Places to Visit in Leh
The unspoilt beauty of Leh will spoil you forever. One who has seen the serene yet savage undisturbed loveliness of the somewhat unpopulated Leh is sure to cringe when other more commercial places are explored. Leh is called heaven on earth because of its azure blue skies, culturally unique populations and important places that hold a rich historical heritage as well as a cultural beauty.
Nubra Valley in LehThe way to Nubra Valley is through the highest pass in India; the Khardung La Pass which is the highest attitude motor friendly road in the country. The Nubra valley is exquisitely beautiful offering a great expanded view of Southern portion of Indus Valley along with Zanskar mountain ranges in the north. To the north of Nubra Valley you will find the huge Siachen Glacier while the northwestern area of the valley is connected to the Sasser Pass. The white desert landscape of Leh can be seen from a bird’s eye view. If you happen to visit Leh in summer then you can witness the exotic flowers blooming all across the Nubra Valley.
Tso Moriri Lake in LehThis Lake is offset by the spectacular mountain ranges of Leh thus earning it the name of Mountain Lake. It’s a great place to sit and relax with the azure blue water and he equally brilliant sky for company. The Tso Moriri Lake is supposedly one of the most beautiful lakes in India thus making it one of the must visit places on your Leh visit. Many camps are organized besides this lake in the summer.
The Tso Moriri Lake is quite deep with average depth of 248 feet and the total diameter is 28 km. If you are interested in clicking some fabulous photographs then this lake is a great place to start. Recently it has been declared as a Wetland Conservatory Reserve because of the presence of Brahmin Duck, Brown Gull and great Crest Grebe which are relatively rare species of birds.
Lamayuru Monastery in LehLeh is actually called the town of Monasteries because of the enviable range of Monasteries it offers but the Lamayuru Monastery is one of the oldest and one of the most well known out of them. Monks sit in lines outside the Monastery performing different Buddhism rites or simply praying in their distinctive chant. The typical instruments like long pipes and flat drums are played by the monks who make for an interesting experience. There are beautiful caves at the backside of the Monastery which contain beautiful depictions of Buddhist art.
Spituk Gompa in LehThe Spituk Gompa was founded in the later part of the 14th Century and till date is considered to be one of the most important tourist destinations in Leh. The airport runway of Leh can be seen from the southern part of the Gompa. The village at the base of the Gompa is called the Spituk village which nestles on the banks of Indus River. There is a huge sprawling gild roofed Lhakhang that is directly connected to yellow headed Tsongkhapa statue (the originator of Gelupka Buddhism). If you are a daring person then check out mummified remains of Tsongkhapa’s nose blood and the 3 stories spirit shrine attached to the Gompa
Central Asian Museum in LehThe Central Asian Museum is newly renovated but looks antique as it follows the traditional Tibetan style of architecture. The design of the Central Asian Museum is inspired from Lhasa museum which follows the fortress styled medieval drawbridge. There are 4 confined exhibition spaces that speak of the rich history of Tibet, Ladakh and Balistan and their trades. The Museum is hidden inside the courtyard which is bang opposite the Datun Sahib (a sacred tree that was planted in 1517). Check out the exhibits in the museum for learning important cultural and artistic information about Central Asia.
Shanti Stupa in LehPerched atop the tiny hill of Chanspa in Leh, the Shanti Stupa has the power to touch your heart in a memorable way. The Shanti Stupa was enshrined by His Holiness the Dalai Lama himself. There are beautiful relics of Buddha at the base of the Shanti Stupa which was built as a sign of appreciation over 2500 years of Buddhism.
There is perfect silence inside the Stupa apart from the sermons which are played out at designated times. The Stupa itself is pristine white with a dome like structure. There is a small attached library inside which has important books on religious and social aspects of Buddhism.
Tso Kar Lake in LehThe Tso Kar Lake is also a popular tourist destination near Leh. This lake is actually situated in the Rapshu district of Ladakh and is considered to be an excellent camping site. This is a great place to visit if you are interested in seeing the unusual fauna of Ladakh. You will find entire colonies of grebes, brown necked gulls and rust geese in the wetlands surrounding the Tso Kar Lake. Other birds you might spot are black necked cranes, Tibetan Grouse and Strip Geese. There are also animals like Tibetan gazelle and Tibetan wolf in the wetland. There are ongoing talks about turning the Tso Kar Lake to an important tourist destination. Till recent times the Tso Kar lake which is filled with salty brackish water used to be an important place for extracting salt.
Nezer Latho in LehThe Nezer Latho in Leh is a spiritual hotspot of the town. The white washed shrine is small and situated on top of a rocky shrine which offers a panoramic view of the town. There are hundreds of flaming red prayer flags and spiritual inscriptions which mark the entrance of the place. You can reach the Nezer Latho after a brief five minute climb upwards the small hillock which overlooks the hotel Dragon. The Guardian Deity of Leh is supposed to reside in this place which is why a visit is always recommended.
Zanskar Mountain Ranges in LehA sweeping 7000 sq kilometers is covered by the Zanskar mountain range and it is one of the most desolate parts of Leh and yet most beautiful. This is a good place to target if you are fond of sports like white water rafting (which happen only between May-September). There are many tiny hamlets, piercing glaciers and deep ravines in the valley along with a vast number of small monasteries or shrines.
Zanskar valley is only open during the summer as it suffers from heavy snowfall otherwise.
Old Town of LehWhen you see Leh as a town you will understand that it is actually a collection of small living clusters. Historically the oldest cluster of Leh still lies behind the Datun Sahib (Leh’s answer to the famous Jama Masjid). There are lots of winding alleys, narrow stairways and burrowing lanes that make up these tiny clusters of homes, cafes and monuments. The alleys are so pretty in themselves that they can be called a paradise of photography. Some important structures you should visit in the old town of Leh are Munshi Mansion which is the home of the royal secretary of Leh, the Art Center of Lamo and the Art Café of Lala. There are actually exclusive guided tours available for this tiny sub town that cost a mere 200 bucks but will confer a wealth of information about history and culture of Leh.
Pangong Lake in LehPangong is one of the top tourist draws in Leh as any Leh guide will tell you. This lake is about 160 km away from the Ladakh habitat. The drive to this lake is beautiful though long and bumpy. The Pangong Lake holds the world’s record for being the highest altitude salty water lake.
After you arrive at the Lake you will be dumbstruck on seeing the beautiful blue water surrounding by rocks in amazing color ranges. Don’t expect facilities like coffee shops and boating facility here as this is wild terrain. Just take your fill of the abundant beauty of the place.
Sankar Gompa in LehAs mentioned before Leh comprises of small clusters of living abodes which have their own unique and distinctive history. One such must visit place in Leh is the Sankar area which lies in the Northern region of Leh.. For a ravishing view of the living hamlets and the archaic desert climes climb up a small hillock which is crossed over by 17 canal streams to reach the Sanctuary of Donkeys which is a part of Sankar Gompa. You can also check out the pyramid shaped Tisuru Stupa which is an important religious spot for the townspeople of Leh.
The places to visit in Leh are abundant...its just that you have to come here with a zeal to explore all the places to visit in Leh.
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