The alpine Shangri-La on the Earth!
|State||: Jammu and Kashmir|
|Type of Tourism||: Hill Station, Natural Beauty, Pilgrimage & Adventure|
|Area||: 45,110 sq km|
|Population||: 27,513 (As per Indian census- 2001)|
|Altitude||: 3,524 meters|
|Best Tourist Season||: June to September|
|Clothing recommended||: Light woolen in summer, heavy woolen in winter|
|Languages spoken||: Ladakhi, Urdu, Hindi and English|
|Telephone Code||: India (01982), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 194101|
|What to buy||:Thangkas, Peace Flags, Prayer Wheels, Wooden Masks, 'Chaam' Dance Masks, Ladakhi Wooden Table, Wooden Choktse, Music Bowls, Brass & Copper 'Chang' Kettles, 'Gur Gur' Tea Churners, Pashmina Shawls, Stoles, Tibetan and Kashmiri Carpets, Rugs with Traditional Kashmiri and Persian Motifs, Gonchans, Bhutanese Cross Button Kurtas, T Shirts, Shirts with 'Free Tibet' logo, Free Tibet Flags, Raw Silk Cummerbunds, Tie-Dyed Rope Soled Shoes, Handbags, Hand Knitted Woolen Jumpers, Sweaters, Caps and Socks, Wall Paintings, Wooden Dragons, Decorative Copper and Brass Trumpets, Monks' Robes, Pearl and Other Semi-Precious Stones, Rubies from Burma, Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan, Turquoises, T Coral Jewellery & Jewellery Boxes, Chunky Shell Bangles, Pata and other auspicious Buddhist objects, Cymbals, Organic Local Products, Apricot Jam, Apricot Oil, Dry Apricots, Real Ladakhi Incense, Books, Etc.|
|Shopping Tips||: If you visit Leh in tourist season, the prices are very high. Do not hesitate to bargain, at least up to 20 to 40%|
|Food Specialties||: Momos, Ruchotse, Thukpa, Thenthuk, Ghentuk, Tingmo, Home Made Noodles, Pan Cakes, Ladakhi Nan, Ladakhi Bread, Apricot Jam, Yak Cheese, Yak Milk, Butter Tea, Black Tea, Tea Made from Yak’s Milk, Other Herbal Teas, Gur-Gur Tea, Tsampa, Pava, Khambir, Skyu, Cholak, Mok Mok, Roghan Josh, Yakhnee, Gushtaba, other Kashmiri Wazwan, Chang, etc.|
|Local transportation||: On foot, rented or owned bikes and cars|
|Must Do||: Sindhu (Indus) Darshan, Trekking, Mountaineering, River Rafting, Kayaking, Motor Biking, Cycling, Camping, Skiing, Paragliding, Playing Ice Hockey, Visiting Monasteries, Yak Safari, Double Hump Camels Safari, etc.|
|Caution||: First time visitors might face altitude sickness and breathlessness so don’t forget to carry AMS medicines and oxygen cylinders along.|
Entwined in the majestic lap of the imperial Himalayas, ornamented with the undulating ranges of the lofty snow clad mountains touching the pristine azure skies, replete with exuberant glaciers, submerging rivers, sparkling rivulets and scintillating blue lakes, abounding with fascinating multicolored landscapes & captivating panoramas and dotted with innumerable monasteries, palaces, Stupas and other historical monuments, Leh; the erstwhile capital of the Ladakh Region has presently earned the international acclaim as one of the most thriving tourist hotspots of the Asian terra firma. Fittingly extolled as the metonymy for Ladakh, Leh; the administrative headquarters of the Leh District and the entry point of the Ladakh province today beckons legions of travelers and adventure enthusiasts to come and explore the extravagant natural splendor scattered in and around this ‘Land of Lamas’.
Perched at the altitude of 3524 meters above the mean sea level and wrapped up in the eternal magnificence of the mighty Himalayas, Leh; the ‘Rocky Arcadia’ of Ladakh forms the most immaculate communion with nature at its best. Proliferating in the vicinity of the Indian Army and swelling with the constant intake of multitudinous Indian and foreign tourists during the tourist season, this rugged terrain of Leh enriched with the aerial Karakoram Ranges, world’s top three highest motorable roads and numerous other challenging passes (known as ‘La’) is most ideal for trekking, mountaineering, riding, motor biking, ice sports, river rafting, camping and myriads of other adventure activities.
An ancient caravan trade centre and a part of the legendary Silk Route connecting Asia with Europe and Africa, Leh along with the rest of the upper Indus Valley today flourishes as the cultural core of the Ladakh domain. Garlanded with countless peace flags and decorative holy prayer wheels and distinguished by the presence of the Buddhist Monks wearing burgundy colored robes, Leh; characterized with traditional mud brick houses and narrow lanes offers a mind-boggling holiday amidst the atypical Tibetan Buddhist environs. Greatly cherished by the adventure freaks & culture aficionados and also a paradise for the shopoholics, a visit to ‘Leh the Moonscape’ would yield an absolutely incomparable life experience to be treasured in perpetuum.
History Of Leh
Ever since the early Christian Era when the Indian Subcontinent was governed by the Kushan and Tang kings, Leh has been a vital layover on the trade routes (Silk Route) passing along the Indus Valley and linking Kashmir to the West, Tibet to the East and India to China. The chief commodities transported via these routes include silk, silk yarn, Pashm, Kashmiri Wool, Banaras Brocade, grains, salt, charas, indigo, and many others. Post that, the bona fide history of the Leh & Ladakh Region dates back to the late 10th century AD when the Kingdom of Ladakh was established by a Tibetan Prince named ‘Skyid Lde Nyima Gon’. Shey, located just 15 kilometers to the east of Leh served as the directorial seat of the ancient Ladakhi Kings. Scores of towns around Leh and many castles, palaces and monasteries owe their genesis to the first Ladakhi Sovereign ‘Nyima Gon’.
Over the years, the Ladakh Region was commanded by the successors of King Nyima Gon from the Namgyal Dynasty. The Leh Fort and the Gon-Khang Temple erected atop the Namgyal Peak overlooking the Leh Palace and the Leh City happen to be the earliest documented Royal Alcazar built in Ladakh. The Gon-Khang Temple of the Guardian Deity was built by King Tashi Namgyal who ruled the dominion in the last quarter of 16th century AD. The Leh Palace was established in 17th century AD during the ascendancy of King Sengge Namgyal; the Lion King, when the Ladakh Empire attained the pinnacle of its grandeur. In 18th century AD Ladakh, along with Baltistan was incorporated with the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
After the Independence of India, Baltistan was integrated into the newly formed nation of Pakistan while the Ladakh Region remained with India as a part of the Jammu and Kashmir State. Presently, Ladakh is administered by the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) which was constituted in the year 1995. The old Leh Town was listed amongst the 100 most endangered sites by the ‘World Monuments Fund’ because of its disagreeable climatic transformations and other unfavorable reasons.