Places to see in and around Leh
Old town Leh : The old town of Leh is a collection of interesting localities like Mane Khang, Stago Philog, Chute Rantak, Khar Yog and Stalam. Ladakh used to be an important trading center in the trans- Himalayan region. The city developed as a trading center where caravans from different parts of Central Asia, notably, Hor (Xinjiang province of Tibet), Kashmir, Badakshan ( Afghanistan) and northern India used to intersect for centuries. The old town of Leh is struggling to preserve the ancient heritage and feature of Leh- the cosmopolitan trading port of inner Asia. A walk to Leh palace through the streets of Old town will give you a glimpse of the Ladakh of medieval era. You can discover way to Leh palace, Namgyal Tsemo and Lonpo house while exploring these lanes. A visit to LAMO ( Ladakh Art and Media organization) gives you the detailed overview of the heritage of old town. Numerous roof-top cafes are an addition for fulfilling the thrust and hunger of your inner self.
Leh Palace Leh palace defines the centrality of Leh. No matter wherever you are, you will find the palace as your companion, still and intact. Whether you are walking through the main bazaar of Leh or busy in taking a cup of coffee from nearby restaurant, you will find a glimpse of the Palace. It will cost you a minimal fee of 20 rupees to enter this giant ninth storey building. The architecture of the palace is carved in such a manner that whenever any kind of natural calamity like earth quake occurs, it protects the nearby areas from collateral damage. The building is tilted towards inside. Modeled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet the palace was constructed ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns. Tibetan thangka or sooth paintings which are more than 450 years old, with intricate designs, retain bright and pleasing colours derived from crushed and powdered gems and stones by King Sengee Namgyal in the 17th century. It is nine storey’s high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, while the lower floors held stables and store rooms. The ruined palace is now being restored by the Archaeological Survey of India. The palace is open to the public and the roof provides panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding areas. The mountain of Stok Kangri in the Zangskar mountain range is visible across the Indus valley to the south, with the Ladakh mountain range rising behind the palace to the north. The Palace Museum holds a rich collection of jewellery.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is one of the most popular tourist destinations of Leh. Located at the top of Namgyal Hill, the monastery is known for its three storey high statue of Maitreya Buddha. A part of Tsemo also contains an ancient fort like structure which is believed to be used by guardians of the Namgyal dynasty to keep an eagle eye view of the town. The monastery was founded in the year 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal and is much older than Leh Palace. The monastery offers panoramic vista of the flowing Indus Valley, snow-capped Zanskar range, overview of Leh town and Khardongla- the highest motorable road. In addition to the Tse- Mo, a few minutes rest at the nearest cliff with prayer-flags all around will introduce you with one of the best moment of this eternal journey.
Shanti Stupa Shanti Stupa is the epitome of peace. Located to the west part of Leh, the stupa is at a walking distance from Changspa- though it allows you to challenge your stamina by calling you to walk over 500 plus stairs. The stupa is a white- domed chorten on a hilltop of Changspa village. It was constructed under the supervision of Gyomo Nakamura of Japan who constructed similar kind of peace symbols across different part of Globe. The stupa at Indraparastha Park, Delhi is one of the replicas of similar stupa. It holds the relic of Gautama Buddha at its base, and is surrounded by wall paintings of Buddha from its different stages of life. The location of stupa provides a panoramic view of the city of Leh and its surrounding villages.
An evening walk to Leh town Leh town is a confluence of different cultures and people. The Leh bazaar is now renovated and beatification project of Leh is culminated in the year 2015. The town is now a hallmark of beauty. In the evening, the Azaan from Leh Jama Masjid, Kirtaan from Gurudwara and Choslu from Gompa Soma will give you a mix of eternal music. You can start your walk from Mane-Tsering, the gateway of Leh. Activities that you might enjoy is engaging in the process of buying and selling at Moti market Leh, Balti chai at Balkhang, a polo match at Polo ground on a lucky day, exploring the ancient markets at narrow lanes of Now –Shar and walk at old-road Leh. The town provides beautiful scenery of Leh palace in backdrop. The town is full with shops that provide you scores of alternatives to engage in. The culmination of the walk is Changspa- the street with numerous opportunities to eat, relax and enjoy.