ABOUT LEH (LADAKH):
- Leh, the ancient capital of Ladakh region is perched at an altitude of 3,350 metres.
- Amidst starkly beautiful mountains, which gently blend into an oasis of lush fields.
- Breathtakingly beautiful town is laden with palace and monasteries.
- It was a flourishing caravan trade centre between Punjab and Central Asia and between Kashmir and Tibet.
- Today, Leh has emerged as an important tourist destination providing an unusual holiday.
- An ideal base for trekking, mountaineering, camping and white water rafting.
- Region of upper Indus Valley around Leh is the cultural heartland of Ladakh.
- Studded with a number of Buddhist monasteries (gompas) and magnificent palaces.
MODE OF COMMUNICATION:
- Airport: Srinagar International Airport, Srinagar (SXR), 400 kms away from Leh and Satwari Airport, Jammu (IXJ), 700 kms away from Leh.
- Rail: Jammu Tawi Railway Station, Jammu, 690 kms away from Leh.
- Road: The most exciting way of reaching Leh is by road from Srinagar (387 kms). It takes about 2 days’ time to reach Leh from Srinagar. Visitors normally rest for a night at Kargil (204 kms), which is the midway point.
SIGHTSEEING AT A GLANCE
Leh Monastery Namgyal Tsemo Leh Mosque Shanti Stupa Samkar Gomopa Alchi Monastery Hemis Monastery Phiyang Shey Spituk Monastery Thikse Monastery
FORT & MONUMENTS
Leh Palace Namgyal Tsemo Phiyang
Hemis High Altitude National Park
Ladakh Ecological Centre
ATTRACTIONS OF LEH (LADAKH)
- Leh Palace:
- Nine storeyed majestic palace was built by Sengge Namgyal, the ruler of Ladakh during early 17th century.
- It is said to have served as the model for the famous Patola Palace in Lhasa (Tibet)
- Within the palace are old wall paintings depicting the life of Lord Buddha.
- Small corridors have over 100 years old tanks or painted scrolls, statues and other armaments.
- Leh Monastery:
- Perched high above the valley-crags.
- Dominates the palace and the town, symbolising the supremacy of the Spiritual King.
- Monastery has a solid golden statue of Buddha, painted scrolls, ancient manuscripts and wall paintings.
- Namgyal Tsemo:
- Another hill rising above Leh town is occupied by a small fort and monastery complex of Namgyal Tsemo peak.
- Built in the 16th century by King Tashi Namgyal and is believed to be the earliest royal residence in Leh.
- Nearby is a Gonkhang, the shrine of the guardian deities and a temple dedicated to Maitreya (the Future Buddha).
- Both the shrines house excellent murals.
- Leh Mosque:
- Magnificent mosque is a fine example of Turko – Iranian architecture.
- Ladakh Ecological Centre:
- It lies on the western edge of the town.
- Engaged in development of agriculture, solar energy, health and environmental awareness in the region.
- A small library and a shop selling local handicraft.
- Shanti Stupa:
- Splendid Shanti Stupa or the “Peace Pagoda” atop a hill.
- Built in 1980, with the help of Japanese Buddhists.
- Settlement on the outskirts of Leh is known of its exotic scenic beauty and colourful bazar.
- Moravian church lies on the way to Changspa.
ATTRACTIONS AROUND LEH (LADAKH)
- Samkar Gomopa:
- 3 kms away from Leh town.
- 19th century monastery is the only one built on valley level.
- Seat of the yellow sect of the Buddhists and has a rich collection of miniature statues of pure gold and a number of wall paintings.
- 7 kms away from Leh town.
- The main Tibetan refugee settlement in Ladakh.
- Sporting activities like polo and golf can be enjoyed here.
- Alchi Monastery:
- 70 kms away from Leh town.
- 12th century gompa on the banks of Indus.
- One of the most beautiful gompas of Leh region.
- Alchi is famous for its exclusive wall paintings.
- Hemis Monastery:
- 43 kms away from Leh town.
- Nestled atop a green hill is the biggest and wealthiest monastery of Ladakh.
- Built in 1630, during the reign of Sengge Namgyal.
- Masked dance performance is worth seeing during celebrations of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava in June.
- Monastery has gold statues and stupas adorned with precious stones.
- A rich collection of tankas, including the largest tanka in Ladakh which is unfolded only once in every 12 years (Last displayed in 2004).
- Hemis High Altitude National Park:
- 35 kms away from town.
- Unique Park covering an area of 600 sq. kms.
- Inhabited by some of the most exotic and endangered animal species like – shapu, bharal, ibex, snow leopard etc.
- 20 kms away from Leh town on the Leh-Kargil road.
- Built by Tashi Namgyal in the later half of the 16th century.
- Palace like gompa belongs to the Red Cap sect of the Buddhists.
- 15 kms away from Leh town.
- Ancient capital of Ladakh is believed to have been the seat of power of the pre-Tibetan kings.
- Abandoned palace has a temple enshrining a 7.5 metre high copper statue of Buddha, plated with gold.
- Statue dates back to the 17th century and is perhaps the largest of its kind.
- Spituk Monastery:
- 8 kms away from Leh town.
- 15th century monastery atop a hill is said to be the oldest establishment of Gelugpa sect in Ladakh.
- Built in Tibetan style and houses a library of Tsongkapa, the sects founder.
- Thikse Monastery:
- 20 kms away from Leh town.
- One of the largest and architecturally the most impressive gompas in Ladakh.
- Monastery is mainly known for its exotic murals and wall paintings.