Leh, located in Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir, is known for its stunning scenic locales, Buddhist temples and pristine environment. Because of the strong influence of Tibetan Buddhism, Leh is also known as Little Tibet or the Land of Lamas.
Barren mountains with brightly painted gompas (monasteries), fluttering prayer flags, rocky ridges, tiny settlements and the Indus River add to the overall charm of the region.
Once the capital of Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh; Leh is still dominated by the Leh Palace. The former palace of the royal family of Ladakh, Leh Palace is built in the same style as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Buddhist monasteries and study centers like Shanti stupa and Sankar Gompa attract a lot of travellers.
Over the years, Leh has developed as a highly preferred destination for adventure sports. From high-altitude treks to river rafting in the Indus and Zanskar River, Leh promises to enthrall those looking for adrenalin rush.
Leh is also a major trading centre and offers a great shopping experience with impressive Tibetan handicrafts and jewellery, woolen clothes and exquisite carpets.
Leh comprises of New Town and Old Town. The Old Town has been included in World Monuments Fund’s list of 100 most endangered sites. World Monuments Fund (WMF), an international, non-profit organization, is dedicated to preservation of historic architecture and cultural heritage sites around the world.
WHERE TO STAY
Accommodation options are easily available at Leh. There are a number of hotels in Ladakh to suit almost every pocket or preference. Most of the hotels in Ladakh are family-run establishments, offering personalized services. They mostly function during 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 Changspa village. Accommodation options include guesthouses, tourist complexes, hikers’ huts and local paying guest facilities. There are also government run tourist bungalows mainly located along the Srinagar-Leh road.
WHERE TO EAT
Leh has a fair number of hotels serving all forms of cuisines. Indian delicacies and especially the Kashmiri dishes are popular in Leh. Tibetan as well as western cuisines are easily available. Tibetan dishes that include momos or steamed dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables, and thukpa, a thick soup with vegetables that provides a complete meal are a rage among tourists. Home-grown potatoes, pumpkins, and beans are cooked in a variety of different ways and accompany meat dishes. There are also several bakeries that sell fresh cakes, pastries, cookies and breads.
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Leh is as given below. The best time to visit Leh is also specified.