The City of Life - Leh
Leh which is the capital of the Union Territory of Ladakh in India covers most of the area of Ladakh and is considered the largest town of Ladakh. Leh was also concerned as the historical capital of Ladakh as it was the former place of residence for the Royal family of Ladakh. This residence was having the same structure as Potala Place that is located in Tibet. Leh is located at an altitude of 3524 meters above sea level. Leh is also connected to the various national highways, NH1 which is located in the southwest is connected to Srinagar, Manali is also connected to Leh via Leh-Manali Highway.
The old town of Leh was one of the 100 most endangered sites in this list of world monuments found due to extensive rainfall and other such climate changes. Leh is surrounded by various mountains from all sides. It has a longer winter season as compared to the other parts of India from late November till late March this area experiences cold winters and the temperature falls below the freezing point. The two major highways such as Srinagar-Leh Highway and Manali-Leh Highway both are open for tourists from the month of late April till early October. The economy of this place is fully dependent on trade practices but growing fruits and other such agricultural practices are an important part of its economy.
What is Leh famous for?
Here is the list of various activities that can be enjoyed in Leh. There are various festivals that are held in Leh such as the Hemis festival that is held in Hemis monastery, which is organized in the month of July every year. Other than this you can also enjoy the Ladakh Harvest festival that is usually celebrated in the month of September, the main attraction of this festival is the Mask Dance.
Matho Nagrang festival is a Buddhist celebration that is enjoyed in the month of February at Matho Monastery. One can also explore the wildlife in Hemis National Park where you can also spot a snow leopard, there are more than 200 snow leopards that can be spotted during the winter season. You can also visit Changthang Wildlife sanctuary that can be explored in a jeep where you can spot various animals but mainly snow leopards.
You can also enjoy Bactrian Camel Safari in the sand Dunes of Hunder from the month of June to September. You can also enjoy Maggie at the Maggie point which is the highest cafeteria in the world that is located in Khardungla Pass. Enjoy the Yak cheese Momos, The cheese of which is made up of the milk of yak.
You can also hang out with the Buddhist Monks while scrolling in the Monetary of Leh. Enjoy the peaceful Morning with the Buddhist prayers in Hemis Monastery, which helps in rejuvenating your soul. Leh is the best place for adventure junkies and fun-seekers, You can enjoy the bike ride in the rocky and narrow terrains to Khardungla Pass.
You can also try the local butter tea or Chang that is the local brew that is made in a cylindrical Porcelain pot. You can also see how the most expensive handloom in the world is Pashmina that is crafted in old school mills located in Ladakh. Adventure lovers can also explore the Spituk Gompa trek, the Zanskar Valley tour, Chadar Trek, Drang Drung Glacier, etc for an adventurous expedition.
You can visit monasteries for cultural inside and rejuvenation of the soul in Namgyal Tsemo Monastery, Chemrey Monastery, Shanti Stupa, Gurudwara Patthar Sahib. You can admire the beauty of this place in places like Nubra Valley, Lamayuru where you can do star gazing, Pangong Tso where you can enjoy the breathtaking sunrise Zorawar fort which is a majestic fort. You can also explore the Stok Places Museum which is a paradise for culture lovers and the Hall of Frame where you can pay tribute to soldiers.
Activities like river rafting and camping can also be done here. You can also have the startling experience of Magnetic Hill, other than this you can also witness the royal life in Leh Palace. In the end, for shopping for some memorable souvenirs you can explore the Main Bazar.
Places to be visited in Leh
1. Leh Palace
Leh Palace is a Royal Palace that is located in The Leh district. This fort was built by Sengge Namgyal in 1600. Ladakh was an abandoned place when The Dogra forces captured this place in the mid 19th century. After this place was under the control of Dogra forces, they ordered the royal family to move to Stok Place. The museum of this palace is having a collection of ornaments crowns, ceremonial dresses and jewelry this palace is looked after by the archeological survey of India.
2. Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa is a white-domed stupa that belongs to the Buddhist community and is located on a hilltop in the chance that is located in Leh district. This stupa was constructed by Japanese Buddhist bhikshu, Gyomyo Nakamura in the year 1991, this stupa was part of the trace Pagoda mission. There is a relic of Buddha at the base point that was enshrined by the Dalai Lama. This place is really famous among tourists for its panoramic view.
3. Spituk Gompa
Spituk Gompa is also known as Spituk Monastery and Pethup Gompa. This Buddhist Monastery is located in Pethuk in the Leh district, this Monastery is located at the distance of 8km from Leh. This place was founded by OD-DE was the elder brother of Laha Lama Changchub Od and was blessed by Arhat Nyimagung. This Monetary was founded in the 11th century and a monastic community was introduced. This Monetary was taken over in the 15th century by the yellow hat sect.
4. Hall of Fame
Hall of fame is a display of the Indian Army that symbolizes the dark days of the India-Pakistan war. This Museum is a way to give tribute to the army men who lost their lives during the battle. The Museum is having seized weapons that belong to the Pakistani army, it's also having photos of soldiers in an arranged manner inside the museum.
5. Zorawar Fort
Zorawar fort is located in Leh city which is made from the play of local type, stone, wooden frame, and sun-dried bricks. Earlier this fort belonged to Zorawar Singh Kahluria who was the conqueror of Ladakh, who fought many battles against Chinese rulers. This fort is part of the Nainital monument in India under the archeological sites and remains act 1958. You can either take local taxis for this fort or can trek for 15 minutes from the Leh city of Ladakh.
6. Central Asian Museum
Central Asian Museum is located in the heart of Leh city of Ladakh This Museum was constructed in Tsas Garden. This Museum hides the oldest mosque that is located in Leh. This Museum was built by the Tibet heritage fund and has a contemporary edge. This heritage site is an amazing place to learn about the culture of Leh. The entry fee is rupees 50 per person.
7. Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery is located in the Thiksey village of Leh in Ladakh. This Monetary is considered in an exact manner as of Patola Palace that is located in Tibet. This Monetary is located at an elevation of 11800 feet above sea level and is one of the highest Gompa in India. This is a twelve-story building. This Monetary is visited by various monks and tourists every year.
8. Stok Monastery
Stok Monastery is located at a distance of 15km from Leh and has around 80 rooms among which a small number is used today. This Monetary was used for fortification that was used by the royal family of Ladakh over a long period of time. This Monetary is having a used Museum of three-room and expensive library. It was founded by Lama, Nawang Lotus during the rule of king Takta Bumlde.
9. Gomong Stupa
Gomang Stupa is the largest whitewashed Stupa that was constructed in the 9th century. The structure of this Stupa is having concentric serrated layered flanks with several shortens. The charming sitting area under the shad is having a spiritual atmosphere, there are various carved stones that are located nearby Stupa. There is one big Buddha statue that is located beneath the concrete shelter that is in the north of Stupa.
10. Namgyal Tsemo
Namgyal Tsemo Monastery or Namgyal Tsemo Gompa located in the Leh district of Ladakh this Buddhist Monastery was founded by King Tashi Namgyal in the year 1430. This Monetary is a three-story building that is having a gold statue of Maitreya Buddha and also an ancient manuscript and Srestoes. This Monetary is located near Tsemo castle.
11. Shankar Gompa
Sankar Monastery is a modern architecture building that is located in the lee of Khardungla Pass. This Monastery is also called the daughter establishment of Spituk Monastery. This Monetary houses just 20 monks and is having a limited visiting area for the tourists. The wall and the door which is at the entry point are nicely painted. The wall of this Monetary is having few rules for the monk and Tibetan calendar and some mandalas l.
12. Donkey Sanctuary
A thing that might surprise you is that Leh is really having a Donkey sanctuary, in this century sick and old donkeys of that region are bought and taken care of. Many locals in this place own a donkey due to their geographical condition but are left abandoned when they fall sick or grow older. This place is a very lively place that can bring a smile to the face of children and adults as it is having some creative posters and graffiti.
13. Red Maitreya Temple
This temple is popular for a huge statue of Maitreya Buddha which is made up of mud. There are various excellent divider paintings. This temple is surrounded by various mountains and offers a breathtaking view of the town. This temple was constructed by King Pragsta Bumde but in 1840 it was harmed during the Dogra invasion but was restored later.
14. Gompa Soma
Gompa Soma is one of the four temples that are part of the Leh Palace Complex. This is located below the palace entrance and next to an open courtyard the best time to visit Soma Gompa is in the early morning. It was constructed by Lama Tashi Temple in the year 1840. This became one of the famous Buddhist Temples in 1950 that is located in Leh. This temple is located on the main Bazar road of Leh. During the Ladakhi new year, there are dances and other ceremonies that are performed in the courtyard of Soma Gumpa.
15. Tisuru Stupa
Tisuru Stupa was constructed in the 11th century using a brick made up of mud. This is the largest stupa in Leh Ladakh which has a diameter of 55 meters. This stupa has a unique architectural style that is a combination of Indian stupa and Tibetan Lhakhang.
16. Namgyal Stupa
There are eight types of the stupa that depict the eight different events in the life of Shakyamuni Buddha. Namgyal Stupa which is referred to as the victory stupa that was constructed when Mara who was the evil tried to persuade Buddha and using the teachings of Buddha he wanted him to pass away from the world, but Buddha did not come into his trap and achieved victory over the death of Mara.
17. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
Gurudwara Patthar Sahib was constructed in 1517 in memory of Gurunanak. It is located 12000 feet above sea level and at a distance of 25 miles from Leh. This Gurudwara commemorates the visit of Gurunanak Dev (who was the founder of sick faith) when he visited the Ladakh region. Gurunanak is immense among Tibetan Buddhists. The Dalai Lama referred to Gurunanak as the Buddhist saint and named him Guru Gopmka Maharaj.
Temperature of Leh
Leh remains extremely cold from October to March where the highest snowfall is received during January and March month. The temperature during this period may go below -20°C, so you must be extra careful if you want to visit this place during these months. During the month of April to July, the temperature rises a bit, April and July are the months when you can experience Leh in the true sense. Though it remains cold but still pleasant and the best option to beat the heat during the summer season.
Where to stay in Leh
There are various good and budget hotels where you can make your stay comfortable such as The Grand Dragon Ladakh, Himalayan Bunker, Sia-La Guest House, Ladakh Villa, The Silk Route, Raybo Hostel, Odbar Guest House, The Zen Ladakh Resort, Zostel, Mandarava Homestay, Zambala Inn and many more.
Where to eat in Leh
There are a number of restaurants where you can eat such as Leh Zakhang, The Tibetan Kitchen, Bon Appetit, The Turnip - Pan - Indian Restaurant, Corretto Leh, Chopsticks Noodle Bar, NAMZA Couture & Cafe, Gizmo Restaurant, Neha Snacks, Yum Yum Food N Cafe, SKY WOK Restaurant and many more.
How to reach Leh
By Air: The nearest airport is Leh airport, located in Leh. From the airport, you can get local transport and cabs to reach your destination. There are well motorable roads that connect Leh to other cities. This airport is connected to the major airports of Delhi, Srinagar, and Mumbai.
By Road: Leh is connected to a well motorable road mainly the Manali-Leh Highway. You can get luxury and normal buses from Himachal Pradesh Tourism, J&K SRTC, and HRTC. After reaching the bus stand you can get local transport for Leh. It is well connected to major cities like Mathura, Vrindavan, Mumbai, Kanpur, Lucknow, etc.
By Rail: There are Pathankot Railway station and Kalka Railway station which are the nearest railway stations. Leh is connected to Delhi, Himachal Pradesh, and Srinagar, etc. From the railway station, you can hire a local taxi or other means of transport to reach your particular destination.
Distance from Major cities
Distance from Delhi: 1007 Kms
Distance from Uttarakhand: 1153 Kms
Distance from Lucknow: 1543 Kms
Distance from Ladakh: 2 Kms
Distance from Himachal: 723 Kms
Distance from Chandigarh: 764 Kms
Distance from Kashmir: 682 Kms
Distance from Kargil: 217 Kms
Distance from Mumbai: 2413 Kms
Distance from Bangalore: 3153 Kms
Distance from Chennai: 3186 Kms
Distance from Mathura: 1172 Kms
Best time to visit Leh
The best time to visit Leh by cab or bike is during the summer season and especially in the month of June. The time period from mid-September till mid-October is the time when you can enjoy the stunning beauty of Leh and Ladakh. If you want to visit this place for an adventure trip then you can visit it in the month of March. From the month of August till December visiting this place becomes quite risky as this area experiences Monsoon and winter season.