see in Leh
Capital of Ladakh, Leh has been traditional and important junction on the famous Silk Route of the antiquities. It has enjoyed close trade relations with Central Asia. Leh Palace is a nine storey dun- coloured Palace overlooking the town of Leh, built by King Singay Namgyal in the 17th century, but was later abandoned when Dogra forces took control of Ladakh in the mid-19th century. The palace, a ruin, is currently being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India. The Palace Museum has the richest collection of jewellery, ornaments, Thangkas, ceremonial dresses, crowns.
Shanti Stupa, a symbol of Peace and Unity is situated on a steep hill at a distance of 3kms from Leh city. This White stupa is adorned with pictorial depiction of stories from the life of Buddha. It was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. It provides panoramic views of the whole of Leh, Khardungla, Namgyal Tsemo, Leh Palace in the distance and the surrounding mountains. Sunrise and sunset is the best time to visit this place.
Hall of Fame
A glorious museum is located approximately 4 km from Leh city, constructed and maintained by Indian army in memory of the brave Indian soldiers who fought and lost their lives in Indo-Pak wars. Biographies of eminent defence personalities, images and weapons used during Kargil and Siachen wars; guns, grenades seized by the Indian Army are on display. A section of the museum also displays Siachen area exhibiting apparel and amenities used by the Indian Army in the region. Apart from this, one can also witness items related to Ladakhi culture, history, vegetation and wildlife found across the globe.
Places around Leh
Thiksey Monastery, an outstanding specimen of Ladakhi architecture, is a glorious Buddhist monastery located 18 kms east of Leh. Standing on the picturesque hillock, the monastery encloses numerous stupas, Thangkas, statues, swords, wonderful wall paintings and a large pillar carved with Buddha’s ideas and preaching, all in a mammoth 12 storied building complex. Thiksey Gustor Festival, a major attraction for tourists and Buddhist devotees, is conducted here with splendour and much pomp.
Shey is about 15 kms from Leh. Shey Palace and Gompa complex was built in around 1650 AD by the King Deldan Namgyal used it as a summer retreat by the kings of Ladakh. Shey Monastery was built in the memory of his father Singay Namgyal within the palace complex. It is famous for the giant statue of Shakyamuni Buddha second largest in Ladakh made of Copper with gold plating. Dogras of Jammu invaded Leh in 1834 and the King abandoned Shey and made Stok their permanent residence.
Hemis Monastery, located in Hemis village, 45 km southeast of Leh is one of the wealthiest monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery is famous for its rich collection of ancient remnants like the copper statue of Buddha; stupas made of gold & silver, sacred Thangkas, murals and various artefacts. The Hemis Monastery also serves as the venue of an annual festival, known as the Hemis Tse-shu. This festival is celebrated as a commemoration of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhav. On the day of the Hemis Festival, the thangka of the monastery is displayed, with a gap of twelve years between successive displays.
Stok Palace and Museum
The museum at this place has a huge collection of ornaments of the royal family, traditional clothing and a huge collection of thangkas. The museum showcases the worthy royal artefacts and paraphernalia including royal crowns, precious heirlooms, copper coins, prayer instruments and materials, precious stones and jewels and many 16th century old Thangkas, which represents the life and teachings of Buddha. It is a nice museum to view the Buddhist remains in India and also to come across Buddhist life style and culture.
Alchi Choskor / Monastery
Alchi is 65 kms from Leh & is situated on the southern bank of river Indus. Alchi Choskor one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh built by Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo between 958-1055. It possesses magnificent 11th & 12th century old wall paintings (Indo-Himalayan style). Alchi has no. of good places to stay overnight and these are located very close to the monastery & are in the main village.
It is one of the oldest and largest monasteries in Ladakh, located approximately 125 kms from Leh on Leh- Srinagar Highway. The monastery is surrounded by picturesque landscape resembling that to moon land. The monastery belongs to Drigung sect of Tibetan Buddhism and is a permanent residence to 150 monks. The Monastic festival of Lamayuru Monastery known as “Yuru Kabgyat” is held every year in the month of June.
Administrative headquarters of Nubra valley offers variety of accommodation to travellers. It has a dramatically positioned monastery atop a hillock and a 32 metre high statue of Maitreya Buddha. The Monastery overlooks the fantastic landscape of the Nubra Valley. Deskit sand dunes and double-humped camel ride reminds of silk route tradition.
This erstwhile capital of Nubra Kingdom in the 17th century is located on the ancient Silk Route and is a pretty village amidst poplar and willow trees. Between Hundar and Diskit lie several kilometres of sand dunes, and the famous double humped Bactrian camels. Non-locals are not allowed below Hundar village into the Balti area, as it is a border area.
Sumur is the largest village in the Nubra Valley across the Shayok River along lush green meadow. Samstanling Monastery founded by Lama Tsultim Nima more than 150 years ago, is the biggest attraction of Sumur. The monastery comprises of seven different temples and has a huge collection of thangkas and arduously restored frescoes. Around 50 monks reside in this monastery whose daily needs are taken care by the monastery's governing body.
Panamik is the last village accessible to travellers and is located just 40kms from the Siachen base camp. It is renowned for its hot sulphur springs which are claimed to have curative powers. And was a major stopover for the caravans of silk route before continuing their journey.
Tsomoriri Lake is located in Changthang approx. 240 Kms from Leh. The Lake is around 28 Kms long and around 8 Kms wide at an altitude of 14,000 ft. above the sea level. It harbours many species of migratory birds including Brahmini Duck, Rudy Shelduck etc. The Korzok village settlement with a monastery close to the lake has its own appeal.
The Tsokar (White Lake) is a high altitude (4660m) salt water lake in the Changthang region. One can see white salt deposits all over the lake shores. In fact in the years gone by, the Changpa nomads living in this region used to barter the salt for goods like rice and vegetables. A twin lake Tsokar and Tarsaphuk Tso form the part of a wide picturesque valley with many wildlife including migratory birds, wild asses (Kyang) and Changpa nomads with thousands of livestock including sheep, goats and yaks live in their tents around the lakes in the vast expanse of pasture.
Pangong Lake, an endorheic Lake is approx. 140 Kms from Leh, situated at an altitude of 14,000 ft. above the sea level. Only 25% of the Lake lies in India and the rest falls in China. The placid Pangong Lake is not just a tourist’s paradise but a geologist's domain too. The vast and serene lake displays a spectacular colour variation from dark blue to turquoise green during the day.
Located on Leh-Srinagar highway, Drass is the second coldest inhabited place on earth with winter temperature sometimes plummeting to less than minus 40 degrees. A magnificent view of Tiger Hill can be enjoyed from the main road. Drass is a convenient base for a 3-day long trek to Suru valley across the sub-range separating the two valleys.
One of the most beautiful regions of Ladakh, the Suru Valley forms the mainstay of Kargil district. The lower portion of Suru valley offers panoramic view of Nun Kun Peaks and other peaks in the range. A 7meter high rock sculpture of Maitreya Buddha at Kartse near Sanku is worth seeing. Rangdum, the most isolated part of the Suru valley is an elliptical expanded plateau surrounded by colourful hills on the one side and glacier encrusted Rocky Mountains on the other.
Zanskar is most isolated region of Ladakh, situated in the Kargil district about 430Kms from Leh. Zanskar is the home to number of well known Buddhist monasteries such as Karsha, Phuktal, Zongkhul, Stongdey, Sani and Bardan. The interesting folklores, myths and startling natural beauty of Zanskar attracts thousands of tourists every year.