Leh - Introduction
Leh is a travel destination with several attractions. The capital of Ladakh has been the center of Tibeto-Buddhist Culture since long. Its colorful gompas attract the devout Buddhists from far and away. Leh also is a favorite hiking locale that is thronged by adventure seekers.
Leh - Location
The adventure destination of Leh is the administrative capital of the Ladakh district. It lies in the eastern part of the northern Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh stands high at an altitude of 3,505 m above sea level. The Zanskar River flows through Leh.
Leh - Adventure Sports
Leh is indeed a trekker's paradise in North India. In case adventure excites you then you must take up any of the many treks offered from Leh.
The treks from Spituk to the Markha valley and Lamayuru gompa to Chiling village alongside the Zanskar River are quite popular with the adventure seekers. Another trek path is from Likir to Temisgam. Treks can be completed from the end of June until the middle of October. Proper acclimatization is necessary as many of the passes are as high as 5,000 m in altitude. You may contact the trekking agencies in Leh that offer treks inclusive of guide, packhorses, food and supplies.
Leh also offers grounds for other sports like Polo. Polo is a popular activity you may indulge in at Leh. Tourists and adventurers throng the Polo ground at Leh. The popularity of the sport can be judged from the fact that Polo matches are held regularly in Leh. During the celebration of the Ladakh festival also Polo competitions take place.
Then there is the sport of archery. The National Archery Stadium of Leh plays the venue for several archery competitions.
That's not all. Leh has much more to offer to the adventure seekers. You may try river rafting in the Zanskar River at Leh. The period from the month of July to September is ideal for river rafting in Leh.
Looking for more adventure? Leh offers mountain biking on the second highest motor able road in the world. The adventure in mountain biking from Leh lies in the most hostile terrains. The entire stretch of 485 km between Leh and Manali offers a challenge to mountain bikers who have the opportunity to cut across the majestic Himalayan ranges through four mountains passes. This highway reaches a height of 5,328 m (17,480 ft) at Taglang La pass. The other three passes along the highway are the Lachlung La, the Baralacha La and the Rohtang pass. Adventurers need to push their endurance to the limits to accept the challenge offered by the dangerous high-altitude trail from Leh. To the daring adventurers Leh-Manali highway rewards spectacular and picturesque landscapes.
It is noteworthy that the adventures seekers are required to get acquire entry permits for some special areas in the region.
Leh - Best Time To Visit
The lovely landscapes and the majestic mountains of Leh attract adventurers and tourists alike. The best time to visit Ladakh is in the summer months i.e. between the months of June and August. The road is open thus the transportation to and from Leh is easy in summers. In winters the temperature at Leh goes below zero degrees often.
Leh - Past
Leh became the regional capital in the 17th century, when King Sengge Namgyal shifted his court here from Shey (15 km southeast) to be closer to the head of the Khardung La-Karakoram corridor into China. Very soon, the town blossomed into one of the busiest markets on the Silk Route. It was in 1974 that Leh was opened up for tourists.
Leh - Sites in and around
The lovely destination of Leh is dotted with sites of tourist interest.
One of the major landmarks of Leh worth visiting is the Leh Palace. The Leh Palace is on the same lines as the Potala in Lhasa. The 17th century royal residence is now in ruins. Close to the Palace atop the Namgyal hill stands the Victory Tower. The Tower was built to commemorate Ladakh's victory over the Balti Kashmir armies in the early 16th century.
Then there is the Namgyal Tsemo Gompa. The Gompa was built way back in 1430. The major attractions in the Gompa are the three-story high Buddha image and ancient manuscripts and frescoes. You may catch some breathtakingly beautiful vistas of Leh from here.
Then there is the tourist attraction of the Sankar Gompa. The Gompa is renowned for the impressive impression of the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshwara Padmahari or Chenresig with a thousand arms and an equal number of heads.
Shanti Stupa is another must visit at Leh. The Stupa is a vintage point to enjoy the wondrous views of the exotic locales of Leh.
While at Leh you must also check out the Alchi Gompa. The 11th century gompa is located on the banks of the Indus River. Alchi is one of the largest and the most famous monasteries in Leh. You may check out the widely renowned collection of paintings in the Gompa. The biggest Gompa of Leh namely, Hemis is another site worth visiting. In fact there are several gompas of the 16th and the 17th century, in and around Leh that are of much interest to the archeologists.
Leh along with Choglamsar is known for the Buddhist study centers. In case you are holidaying at Leh and need relaxation, try the summer meditation sessions at the Mahabodhi Meditation Center on Changspa Lane.
Leh - What to Buy
For regular shopping Leh has several markets. For gift items and souvenirs the tourists at Leh may check out the Ladakh Art Place in the old town, the Ecology Center and some shops behind the Main Bazaar road. If you happen to be in Leh during the Ladakh festival then you must pick up the local handicrafts and clothes from the captivating stalls.
Leh - How to Reach
In terms of air transport Leh is well connected with the other important places in India. Regular flights link Leh with Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar.
For road transport to Leh there are land routes connecting Leh with Srinagar and Manali. The Leh-Srinagar road is usually open from June to October, while the Leh-Manali route is open from July to September.
Leh - Where to Stay
Accommodation options are easily available at Leh. Leh has several hotels and guesthouses that mostly open in the peak season from July to mid September. Budget lodging is available in three main areas: the old town, the newer areas along the Fort Road, and within the peaceful village of Changspa. The wooden lodges may be mid-range or top-end lodges offering comfortable stay at Leh.
Delicious and hygienic food is also available in plenty at Leh. You may feast on a variety of cuisines in Leh. Indian delicacies and especially the Kashmiri dishes are popular. Tibetan as well as western cuisines are easily available. During your stay in Leh the bakeries and their sweetmeats are a must checkout.
Leh - Travel Information
- It is noteworthy that the tourists must acclimatize to the atmosphere at Leh. Otherwise the humans are likely to suffer from acute mountain sickness or the AMS.
- The tourists or the adventure seekers need to have permits for entry in to the restricted areas in and around Leh.
- Individual tourists are not permitted to visit the entry-restricted areas.
- Tourists or the adventurers are not allowed to stay for more than seven days even after getting permits to the restricted circuits.
- The tourist or the adventure groups are to travel on identified tour circuits only.