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These are two of the oldest and less-known old kingdoms of the Himalayas, lost in the vastness of the highest mountain range in the World. The peace treaty signed between India and Pakistan opened up again the route to this mythical destination where only a lucky few have been so far. Kashmir -given the name “Valley of the eternal spring” due to its mild climate and its beautiful landscapes- is famous for its wool, its dense forests where giant pine and fir dominate and its houseboats – legendary floating lodgings.
A rough winding road, considered by many as one of the most beautiful mountainous roads on the planet, leads from Kashmir to Ladakh, another ancient Himalayan kingdom. It’s a difficult route lasting two days and crossing the Himalayan mountain range with an overnight in a hostel along the way. Although it is difficult, the route rewards even the most demanding traveler, passing by lost-in-time villages with a way of living that hasn’t changed in centuries.
Ladakh – also called “little Tibet”- is both geographically and culturally part of Tibet. It is a mountainous desert and has dozens of Buddhist monasteries -all operating- where the traveler can witness colorful rituals.
Summer is the most suitable season for a trip to Kashmir and Ladakh since the mountain passes are snow-free. Another advantage is that summer monsoons don’t reach often these northern parts so the trip remains mostly unaffected by extreme weather phenomena, which usually affect Southern Asia at this time of the year.