Leh is the capital city of the beautiful state of Ladakh. It is located in the Indus Valley at an altitude of 3505 meters. There live 30 000 people.Leh is a cold desert and the only one of its kind in India. The summer temperatures in Leh rarely exceed 27°C, while in winter the mercury can drop up to -20°C. The ideal time to visit this place is from March to October.
The moment you land on this amazing mountain town, you can catch the breathtaking beauty of this place. The snow covered peaks, the mountain flowers, the deep valleys and the streams flowing can transport you to a world of complete solitude. The lilting mountain music, the monks in maroon robes on their way to the monastery, men in sun beaten faces trailing behind their herd of sheep are the common sights of Ladakh and more especially Leh.
MAIN ATTRACTIONS OF LEH:
The Royal Palace, known as Leh Palace, was built by King Sengge Namgyal during the 17th century. The Leh Palace is nine storeys high: the upper floors accommodated the royal family whereas the stables and store rooms were located on the lower floors.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is a monastery that stands behind Leh Palace. It contains a huge gold idol of laughing Buddha and some ancient manuscripts. This gompa was founded by King Tashi Namgyal in 1430. The monastery remains open from the morning to the evening.
The Shanti Stupa is one of the finest monuments in Leh, although of recent origin. It is an international collaborative effort between Japan and Ladakh to preserve the relics of the Buddha enshrined by the Dalai Lama himself. The steep climb to the stupa is worth the effort as it provides breath taking views of the beautiful Leh valley.
The Sankar Gompa houses monks of the Gelukpa or Yellow Hat Order. It has a grand image of Avalokiteshvara (the Buddhist deity of compassion) who is depicted with 1000 heads and 1000 arms.
When Kashmiri forces invaded Leh in the mid-19th century, the Royal Family abandoned Leh Palace and moved to a new palace: Stok Palace, located on the southern bank of the Indus river, 14 kms from Leh.
Ladakh has many historic monasteries called Gompas, where Buddhist monks and nuns live, study and practice their religion. The monasteries of Ladakh are situated in scenic locations, on hills and mountains and have rich collections of Buddhist Thangka paintings, art and artifacts. Among them, tourists can visit Spitok, Phyang, Shey, Matho, Tikse, Hemis, Basgo, Alchi and Likir.