in the Indus Valley. I’m thinking that it’s probably a 3-4 day walk and, although I see the route on your Google Earth view, I know nothing about the route. Have you heard of this trail ? Could a person hire a guide/porter in Lamayuru ? or, it would also be attractive to go the other way, from Hunder to Basgo…
Have you any thoughts on this ?
have a wonderful day and thanks again for your help, last time, and this time.
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.
It depends on how long your trip is. Have a look at our travel story on our journey to Zanskar for an idea about the distances. If you use shared transport and live in homestays, traveling in these parts can be very easy on the pocket.
I really loved your article.. The pics & content are just wonderful..
Thank you, Anshul! Happy you liked the photos f Lamayuru, definitely recommended during travels in Ladakh.
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
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.
Can we have some phone numbers of these homestays at Lamayuru? Does not want to get disappointed without an advance booking.
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
Done! Thank you so much for sharing this link! What a trip! Wish you all the best! Happy travels!
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.
Can totally relate to this! The family in Lamayuru who rescued us from our “Delhi belly” misery…can’t thank them enough.
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?
Lamayuru is a tiny little village with many guest houses. You should be able to find accommodations by just walking in.
A good account of Lamayuru. BTW, don’t think sharing a photo of an army setup in public is a good idea.
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.
It certainly does seem like a beautiful place to drive through. I imagine the scenery and the solitary roads are incredibly peaceful.
Great post..and amazing pictures. They give a whole new meaning to the term ‘surreal’. The landscape is just so staggering..it’s insane!!
Lamayuru really does feel like moonland, doesn’t it?
We were lucky to see Lamayuru in moon light. Looks soo beautiful. Simple, yet so much.
Moonland under moonlight, that sounds just amazing! Was hoping to find a picture of your Lamayuru on your tumblr. But couldn’t find it.
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
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.