There are some places in the world that give you the tantalizing feeling of giving up your existing life and settling down there forever. Leh is one of those. A beautiful city, Leh is cradled amongst the high peaks of Himalayan Mountains. Its exceptional geographical placement – a surprising tableland in the middle of jagged landscapes full of steep mountains and deep valleys – makes Leh a unique travel destination. Owing to this distinct geography, Leh has a distinct culture as well as ecosystem. Being a major travel destination, Leh has grown in terms of infrastructure and local affluence over the previous decade. This development has added some welcome aspects to the city in the form of wonderful markets, excellent hospitality and great facilities for the tourists.
The highest city of its size, Leh is situated at an altitude of over 3500 meters. Such a great height from the sea level distinguishes Leh from most of the man-inhabited places of the world. Instantly after the arrival, one has to take certain efforts to get used to the high altitude and low oxygen to prevent AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness). This is even more important for those who fly in. Connected by road through two of the highest motorable roads on the planet, Leh gets completely disconnected from the rest of the world during winters, when these roads are buried below massive piles of snow. During summers, however, Leh offers plenty of sunlight and a pleasant temperature which lasts from March to July.
The first and the foremost attraction at Leh during summers is lovely weather and fresh, unpolluted air. But apart from that, there are a lot of activities and site seeing options to keep you busy for a week or more. There are some nice monuments and important Buddhist monasteries in Leh, some of the very important in Buddhism. Markets of Leh are interesting and so are the hotels and restaurants. Besides these, there are several attractions around Leh, coverable within a day’s journey. Amongst these are Nubra Valley and Dha and Hanu, the societies with unique cultures. Khardung La pass, on the way to Nubra Valley is a major attraction for the bikers, as for a long time it was known to be the world’s highest motorable road. Pangong, Tso Moriri and Tsokar are some exquisite lakes, untouched by pollution of any sort. These are also the places famous for bird watching. Lama Yuru and Alchi are the famous Buddhist monasteries, of which Lama Yuru is loved by the photographers for its beautiful site.
It is always a strong recommendation that you spend your first day at Leh inside the hotel room in order to get accustomed with the climate. Not walking fast or making rapid movements is also on the top of the list. If AMS hits you, you may end up spending first three of your days in Leh in a hospital or, even worse, being transported back to Manali or Srinagar. But if you respect these prerequisites, you will end up having a great time. The next day, you can slowly start with the local site seeing options, until you are ready to face the higher altitude places such as Khardung La or Chang La passes.
Shey Palace and Monastery is quite inside the city and a famous tourist place. This 17th century palace was built by King Deldan Namgial. He also made a brilliant statue of Buddha, created from copper gilt, which graces photographers of all kinds by its magnificent look. Shey Palace is not a very large place, but an interesting one to start with.
The next stop is Thiksay Monastery, probably the most famous in Leh. This large monastery blanketing a hillock in the typical fashion of monastic designs was built in the early 15th century. As you take the walk up the hill, which could be demanding despite of a short length as your body still might be in the process of getting used to the altitude, you arrive at a square that offers a nice view of Leh. One way from here leads to the shrines situated upwards and another to a museum of precious objects nearby. There is an intriguing souvenir shop here where you can find useful books about Ladakh and various gift items that do not fail to please the people back home. The place also offers a nice café where you can sit and enjoy the pleasant ambience.
Leh Palace, built in the early 17th century, is at the outskirts of Leh. Its Ladakhi name is Lhachen Palkhar. It was built by King Namgyal. This nine storied structure stands over a hillock, overlooking the older town of Leh. For the most parts, the palace is in ruins. Photographers often spend a lot of time here taking pictures of the wide-spread houses on the backdrop of snow-capped hills.
Nearly 45 kilometers from Leh is Hemis Monastery, one of the important ones. This historical monastery, well hidden in the hills, has been here at least since 11th century, though it was further developed by King Namgyal in the 17th century. This simple yet attractive and serene place has an important museum. Also, Hemis Monastery is popular for Hemis Festival, dedicated to the Guru and sage, Padmasambhava. The festival is famous for traditional Ladakhi dance performances.
Markets and other parts in Leh can make a good tour. An ideal time for a leisurely stroll through the town could be when you have returned in the morning from Nubra Valley or Tso Moriri Lake after a night’s stay and have the rest of the day to be spent in the town itself.
An important tourist hub, Leh has a sophisticated hospitality industry, with a wide range of hotels to choose from. During the season, it is suggested that you book your stay well in advance.
Though Leh has an option of reaching by air, it is highly recommended that you make the journey by road, ideally starting from Manali and ending at Srinagar. Where the road from Manali to Leh offers amazing views of gigantic mountains and some exquisite snow-lands, the road from Leh to Srinagar is full of typical Ladakhi Mountains without any vegetation, which make a unique and captivating site. Though the roads in the state of Himachal have been rough and unpleasant, most of the roads in Ladakh are smooth and offer great driving pleasure.
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The distinguished city of Leh is the capital of Ladakh. Laying at an altitude of 3500 meters this city is a unique and scenic travel destination. An important tourist place in India, Leh has beautiful ancient Tibetan Buddhist monasteries that attract thousands of tourists from all over the world. The Shey Palace and Monastery, Thikse, Stok and Hemis Monasteries are the major tourist spots. The Leh Palace further adds charm to this place. Around Leh, the Nubra Valley, Dah-Hanu, Alchi and Lamayuru are the places worth visiting. Exquisite lakes like Pangong Tso, Tsokar and Tso Moriri are in proximity to Leh and exhibit subtle natural beauty. The weather of Leh is very pleasant during summers. The city has interesting markets and has all the necessary facilities for the tourists including good hotels, resorts and restaurants.
||A (What is this?)
|5 Star Hotels:
||Hotel Karvan Central.
||The Grand Dragon
||The nearest railway station is in Kalka, a bus or taxi to Manali via Shimla can be hired from here
|Nearest Major City(s):
||Srinagar(256 km) and Jammu (296 km)
|How to reach:
||Leh is well connected by roads from Kashmir and Manali. Good time from June to October
|Major Tourist Attraction:
||Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, Namgyal Monastery
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