Expansion plans for India’s Ladakh

  • Global
  • Sunday, 20 Dec 2020

Ladakh is one of the loneliest regions of India and is popular with trekking tourists. — DOREEN FIEDLER/dpa

Hikers may be drawn to Ladakh, the remote region of northern India famous for its jagged mountains – but first they have to get there.

That is likely to be easier in the future thanks to the planned expansion of the international airport in Leh, the largest city in the area.

The planned expansion should increase the airport’s capacity from 800,000 to 2.5 million annual passengers, according to the Airports Authority of India.

Leh’s airport is located at an elevation of 3,256m in a remote corner of India’s far north, a barren landscape that in terms of geography and culture seems more like Tibet.

Trekkers come from around the world to hike through the Zanskar range, with its jagged mountain ridges resembling a dragon’s teeth.

They come to hike the zig-zag trail to Kiupa Pass in the Himalayas, for example. Some make their way through the Zanskar range along an 18-day canyon trail from Rangdum to Shang Sumdo.

Many leave Leh in all-terrain vehicles, taking routes through steep gorges, hampered by rock slides.

While returning travellers tales span snow-covered river, lost trails and blisters, the highs and lows are due to be slightly more accessible in future. – dpa

Eiffel Tower set to reopen

After weeks of closure prompted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Eiffel Tower is set to reopen to tourists on Dec 16.

“I’m looking forward to seeing you between 10.30am and 6.30pm on Dec 16, ” the Paris tourist attraction tweeted.

The tower was shut to visitors at the end of October after France tightened down on freedom of movement in an attempt to control the spread of the virus, which has hit France particularly hard among European nations. However, as evidenced by the tweets, night-time visits will remain taboo.

Given the sharply reduced visitor numbers during previous months when the tower was open, visitors in Paris can expect to see drastically shorter waiting times in December.

The over 130-year-old tower not far from the river Seine is normally visited by up to seven million people a year. The “Iron Lady”, as the monument is affectionately known in France, was built for the Paris World Exhibition and completed in 1889.

The tower also shut down and reopened once this year, during the first wave of pandemic shutdowns in the spring. Back then, it was shut for months.

The tower’s owners say that visitor numbers remained sharply down when it was open earlier this year, partially because there are so few international tourists due to widespread travel restrictions.

After a forced more-than three-month coronavirus-related break, the 324m-high Parisian landmark opened its doors again at the end of June.

Tourism in the French capital has been hit hard, with other attractions such as the Louvre Museum or the picturesque Montmartre district suffering considerably due to the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the pandemic. – dpa

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airport , Ladakh , hiking


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