Leh, Ladakh, Information about Ladakh, Ladakh Tour
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Information about Leh

Leh, the capital of Ladakh is spreading rapidly in all directions. Leh is situated in a fertile side valley of the Indus river. Since the 17th century Leh has been the capital of the Ladakh region. Leh and Indus Valley are earlier capitals of the region. The centre is about 10 km from the river. It developed as an important trading post and market and attracted a wide variety of merchants from Yarkand, Kashgar, Kashmir, Tibet and northern India. Tea, salt, household articles, wool and semi-precious stones were all sold and bought in the city which became a hub for the business traveler to South Asia. While Leh has come a long way from the time when most of the activities took place on its main street, it still retains its pleasant traditional quality. Due to tourism, there are various hotels and guest houses in the city. Tourism has certainly had the impacts on the society of Leh. Leh is at an altitude of 3,521 meter. The best season to visit Leh is from May to November. From traveler by road we recommend to check if the road is open before to proceed. We recommend to carry plenty of warm clothes. When the sun is up it gets quite hot but in the shade it can still be very cold.

Temperature in Leh
°C Jan Feb Mar Apr May June July Aug. Sep. Oct. Nov. Dec.
Day 22 24 26 29 28 28 31 30 31 28 26 23
Night -5 -1 -2 6 7 8 10 18 19 14 5 -3
Rainfall 1 5 2 6 10 15 21 20 12 4 1 0

If you are arriving in Leh by air after having spent a few days in Srinagar which is 1,768 meter or flying straight from Delhi which is at an altitude of 216 meter or Jammu at 305 meter which means that your body has experienced a substantial increase of altitude. You need to acclimatize yourself by not exerting too much. Taking rest in the first 24 hours is very important. If you have traveled by road from Srinagar you will be acclimatized better. Still, a mild headache is common and can be treated with aspirin or paracetomol. After a couple of days in this area one will feel more energetic as the body gets adjusted and adapted to the local altitude.

Festivals of Leh

Some of the festivals which are celebrated in Leh are the Hemis Festival and Losar Festival. Hemis Festival is celeberated in the month of June on the occassion of the birth of Guru Padmasambhava. Guru Padmasambhava is believed to have fought local demons to protect the local people. The famous mask dances are the part of the celebrations. Young and old, males and females, Lamas and common people take part in the mask dances. Stalls are also set up selling handicrafts and other wares. For 3 days there is joy and worship. The Losar Festival dates back to the 15th century and is celebrated in the 11th month of the Buddhist year. It was held before a battle against the evil powers protection for the people of Ladakh.

Shopping in Leh

Hand-woven carpets with dragon designs, copper and silver trinkets set with turquoise Thangkas are widely available in Leh. In the colourful bazaar of Leh there are plenty of little shops with everything from semi-precious stones like corals, turquoise, pearls, curios and artifacts.

Adventure in Leh

Trekking in Ladakh is most popular activity at the moment as it goes through very high mountains. However, it is advisable to be fully equipped before starting the trek. Indo Vacations organizes porter and ponies from Leh, Lamayuru or Padam and at other places from where the treks commence. Archery contests are also quite popular and competitions are held in the season.

Tourist Attractions in Leh

Within the town of Leh there is a lot to see. One can have an easy walk away through the interesting coppersmith’s quarter, visit the Moravian Church, the Ladakh Ecological Centre. The Shankar gompa is also one of the attraction of Leh. Shankar gompa has an outstanding collection of small statues of pure gold and paintings. An interesting walk brings you to the Ladakh Shanti Stupa. This walk goes through the picturesque village of Changspa. The various tourist attractions in Leh are the Leh Palace, Stok Palace, Tso Moriri Lake and monasteries. The Leh Monastery houses a solid gold statue of Buddha.

Leh Palace
The tall nine storeyed palace of Leh was built by Ladakh’s ruler Sengge Namgyal in the early 17th century. This palace has nine stories and wooden balconies with projections. This solid and yet graceful palace rises up like a mountain and gives the feeling to be in a mighty city of Himalaya. It has been described as the model of the Potala Palace in Lhasa. This palace was damaged during the attack from Zorawar Singh’s from Kashmir in the last century. This palace has a collection of wall paintings on the life of the Buddha, 100-year old Thangkas, statues etc. From the town below it, the palace appears like dazzling in the morning sun and ghostly at night. Another palace built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century and the Temple of the Guardian of the Deities stands above it on the Namgyal Tsemo peak. The temple has a large golden Buddha, many scrolls, murals and

old manuscripts. Down below, the town looks like a maze of little box like buildings bristling with brushwood stored on the roof for winter and set in an oasis of green fields.

Tso Moriri Lake
The Leh – Manali road leads through an area which is inhabited only by the nomadic Chang-pa herdsmen famous for Pashmina Goats. The Tso Moriri lake is located in the middle of the higher plateau of Rupso region at a height of around 20,000 feet. The surrounding dusty mountain provide an ideal background for the lake. The water of the lake is bright and blue and the this lake provides an ideal breeding ground for the variety or water birds – some of them are the great crested grebe, brown headed gull, brahminy duck & bar headed goose. Not far from the location is a picturesque village of Karzok where around one hundred families stay. On the top of the village there is a monastery which belongs to yellow sect. The best time to visit Tso Moriri Lake is from July to September.

Tso Moriri Lake, Leh

Stok Palace
Stok Palace across the river from Leh is the home of the royal family. The palace museum offers a collections of beautiful royal costumes and jewellery, and exclusive thangkas (religious themes and icons mostly giving a message and painted and embroidered on cloth).

Monasteries in Leh

Leh is the town of Buddhist monasteries. A look at the monasteries gives a visitor an idea of the inside life of the people of Ladakh. The most visited monasteries by tourists are Shey, Thiksey and Hemis. All of them are spread along the Indus river and are easily accessible so that within manageable time the visits can be organized. The ideal time to visit the monasteries is early morning or late evening when the priests are saying their prayers and doing their mystical chanting. The ringing of bells and blowing of long brass horns lend a magical touch to the whole atmosphere.

Shey, which is also not far from Leh, is the oldest capital of Ladakh from where its earliest Tibetan kings ruled. Royal palace and temples are built on a huge rock. Shey is the oldest of the three monasteries but at the same time it is not being used regulary and therefore opens only till nine in the morning. The monastery has a two storied 7 metre high gold statue of Lord Buddha sitting in meditation posture and brilliantly coloured murals. Above and below are the almost ruined walls of the old summer capital of Ladakh. The Shey Palace was also the summer palace of the former Raja of Leh.

Thiksey is situated on a hill-top in ideal surroundings. It offers a magnificent enjoyable view of the Sindh Valley. The monastery has rooms full of stautes, stupas and Thangkas and religious paintings of all kinds. It is 17 kms. from Leh and one of the largest monasteries. Thiksey is known for its beautiful murals.

Hemis Gompa is the biggest and very richly endowed monastery of Ladakh. It is about 40 km. from Leh on the Leh-Manali Road. It is not visible from the road as it is located in a side valley. The Hemis Gompa (Monastery) is known for its magnificent summer festival. This festival is celebrated every year for three days. Many visitors come to watch it. Various rituals and mask dances are held to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. The Hemis Gompa is also proud to offer the largest Thangka of Ladakh. This great Thangka is unfolded only once in every 12 years. The monastery also has an impressive collection of Thangkas, gold statues and stupas embedded with precious stones. 

Spituk is another interesting monastery, about 8 kms. from Leh on Srinagar road. It has totally new Gompa within the monastery as well as the old Gompa which has been restored. Spituk Monastery offers wonderful views of the Indus. The monastery offers fine thangkas and a collection of ancient masks. 

Other magnificent Gompas located near Leh are the Alchi, Lamayuru, Likir, Phyang, Rizdong, Stakna, Matho and Chemery. All these Gompas are easily accessible from Leh. 

How to reach Leh

By Air:
The airport is 8 km from the city centre. Leh is connected to Srinagar, Delhi and Jammu by air.

Those with heart trouble or lungs problem should check with a doctor before flying to such a high altitude. 

By Rail:
The nearest rail station is Jammu (739 km)

By Road:
Leh is about 434 km. from Srinagar and 739 km. from Jammu by road. There is a motorable road between Srinagar and Leh via Kargil. However, we recommend that the best way would be to go by road to Leh and return by air.

To know the distances from Leh click here.

Frequent group departures ...

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