Leh is a capital
of Ladakh can be found at 3505 m higher than the sea level and
is towards the
eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The Zanskar
River irrigate the Leh, which flows into the Indus River just
below. Falling of side valley that narrows north towards
snow-capped peaks and on the other by a cover of lush watered
farmland. Leh is a beautiful place along with so many amazing
attractions and is the center of Tibeto-Buddhist culture for
times. Therefore, it considered to be as favorites hiking place
to visit by tourists all over the India and World too.
Leh is a beautiful barren desert situated at 3,505 meters above
sea level in lap of the Great Himalayas. Leh is the main tourist
gateway, its the largest town in the Ladakh region. It is ideal
destination for nature lovers and adventure freaks. The main
highlights includes the breathtaking landscaping, the enchanting
rives, snowcapped mountains complimenting the blue sky, time
stopping silence of the desert, temperature below zero and
Ladakh festival, in short nature's untouched beauty and
incredibly attractive. Leh has so many monuments, monasteries,
great options for trekking and mountaineering, river rafting,
horse riding and polo.
The Ladakh is bounded by the grand mountain ranges of the world,
the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram (K2)
peak which lies
crosswise of them, and you can find there the Ladakh range and Zanskar Range. When you consider all this in geographical terms,
this is a new born land, formed only few million years ago by
the clasping and folding the crust of earth as the sub-continent
of India pressed with the overwhelming force with opposing the
rigid mass of Asia Continent.
Places to See
The beautiful nine story 17th century palace was the
residence of the royal family. The royal palace resembles a
mini-Potala Palace. The palace house Buddhist paintings on walls
and artifacts. On the top of the Namgyal hill, the palace has
the Victory Tower, built to commemorate Ladakh's victory over
the Balti Kashmir armies in the early 16th century. The palace
was built for King Singge Namgyal, It serves as Indian
Government's archaeological conservation organisation office in
Leh Monastery and Gompa
The central area of Ladakh has the greatest concentration of
major Buddhist monasteries or gompas. Of the twelve situated on
or near the Indus, the oldest monastery is that of Lamayuru,
which is believed to have been a sacred site for the
pre-Buddhist religion known as Bon. The monasteries of Phiyang,
Hemis and Chemrey were all founded under the direct patronage of
members of the ruling Namgyal dynasty. Phyang represents an act
of penance by the 16th century King Tashi Namgyal for the
violence and treachery by which he reached the throne.
The gompa stands prominently on the top of a hillock, 8 Kms.
from Leh, and commands a panoramic view of the Indus Valley for
miles. Many icons of Buddha and five thankas are found in 15th
century monastery. There is also a collection of ancient masks,
antique arms, and an awe inspiring image of Mahakal
Shanti Stupa (means 'World Peace' in Japanese) was built by a
Japanese who harbored the ambition of spreading Buddhism across
the world, in 1985 with aid from the Japanese Government. It is
located at Changspa, on the hilltop, and was inaugurated by
Dalai Lama in 1985. Its state of the art work attracts a lot of
tourists to Ladakh and is spectacular to watch. The stupa is
connected by a ‘motorable’ road and a steep flight of stairs.
Once on top, you can stop for a snack in the tea shop, then
relax and enjoy the panoramic view of the chain of mountains and
the peaceful little village of Changspa with typical Ladakhi
houses built along a gushing stream, and the towering Namgyal
Tsemo in the distance.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa
The Namgyal Tsemo
Gompa was built in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal on Namgyal Tsemo
peak overlooking the town. The monastery contains a three-story
high solid gold idol of Maitrieya Buddha (future Buddha also
called laughing buddha) and a one-storied statue of
Avaloketesvara and Manjushri along with ancient manuscripts and
frescoes. The fort above this gompa is ruined, but the views of
Leh from here are breathtakingly beautiful. The associated
temples here remain intact, but they are kept locked except
during the morning and evening hours when a monk toils up the
hills from Sankar Gompa to attend to the butter - lamps in front
of the images.
The Sankar Gonpa
is a couple of kilometers away from Leh town. It belongs to the
Gelukspa school of Tibetan Buddhism. This small Gonpa is a
branch of the Spituk Monastery, founded by the first incarnation
of Skyabje Bakula (head monk of Spituk)
15 Kms upstream
from Le, . the palace is believed to have been the seat of power
of the pre-Tibetan kings. A 7.5 metre high copper statue of
Buddha, plated with gold, and the largest of its kind, is
installed in the palace.
Soma Gonpa (Jokhang)
Leh - The Ladakh
Buddhist Association in 1957 built the small Gonpa opposite to
SBI, in the main bazaar, which is open throughout the day for
visitors. The Gonpa contains a statue of Joyo Rinpochey (crowned
The striking green
and white Leh Mosque, an exquisite work of Turko-Iranian
architecture, stand in the Main Bazaar of Leh. This historical
mosque was built in 1666-67 A.D. consequent to an agreement
between the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and then ruler of Ladakh,
Deldan Namgyal. The mosque is open only to men. This is also a
good place to find out about the possibility of doing voluntary
work with various organizations. If interested, inquire at the
reception centre or simply check the information board.
Stok Palace Museum
17 km from Leh
town, this museum exhibits precious stones, thangkas, coins,
royal crowns and dresses and prayer instruments.
The Nubra Valley
Known as a
flowering den Nubra valley gets clad in endless bushes of yellow
and pink wild roses. Once the
valley is through with the season
of roses around August, a carpet of wild lavender lies gently on
it. Nubra is also a relatively warmer valley in Ladakh making it
perfect for crops and fruits to grow. Diskit Village located
near Khalsar, dotted with apricot plantations is one of the
larger village of the Nubra valley. The road between Diskit and
the quaint little Hunder Village winds through a gorgeous
stretch of sand
dunes. A quiet and pleasant evening can be spent
amidst nature with snowcapped peaks in the background.
This lake is
situated at a elevation of 14,000ft. In the Eastern sector of
Ladakh, at a distance of 154km. from Leh across Changla pass
(17,000ft.). This lake is one of the largest and most beautiful
natural brakish lakes in the Country.
HOW TO REACH
By Air - Leh has the highest airport in India, it is kust
8km away from the city centre and well connected to Delhi,
Jammu, Chandigarh and Srinagar.
By Rail - Jammu is the nearest railway stations i.e. 620 kms
from Leh. The station is well connected to all major cities with
few express and regular trains.
By Road - Leh-Shrinagar road is the main route to leh which
include a night halt at Kargil. You can try the regular or the
deluxe buses operated by the Jammu and Kashmir start road
transport or you can take private taxis.
WHEN TO GO
Best time to travel Leh-Ladakh is between July to September.