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Top 10 places to visit when you are in Leh.

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Among the many things that Ladakh is famous for, one is its monasteries which should be a must visit places of Leh sightseeing. If you have been to Ladakh, you know what I’m talking about. Those lovely structures hovering on ridges, giving an air of timelessness. If you haven’t been to Ladakh, then it’s worth knowing that the monasteries in Ladakh are enthralling places to visit. Here in this post I will share my experience about various places to visit in Leh.

Disclaimer: This article includes affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, it will incur no extra cost to you but I will get a referral bonus to fund our travels.

Today, I will introduce you to the places to see around that comes under Leh local sightseeing. It is almost difficult to skip the local sightseeing of Leh town, so it becomes really important to know what all places are there, either in Leh or nearby Leh town so that you can spend a day or two easily without getting bored and utilize them effectively. But, the question becomes what shall you visit near Leh in a day or two and how? Most people traveling to Ladakh tend to focus a lot of on what they’ll see around Leh, like Nubra Valley or Pangong Tso but make no mistake, even the small Leh city has plenty to offer to tourists. It is not simply an area wherever you stop or create base while traveling to different nearby areas. There are many tourist attractions here that are well value a visit. In this article, I will provide a list of tourist attractions in Leh.

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Please note that this article only includes places that are either within the town or in its close vicinity, not areas like Nubra valley, pangong lake, Changtang valley etc. Often called  as Mecca of travel enthusiasts, the city of Leh has its own charm. It is a town like no other, anywhere. When you are in Leh, it is being in the middle of nowhere with every basic amenity that a city can offer you. The cold winds,harsh sun, patches of green in a cold desert, snow capped peaks all around,amazing views of sunrise and sunset, the ringing of the bells in monasteries,delicious food, lovely people, a unique mix of Tibetan and Indian culture;trust me, it is a town like no other. Leh, once the capital of Ladakh and currently its headquarters, is really a dream destination.

Leh sightseeing

1. Hemis Monastery

Hemis monastery is one in all the largest and wealthiest monasteries in Ladakh. Currently, Hemis monastery in Leh is run by Drukpa sect of Buddhism, that once flourished throughout the Namgyal dynasty. It was founded in the year of 1630 by the primary incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso.

Location

Hemis monastery is that the most interesting monastery and traveler attraction in Ladakh. settled some 45 km from Leh town, Hemis is inserted on a mountain on the west bank of the serene stream Indus. The only way to reach Hemis is by a cab or hired bullet/bike from Leh.

History

GuruRimpoche has been born of on fifth month, tenth day that was foretold by Buddha Shakyamuni. it’s same that he born on the planet so as to boost the religious condition of all living beings. and then on nowadays, Hemis observes a significant performance in his memory. The observance of those sacred rituals is believed to offer religious strength and physiological condition. Naropa, the scholar of the yogi Tilopa, and teacher of the translator Marpa is connected with this monastery. A translation was created by A.Grunwedel of Naropa’s life history that was found in Hemis gompa Ladakh monastery.

What to see

Lord Buddha sculpture, sacred thankas, and stupas are kept within the monastery. In Hemis monastery in Leh they additionally relish Annual Hemis festival, Sacred Dance festival that takes on the 9th &10th day of the fifth month of the Tibetan calendar. It’s celebrated for Guru Padmasambhav birthday. Sacred mask dance is performed in the monastery, every year. Hemis monastery owns a wonderful design that attracts varied tourists every year. If you want you’ll be able to pay respect to the massive structure of guru rinpoche and Lord Buddha. Else there’s additionally a depository that possesses a large assortment of Buddhist structure, statues and a number of other ancient things that reflects the existence of wealthy culture throughout the ancient period. Except for that, you’ll be able to visit the Hemis High Altitude Sanctuary. This sanctuary is at the altitude from 3300 m to 6000 m higher than the ocean level. This place is taken into account because of the largest park in South Asia and additionally the very best park within the world. At the sanctuary, there’s an opportunity of recognizing rare snow leopard, Ibex, and different wild animals.

2. Shey Palace

This is considered as one of the spectacular monasteries in Northern india. this massive monastery was supported within the sixteenth century AD by Lhachen Palgyigon, the primary king of Ladakh because the residence of the royal house and so this monastery is additionally called Shey Palace by the native residents. The Shey Palace left neglected simply once the Dogras from Jammu and kashmir captured Ladakh.

Location

Shey monastery shares a distance of fifteen kilometre from the town Leh and is located at a solitary hillock. Shey palace and monastery Leh is placed on a hill Shey includes a gold-topped victory Stupa. the sole thanks to reach Hemis is by a cab or hired bullet/bike from Leh.

History

Shey accustomed be the capital of antique Ladakh. Shey palace and monastery Leh is found beside Indus. Shey palace is one in every of the ancient palaces in Leh. Shey Palace is reconstructed within the principally ruined state. Shey accustomed be the capital of ancient Ladakh. The monastery encompasses a two-storied sculpture of Sakyamuni Buddha formed with copper and gold.

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What to see

The main attraction of the monastery is that the ten meters high mammoth copper-gold gilded sculpture of a seated Shakyamuni Lord Buddha. This very sculpture is claimed to be the second Buddha sculpture in Ladakh. there’s an additional stone-carved high sculpture of Lord Buddha within the temple. many Chortens containing the ashes of royal dignitaries and Lamas are often found round the Dresthang Gompa. A traveler mustn’t miss the engraving on a rook-face beside the first avenue below the monastery that symbolizes five Buddha’s in meditation. Widespread Hindi film 3 Idiots were shot in Shey college. The palace and monastery of Shey are within the neighborhood of the village.

3. Thiksey Monastery

Thiksey monastery, set at an altitude of just about 3,600m within the Thiksey village. It’s one in all the most important and most renowned monasteries in Ladakh. The Thiksey monastery, painted in red, ochre and white, blends in well with the encompassing landscape. Visiting the monastery, that homes many attractions inside it, will be a rewarded experience. It offers glorious opportunities for sightseeing and exploration. The entry fee at Thiksey monastery is Rs. 20 for each local and foreigners. there’s no further fee for carrying a camera.

Location

The Thikseymonastery is found on prime of the hill of 3,600 m altitude in Thiksey village. This village is found on the Leh-Manali main road in Jammu and kashmir. The village lies 18 km to the south of Leh. you’ll either rent a cab to succeed inThikse monastery or opt for the bus. The bus to the monastery starts at nine within the morning. If you’re going to relish the monastery fully, it’s better to go to in a cab.

History

According to the popular tale, Jangsem Sherab Zangpo (a  Tibetan Buddhist monk), along side his follower, Palden Sherab, were offering prayers with a ritual cake at a spot that was set about 3km from wherever the Thiksey monastery nowadays stands. Out of nowhere, to their surprise, a crow grabbed the cake and flew away with it. once searching for the cake for a few time, they found the ritual cake placed at the highest of the hill, in only a similar condition as before. The Buddhists believed this to be an auspicious sign, and determined to make a monastery at that very spot. The name of the monastery, Thiksey, which suggests “perfect order”, comes from the right order in which the crow placed the cake.

What to see

The monastery is home to 10 temples altogether, besides home for monks, nunnery, auditorium etc. From here, you’ll get pleasure from spectacular views of the Indus valley floodplains below. one in all the most attractions within the Thiksey monasteries that the Maitreya Buddha. The sculpture is nearly two stories tall and maybe a splendid piece of design. the other attractions which are able to interest you vastly are the 2 temples, Tara Temple and Lamokhang Temple. Tara Temple maybe a little temple dedicated to the deity and homes twenty-one pictures of this supernatural being.

The walls of this temple area unit adorned with exquisite marvels and are a visual treat to the eyes. Its home to many scriptures, together with Stangyur and Kangyur. It’s necessary to notice that ladies aren’t allowed to enter this temple. within the temple, there is a faculty wherever young boys endure coaching to become lamas. Another attraction is that the massive pillar that has Lord Buddha’s pictures engraved on that. A nunnery is additionally set within the Thiksey Gompa.

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4. Shanti Stupa

The white dome of Shanti Stupa is clearly visible from a so much distance once you are on a tour of Leh. Peace temple got its name like that due to several reasons primarily the silence persists in and round the temple continually. This Buddhist prayer center is that the most beloved attraction in Leh. At a height of 4267 meters, the 2 storied stupa stands holding its head high and overlooks the active Leh city. The uneven mountain terrains within the encompassing  provides the temple a noteworthy shining.

Location

It is at a location that is five kilometer far from Leh city and one who visits the stupa must climb 5 hundred steps. anyone can reach the stupa via road from Leh, only five kms from the city, a walk of fifteen minutes would need.

History

The Shanti Stupa was designed by both Japanese Buddhists and Ladakh Buddhists. the first plan to make it had been declared in 1914 as a part of Nichidatsu Fujii’s mission to make Peace Pagodas and temples over the globe and take a look at to resurrect Buddhism back in India. It was in 1983, once the particular construction of the Shanti Stupa began under the management of Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura, a Japanese Buddhist and Kushok Bakula, a lama of Ladakh from New Delhi. Ladakhi and Japanese Buddhists offered voluntary labour to construct this monument. In 1984, Mrs. Gandhi, (the Prime Minister of India throughout the time), sanctioned the development of a road to the stupa. In 1991, Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth and current Dalai Lama, inaugurated the Shanti Stupa.

What to see

The exotic view of the chain of mountains peaks turns the sweetness of the stupa conjointly, a peace lover would dedicate his life to own such overjoying moments. The sunset and sunrise views from the stupa are inevitably stunning. Among the 2 structures of the temple, the primary level depicts the central relief of dharmachakra that has ruminant on all sides {and the|and therefore the|and conjointly the}turning wheel of Dharma also features a golden image of Buddha at the middle. The second level displays pictures that show the birth of Budhha and also the death further. additionally, each the extent have smaller pictures of Buddha meditating. The stupa came into existence so as to unfold the word of peace and harmony among folks and it came into institution as a commemoration of the previous 2500 years of Buddhism. the stupa is open for tourists between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. there’s no entrance fee.

5. Leh Main Market

Arranged at a T-formed intersection, Leh Main Market is a lively spot amidst Leh town, reminiscent of the clamoring“mall road” in Shimla, Mussoorie or Manali. From Tibetan Refugee Market slows down in one corner to housetop cafes with a heavenly perspective of the Leh Palace in another, the market resembles a volatile individual, holding up to welcome everybody with open arms. From dry natural products to garments, everything can be obtained from stores or the road side sellers.

The principal market of Leh is a Street advertises with numerous lanes and by lanes, all of which have little shops offering an assortment of items. One can discover everything here from shoes to garments and woolen wear and ornamentations. Additionally, rugs, shawls, and souvenirs are accessible here. One can likewise locate a couple of old women selling ornaments and meticulous work in the Leh Main Market. It’s difficult to speak with them since they now and then don’t comprehend your dialect. Burgaining is fundamental in this market. Else, one may wind up paying an unjustified cost for an item sold her.

6. Magnetic Hill

Blessed with wonderful natural beauty and mysterious magnetic properties, the magnetic hill road in Ladakh is wherever travelers stop by to experience the strange, gravity-defying incident. A yellow box marked on the magnetic road, few meters far from the Magnetic Hill indicates that the vehicle should be position in neutral gear. It’s from here that the vehicle starts to run at a speed near to twenty kmph.

Location

Sitting pretty at an altitude of 14,000 feet, Magnetic Hill is found on the Leh-Kargil-Baltic National highway. Indus river flows to the east of Magnetic Hill and makes the encircling an image excellent frame.

History

The strange world that we tend to sleep in, there are many theories backing this strange surprise of nature. All of them propose a distinct logic and are backed by robust reasoning, expulsion superstitions like ‘the magnetic road may be a straightaway to heaven’. Here’s a glance at what every of those beliefs and theories got to say. Villagers residing in Ladakh believe that there once existed a road that led individuals to heaven. Those that justifiably deserved were force to the trail directly whereas those that didn’t merit might never build it there.

Next comes a wise theory, that is additionally the foremost widespread. It states that there’s a robust magnetism emanating from the Hill that pulls vehicles that are among its range. The strange prevalence on the Leh-Kargil road has been seasoned and testified by travelers from across the globe.

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As a matter of reality, the ill-famed hill has caused planes of Indian Air Force to divert their route within the past to avoid magnetic interference on them. Another wide accepted theory says that the Hill is not any supply of magnetism, rather it’s simply an optical phenomenon that creates the declination of the road resulting in the Magnetic Hill seem like an up-slope. So, after you see the vehicle going uphill, it’s really going downhill.

7. Lamayuru monastery

This splendid religious residence is taken into account together of the fascinating places that one should visit. If you’re reaching to visit Ladakh then you need to enlist this place in your listing as this monastery is claimed to be the oldest additionally as the largest in Ladakh. Lamayuru monastery may be a place wherever several legends were relatithin the earlier days, this immense construction was a group of 5 mammoth building out of that just one survives currently.

But still, this remains the biggest religious residence and homes close to concerning one hundred fifty Buddhist monks for good, in earlier days the numbers were four hundred. The travelers to this Buddhist monastery can access the prayer hall that is just the key a part of the total religious residence. This place features a distinctive attractiveness. From the religious residence, tourists will expertise the barren mountains together with the scenes of traditional village life below.

Location

Located at Lamayuru Leh district, this is a renowned Buddhist monastery at a height of 11520 ft. This glorious ancient structure is found on Srinagar-Leh route. The drive to Lamayuru is a superb journey. As you leave Leh the landscape begin ever-changing. But all that may be seen are dry and arid, solely some patches of green land is found. Throughout the journey, if (you are ) lucky there are probabilities to explore wildlife. It’d be better if you begin your journey to Lamayuru within the early morning so you’ll be able to back safely before afternoon in the Leh town.

 History

Lamayuru is that the oldest and one of the biggest monasteries in Ladakh. As per legends, Lamayuru’s valley was a transparent lake at the time of the Sakyamuni. The lake was the domicile place of the holy serpents. The immortal Madhyantaka created a prediction that the lake are going to be empty and a religious residence are going to be engineered here. Naropa, a Buddhist scholar visited Ladakh in eleventh century and spent a few years meditating in a cave. Naropa then caused a split within the surrounding side and because of this the lake empty. Thereafter, Naropa found a dead lion lined by the waters of the lake. Naropa engineered the primary temple on this spot and named it because the Singhe Ghang (Lion Mound).

Another historical account states that the King of Ladakh ordered the development of Lamayuru within the tenth century and unbroken it below the direction of Rinchen Zangbo. there have been 5 buildings within the original gompa, though solely the central one still stands.

In sixteenth century, Jamyang Namgyal, the then king of Ladakh was cured of infectious disease by a monk from Tibet. Thus, the King given the gompa to the current lama.

What to see

Do not forget to expertise a little walk through the village except the religious residence. The habitats at Ladakh are extraordinarily generous and warm. If you apply the universal Ladakhi acknowledgment Juley together with a wide smile they might simply open up to you. A number of attractions are value witnessing within the Lamayuru monastery. On the correct aspect of the courtyard you’ll be able to spot The Dukhang. The Dukhang was revamped in 1970 with new column paintings.

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The mural on the left wall portrays the right method for a lama to live. A tiny cave referred to as Naropa’s cave lies on the correct aspect of the Dukhang. The cave is that the place wherever Naropa is meant to possess meditated for many years.

8. Alchi Monastery

Alchi monastery is also one of the oldest Buddhist learning centers in Northern India.

History

According to varied researchers, this ancient monastery was constructed by Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055 AD. The region in lower Ladakh comprises four settlements. Alchi is one among those hamlets and is believed to be the oldest one. Alchi monastery is administrated by the Likir monastery. The preserved monuments inside the monastery describe a novel story. The monuments are ascribed to a Tibetan noble within the eleventh century named Kal-dan Shes-rab. The key components of the monastery are the auditorium or Dukhang, Manjushri- the temple and chortens.

Location

This holy monastery is settled within the bank of Indus and shares a distance of seventy kilometer from Leh, Jammu and Kashmir.

What to see

The temple of Alchi Monastery possesses other two major temples, Lakhang Soma and Lotsabha Lakhang. All these hanging architectures are adorned with a surprising engraved painting that is taken into account as one of the oldest remaining in Ladakh. The auditorium and also the main temple of the monastery are made following the Kashmiri style. The main temple is a three-storied structure popularly known as The Sumtseg. Chortens are a vital part of the Aichi Monastery. The wonderful wall paintings within the Alchi Monastery mirror the religious and creative details of Hindu kings also as Buddha kings throughout the reign of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir.

Tourists across the globe explore this place just to enjoy the heavenly beauty and to experience the ancient architecture of the monastery temples. To explore the Manjushri temple one needs to enter through the Dukhang or the auditorium of the Alchi monastery. Inside the temple the monks worship and perform ceremonies. The temple door frame still remains the same and is created of original wood. It reflects the classic architecture of ancient India.

9. Spituk Monastery

Spituk Monastery is famous for its architecture and dance festival. Due to its proximity to Leh, you can find many tourists in this monastery during the tourism season.

Location

The monastery is located on the Srinagar Leh highway, 8 km away from Leh. You can find buses, cabs, jeeps and other vehicles from Leh to the monastery. People also ride in bikes to the monastery.

History

The spick monastery was established by Od De, the elder brother of La Lama Changchub-Od in the 11th century. Before King Gragspa Bumide converted the Gompa into Gayluk Pa Order it used to run according to the Kadampa School. Tourists round the world come back here to explore the several icons of Lord Buddha beside five thangkas at this fifteenth century Spituk monastery.

What to see

If you’re at Spituk the full monastery could be a fantastic attraction for the tourists across the world. Inside the monastery, travelers experience the huge throne of Dalai Lama. Else you will also come to see an old chapel featuring images of Buddha, Tsong Kha pa along with his two disciples behind the throne. The Spituk monastery is a home of one hundred monks. This sacred monastery is worth to visit for Gautama Buddha devotees and history buffs. If you step within the monastery you may encounter lots of statues and images of Lord Buddha.

There is also a holy idol of Amitayus. The assembly of the monastery features ample collections of thangkas that is nothing however a painting on silk or cotton depiction Lord Buddha. Else antique arms and masks are also can be seen. You must not forget visiting the assembly hall of this monastery as it is the largest area of the temple featuring two rows of seats that ends up to the throne at the far end of the hall. Miniature and sculpture chortens are displayed for the tourists.

10. Stakna Monastery

Stakna Monastery, settled about 25km from the most town of Leh, is additionally called“Tiger’s Nose Monastery”. This is as a result of the rock on that the monastery is found resembles a tiger jump up to the sky. Stakna Monastery displays the cultural and spiritual heritage of Buddhism. The monastery houses virtually thirty monks happiness to the Drugpa sect. Visiting the monastery enables you to explore the cultural heritage of Buddhism and conjointly get pleasure from the broad views of the environment from the monastery.

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Location

Stakna Monastery is twenty five kilometers from Leh, so as to reach here one can take a taxi.

History

Stakna Monastery was built by the Bhutanese saint and scholar, Chosje Jamyang Palkar, in the 16th century. Occupying the central position of the monastery is that the marvelous marble sculpture of Avalokitesvara, believed to have been brought over from Assam.

What to see

There are several attractions inside the monastery. As a traveler, you will have numerous opportunities for exploration. Inside the monastery is a vast auditorium known as Dukhang that is adorned with unbelievable paintings of Sakyamuni, Tsephakmad and Amchi. The Stakna monastery also homes of many idols that are as elegant as they’re enthralling. Head to the extreme right side of the courtyard though, and you may stumble upon a 7 ft tall silver gilded chorten consisting of a figure of Lord Buddha with some notes. Parallel to the hall are paintings of various Buddhist gurus including Bodhisattva, Tshong-san-Gompa, and Padma Sambhava. On the highest of the monastery, you may come across attractive views of the Indus.

I hope this information was helpful. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in the comments section below and I would be glad to answer. These are the places are top 10 places as per my opinion. If there is any place that you think must visit place in or near Leh, you are most welcome to suggest in comment section below and I will add it to the article.

Also read

HOW I PLAN MY TRIP TO LEH LADAKH

For more  information consult https://leh.nic.in/

Last updated 06.01.21


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