Leh the capital of Ladakh is a fascinating destination. Age-old monasteries, quaint lanes, colorful markets and stunning views of the Himalayas make Leh an exotic destination. Leh is where your adventure in Ladakh begins. You can go trekking through the mountainous terrain of Ladakh, enjoy a game of polo in a high altitude arena or watch an archery contest where local residents compete in a contest that remains unchanged by time. Mountaineering, white water rafting and wildlife tours are other adventurous attractions of Leh Ladakh India. Though the weather can be freezing cold, the smiles on the faces of the Ladakhi people are sure to warm your heart. Feel on top of the world in Ladakh.
Bon and Buddhism rule the lifestyle and culture of the people here. The Chortens (Stupas) and enchanting Gompas (Monasteries) adorn the city with their presence. The landscape is breathtakingly beautiful and there is an ominous beauty in the stark surroundings of Ladakh. The Hinayana Buddhist way of life lends a benevolent spirit to the very air of the region.
Zangskar valley : lies to the south west of Leh, surrounded by the Himalayan and Zangskar ranges, which is the most isolated of all the trans- Himalayan valleys. Zangskar comprises of two main valleys of Stod (Doda chu) and Lunak (Tsarab chu), which converge below at Padum. The valley has an area of about 5,000 sqr. Kms. and an elevation of 13,154 ft.
Nubra valley : The Nubra Valley means Ldumra (the valley of flowers), situated in the north of Leh. The average altitude of the valley is about 10,000 ft. above the sea level. The main attraction in this area is Bactarian Camels (Shaggy double hump Camel) around sand dunes, Deskit & Samstanling monasteries and Khardung la Pass (18,380 feet.) above sea level. This Tour can be organized for 3 days 2 nights.
Tomoriri Lake : The Tsomoriri Lake is a beautiful mountain bounded expanse of water, around 240 Kms. from Leh in Rupsho Valley. The Lake is located at 14,000 ft. near a small village of Korzok. The Korzok Monastery of 19th century houses Shakyamuni Buddha and other statues. The Nomadic people are most outstanding feature of this Lake area, which grazed herd of goats and yaks. The Tsokar (the salt Lake) around 76 kms. from Tsomoriri is also a wonderful Lake in this area.
Pangong Lake : Pangong is 40 miles in length and nearly 2-4 miles in width at a height of 4267m above the sea level What strikes the eye in coming first in view of this lake is the lovely colour of its water, espacially towards evening, which is of the richest deep blue, over the whole expanse, at morning time, it is of a lighter a very brilliant colour. The water of the Lake is not that salty as sea water.
Shanti Stupa (Japanese Peace Pagoda) : Shanti Stupa/Japanese peace pagoda is build by a Japanese religious organization headed by Head monk Nakamura with the help from the organization and local people. It is situated at a hill top in Changspa village providing a bird eye view of the Leh town and the surrounding mountain peaks. Architecturally it has the Japanese touch with small clean rooms on the side for meditators and the main Japanese shrine at the entrance.
Leh Mosque : The Jama Masjid of Leh was built in 1666-67 AD under an agreement between Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb and Ladakhi ruler Deldan Namgyal. Initialy, the architecture of the mosque bore Tibetan, Central Asian and Ladakhi style. In recent years it has been reconstructed and given a new look with minarets and domes.
Spituk Gompa : 8 Kms from Leh, it stands prominently on the top of hillock commanding a panoramic view of the Indus Valley . Many icons of Buddha and fine Thankas are to be found in this 15th century Gompa.
Phyang Gompa : 17 Kms from Leh on the Leh-Kargil road, it looks like a huge palace from afar, build by Tashi Namgyal in the later half of the 16th century AD, it belongs to the Red Cap sect of Buddhists.
Likir Gompa : Founded in the 11th century and rededicated to a different monastic order in the 15th century, its earlier Gompa was destroyed in a fire. The present Gompa dated back to the 18th century.
Basgo Gompa : 40 Kms downstream from Leh, it was the seat of power of branch of a Namgyal family. It was here in 1680 that invading Mongol and Tibetan armies were held in check over a three year old siege.
Alchi Gompa : 70 Kms from Leh, on the banks of the Indus, is the Alchi Gompa dating a thousand years back. One of its walls features thousands of miniature sized pictures of the Buddha. Three large sized images made of clay and painted brightly are its focal attractions.
Ridzong Gompa : There is no road to Rizong Gompa hence one has to walk to the monastery which is deep into the mountains. Rizong Gompa is known as the paradise for Meditation. Guru Padma Sambhava is believed to editated here for years.
Lamayuru Gompa : The oldest holy site in Ladakh, it was a bon shrine prior to the advent of Buddhism. Also known as Yung Drung(Swastika) it is sited on a high promontory overlooking the village and valley.
Mulbekh Gompa : Precariously perched a top of a 200 Mts. high crag, it has an imposing rock-carving of Chamba, the future Buddha.
Padum : Padum is 464 Kms. From Leh and 234 Kms away from Kargil. Once the capital of the Kingdom of Zanskar valley, today it is the administrative headquarter of the region and probably the most populace settlement of barren Zanskar region.
Khardungla Pass : The road journey to Nubra valley leads through Khardung La pass (The highest Motorable road in the world) 18,390 ft. around 39 Kms. Away from Leh. Khardong is the first village of Nubra valley at higher altitude than Deskit and other villages.
Deskit Village : Deskit is the main village of headquarter of Nubra valley, which has a small market consisting of a row of shops and about 500 years old Gompa on the hilltop.
Deskit Gompa : Deskit Gompa was founded by Lama Sherab Zangpo of Stod in about 1420 AD during the reign of King Dragspa.
Hundar Village : Hundar is a beautiful village to stay with lot of trees and you will really enjoy your stay at Hundar. It has a small monastery and ruined fort above the village. The walk or Camel Safari (Double Hump bacterian camels) from Hundar to Deskit, through sand dunes for two hours is wonderful.
Samstanling Gompa : Samstanling Monastery was founded by Lama Tsultrim Nima and Monastic community was introduced as Rezong Gompa. About 50-60 monks are residing at this 132 years old monastery. The Gompa has some strict rules and regulations. -Women are not allowed in the monastery after sunset and before sunrise.
Panamik : Panamik was major stopover for ancient Silk route caravan before crossing the mountains of Karakoram and Ka-lu, as there were no villages in further journey for 12 days, Panamik is famous for hot spring, Insa Gonpa and near by small beautiful Lobonestso (small Lake).
The nearest railway station is in Kalka from where has to take a bus or taxi to Manali via Shimla. There are regular Tata Sumo and bus services in Manali to and from Leh.
Leh is connected by the regular domestic flights to and from Delhi. However, as the weather is unpredictable, a 2 to 3 hrs hold-up is normal, especially on the early morning departures.
Long, winding but well maintained roads are the next best option to a flight for Leh. The two popular routes to Leh are from Srinagar via Kargil on the Srinagar-Leh Highway and from Manali via Sarchu and Dharchu on the Manali-Leh Highway. These routes are only open from June to October.