Leh-Ladakh, a dream trip we all want to go on once in your lifetime. But reading this title must have scared you. And should you be worried? Is it really the end of Leh-Ladakh tourism? This article tells you everything about it and also explains the reason behind the big question.
Travel enthusiast or any teenager for that matter has a travel bucket list and no wonder that list has Leh-Ladakh bike trip in top 10 positions. The beautiful roads, the high mountains and even the snow clad mountains make us fall in love with nature all over again. It’s a dream of a biker to ride the classic ‘Bullet’ on the roads of Ladakh. This wasn’t the case in the early 2000’s though. Leh-Ladakh came into limelight when the movie “3 Idiots” was shot and Raj Kumar Hirani portrayed the epic Pangong Lake in one of the climax scenes. Not just that, Shah Rukh Khan starring movie “Jab Tak Hai Jaan” and Pulkit Samrat and Urvashi Rautela starring movie “Sanam Re” was also shot in the same location. All these Bollywood blockbusters boomed the Ladakh tourism which is our first reason.
1. Bollywood Commercialization
Bollywood movies are widely watched in our countries, especially when big stars act in the same. The portrayal of places in these movies is amazingly achieved with the after-effects that are added and also the editing that is done. No wonder we crave to go to such places. But the portrayed locations and the actual locations also change. Like the school that is shown in the climax scene of “3 Idiots” is not nearby the lake that is displayed in the next scene which is not the case in reality. People believe Bollywood blindly which is the first mistake here
After all the movies shot here in Leh-Ladakh, the amount of tourism has seen a drastic change which is leading to commercialization of the isolated places. Leh-Ladakh was a place known for its scenic beauty and an offbeat destination. This has changed in past few years. Now you can see multiple hotels and restaurants in places where you can sleep in a tent. The raw and natural feel is already depleting from this place. These places are close to our borders which is one reason not to have commercialization in these areas.
If this commercialization growth doesn’t stop at this point, the government might take major steps as its pretty close to the border. Specially Pangong Lake as India owns 30% of the lake and China owns the rest 70%.
2. Weather Conditions
The whole world is facing global warming issues but at a slow rate. This issue doesn’t have an immediate result in the world but its effects are to be seen in Leh-Ladakh. Ladakh hosts one of the hardest treks in India called Chadar Trek which is also known as Frozen River trek. This trek is a beautiful trek which is literally on the river Zanskar. This river is frozen in the months of December and January which is when you can walk on it. The ice formed on this river was once so thick that people used to drag their supplies which weighed 100+kg on their sleds through this route. But the result of global warming and the temperature hikes has resulted in thick ice layer to be so thin that not even a person can walk on it.
A beautiful frozen waterfall is to be seen at the end of the trek which is the main attraction of this trek. But a couple of years back this waterfall didn’t freeze at all. Yes, it froze the next year but the study conducted there said if the global warming continues to grow at this rate, there won’t be the frozen waterfall in a couple of years and down the line, even the frozen river would stop freezing completely. All these reasons do affect the other isolated areas and offbeat places which were once the main highlight of Leh-Ladakh.
3. Roads Situation
The roads in Leh are known amongst the riders. But maintaining these roads is a hell of a work. The government is trying its best to keep it maintained but the heavy traffic entering Leh-Ladakh and the snow causes trouble. The number of vehicles entering from both Srinagar and Manali has increased a lot. This is a huge issue right now.
To solve this issue, the government has taken a small but harsh step. The Vehicles now entering through Manali are being monitored and the number of vehicles have been limited to 800 per day. If you are the 801st driver, bad news for you is you have to stay back in Manali for the day. Srinagar side is not yet monitored as the Zojila pass filters the traffic flow per day naturally. The traffic to Pangong lake is also been monitored but not yet limited. The chances of limiting traffic to Pangong lake will soon be limited at the Leh side of the road.
These are the main reasons that might be bringing the Leh-Ladakh tourism to its end.
Now the big question……….. Is it the end of Leh-Ladakh tourism?
The Government is already working on the issues and trying not to take any harsh steps. But if this goes on growing, Government will be forced to take some real big actions that will affect people traveling. The biggest solution the government is working upon is regulating the tourism in this area and issuing something that can be called local visa that would allow you to visit the area and would help regulate.