Leh is a beautiful hill station and a prominent town in the Ladakh region. Nestled between the gigantic Himalayan ranges and on the banks of river Indus, Leh is one of the most chosen holiday destination in India. The amazing and majestic sceneries of the place will enthral you in its splendour. The distinct character of the place in terms of architecture takes you on a journey back in time. Moreover the culture and tradition of this place is also very renowned. Leh has a very strong Buddhists influence and it is also referred to as 'Little Tibet'.
Location : State/District
The town of Leh is located under the Leh district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. The latitude and longitude of Leh corresponds to 34.1454° North and 77.5676° East respectively.
The capital town of Ladakh, Leh is a stunning hill station in the Northern part of the country.
Adventure Tourism, Trekking, Mountaineering
Leh is an extremely popular hill station that offers everything to its visitors, right from scenic places and spiritual healing to adventure tourism. This makes it a perfect holiday destination with family and even for newlyweds or honeymooners. Leh is a favourite destination of adventure lovers that offers a range of outdoor activities like mountain climbing, trekking, mountaineering, cycling and jeep safari tours.
The best time to plan a trip to Leh is during summer months from May to September. The weather during this time remains very pleasant and you can also participate in the famous Ladakh Festivals. The months of July and August witness the highest number of tourists and the climate is ideal for sightseeing. The winter months from November till March are extremely cold and the time is not recommended.
Travelling to Leh is hassle free for Indian citizens. Foreigners however need a proper visa permission from the government to travel to Leh.
Places to Visit
Leh is dotted with marvellous museums, palaces and sightseeing places that gives you a glance of the flourishing Tibetan culture, seen in the place.
The Leh Palace is a landmark destination that gives a dazzling view of the town and surrounding landscape from the terrace. The palace is a nine-storey building, constructed in accordance with the Tibetan architectural style. Sadly the building is left in ruins and remains dark with gaping holes, seen in the floors. Always carry a torch when you visit the Leh Palace. The palace has a museum that displays a spectacular collection of Royal arms and old thangka paintings.
Shanti Stupa is one the superb and ancient monuments in Leh. The Stupa is maintained by the collaborative efforts of Ladakh and Japan to conserve the relics of Lord Buddha.
Just behind the palace, is the Namgyal Tsemo Gompa also called as the Red Gompa. The place was built by Tashi Namgyal in the 15th century. The first building houses giant statue of Maitreya that is flanked by the Bodhisattvas. The place is an important spot for Buddhist followers.
The Leh Monastery is another prominent sightseeing place. The monastery has a golden solid statue of Lord Buddha that is worth seeing. You will also be amazed to see the impressive wall painting, ancient manuscripts and painted scrolls. You must also visit the Spituk Monastery in Leh. This Gompa houses a fantastic collection of antique arms, ancient masks and a stunning image of Mahakal. The face of this awe-inspiring image remains covered and is only unveiled at the time of Spituk festival held in January every year.
The Leh Mosque stands majestically within the Main Bazaar. It is a Sunni prayer house built during the 1660s by Singe Namgyal, in honour of his Muslim mother. The mosque is an example of the fine work of Turko Iranian architectural style.
The Mani Walls is another prime characteristic spot of the entire Ladakh region. The Mani Walls are 500 metre long stone walls that are engraved with prayers. This wall was constructed in 1635 by King Dalden Namgyal in memory of his mother.
The Beacon Highway is a spectacular stretch of road starting from Leh to the Nubra Valley. Located at an altitude of over 5000 metres, Beacon Highway stands proudly as the highest highway in the world. The road is opened for visitors from September to October only. However, Nubra Valley being a restricted area, the Beacon Highway is inaccessible for foreign tourists.
The Main Bazaar located in the heart of the town in centre of all activity in Leh. The streets are lined with colourful shops selling myriad Kashmiri products. The place is ideal for leisure walks or just hanging around. Leh is a good place for indulging in some shopping. Look out for the silver and turquoise jewelry that comes from Burma and Tibet. Local handicrafts, traditional clothes, Ladakhi carpets, shawls, stoles and rugs can be picked from the bustling bazaar.
Leh is a popular adventure destination that offers outdoor activities like mountaineering, trekking, cycling and white-water rafting.
The Nubra Valley is a popular spot that can be reached from Leh. This place is one of the most enchanting and beautiful destination that attracts every tourists. The Nubra valley is bestowed with tranquil spots and picturesque sceneries.
Kargil is an extremely famous tourist destination from Leh. This place became more renowned after the famous Kargil War of 1999. Kargil is also an adventure destination with activities like trekking and mountaineering.
Alchi is a serene and pristine spot located close to Leh. The untouched beauty of the place will definitely refresh your mind and even soul. Alchi is one among the oldest monasteries of the Ladakh region and is famous for its magnificent wall paintings of the Indo-Himalayan style.
Food & Accommodation
Leh is packed with restaurants that offer all kind of cuisines right from Tibetan and Chinese to Korean and Continental. The traditional Leh delicacies made using spices and dry fruits are a must try. Some of non-vegetarian dishes include Yaknee, Roghan Josh, Marchwangan Korma and Gushtaba. Some of the best restaurants in Leh are Chopsticks, Old Town Cafe, Bon Appetit, Cafe Jeevan, Penguin Garden and Wonderland Restaurant. The Tibetan cuisine offered at the Himalayan Cafe is surely not-to-be-missed.
There are a range of hotels and guest houses in Leh to suit every traveller's needs. The deluxe hotels include Hotel Kanglachan, Hermit Hut Hotel, Royal Palace Hotel, Grand Willow, Lotus Hotel and Chospa Hotel. If you want hotels with basic facilities and reasonable rates, take a pick from Hotel Pangong, Hotel Chubi and Munshi Continental.
Safety and Security
Owing to its strategic position, Leh is dominated by military presence. However the destination is safe and secure. The hill station of Leh is located at a very high altitude and therefore the air is rarefied. It takes some time for visitors to get acclimatised. It is advisable to wait at least 48 hours before undertaking any strenuous treks or climbing activities.