Located in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, Leh is known for its stunning scenic locales, Buddhist temples and pristine environment. Due to the strong influence of Tibetan Buddhism, Leh is also known as Little Tibet or the Land of Lamas. Barren mountains with brightly painted gompas (or monasteries), fluttering prayer flags, rocky ridges, tiny settlements and the Indus River add to the overall charm of the region.
Once the capital of the Himalayan kingdom Ladakh, Leh is still dominated by the Leh Palace. The former palace of the royal family of Ladakh, Leh Palace is built in the same style as the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Buddhist monasteries and study centers like Shanti stupa and Sankar Gompa also attract a lot of travelers.
From high-altitude treks to river rafting in the Indus and Zanskar River, Leh has developed as a highly preferred destination for adventure sports. Leh is also a major trading center and offers a great shopping experience with impressive Tibetan handicrafts, jewelry, woolen clothes and exquisite carpets. Leh comprises New Town and Old Town. The Old Town has been included in World Monuments Fund’s list of 100 most endangered sites.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN LEH
Suiting every budget, it is easy to find accommodation in Leh. During the peak season between July and September, there are many family run establishments in Leh offering personalized services. Budget lodging is available in three main areas: the old town, the newer areas along the Fort Road, and Changspa village. Accommodation options include guesthouses, tourist complexes, hikers’ huts and local paying guest facilities. There are also government run tourist bungalows mainly located along the Srinagar-Leh road.
BEST PLACES TO EAT IN LEH
Though Leh has restaurants serving all kinds of cuisines, Kashmiri dishes are the most popular in Leh. Tibetan as well as western cuisines are easily available. Tibetan dishes that include momos or steamed dumplings stuffed with meat or vegetables and thukpa, a thick soup with vegetables that provides a complete meal are a rage among tourists. Home-grown potatoes, pumpkins, and beans are cooked in a variety of ways and accompany meat dishes. There are also several bakeries that sell fresh cakes, pastries, cookies and breads.