is the place where beauty lies in barrenness. There is hardly any greenery
in the region except for some areas along the riverside. And where there is
greenery, it is too scant to be taken into account. The whole landscape
looks naked. Notwithstanding the harsh climatic conditions, the folks can be
seen going about their daily routine as happily as ever. What enhances the
scenic charm is a wonderful backdrop of the snow-capped peaks of the
Himalayas. The cold desert of Ladakh remains surrounded by the huge massifs
of the Greater Himalayas and the Karakoram ranges. The Buddhist community,
their religious sites and their exotic lifestyle makes Ladakh a must-see
destination for travellers and the Buddhist followers from across the globe.
Leh, the capital town of Ladakh, is strewn with ancient Buddhist gompas or
monasteries. The profusion of the monasteries imparts a rare spiritual charm
to the place.
Location & Climate
Ladakh lies in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. It remains sandwiched
between the Karakoran ranges to the north and the Himalayas to the south.
Ladakh experience a very cold climate during winters. The sun's effect is
harsher owing to the rarefied air. During summers, temperature ranges from
-3 to 30 degrees Celsius while in winters, temperature varies between -20 to
15 degrees Celsius. So before you are off to Ladakh you should be well
prepared to face the unfriendly climatic conditions.
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is flocked to by tourists and Buddhist pilgrims
all the year round. The quaint and exotic town is dotted with Buddhist
monasteries from one corner to the other. The tranquility and the spiritual
charm of the place is worth experiencing.
» Leh Palace :
The Leh Palace, which is a
small-scale replica of Potala in Lhasa, is one of the biggest draws for
tourists. The palace was the erstwhile residence of the royal family before
they were exiled to Stok in 1930s. The palace was constructed during the
17th century. Though the place lies in a state of desertion today, it is a
must see site for travellers and vacationers.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa :
Another worth visiting site, the Namgyal Tsemo
Gompa is famous for its three-storey-high image of Lord Buddha. Besides the
monolithic image, one can also observe ancient Buddhist manuscripts and
frescoes here. There is a ruined fort above this gompa. The for affords
stunning views of the town of Leh.
» Victory Tower :
The Victory Tower is yet another
famous attraction in Leh. The tower was erected to commemorate Ladakh's
victory over the Balti Kashmir armies long back in the 16th century. The
tower lies above the Leh Palace atop the Namgyal Hill.
» Sankar Gompa :
Moving a few kilometres north of
the town centre gets you to the Sankar Gompa which belongs to the Gelupka
order. Here, you can witness an awe-inspiring image of the Buddhist deity
Avalokiteshwara Padmahari or Chenresig. The deity has 1,000 arms and an
equal number of heads.
» Shanti Stupa :
The Shanti Stupa is a major
piece of attraction in Leh. The stupa was inaugurated by Dalai Lama himself.
It lies at a distance of 3 km from the Fort Road. From atop the stupa, one
can have stunning views of the surrounding areas.
Accommodation is never a problem in Leh. The town offers a number of budget
and cheap stay options to cater to the needs of travellers and vacationers.
The hotels offer picturesque location and well furnished rooms. Cuisines
served include Indian, Chinese, Continental and Mughlai delicacies. Some of
the popular budget accommodations are as follows.
Hotels in Leh - Ladakh
¤ Hotel Shmbha La
¤ Hotel Dragon Leh
¤ Hotel Laser Mo
¤ Lotus Hotel
¤ Royal Palace Hotel
¤ Pangong Hotel
Through air-route, the town of Leh remains connected with places like
Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. Indian Airlines and Jet Airways ply
regular flights all the year round. Jammu is the closest railhead from Leh.
The railway station is connected with the key destinations of India through
regular express trains. Reaching Leh through road routes is also possible.
One can either take up the road from Manali to Leh or can access from the
Kashmir Valley via Kargil (434 km).