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Leh - mini Tibet OR Little Tibet or the Land of Lamas OR its stunning scenic locales

STATE - JAMMU & KASHMIR
   
DISTANCE - 473 KM From Manali, 434 KM From Srinagar, 613 KM From Delhi.

 
CONNECTION
 
By Air : Leh is well connected with the other important places in India. Regular flights link Leh with Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar.

By Road : road transport to Leh there is land routes connecting Leh with Srinagar and Manali. The Leh-Srinagar road is usually open from June to October, while the Leh-Manali route is open from July to September.
 
ABOUT LEH
 
Leh, the capital of Ladakh is a attractive 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.
 
PLACES OF INTERESTS IN LEH
 
Shanti Stupa : This stupa also towers over the city of Leh. It's bright colours are in sharp contrast to the Leh Palace. This was built in the Changspa region of the city by the Japanese and was given the initial blessings by the Dalai Lama in 1985. The Shanti stupa was built as a symbol of world peace.

Stok Palace : The Stok palace is also a museum where one gets to see various items belonging to the Royal family like the King's crown, etc. This palace was built in 1825 by the ruling king at the time, Tsespal Tondup Namgyal. The royal family has resided in Stok since the loss to Zorawar Singh.

Leh Palace : This palace was built way back at the beginning of the 17th century AD by Singay Namgyal. It consists of nine stories and sits atop a hill, majestically overlooking Leh city. The care and reconstruction responsibility has been taken over by the Archeological Survey of India.

Shey Palace : Shey is a small town in comparison to Leh. It is located around 15km to the south on the main highway heading in the Manali direction. Shey palace was built in early 17th century AD by Deldan Namgyal as a memorial for his father, Singay Namgyal. The palace houses a three storey copper statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Overlooking the Shey palace are the ruins of the fort built by the first king of Ladakh, Lhachen Spalgigon. Shey also has a very large scattering of stupas all across it's landscape.

Thiksey Gonpa : This monastery is located 17km on the main highway from Leh in the direction of Manali. The present day monastery which overlooks the village below was not the original location. It was originally built at Stakmo. The present day monastery was founded by Paldan Sherab. This monastery hosts the festival of Thiksey Gustor.

Hemis Gonpa : This monastery is located among the beautiful landscape of the Hemis National Park. It is located at a distance of 45km from Leh and is one of the most popular monasteries visited by travellers. It is also famous across the world for the Hemis Festival hosted by it. It was founded in 1630 AD.

Basgo Palace : This palace looming over a small community below was built in the 16th century AD by Jamyang Namgyal and his son Singay Namgyal. This palace also houses a three storey copper gilted image of Maitriya Buddha, which was built by Singay Namgyal in memory of his father. The village below is also a big attraction to travellers, especially photographers, due to it's quaint streets and small houses. This area also consists of a temple that is now considered one of the most endangered monuments in the country.

Lamayuru : This is located 125km west of Leh in the direction of Kargil. It is one of the most beautifully located and built Gonpas in Ladakh. There are no clear records regarding who built the Gonpa but texts state that Arahat Nimagung, during his visit to the location, made offerings of grain and corn which took the shape of Swastika or Yungdrung. Besides the amazing visual aspect that makes it a must visit destination, it also plays host to the fascinating Yuru Kabgayat festival.

Tsomoriri (Lake) : This beautiful salt water lake is located 240km from Leh. It is situated between beautiful high mountains in the Rupsho valley at an altitude of 14,000 feet. The water is clear and besides being an awe inspiring sight, it also attracts many bird species, which are an added attraction of their own. A village by the name of Korzok is located along the south west side of the lake. This village also houses a monastery dating back to 1851. The biggest attraction to the lake, for many tourists, are the Changpa nomads who can be seen grazing their goats and yaks in the area around.

Tsokar(lake) : The literal translation of the name means lake of salt. Tso in the local language means lake. This lake is located 154 kms from Leh. It is on the route to Tsomoriri and is situated 76 kms short of it. Just as Tsokar is a smaller lake than Tsomoriri, it also has a smaller village and monastery located along it's edge. This is the Thukje village. This lake is also host to many bird species and is home to many very interesting families of marmots. The chances of seeing the high altitude tibetan wild ass, known as the Kjang, is also very high here. The local operators also offer a beautiful 3 day trek from Tsomoriri to Tsokar.

Pangong Lake : This extremely picturesque lake is approximately 70 kms in length and an average of 6 kms in width. The main attraction to this lake are the fascinating colours of it's water. It is said that on a clear day, up to seven different shades of green and blue can be seen at the same time. If you happen to spend the entire day there, it is amazing to watch the colours change from brilliant turqoise to a dark blue. The water of this lake like Tsokar and Tsomoriri is also saline. Unlike the other two lakes, where only camping is a possibility, accommodation facilities for overnight stay is available Tangtse. Camping is not permitted around the lake as it is located extremely close to the border with China. In fact, 75% of the lake falls in Chinese territory. The altitude of the lake is 13,930 feet above mean sea level.

Korzok Village : 18 km from Leh, Spituk Gompa is on the hilltop near River Indus. Od-De founded the Gompa in 11th century and was called Spituk (exemplary) by Rinchen Zangpo, a translator that visited the place. Initially it belonged to the Kadampa School but during the reign of King Gragspa Bumide, he transferred it to Gayluk Pa order. The monastery has a rich collection of ancient masks, antique arms, icons and numerous Thankas. An annual festival, known as the Spituk festival, is held here from 17th to 19th days of the eleventh month. There is another shrine, higher up the hill, known as the Mahakal Temple, dedicated to the deity of Vajrabhairava. It has a frightening face, which is unveiled only during the annual festival in January.
 
RELIGIOUS PLACES IN LEH
 
Jama Masjid, Leh : The historical mosque is situated in the heart of Leh town. It was built in 1666-67 A.D. consequent to an agreement between the Mugal Emperor Aurangzeb and the then ruler of Ladakh, Deldan namgyal. Since then it has been repaired and extended several times. The Mugals has facilitated withdrawal of Mongol army from Ladakh. Although Muslims had arrived in Ladakh as early as in 15th century, he Muslim shrines were constructed later than that. A couple of years ago, the jama Masjid was dismantled and a new mosque was constructed in its place, using modern mansonry skills.

Masjid-e-Shah-e-Hamdan :In Shey village, 15 km upstream from Leh, there is a small mosque of great historicalvalue. The mosque was built by one of the greatest preachers of Islam in Kashmir, Mir Syad Ali Hamdani, popularly known as Shah-e-Hamdan. He had arrived in Ladakh about seven centuries ag

Paldan Lumo Temple : Paldan Lumo Temple is the highest temple situated on the hill top near the river Indus in Leh District of Jammu and Kashmir. It is in the Spituk Monastery, about 18 km from Leh. Paldan Lumo Temple is dedicated to Vajrabhairava. During the annual festival of January, the terrifying face of Vajrabhairva is unveiled to the public. Dating back to the 16th century, it houses articles of tantrik worship, strange looking images, antiques and arms. The temple also has a shield made of cane. The pillars of the temple are covered with the hides of tigers. The temple is the main attraction among the typical mixture of dusty, dimly lit prayer halls and vivid modern shrines in the complex. The Indian army personnel posted at Leh are the main worshippers at this shrine.
 
WHEN TO GO LEH
 
The lovely landscapes and the majestic mountains of Leh attract adventurers and tourists alike. The best time to visit Ladakh is in the summer months i.e. between the months of June and August. The road is open thus the transportation to and from Leh is easy in summers. In winters the temperature at Leh goes below zero degrees often.
 
WEATHER FORECAST
 
Temperatures in Leh, range from -3 to 30 degrees Celsius in the summer and from -20 to 15 degrees Celsius in the winter.
 
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN LEH
 
Dosmochey Festival : Dosmochey is celebrated in Leh (Leh Palace), Liker (Lower Ladakh) and Diskit (Nubra valley) monasteries in February. The most famous among all is Leh Dosmochey, which is celebrated for two days in the courtyards of the Leh palace. The monks from different monasteries perform the Chams every year turn by turn. The festival takes place in the end and starting of the Tibetan New Year. The monks of Takthok monastery prepares the offering with Thread crosses which binds all the evil, hungry ghosts and guard against natural disaster in the coming year. On the second day of the festival, the offerings are taken out of the town in a procession and burn it while people whistle to chase away the evil spirits.

Matho Nagrang : Matho Nagrang is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of Tibetan calander, at Matho monastery, the only monastery of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism. During these two days of festival mask dances are performed by monks of the monastery wearing colorful silk brocaded robes and mask in different forms of God and Goddesses. The festival is famous because of appearance of the two oracles during the festival after full month meditation in complete isolation. The two oracles appear in the courtyard accompanying mask dancers and predict future events and people from far and away come to seek advice to perform ritual to tackle with disasters.

Sindhu Darshan (Visit Indus) Festival : Sindhu Darshan is three-day festival held from 1st to 3rd June, in Shey Manla around 8 kms. from Leh on the bank of Indus river. For the first time it was organized in October 1997, as a symbol of unity and Communal harmony and national integration. Whilst promoting domestic tourism in Ladakh. It is also a symbolic salute to brave soldiers of India who have been fighting not only with enemies in the in the human form but also in the form of nature. During this festival artists from different parts of the country perform traditional dances and people from all religions, castes and regions participate.

Takthok Festival : Takthok Festival is celebrated at cave Gompa of Tak- Tok . It is among the major festivals of Ladakh. Celebrated in summer, it is yet another tourist attraction. The festival is celebrated with fanfare and locals from far-flung areas storm the place on the occasion.

 

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