Sham Valley Trek in Ladakh is perhaps the easiest yet so beautiful trek to be done in the land of high passes. The altitude of the trek stays with the limits of 4000 meters and involves few mountain pass crossings.
Starting from Leh, the drive to the road head for the trek itself is such a beautiful experience on the winding roads of the magical valley. Passing by the Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, Magnetic hill, Sangam ( Confluence point of Indus and Zanskar rivers ) and the historically important village of Basgo on the Leh - Srinagar Highway, this trek starts from Likir.
Likir hosts one of the ancient monasteries of Ladakh and holds a significant place in the religious faith of the Tibetan Buddhism. Before we start our day's trek, we visit the monastery and offer prayers in traditional way. Likir monastery also has a small school of monks and spending some time with the little kids will be one of the most treasured and enlightening experience of your travel plan.
The Sham Valley trek is a short one and one can finish it in 4 days at leisure. The trek route passes touches some of the most beautiful villages and monasteries of Ladakh. Passing by the photogenic villages of Hemis Shukpachen, Ang and Temisgam, this trek can even be done on homestays. Prabably, homestays are the best ways to do this trek as it involves you much more with the locals exposing you to a in-depth cultural understanding and exchange of knowledge.
The trek is very interesting with continuously changing landscape and villages. The scene alters frequently between greens valley and barren mountains. While on trek, you sight with few houses, old monasteries and very fertile field growing spinach, carrots, cabbage, potatoes, coriander, onions, apricot trees, walnut trees guarded by the tall poplar trees. On the other end, you witness the barren mountains of the Ladakh Himalayas too, which has its own color and charm.
Staying in homestays will allow you to stay with the local family and their way of life. The most important room of any household is the kitchen which will house few traditional Tibetan vessels and a Bukhari ( fire wood container ) right in the center of the kitchen. Its the place where delicious meals are cooked and stories of the day are shared.
Sham Valley is also popular for sighting the mighty Snow Leopard and other wildlife of the region, specially Lynx and red fox.
The trek is extremely beautiful and is a photographer's delight, as most of the places in Ladakh are. If you are trekking here, so not forget your cameras, specially some portrait and wide-angle lenses.