71 PLACES TO VISIT IN LEH LADAKH

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Ladakh, the Capital of Buddhism in India, is blessed with rugged brown mountains and shades of water interspersed with the lights of glorious nature. A visit to this place will leave you thirsting for more and we’re sure you can never say ‘enough’. Here is a list of 71 places to visit in Leh Ladakh for everyone who wants to explore this Heaven on Earth.

 

1. Drass War Memorial – Pay Tribute to the Martyrs of the Kargil War

Places to visit in leh ladakh-Hall Of Fame

Image Credit: callonsudeep

Visit Drass Memorial for – Photography, Heritage

Best Time to Visit –  June – September

Hotels in Drass – Royal Inn Hotel Kargil, Hotel Greenland, Zojila Residency

Restaurant in Drass – Islam Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Amarnath Yatra (Trekking), Gangabal Trek (Trekking), White River Rafting 

The Drass War Memorial, located about 5 kms from the city centre across the Tiger Hill, is a reminder to all those who visit of the historic success of Operation Vijay during the Indo-Pak war of 1999. Also known as Vijaypath, this imposing memorial is built by the Indian army. The memorial houses a huge epitaph with names of all the officers and soldiers who laid down their lives for the country in the 1999 war. One of the main attractions of the memorial is the War Gallery. Named after Param Vir Chakra awardee,Captain Manoj Pandey, the gallery features photographs and seized Pakistani weapons.  The Drass Memorial is both a subtle and a hard hitting reminder of the sacrifices that the Indian Army has made for their countrymen.  The courage, discipline, determination and will with which the Army continues to serve the country is truly awe inspiring and commendable and the Drass Memorial gives you a glimpse of just that.

Distance from Airport – 264 kms from Leh Airport, 162 kms from Srinagar Airport

 

2. Nubra Valley – Come experience the perfect amalgamation of Snow Clad Mountains and Sand Dunes

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh-Nubra Valley

Image Credit: Docbudie

Visit Nubra Valley for – Photography, Jeep Safari

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Nubra Valley – Hotel Karma Inn, Goba Guest House, Olgok Guest House

Restaurants in Nubra Valley –Shack (Indian), Selmo Restaurant (International), Maitreya Midway Garden Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Bactrian Camel Rides, Diskit Gompa

North of Leh, lies a valley that offers stupendous scenery with lush green villages. The Nubra valley is formed when the Shyok River meets the Nubra River to form a valley that separates the Ladakh and the Karakoram ranges. Thought to be one of the most cultivable lands in Ladakh, this valley is a treat to the senses with its beautiful apple orchids and various other organic treats.  Nubra Valley stands apart for its vast orchards, the scenic vistas, the Bactrian camels and the breathtaking monasteries. Nubra’s sand dunes lend the valley its intriguing uniqueness. Diskit, Hunder, Sumur, Panamik and Turtuk are the major attractions of this resplendent valley. This valley comes close to the utopian image of nature’s bounty and urges one to be awe struck by the surreal beauty that is present all around.

Distance from Airport  121 kms from Leh Airport

 

3. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib – Seek the blessings of Guru Nanak at this ancient place of worship

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Gurudwrara Pathar Sahib

Image Credit: Pranav Bhasin

Visit Gurudwara Pathar Sahib for – Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Gurudwara Pathar Sahib – Hotel Caravan Centre, Hotel Lingzi

Restaurants around Gurudwara Pathar Sahib – German Bakery and Summer Harvest

Activities Nearby– Ladakh Mountaineering Region, Confluence at Nimoo Village, Leh Manali Bike Trail 

Situated 25 kms from Leh, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib was created in the memory of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder Guru of Sikh faith. The Gurudwara was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit to the Ladakh region of Guru Nanak Dev. The Gurudwara Pathar Sahib stands tall at the exact same place where, if legends are to be believed, Guru Nanak vanquished a demon. Maintained by the Indian army, it is a tradition for most vehicles to stop and pay obeisance. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is also worshipped and venerated by Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhists venerate Guru Nanak as Guru Gompka Maharaj and as Nanak Lama. This place of worship truly witnesses an amalgamation of different faiths coming together to pray to one God. The Gurudwara set amidst breath taking scenery, gives anyone who visits, a sense of spiritual and mental peace.

Distance from Airport– 20 kms from Leh Airport

4. Thiksey Monastery Pray at the Little Potala of Ladakh

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh- Thiksey Monastery

Image Credit: Anoop Negi

Visit Thiksey Monastery – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit  June – September

Hotels around Thiksey Monastery – Ladakh Sarai, Hotel Lasermo, The Grand Dragon Ladakh

Restaurants around Thiksey Monastery  Tibetan Kitchen, La Pizzeria, Summer Harvest

Activities Nearby –  Camping at Pangong Tso, Yak Safari in Leh , Trekking at Chadar Trek 

The largest monastery in Ladakh, the Thiksey Monastery is around 600 years old. The monastery belongs to the Yellow Hat sect of Buddhism and is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The monastery houses one of the finest examples of Ladakh’s architecture and art.  One of the main points of wonder and amazement is the 49 ft high statue of Maitreya in the Maitreya Temple which was installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970. A visit to this monastery is indeed a treat for anyone who looks forward to a majestic, over powering sight coupled with spiritualism and peace. This monastery is not only for those who seek spiritual calm but for those who are interested in the heritage and culture of the Tibetan Buddhists.

 Distance from Airport – 20 kms from Leh Airport

 

5. Shanti Stupa – Pray at the uniquely designed stupa revered by both the Japanese and the local Ladakhis

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Shanti Stupa

Image Credit: Dolkar

Visit Shanti Stupa for – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Shanti Stupa – Hotel Panorama, Hotel The Ladakh, Hotel Nalanda Ladakh

Restaurants around Shanti Stupa – Wonderland Restaurant, KC Garden Café, Otsal Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Camping at Pangong Tso

The Shanti Stupa is a white doomed Chorten situated on a hilltop in Chanspa. This Stupa was built by both the Japanese Buddhists and the Ladakh Buddists. The Stupa is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh. The original idea was propagated by Nichidatsu Fuji who attempted to build Pagodas and temples all over the world and tried to resurrect Buddhism back in India. The Stupa is built as a two-level structure with a central golden Buddha image placed on a platform depicting the “turning wheel of Dharma”. The Shanti Stupa was built to advance prosperity and peace and more importantly to honour 2500 years of Buddhism. One not only experiences paramount religious peace and calm but also experiences panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. 

Distance from Airport – 4.8 kms from Leh Airport

6. Alchi Choskor Monastery  Experience the lost wonders of Indian Buddhist iconography 

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Visit Alchi Choskor Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Alchi Choskor Monastery – The Grand Dragon, Hotel Cho  Palace, Lha-Ri-Sa Resort

Restaurants around Alchi Choskor Monastery  Leh View Restaurant, Gesmo, Himalaya Café

Activities Nearby – Yak Safari in Leh, Trekking at Chadar Trek,  Zanskar Trek

Dwarfed by the high mountains in the backdrop, the Alchi Choskor Monastery is a part of the four separate settlements of the Monastic complex in the Alchi village. The Alchi Choskor Monastery is a fine example of traditional Kashmiri architecture. The solid square and rectangular structures with flat roofs and with elaborate murals is a landmark of Buddhist art and architecture in the Himalayan region. The murals depicted in the shrines and the stucco images enshrined therein are ascribable to period between 11th to 13th centuries A.D. The Alchi Choskor Monastery is credited to be the only remaining specimen of Indian Buddhist Iconography. The Indo-Buddhist iconography allows one to understand and comprehend better, what has been depicted. Filled with heritage, culture and tradition, this monastery gives one the impression of going back in time. 

Distance from Airport – 57.1 kms from Leh Airport

7. Hall of Fame – A museum that gives you a true insight into a soldier’s life

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh Hall of Fame

Image Credit: Ranav Bhasin

Visit Hall of Fame  Heritage, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Hall of Fame Lotus Hotel, Hotel Omasila, Hotel Dragon

Restaurants around Hall of Fame – La Terrasse, Dreamland Restaurant, World Garden Café

Activities Nearby – Camping at Pangong Tso, Biking at Khardung La Pass

The Hall of Fame is a museum primarily dedicated to the heroic sacrifices of the Indian Army and their brave fight against terror and infiltration. It is also a narrative on the vibrant cultural heritage of Ladakh. Leh’s War Museum or The Hall Of Fame as it is known brings together the varied worlds that co-exist in Leh. The museum has a training activity ground that gives tourists the opportunity to experience first-hand the strict regime and training that the army officials must go through. The museum is thus not only a center for knowledge but also one where you get a true insight into a soldier’s life and learn about the various hardships that the Indian army has to face. You thus come out with a feeling of pride and admiration for these brave souls who risk their lives to save ours.

Distance from Airport – 1 km from Leh Airport

8. Spituk Monastery – Come visit the monastery with a splendid view of the Indus River

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh Spituk

Image Credit: Vishwa Kiran

Visit Spituk Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Spituk Monastery – Hotel City Palace, Hotel Lasemo, Hotel Shangrila

Restaurants around Spituk Monastery  Leh View Restaurant, Gesmo, Himalaya Café

Activities Nearby – Camping at Pangong Tso, Yak Safari In Leh, Ladakh Bookshop

Founded in the 11th century, the Spituk Monastery is located at a distance of 8 kms from the town of Leh. Perched on a hill the monastery commandingly overlooks the great Indus. The name “Spituk”, meaning exemplary, a translator, Rincen Zangpo, said that an exemplary religious community would develop here, thus the name Spituk was chosen for the monastery. The monastery has a fine collection of exquisite antiques such as antique masks, thankas antique arms and much more. The main attraction here is without the doubt the image of Lord Buddha and Amitayus which is about a finger high in length. The annual festival, known as the Spituk Festival is held from the 17th to the 19th of the eleventh month. This monastery stands out not only for its stunning artifacts and architecture but also the panoramic landscape all around that truly will take your breath away.

Distance from Airport – 3.5 kms from Leh Airport

9. Namgyal Tsemo Monastery – An ancient three-storey gold idol of Maitreya Buddha awaits you

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh Namgyal Monastery

Image Credit: LM TP

Visit Nyamgal Tsemo Monastery – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels in Nyamgal Tsemo Monastery  Hotel Antelope, Reenam Hotel, Hotel Nezer Holiday Inn

Restaurants in Nyamgal Tsemo Monastery – Il Forno, La Terrasse, World Garden Café

Activities Nearby – Biking at Khardung La pass, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek, Yak Safari in Leh

Situated on a mountain top behind the Leh palace, the Namgyal Tsemo Monastery in Leh was founded in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal. With the plush countryside, the genty flowing Indus River and the snowcapped peaks of the Zanskar Range, the monastery offers a visual treat for all those who visit. The view from the monastery offers some of the most splendid and breath-taking views and is a favorite among the photographers. The highlight of this monastery is without doubt the three-storey high gold idol of Maitrieya Buddha, the ancient manuscripts and the frescoes. The Namgyal Tsemo Monastery also houses statues of Avaloketesvara and Manjushri, which are approximately one story high. The panoramic view from the monastery and the exquisite depiction of heritage through idols, manuscripts and wall paintings makes for the perfect amalgamation of nature’s splendid ways and mankind’s supremacy in craft.

Distance from Airport – 8.9 kms from Leh Airport

10. Vajra Bhairav Shrine – The ancient “Temple of Horrors” awaits you with its powerful shrine

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh Vajra Bhairav Shrine

Visit Vajra Bhairav Shrine for  Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Vajra Bhairav Shrine – Holiday Ladakh Hotel, The Grand Dragon, Tsomoriri

Restaurants around Vajra Bhairav Shrine – Nearby Hotels are the only good hygienic  places to eat

Activities Nearby – Biking at Khardung La pass, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek, Yak Safari in Leh

Enshrining the highly revered deity of the Geluk-pa sect, the Mahakala Vajra Bhairava Temple is located in Spituk amidst the imposing terrains of Leh. The temple of Vajra Bhairava is called the “Temple of Horrors” and is considered to be habited by the various fierce deities. The Vajra Bhairava Shrine is appropriately one of the oldest shrines in the region, dating back to the 15th Century and is one of the most important places of worship in Spituk. Dedicated to one of the most important tantric deities of the Gelug-pa or the Yellow Hat order of Buddhism, devotees are advised to practice deep and protective meditation before they enter these powerful, holy shrines. Visitors from across the country and across borders unanimously believe in the power of this shrine and have profound devotion for the presiding deity. The feeling of reverence is an instant one as one is overwhelmed by the majestic nature of the shrine.

Distance from Airport – 3.5 kms from Leh Airport

11. Sankar Monastery – This daughter establishment of Spituk Monastery houses the magnifcient figure of Avalokiteśvara

Visit Sankar Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Sankar Monastery – Hotel Caravan Centre, Thongsal, Hotel Antelope

Restaurants around Sankar Monastery – Tenzin Dickey Tibetan, KC Garden Café, Chpsticks Noodle Bar and Café.

Activities Nearby Biking at Khardung La pass, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek, Yak Safari in Leh

Built as the daughter establishment of the Spituk Monastery, the Sankar Monastery is home to some of the yellow hat monks who reside here enduringly. The Sankar Monastery is also the residence of the Abbot of Spituk, the Venerable Kushok Bakula, who is the senior incarnate lama of Ladakh owing to his ancient lineage and personal authority. Managed by only 20 residing monks, the visiting time of the monastery is limited to the early mornings and the evenings. The depiction of Tibetan culture and heritage is indeed spell bounding with an impressive figure of Avalokiteśvara, who stands tall with a thousand heads and a thousand arms each holding weapons of destruction. The walls are also painted with a Tibetan calendar, mandals and the rules for the monks. This monastery has depicted beautifully Tibetan culture and heritage in every nook and corner and is a visual and mental treat for all those who look forward to experiencing and learning Tibetan culture in its purest form.

Distance from Airport – 6.4 kms from Leh Airport

 

12. Jama Masjid – Amidst the monasteries, come witness the resplendent symbol of the Mughals

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh Jama Masjid

Image Credit: Jitendra Sngh

Visit Jama Masjid for – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Jama Masjid – Lha-Ri-Sa Resort, Tso Moriri Camp & Resort

Restaurants around Jama Masjid – Leh View Restaurant, Gesmo, Himalaya Café.

Activities Nearby – Camping at Pangong Tso

Constructed in 1666-1667 A.D., the Jama Masjid is the biggest mosque in Ladakh. The mosque was built as per an agreement between the ruler of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal and the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb. The eventual settlement that was made between the two kings wherein the Mughals would provide protection to the Ladakhi kings in return of a fee-the construction of the Jama Masjid as their symbolic seal.  Located in the main bazaar of Leh, this imposing place of worship is open only to men. The double domed, marvelous structure was replaced with the present day, intricately carved structure a few years back. The Jama Masjid in Leh along with the other mosques in a landscape thronged with monasteries and Buddhist faith followers is indeed a glorious symbol of religious forbearance and benevolence. The Masjid seems to seamlessly blend in with the spiritual and religious overtone of the land.

Distance from Airport – 5.9 kms from Leh Airport

 

13. Lotsawa Lha-Khang, Alchi village – A monastery dedicated to the great translator Rinchen Zangpo

Visit Lotsawa Lha-Khang for – Heritage

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Lotsawa Lha-Khang– Hotel Paorama Leh, Nezer View Guest House, Hotel Chube

Restaurants around Lotsawa Lha-Khang – Tibetan Kitchen, Summer Harvest, Lamayuru Restaurant.

Activities Nearby – Yak Safari in Leh, Trekking at Chadar Trek, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek

Lotsawa Lha – Khang, a Buddhist temple located in Alchi village, is dedicated to the great translator Rinchen Zangpo. The temple houses the image of Shakyamuni, the sage from the Sakya clan and to its right one can also see the small droopy-eared image of Rinchen Zangpo. The temple’s walls are decorated with paintings of Shakyamuni and are truly a work of art. Mostly made in the 11th century, the art work is definitely something to look out for. This Buddhist temple offers the perfect blend of excellent craftsmanship and Buddhism. If you are looking for awe inspiring art work with a religious over tone, the Lotsawa Lha – Khang temple is the place to be.

Distance from Airport – 56.8  kms from Leh Airport

 

14. Riasi Fort – This fort houses a perfect amalgamation of a mosque, a temple and a natural spring

Visit Raisi Fort for  Heritage

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Raisi Fort – Hotel Shambhala, Hotel Cho Palace, Lha-Ri-Sa Resort

Restaurants around Raisi Fort – Himalaya café, Gesmo

Activities Nearby – Yak Safari in Leh, Trekking at Chadar Trek, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek

Nestled below the historical Leh Palace and Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, the Riasi Fort is a prominent monument of the town. The fort was owned and therefore named after General Zorawar Singh- a brave warrior who is credited with defending Ladakh against the Chinese invasion. The Riasi fort is also known as General Zorawar’s Fort and is said to be the place where Jammu’s Dogra rulers kept a large portion of their wealth. Presently, the fort houses a rich and impressive collection of stamps, coins and royal treasures. The premise also has an old mosque and a temple dedicated to two Hindu goddesses, namely Goddess Kali and Goddess Durga. A natural spring is also present inside the old fort’s complex. Set amidst the barren hills and the scenic landscape, the Riasi fort is an apt photography haunt for all those who yearn to capture something unique. The fort is a place where people interested in archaeology, pre historic culture and artifacts come together to quench their thirst for knowledge.

Distance from Airport – 6.4 kms from Leh Airport

 

15. Serzang TempleThis temple, built with copper and gold raw materials is home to a 30 ft tall idol of Maitreya Buddha

Visit Serzang Temple for – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Serzang Temple – Hotel Panorma

Restaurants around Serzang Temple – Il Forno, Leh View Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Camping at Pangong Tso, Yak Safari in Leh , Trekking at Chadar Trek 

Leh has yet another beauty to its credit- The Sezrang Temple. This revered temple is originally said to have been built exclusively with copper and gold raw materials in the 17th Century and it is the abode of the 30 ft tall idol of Maitreya Buddha. The main idol of the deity is cased in a glass box like structure, which is raised to the ceiling and can be viewed from a gallery on the top of the monument.
 The Sezrang temple is also home to many colorful murals and paintings like that of Naropa, Mila Raspa, Tilopa and Marpa. The ornately painted walls of the temple complex depicting different episodes from the life of Buddha are an example of the supreme mastery that artists had over their craft. These images along with those of the followers of the Red Hat sect are appreciated, admired and researched upon even today by patrons of the art, historians, devotees and tourists alike. This venerate shrine also boasts of the manuscript copy of the famous Tibetan Buddhist Canon. This Serzang manuscript is inscribed in letters of silver, copper and gold and is worshipped along with the presiding deities of the Temple. The serenity that this temple exudes makes the holy shrine even more sanctified and gives rise to a spirit of extreme devotion and reverence. Away from the maddening bustle of city life, the picturesque shrine, set amongst sky blue skies and sparkling lakes of Ladakh makes one feel alive.

Distance from Airport – 6.9 kms from Leh Airport

16. Old Town – A subtle reminder of the socio-cultural history of Ladakh

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Hema Narayan

Visit Old Town for– Heritage

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Old Town  Hotel Ladakh Residency, Hotel Nezer Holiday Inn

R estaurants around Old Town– Near by hotels are the places to eat

Activities Nearby – Yak Safari in Leh

The Old Town of Leh bears testimony to the architectural heritage and socio-cultural history of Ladakh. Situated behind Leh’s main market, the Old Town lies spread across the southern slope of the hill with the Palace at the top and extends as far as the Polo Ground to the south, the Balti bakeries in Chute Rantak in the west and the motorable road going up to the Palace in the east. All these areas are connected by a labyrinth of narrow, winding pathways past homes that are over four hundred years old. Many of the homes that still remain display some of the remaining examples of supreme domestic architecture of the 17th Century. The Old Town is home to diverse communities from varied socio-economic backgrounds. The Old Town has stood the test of time and continues to stand testimony to the grandeur of the artistic heritage and cultural legacy that once exemplified Ladakh but is today largely overlooked and forgotten.

 Distance from Airport – 5.4 kms from Leh Airport

 

17. Central Asian Museum – A display of the past, present and future of Ladakh

Visit Central Asian Museum for – Heritage

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Central Asian Museum – Hotel Panorma, Hotel ladakh residency 

Restaurants  around Central Asian Museum – Near by hotels are the places to eat

Activities Nearby – Biking at Khardung La pass, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek, Yak Safari in Leh

The Central Asian Museum of Leh is a showcase of the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh. The museum was the brain child of the Anjuman Society in Leh. The museum is designed in the shape of a Tibetan-Ladakhi fortress tower, with a contemporary edge. The square ground plan is based on ancient Buddhist, Hindu and Muslim places of worship, with a circumambulation corridor that becomes a passage to the upper floors. Each of the four floor levels has a different architectural interior, reflecting the thematic organization of the building. Mainly traditional Ladakhi construction materials of stone, timber and mud have been used. Each piece of granite stone was individually shaped by the masons on site. The Ladakhi carpenters have carved timber elements that reflect local, Kashmiri and Tibetan designs. The exit of the museum opens to the Tsas Soma gardens, an idyllic oasis in the center of Leh, with ancient willow trees and a water channel. The Central Asian Museum of Leh has been set up to commemorate the important facets of Ladakh’s history and heritage and is one such museum that depicts Ladakh’s rich culture not only through the artifacts displayed but through the interior decorations whicr knowh gives one the illusion of being transported in time.

 Distance from Airport – 3.9 kms from Leh Airport

 

18. Donkey Sanctuary – A shelter for Donkeys, a haven of Love

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh Donkey Sanctuary

Image Credit: Inderjit Singh

Visit Donkey Snactuary for Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Donkey Sanctuary – Hotel Ladakh Residency, Hotel Nezer Holiday  Inn

Restaurants around Donkey Sanctuary – Near by hotels are the places to eat

Activities Nearby – Biking at Khardung La pass, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek, Yak Safari in Leh

A shelter for mistreated and abandoned donkeys, the Donkey Sanctuary is a safe haven for those donkeys that are not capable of any work, due to old age or disabilities, and have been abandoned by their owners. Undoubtedly one of the most unique preservation projects, the animals here are primarily those who not only get medical care and food here, but are also kept safe from street dogs; the dogs in these parts are known to be much more ferocious than their counterparts in the plains. Visitors can visit the donkey sanctuary, adopt a donkey and donate food, money and any other good if they choose to. Projects like these spread the message of equal treatment amongst animals and invite fellow animal lovers to come and contribute.

Distance from Airport – 6 kms from Leh Airport

 

19. Datun Sahib – The mystical tree that brought lush greenery to the barren land of Leh

Visit Datun Sahib for – Heritage, Spirituality, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Datun Sahib– Khan Manzil Guest House, Sun-N-Sand, The Grand Dragon

Restaurants around Datun Sahib – La Terrasse, Dreamland Restaurant, World Garden Café.

Activities Nearby – Shopping in Leh Bazaar, Sightseeing of the city like Leh Palace

Named after the Datun tree in the main bazaar of Leh, the Datun Sahib is tree which is looked up to with much reverence. Guru Nanak Dev JI is said to have visited this site around the year 1516. Planted by Guru Nank Dev Ji himself, this tree is believed to be the oldest tree here. If legends are to be believed, Leh was earlier a desert and had only shrubs and bushes and was devoid of any greenery.  It was Guru Nank De JI who blessed the city with greenery by planting a meswak tree. The Datun Sahib contains a nishan sahib and a tree wrapped with orange cloth. A yellow board in front of the tree refers to the visit of Rimpoche Nanak (Holy Nanak). There are two main Singh Sabha Gurudwaras located within a kilometer of the site. With such a fascinating history, the tree stands as a symbol of hope and miracle for people. You have to visit this place of miracles and hope to believe that in this harsh world, there is indeed happiness and light.

Distance from Airport – 5.7 kms from Leh Airport

 

20. Leh Bazaar – A piece of Leh with you, wherever you go

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Leh Bazaar

Image Credit: Sophie Day

Visit Leh Bazaar for – Shopping

Best time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Leh Bazaar – Hotel Ladakh Residency, Hotel Nezer Holiday Inn, Hotel Lumbini

Restaurants around Leh Bazaar – Leh View Restaurant, Gesmo, Himalaya Café.

Activities Nearby – Expeditions with Zanskar Trek, Camping at Pangong Tso, Biking at Khardung La Pass.

One of the biggest markets of Leh, the Leh Bazaar is an obvious tourist attraction. Local traders and artisans operate from the bazaar and thus one can purchase authentic goods. The bazaar is a center not only for the sale of products locally, but also supply to other regions. The bazaar is an ultimate destination for any traveler to pick up mementos, handicrafts and local knick knacks. This place is one stop shop for all things local and is a must visit for all those who wish to take a piece of Leh back with them.

 Distance from Airport – 5.3 kms from Leh Airport

 

21. Leh Palace – A glimpse into the glorious past of Leh

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Leh Palace

Image Credit: Sekitar

Visit Leh Palace for – Heritage

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Leh Palace – Hotel Ladakh Residency, Hotel Nezer Holiday Inn, Hotel Lumbini

Restaurants around Leh Palace – Nearby hotels are the only good hygienic places to eat

Activities Nearby – Biking at Khardung La pass, Expeditions with Zanskar Trek, Yak Safari in Leh

The Leh palace is a former royal palace overlooking the town of Leh. Bearing a passing similarity to the Potala Palace in Lhasa (Tibet), this nine-storey dun-coloured palace took shape under 17th-century king Sengge Namgyal. The palace has been abandoned since the time the Dogra forces took control of Ladakh. Today the very sturdy walls are largely unadorned but it’s a thrilling experience to meander your way through the labyrinth of dark corridors, hidden stairways and makeshift ladders to reach the rooftop for breath taking views of the city. Home to a rich collection of jewelry, ornaments, ceremonial dresses and crowns, the palace also houses the Chinese thangka or sooth paintings which are more than 450 years old. These are a real treat to the eye with intricate designs and bright and pleasing colours derived from crushed and powdered gems and stones. A visit to this palace is akin to a walk down the roads of history where one finds oneself immersed in the powerful heritage of Leh.

 Distance from Airport – 6.4 kms from Leh Airport

 

22. Lamayuru Monastery – Pray in the monastery made on top of the broken pieces of the Moon

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Lamayuru Monastery

Image Credit: Irene Becker

Visit Lamayuru Monastery  for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Lamayuru Monastery – D’jozila, Hotel Siachen, Hotel Greenland 

Restaurants around Lamayuru Monastery – Pasgo, Shangrila Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking and hiking activities are there in Leh

Renowned as Tharpa Ling which means the ‘place of freedom’; the Lamayuru monastery is the oldest and one of the largest monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery is located at an altitude of 3510 meters and has a population of around 150 permanent resident monks. The ancient monastery consists of five buildings and the oldest surviving one, is a temple called Seng-ge-sgang. The monastery is also home to an assembly hall, a Gonkhang, a temple and residential buildings for monks. The walls of the Dukhang are beautifully adorned with bright images of various Buddhist deities. The Gonkhang is a dedication to the guardians of Buddhism. In front of the temple there are three chortens. Besides the temple there is a cave which is known as Naropa’s cave. It is said that Naropa used to meditate in the cave. The monastery is most renowned for its rich wall paintings, collection of thangkas, murals, scriptures and statues of the different forms of Buddha and other deities. The monastery is host to two festivals, one in the second month of the Tibetan Calendar and the other in the fifth month. This sprawling monastery is filled with Buddhist heritage and culture and gives one an enriching and beautiful insight into this culture through images, idols and architecture.

Distance from Airport  105 kms from Leh Airport

 

23. Mulbekh Monastery – Admire the two gompa monastery with a splendid rock faced sculpture of Maitreya Buddha

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Sinography

Visit Mulbekh Monastery for– Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – May -September

Hotels around Mulbekh Monastery – D’jozila, Hotel Siachen, Hotel Greenland 

Restaurants around Mulbekh Monastery – Pasgo, Shangrila Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking and hiking activities are there in Leh

The Mulbekh Monastery truly stands out from among the numerous monasteries in Ladakh as this is home to two gompas, one the Drukpa Gompa and the other the Gelugpa Gompa The double gompas are dramatically situated at the very top of a crag 200 metres (656 ft) above the road. Another reason for the Mulbekh Monastery’s fame is the 30 ft long limestone sculpture of Maitreya Buddha. Carved onto the rock face, the sculpture of the standing Maitreya Buddha overlooks the National Highway 1D between Leh and Kargil. Though the rock sculpture represents the Maitreya Buddha, the idol is a fine blend of Saivite symbols and early Buddhist art work. The art is a reminder of the fact that the missionaries who were instrumental in carving the statue were not from Tibet.The Maitreya Buddha is also known as Chamba. Hence the Mulbekh Monastery is popularly known as Mulbekh Chamba. Along with the commanding nine meter tall Maitreya sculpture, there are many prized relics along with the splendid statues and frescoes in the monastery. This unique monastery gives anyone who visits double the thrill of experiencing something so different and something so wondrous.

 Distance from Airport – 141 kms from Leh Airport

 

24. Shargole Monastery Explore the revered place of worship on a granite cliff

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Txus Perez

Visit Shargole Monastery – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Shargole Monastery – D’jozila, Hotel Siachen, Hotel Greenland 

Restaurants around Shargole Monastery – Pasgo, Shangrila Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking and hiking activities are there in Leh

Perched on a high cliff made of granite, sits the Shargole Monastery. The monastery gives the illusion of being suspended in the middle of the mountain. The Shargole Monastery follows the lineage of the Gelug that is a Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. An idol of Avalokiteshvara – the Mahayana god of compassion and mercy can be found inside this shrine. Three wooden images of the Hindu Goddess Tara also adorn the interiors of this monastery that have been meticulously carved by the Tibetan artists. Also present below the Shargole Monastery is a tiny Buddhist nunnery. The architectural quirk of the monastery makes it an object of curiosity among both tourists and locals. The panoramic view from the verandah of the “cantilever monastery” is breathtaking and enables the worshipper to concentrate and meditate better, adding to the serene spiritual experience

 Disance from Airport – 181 kms from Leh Airport

 

25. Phuktal Monastery – Be mesmerized by the cave of spirituality and knowledge in the remotest valley of Ladakh

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Anne

Visit Phugtal Monastery  – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Phugtal Monastery – There are guest quarters in the monastery itself.

Restaurants around Phugtal Monastery – Local food is provided which the monks eat

Activities Nearby – Trekking and hiking activities are there in Zanskar

The Phuktal Gompa is the most isolated Buddhist monastery located in the remote Lungnak Valley of Zanskar in the autonomous Himalayan region of Ladakh. Built around a natural cave, the Phuktal Monastery is believed to have been visited by important sages, scholars and translators beginning around 2,550 years ago. The present Phuktal Gompa of the Gelug lineage was established in the early 14th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo, a disciple of Gelug founder Tsongkhapa. The Phuktal Gompa owes its distinguished legacy of powerful scholars and teachers to the cave, which has long been a place of retreat, meditation, learning, and teaching.  The name Phuktal (or Phukthal) reflects the very same, coming from the two words “Phuk” meaning cave, and “tal” or “thal” meaning “at leisure”  According to the legend, the spiritually gifted Zangpo caused a spring to run in the cave, a tree to grow above the cave, and the cave itself to grow larger. Today the Phuktal Gompa houses a main temple, prayer rooms, a library, numerous apartments, teaching facilities, a kitchen, and of course the original cave and a protected sacred spring. The rich heritage of the monastery coupled with the uniqueness of its location, makes this a visit of a lifetime.

Distance from Airport – 415 kms from Leh Airport

 

26. Kargil – Come explore the Land of the Agas

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: sandeepachetan.com

Visit Kargil for – Trekking, Village tours

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Kargil – D’jozila, Hotel Siachen, Hotel Greenland 

Restaurants around Kargil– Pasgo, Shangrila Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking activities are available in the town itself

Also called the Land Of Agas, Kargil is the headquarter of the Kargil district and the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh. Kargil is called the “Land of Agas” owing to the reason that most of the inhabitants here are Shia Muslims and the Agas are the religious heads and the preachers. Kargil became a separate district in the Ladakh region during the year 1979 when it was bifurcated from the erstwhile Leh district. Situated at an elevation of 2676 meters, the area receives abundant water from the rivers originating in the Greater Himalaya. The vegetation here is more luxuriant than in eastern Ladakh.  Kargil is steeped in history and culture and is an enriching experience for anyone who visits.   Kargil also provides you with abundant scenic beauty and thus along with being enriching, the experience is a visually appeasing one.

Distance from Airport – 207 kms from Leh Airport

 

27. Batalik – Come reminiscence a war torn land with a splendid view of the Indus

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Batalik

Image Credit: Narendra PR

Visit Batalik for – Trekking, Village tours

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Batalik– Hotel Caravan Sarai, D’zojila, Royal Guest House

Restaurants around Batalik – Pasgo, Shangrila Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking are done in the valley itself

Batalik is a part of the Indian Administered Ladakh which has been the centre of all Indo-Pakistani wars. Known for its inhospitable terrain and high peaks, Batalik was one of the biggest war zones in 1999. The Indian army fought some of the fiercest battles to evict Pakistani intruders on the steep heights of Batalik, located along the Line of Control. The picturesque Batalik valley, about 56 kms from Kargil town, is famous for its four villages — Dha, Hanu, Garkon and Darchak. People from the Drokpa tribe live in these villages and are believed to be the descendants of pure Aryans. They are known to have fiercely guarded their racial identity for centuries. Batalik is part of the ancient Indus civilization and is a virgin site. There is an historic road which runs parallel to the Indus River and the river can be seen in its full glory here. Visiting this famous battle site is truly overwhelming for all who visit and experiencing the age-old heritage of the district is just an added plus point.

Distance from Airport – 200 kms from Leh Airport

 

28. Zojila Pass – Pass through the lifeline of Ladakh

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Zojila Pass

Image Credit: Rajesh

Visit Zojila Pass for – Trekking, Photography

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Zojila Pass – Snow Heights Hotel, Hotel Tranquil Retreat, Rah Villas Hotel

Restaurants around Zojila Pass – Tourist Cafeteria, Hotel Snowland Sonamarg, Ahsan Mount Resort

Activities Nearby – Leh and Srinagar both has trekking, camping and various other activities

At an elevation of 3528 meters, the Zoji La is a high mountain pass in the Indian occupied Kashmir. Located on the Indian National Highway, 1D between Srinagar and Leh, the Zoji La is a vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir. During the Indo-Pakistani War of 1947, Zoji La was seized by Pakistani raiders in 1948 in their campaign to capture Ladakh. The pass was captured by Indian forces on the 1st of November in a daring assault codenamed Operation Bison. The pass is maintained by the Border Roads Association and the personnel are assigned with the task of clearing the snow- bound stretch across Zoji La along the 434 kilometer long Srinagar-Kargil-Leh Highway. One can experience this historically vital pass along with taking in the breathtaking scenic view while visiting the Zoji La pass.

Distance from Airport – 307 kms from Leh Airport

 

29. Fotula Pass – Ride through this high altitude pass with phenomenal natural beauty

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Fotula Pass

Image Credit: Aswin Anand

Visit Fotula Pass for– Trekking, Photography

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Fotula Pass – D’jozila, Hotel Siachen, Hotel Greenland 

Restaurants around Fotula Pass – Pasgo, Shangrila Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Leh has treeking and other activities

Standing at a height of 13,748 ft above the sea level, this mountain pass is referred to as the highest point on the Srinagar-Leh Highway. One of the most fascinating aspects of this pass is the presence of a Prasar Bharati television station on such a high altitude. The drive through the pass is a beautiful one with stunning images of the snow clad mountains and the rugged roads. The natural beauty of the Forula Pass is truly phenomenal.

Distance from Airport – 120 kms from Leh Airport

 

30. Sand Dunes of Hundur – Witness the rare duel between Desert Sand Dunes and Snow

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Amit Basu

Visit Sand Dunes of Hundur for – Nature walk, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Sand Dunes of Hundur – Habib Guest House (walking distance from Sand dunes), Cold Desert camps(loaced on the banks of Nubra River), Chunka’s camp

Restaurants around Sand Dunes of Hundur – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby – Camel safari, Sight seeing

One of the most visited sites in the Hundur Village; the Sand Dunes of Hundur cover the area between Diskit and the Hundur Village. These beautiful sand dunes at such a high altitude make for an amazing view and are in stark contrast from the deserts of Rajasthan. The sand dunes of Nubra Valley seemed to have accumulated since years due to natural phenomenon. The Shyok River and many smaller streams drain the soil from the mountains down to the valley. The continuous erosion and silt carried down by the river might have been the most accurate explanation. Some choose to believe that a dried river bed could be the reason for it too.The sand dunes along wth the sea buckthorn plants are truly something to look out for. The landscape is completely different from the deserts of Rajasthan. The landscape is not not dry and sparse as one would imagine but rather dotted with thick pine-like, thorny plant outgrowths. The high altitude desert, with rolling expanse of sand dunes and barren landscape, truly make for an amazing sight. The sand dunes seem like an   enigma to the scores of tourists who come to visit this spectacle.

Distance from Airport – 135 kms from Leh Airport

 

31. Sumur – Come admire the  picturesque village near the Samstem Ling Gompa

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Umbreen Hafeez

Visit Hundur for – Hiking

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Sumur – Home Stays, Guest Houses

Restaurants around Sumur– No resturants in the village. Food is provided by the guest house

Activities Nearby – Hiking

The quiet, peaceful and the lesser known village of Sumur is located in the Nubra Valley of the Ladakh region in the Trans-Himalayan mountain range. The village of Sumur is located at an altitude of around 10,827 feet above sea-level. Situared at a distance of 110 kms from the town of Leh, the roads leading to the picturesque village, crosses a bridge near the confluence of the Nubra and the Shyok River, the roads then curves sharply south. The roads leading to the village of Sumur is surprisingly very well laid with smooth tar roads all the way leading to the village. The village of Sumur is famous and is also an important stop since the holy monastery named Samstem Ling Gompa is located close to the village. The Samstem Ling Gompa is the most important monastery of Nubra Valley and one is required to hike for around 45 minutes to reach the monastery. Sumur seems to all who visit as the ideal escape from the mundane bustling of city life.

Distance from Airport – 120 kms from Leh Airport

 

32. Hundur Monastery – Come venture into a monastery set in the farthest of lands

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credits: Amit Basu

Visit Hundar Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Hundar Monastery – Nubra organic Retreat

Restaurants around Hundur Monastery –  Nubra organic Retreat

Activities Nearby – Sight Seeing, visit Diskit and Lachung temple

The Hundur Monastery is a Buddhist Monastery in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh. Founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpoin the 14th century it is located near the bridge just below the main road to the Nubra Valley. This monastery lies in close proximity to the Lachung Templae and the Dishit Gompa and is one of the main attractions of this site. Hundur Monastery is home to a huge Buddhist statue which makes for a truly spectacular site. The village of Hundur, where the monastery stands, is the farthest point till which tourists are allowed to venture in this part of Nubra valley. The monastery set amidst the remotest of lands, is a must visit for all those who wander and for those who truly like to explore.

Distance from Airport – 122 kms from Leh Airport

 

33. Zanskar Valley – Admire the scenic beauty of the Zanskar Valley

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Sandeepa Chetan

Visit Zanskar Valley for – Rafting, Trekking, Camping

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Zanskar Valley – Rooms can be taken on rent in the Monastery

Restaurants around Zanskar Valley – Gay-Skyit restaurant 

Activities Nearby – White water Rafting in Zanskar river stretching from Padum to Nemu, Trekking to Chadar Trek, Camping near the river, Sight seeing

Wrapped in snow capped peaks and huddled amidst two tiny alpine lakes, Zanskar Valley is a beautiful tourist destination in the northern parts on India. It is one of the scantly inhabited Himalayan valleys blessed with immense natural scenic beauty. Sandwiched between the Great Himalayas to the South and the Zanskar Mountains to the North, the Zanskar Valley is one of the most remote places of India. It lies snuggled between the Kashmir Valley and the Lahaul Valley to the south and the Indus Valley to its north. Zanskar comprises two main valleys, namely the Stod (Doda) and the Lunak (Tsarab), which converge below at Padum. The valley has an area of about 5,000 square kms. and is situated at an elevation of 13,154 ft. The area remains inaccessible for nearly 7 months in the year. The valley is home to the famous Chadar Trek which the locals as well as the tourists take every as winter approaches. All the high passes get closed and the river is frozen on the surface. Trekkers walk along the frozen river to reach the Indus River in Nimoo village. Home to this unique trek, the Zanskar Valley is truly an escape into the spectacular wonders of nature. 

Distance from Airport440 kms from Leh Airport

 

34. Suru ValleyWander amidst lush green agricultural lands and gurgling streams of Suru Valley

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Sandeepa Chetan

Visit Suru Valley for – Hiking, Trekking

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Suru Valley – Camps and tents near Rangdum Monastery or Hotel Zojila Residency (Kargil), Hotel Caravan Sarai(kargil)

Restaurants around Suru Valley – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby -Hiking, Trekking

Picturesque lowland, lying at an average elevation of 3000 m in the foothills of the Great Himalayas, the Suru valley encompasses the catchment basin of the Suru River, which emerges from the Panzella glacier. The valley extends from Kargil, to the Panzella glacier. This ‘valley of flowers’ could be a bigger attraction than better known Zanskar to which it is the main access route. The rugged terrains of this valley are drained by several rivulets that descend from the Himalayan Mountains. Lofty pinnacles of Kun and Nun mountains crown the breathtaking landscape of this scenic region. The hills of Suru Valley are cultivated intensively than anywhere else in Ladakh. Enough snow and water during the winters and fertile land makes it possible to yield two crops annually. The valleys are especially picturesque in spring when the apple, apricot and mulberry  trees are all in bloom and in autumn when they are laden with fruits. Most of the inhabitants of this sprawling region are of Tibeti-Darad origin, who converted from Buddhism to Islam around the 16th century. These people reside in quaint villages that consist of old houses, perched above hillocks and surrounded by verdant agricultural tracts. Suru Valley boasts of breathtaking landscapes that make it a dreamland for photography. From soaring Himalayan crests to floating glaciers, snow dominates the vista of this picture-perfect valley. Lush green agricultural lands and gurgling streams add to the beauty of the region, making this valley one that definitely should not be missed.

Distance from Airport – 302 kms from Leh Airport

35. Drang-Drung Glacier – Come applaud the largest accessible glacier in Ladakh

Visit Drang- Drung Glacier for – Trekking, Camping

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Drang-Drung Glacier – Rigyal Guesthouse, D’zojila,  Hotel Siachen  these hotels are in kargil being the closest town to Drang drung

Restaurants around Drang-Drung Glacier – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby – Trekking, Camping

The largest glacier in Ladakh, the Drang Drung is located near Pensila mountin pass at the Kargil-Zanskar road. The Drang Drung is likely to be the largest glacier in Ladakh other than Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram Range with a maximum length of 23 kilometers and at an average elevation of 15,680 ft. 22kms long Drang Drung glacier is the largest glacier accessible to tourists in the Ladakh region. The glacier is a big, sluggish stream of ice, bent from trampled sheets of snow, that gradually distorts and surges in accordance with gravity. One among the biggest glaciers in India, Drang-Drung Glacier offers the picturesque scenery of the snow capped mountain peaks of the Himalayas. Drang Drung glacier is the source of the Doda River and one can trek up to the glacier from Padum. The Stod River also has its source at the Drang Drung glacier. From the Pensi La pass the glacier looks akin to a river, the only difference being that this is a river of ice. With an elevation that high, the glacier indeed looks spectacular and awe inspiring. The Drang Drung is one of the major attractions of the Zanskar region and is without doubt an adventure junkie’s paradise.

Distance from Airport – 151 kms from Leh Airport

 

36. Rangdum MonasteryMesmerize youself in the unique Mani walls of the Rangdum Monastery 

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Ashok Nath

Visit Rangdum Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit– May – September

Hotels around Rangdum Monastery – Tourist complex inside the monastery, Tented accomadation

Restaurants around Rangdum Monastery – No specific hotels. There is a tea shop from where you can get food

Activities Nearby – Trekking , Camping organised by the monastery management

Located in the most isolated part of the Suru Valley in the Ladakh region, the 200 year old Rangdum Monastery is a prominent center of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is part of the Gelugpa or yellow-hat order. Situated at an elevation of 11,998 ft, it is amongst the most important landmarks of the Ladakh region. The monastery is 130-kms south-east of Kargil and falls midway between Kargil and Padum. The monastery is akin to a fortified structure. According to legend, the monastery was built by Gelek Yashy Takpa during the reign of King Tsewang Mangyul of Ladakh. A highlight of this monastery is the the Mani walls made up of Mani stones. The Mani stones with the inscription “Om mani padme hum”, roughly translated, means “Hail to the jewel in the lotus”, have to be passed from their left side. You have to move clockwise around the Mani walls in the direction the earth and the universe revolve, according to the Buddhist doctrine. These Mani walls in Rangdum are indeed very unique and very different from the other Mani walls found in Ladakh. Some stones also have pictures of chortens and mandalas along with the usual inscriptions. The monastery has a museum featuring a wide collection of Tibetan and other artifacts of the region. The central prayer hall with wonderful collection of statues and art objects is the highlight of the monastery. Two tiny hamlets – Yuldo and Tashi-Tongze, located close to the monastery have rows of chortens. Home to around 40 monks, the Rangdum Monastery has no access to electricity, phone or internet. It’s remote location and absence of good roads has preserved Rangdum’s pristine beauty. This isolated place of worship is in the trust sense a get away from the maddening rush and gives all those who visit, a much needed sense of serenity and calm.

Distance from Airport– 337 kms from Leh Airport

 

37. Tsarap Chu River – Explore a water body that gives life and exhilarates adventure

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Henrik Johansson

Visit Tsarap Chu River for – Trekking, Camping

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Tsarap Chu River – No Hotels nearby, Camping on the riverside can be an option for travelers and backpackers

Restaurants around Tsarap Chu River – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby – Trekking, Camping, Sight seeing

The Tsarap Chu River is a mountainous water body that flows through the east of the Zanskar Valley in Ladakh. This river originates from the glaciers near the Pankpo La Pass, which is present on the state border between Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. After entering the Zanskar Valley through several towns, the river meets the Stod River at Padum. Together these rivers form the Zanskar River, which feeds the Indus River. Tsarap Chu is significant for the Zanskar Valley as it facilitates irrigation in the region. The Tsarap River contributes to the minimal agricultural production of the Zanskar valley, mainly to the lower areas of Chia, by providing irrigation to the fields of barley, wheat, buckwheat and peas. The river takes its course through difficult whitewaters and past monasteries.What makes this river an integral part of tourism in Ladakh is the opportunity for rafting and other adventure activities. It is a popular venue for several rafting events, which is why adventure enthusiasts are drawn towards it.

Distance from Airport – 445 kms from Leh Airport 

38. Sani Monastery – Pray at the oldest religious centre in entire Ladakh & Zanskar

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Sandeepa Chetan

Visit Sani Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Sani Monastery – Rigyal Guesthouse, D’zojila,  Hotel Siachen

Restaurants around Sani Monastery – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby – Mountaineering, Trekking in Kargil near sani monastery

The Sani Monastery is among the oldest religious centres of Tibetan Buddhism in Ladakh and Zanskar regions. On the road to Kargil, six kms west from Padum, Sani village is located at the intersection of Stod Valley and Zanskar in Jammu and Kashmir in northern India.
Like Dzongkhul Monastery, it belongs to the Drukpa Kargyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and is the only one of this order in Zanskar which has nuns. Sani Monastery was built in parts with each part dating to a different century. The chorten or the reliquary is the oldest past of the monastery which is believed to have been erected in the 2nd century.  The Dukhang or the assembly hall was built in the early 17th century. The monastery is built in the form of a castle and has the Kanika Stupa at the back of its walled complex. The central praying hall is in the main building of the monastery. It is decorated with a vibrant collection of statues of Buddhist deities and Kargud-pa’s Lamas. The walls of the prayer hall have frescoes and thangkas (Tibetan silk paintings). At the rear of the main building there is a small neglected chapel. The chapel is in a dilapidated state but is still worth a watch with its beautiful murals that depict the life of Padmasambhava (The Lotus Born), landscape and many have floral designs. There is a crematorium outside the monastery complex which is considered to be one of the eight most important cremation grounds for Tibetan Buddhists. The crematorium has a ring of ancient rock paintings on its perimeter which has a touch of Indian art as well to it. This ancient prayer site is one which is soaked in heritage and is truly one which should be visited to experience the richness of Tibetan Buddhism culture.

Distance from Airport – 8.9 kms from Leh Airport

 

39. Chadar Trek – Trek on a frozen river for an experince of a lifetime

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Dolkar2012

Visit Chadar Trek for – Heritage

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Chadar Trek – Backpackers and Trekkers usualy camp in the caves,  Home stays are also provided by the local people

Restaurants around Chadar Trek – Food is provided by the locals or the trek organisers

Activities Nearby – Trekking, Camping in caves, Sight seeing

This truly enigmatic trek takes place on the shiny ice of the Tsarap Chu River. Most of the trek is on the ice but in a few places one has to climb icy rocks which makes this trek not only more dangerous but much more worthwhile to do. Only 15-17 kms trek can be covered in a day and thus nights are mostly spent in caves. This adventurous trek is covered in 70 kms and thus takes a week to finish. The truth is the extreme conditions are not hard to beat. With multiple layers and sensible trekking, the Chadar trek is not a very difficult trek. But what sets it apart is its unique experience. Everything about it is unique: the scenery, temperature, atmosphere, the frozen river, sledges, unusual camp sites, caves and the ever changing Chadar. So unique that it has to be experienced. In our Indiahikes list of treks, the Chadar, by far, is the most unique.

Distance from Airport – 30.6 kms from Leh Airport

 

40. Karsha Monastery – Pay tribute at the largest monastery in Zanskar

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Bharat Baswani

Visit Karsha Monastery for – Heritage

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Karsha Monastery – Royal Heritage Resort, Hotel shambhala, Cold Desert Camp

Restaurants around Karsha Monastery – Vegetarian meals at the monastery,

Activities Nearby – Sight Seeing, Visiting other monasteries

Karsha monastery is the largest monastery of Zanskar in Ladakh region. Located in Padum Valley above the Stod River in Zanskar, it is also known as the Karsha Chamspaling and belongs to the Gelugpa Order or the Yellow Hat Order. The monastery was founded by famous translator, Phagspa Sherab in 11th century. It was constructed on the steep mountain above the Karsha village. It was constructed of adobe bricks with white washed buildings in a fortified shape. Karsha monastery is a complex comprising eight temples, chapels, chortens, residential rooms for 150 monks and assembly halls. The assembly halls lie at the central part of the monastery and is surrounded with three chapels that has a number of statues and beautiful art works. The wall paintings in the monastery by Lama Dzadpa Dorie are one of the main attraction for those who visit. There is a huge collection of Thangka paintings. The temples which are over 300 years old are larger than other buildings of the monastery and are partially damaged.
Chortens or the grave of mummified Lamas depicting the various stages of spiritual as well as physical attainments. It is believed that in the dome of Chortens, spiritual elements are also infused in the mummified body and it is known as the perfect human body. There are temples of Khagsar close by the Karsa village and a convent known by Dorjezong located at the top of the valley. Famous for its festival Gustor, Karsha gives the opportunity to witness the beautiful landscape of the Zanskar Valley that includes the glaciers, greenery, the rivers and the vast lands. The perfect amalgamation of spiritualism and culture, the Karsha Monastery is one filled with rich heritage of the glorious past of the Buddhists.

Distance from Airport – 447 kms from Leh Airport

 

41. Padum – Explore the historical administrative center of Ladakh

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Sandeepa Chetan

Visit Padum for – Trekking

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Padum – Marq Hotel Zanskar valley, Rigyal Guesthouse-Padum

Restaurants around Padum – Gay-Skyit restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking, starting point of many treks

Padum, named after Padmasambhava, it is the only town and administrative centre in Zanskar. It was historically one of the two main capitals of the Zanskar Kingdom, the other being Zangla. It is 240 kms away via the link road from Kargil town. Capital of the ancient kingdom of Zanskar, Padum serves as the starting point for several treks in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. The administrative headquarters of Zanskar region, Padum is known for its scenic beauty and is a favourite with photographers and nature enthusiasts. With a population of 2000, Padum is the most populous in Zanskar region. The origin of the human settlement dates back to 17th century. Padum has considerable population of Muslims, the largest in Ladakh which is predominantly Buddhist. Known for its Spartan splendor, the landscape acquires different hues with the change of time. Trekking is among the important activities which attracts scores of tourists to Padum. Padum is the centre point for visiting monasteries like Karsha, Stongdey, Bardan and Phuktal. The historical significance coupled with the spectacular view makes Padum a haven for most tourists.

Distance from Airport – 441 kms from Leh Airport

42. Pensila Pass – Come witness the scenic Gateway to Zanskar

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Satyender S Dhull

Visit Pensila Pass for – Trekking, Camping

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Pensila Pass – No Hotels to stay nearby, camping can be done on the foothill of Pensi la

Restaurants around Pensila Pass – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby – Trekking on the bank of Stod river, Camping at the foot of Pensi La

Also known as “The Gateway to Zanskar”, the Pensila Pass is a gateway to both the Zanskar and Padum. About 4,400 m above the sea level, the pass connects the Suru Valley to the Zanskar Valley region. The summit at this end of the Suru Valley is the only peak which is 7,012 m that can be seen from the pass, while the mountain to the north is 6,873 m high.  A 240 kms metal road connecting Kargil town to Padum, through the Pensi La remains open for a brief period of 5 months, between May and October. Before the modern road was built, the pass, apparently, used to be open only three months of the year because of heavy snows. An important destination for all those who wish to visit Zanskar and Padum, the Pensila Pass is a prominent site which offers spectacular scenic beauty.

 Distance from Airport – 363 kms from Leh Airport

 

43. Moore Plains – Photograph these beautiful desolate plains

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Prabhu B Doss

Visit Moore Plains for – Biking

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Moore Plains – Hotel Ibex, Triveni Hotel on Leh Manali Highway

Restaurants around Moore Plains – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby – Biking

These inhabitable plains with no population and no signs of construction whatsoever are a 40kms long stretch that one comes across on route to Leh to Manali. At an average elevation of 4000 metres, the Moore Plains are flanked by mountain ranges on both sides. This area is a major attraction for all the bikers heading towards Leh from Manali At some places the road runs along the Sumkhel Lungpa River featuring some stunning sand and rock natural formations. This plain area starts after covering around 4 kms uphill road from Pang towards Tanglang La pass. The road is mostly on the plain for around 30–35 kms, before it again starts to rise to Tanglang La. The Border Roads Organisation of the Indian Army is now in the process of converting the road to two lanes – one in either direction. Flanked by beautiful mountains on both sides, these plains are a photographer’s paradise and a wondrous site for all the nature lovers. The landscapes and the colors keep changing after each turn and the pristine blue sky simply adds to the scenic beauty.

 Distance from Airport – 165 kms from Leh Airport

 

44. Basgo Monastery – Applaud the commanding 75 feet statue of the Buddha

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: A_K_M

Visit Basgo Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Basgo Monastery – Ule Ethnic Resort

Restaurants around Basgo Monastery – Ule Ethnic Resort

Activities Nearby – Sight seeing

40 kms from Leh on the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar highway, lies the Basgo Monastery.The Basgo Monastery has been renowned as 100 most delicate heritage places in the world in 2000-2001 by the World Monument Foundation. The Basgo Monastery is an amazing and alluring piece of architecture. The architecture is of Tibetan pattern. The compound of the Basgo Monastery consists of three temples and the Basgo citadel. These were established by the King Gragspabum and his successors from Tibet in the 16th & 17th centuries although some of the chroniclers quarrel that the citadel existed much before. The highest tower with a Lhato still appears to be guarding the three important shrines dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha.The Statue in these shrines are among the oldest representation of the Maitreya Buddha in existence in India. Towards the north east is situated the Ngangpa Ri, a sacred mountain with remnants of ancient hermitages. To the south east it looks over the land towards the mighty Indus River. The three shrines have murals, manuscripts besides the statues at Basgo Gompa Ladakh.The Basgo Monastery boasts of the 75 feet statue of the future Buddha. This statue was enlisted as one of the hundred endangered sites of the world in 2001 by UNESCO and then the villages led by an educated batch have taken up the task to save the statue housed in a richly decorated structure that is standing precariously on cliffs some 300m above the village level. Despite of being such an amazingly rich and striking historical place, the Basgo Gompa gets very few tourists which is a matter of concern as most visitors usually go after the popular tourist’s destinations in Ladakh. All those who miss out on this monastery, are missing an exclusive and exceptional experience of the famous murals of Basgo Monastery.

Distance from Airport – 33.3 kms from Leh Airport

 

45. Rizong Monastery and Jelichun Nunnery –  Come meditate in this heaven for meditation

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Waletr Callens

Visit Rizong Monastery and Jelichun Nunnery for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Rizong Monastery and Jelichun Nunnery – Hotel Asia Jammu Tawi, Hotel Skittsal

Restaurants around Rizong Monastery and Jelichun Nunnery – Kang-La-Chen, Tibetan restaurant, Kc 360 cakes, MotiMahal Delux

Activities Nearby – Sight seeing

Rizong Monastery, also known as Yuma Changchubling, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect. Situated at the top of a rocky hill on the north bank of the Indus, to the west of the Alchi gompa and Lamayuru, this monastery was established by Lama Tsulim Nima in the year 1831. The Rizong Monastery is home to 40 monks.  Known as the “Heaven for Meditation”, this monastery is noted for its extremely strict standard and rules. The nunnery is located about 2kms from the monastery and is called the “Jelichun Nunnery” or Chulichan, where, at present about 20 nuns reside and the nunnery is under the control of the governing body of the Rizong Monastery. There is a small cave the in vicinity of the monastery and it is believed that Guru Padmasambhava mediated in this cave many years ago.  The monastery is home to a rich collection of the painting blocks of Lama Tsultim Nima’s biography as well as a number of objects made and books composed by the 1st Sras Rinpoche. Serving as the incumbents of the Rizong Monastery, are the successive recreations of Lama Tsultim Nima and his son Sras Rinpoche. A monastery that adheres to every rule and regulation of the Buddhist ritual is definitely one to visit. One can witness high standards of rituals and a true showcase of rituals and traditions.

Distance from Airport – 58.7 kms from Leh Airport

 

46. Likir Monastery – Pay respects to the huge golden Maitreya Buddha statue of Sham Valley

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Nanda Kishor

Visit Likir Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Likir Monastery – Hotel Lasermo, The Grand Dragon, Hotel Lumbini

Restaurants around Likir Monastery – Chopsticks noodle bar & café, Open Hand Café, Leh View Restaurant

Activities Nearby –  Sight Seeing

The Likir Monastery or gompa is one of the oldest and well maintained monasteries in Ladakh district .Located in the Likir village, the monastery is believed to have been in existence since 11th century. Likir means the Naga encircled. The monastery got its name as it is believed two serpent spirits –Nanda and Taksako – guard it. The original name of Likir monastery is Klu-kkhyil gompa. The gompa belongs to Gelugpa sect of Buddhism which is also referred as Yellow Hat sect. It was founded by Tsongkhapa in 15th century. The monastery was built akin to a  fort so that it offered sanctuary to local inhabitants during war. Fields are located at the base, above which are located the monks’ residences. The temples and the assembly hall are located above the monks’ residence. About 120 monks reside in the monastery. Precious statues made in gold, silver and copper, besides numerous rare thangkas, murals and art works form the wealth of the monastery. Likir also controls Alchi monastery. The main attractions of the monastery are its architecture, murals, thangkas, 75 feet statue of Buddha and stupas. There are two assembly halls known as Dukhang. Walls of the Dukhang are full of paintings. The paintings of Bodhisattva (Lord of All He Surveys), Amitabha (Buddha of the West), Sakyamuni (present Buddha), Maitreya (future Buddha) and Marme Zat (past Buddha) are impressive. The Gonkhang is dedicated to guardian deities. A trip to Likir is incomplete without attending the annual festival. Dance, music, sports and food are high point of the festival. Cham dance is the major attraction and is performed by Lamas wearing colourful mask. This monastery invites you with its alluring architecture and craftsmanship and leaves all those who visit in complete wonder and amazement.

Distance from Airport – 46.7 kms from Leh Airport

 

47. Confluence of the Indus and Zanskar Rivers – Come celebrate the dramatic confluence of these two prominent rivers 


Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Girish Nair Photography

Visit the Confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers for – Rafting

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around the Confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers – Suggestion: No place to stay. Find accomodation in nearby areas.

Restaurants around the Confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers – Suggestion: Carry food along with you.

Activities Nearby – Sightseeing , Photography , Rafting and Zanskar trek, Camping

The confluence of the Indus and the Zanskar River is marked by the splendid valley of Nimmu. The Indus River drains the dry and deserted terrains of Ladakh’s landlocked valley and serves as its lifeline. Zanskar, on the other hand, is a tributary of this river and merges into it from the north-eastern direction. On its way to the meeting point, the river passes through the spectacular Zanskar Gorge, which is a dream destination for trekkers. Lands of endless beauty in the form of dry land with revered monasteries dotting the landscape and lakes so pure that all you can do is stand and gape in awe, is made so much more exotic by this dramatic confluence. Undoubtedly a dream destination for travelers, many activities await  the people who visit.

 Distance from Airport – 27.8 kms from Leh Airport

 

48. Stok Palace Museum – Be mesmerised by Ladakh’s rich heritage and legacy

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh Stok Palace Muesum

Visit Stok Palace Museum for – Heritage, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Stok Palace Museum – Grand dragon, Hotel lasermo, Hotel Omasila

Restaurants around Stok Palace Museum –  Suggestion: Carry food along with you

Activities Nearby – Sightseeing , Photography

Present within the palatial residential compound of Ladakh’s erstwhile royal family, the Stok Palace Museum provides a peek into the heritage of this secluded valley. The royal family of the region resided in this palace, until Zorawar Singh invaded Dogra and banished them from here. This large palace museum has only a small part open for visitors. The museum showcases the worthy royal artifacts and paraphernalia including the royal crowns, precious heirlooms, copper coins, prayer instruments and materials, precious stones and jewelers and also many 16th century Thangkas, which represents the life and teachings of Buddha.Precious artefacts and relics related to Ladakh’s old monarchy are also well-preserved in this museum, which particularly attract historians and anthropologists. Ancient coins, royal seals, regal costumes and photographs are also displayed here. This palace museum has a separate room for exhibiting the warfare equipment of Ladakh’s kingdom, where people can see an impressive assortment of swords, shields, bows, arrows, quivers and guns. The Stok Palace Museum is a place where visitors get familiarized with the splendid heritage of this Himalayan kingdom and stand in awe of its rich legacy.

Distance from Airport – 16.9 kms from Leh Airport

 

49. Magnetic Hill  – Come and be amazed at nature’s wonder 

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Nikhil Chandra

Visit Magnetic Hill for – Biking, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Magnetic Hill – Sun-N-Sand, Spic-n-Span, Hotel Ladakh Green

Restaurants around Magnetic Hill – Tea tent

Activities Nearby – A Magic mountain waterpark near by, A winery ,Magnictic hill zoo, Yak safari, Mountain climbing and Trekking

Magnetic Hill, also called the gravity hill is situated on the Leh Srinagar national highway. The hill is observed to have extreme magnetic properties which are strong enough to pull cars uphill and force passing aircrafts to increase their altitude in order to escape magnetic interference. This is likely based on the illusion that some people see of objects which appear to roll up a hill. In reality, this is purely an optical effect caused by the specific layout of hills and deceptive fields of reference. , At a height of 14,000 feet above sea level, the magnetic hill has the Sindhu River, which originates in Tibet and goes to Pakistan. The Indian Army maintains a Sikh Gurudwara near the hill where Guru Nanak Dev, the first of the Ten Gurus of Sikhism, meditated in the 15th century. Due to both the presence of the Gurudwara and the gravity hill, the area has become a popular sightseeing destination among visiting tourists. The curiosity and uniqueness associated with this site, makes for a truly interesting visit.

Distance from Airport – 23.6 kms from Leh Airport

 

50. Hemis Monastery – Admire the wealthiest monastery in India

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Nishant Shah

Visit Hemis Monastery for – Heritage, Photography, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Hemis Monastery – Hotel Antelope, Mahey Retreat, Hotel Lasermo

Restaurants around Hemis Monastery – Suggestion: Carry food along with you

Activities Nearby – Meditation cave , Sightseeing

47 kms from Leh on the west bank of the Indus, the Hemis Monastery belongs to the Dugpa Kargyutpa order. Built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, the monastery is hidden in a gorge. The Hemis Monastry is the wealthiest monastery in India and is famous for its rich collection of ancient remnants like the imposing statue of Buddha made of copper, stupas made of gold and silver. The monastery also has sacred Thangkas, murals and various artifacts. It is divided into two parts – the assembly hall known as Dukhang and the temple which is called Tshogkhang. The huge courtyard of the monastery is also worth a visit. All the celebration and public functions are held here. The verandah is decorated with colourful wall paintings of Buddhist Kalchakra and below the monastery lays the Chomoling which is the abode of nuns. The sacred mask dance is performed on the 9th and 10th day of the 5th month of the Tibetan calendar. A pleasant 3kms walk, on the side of the mountain, above the monastery, is the sacred hermitage founded by the great Gyalwa Kotsang. The cave, which is open to visitors, has his foot print and his hand print. This sprawling monastery makes for a wondrous visit and gives all who visit a spiritual and enriching experience.

Distance from Airport – 44.7 kms from Leh Airport

 

51. Chemrey Monastery – Be amazed at the imposing statue of Padmasambhava in the Chemrey Monastery

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

 Visit Chemrey Monastery for  – Heritage, Photography, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Chemrey Monastery – Hotel Gawaling International, Hotel Antelope, Hotel Lumbini

Restaurants around Chemrey Monastery – Suggestion: Carry food along with you

Activities Nearby – Sakti fortress ruins , Sightseeing , Shopping

The Chemrey Monastery in Ladakh was founded during 17th century and is 40kms from Ladakh. The Chemrey Gompa belongs to the Drugpa monastic order and was founded by the Lama Tagsang Raschen and dedicated to King Sengge Namgyal. With only 20 monks of the Drugpa community residing in this monastery, there are numerous shrines that are located here. The major attraction of Chemrey Gompa is the imposing statue of Padmasambhava which is one storey-high. The Gompa  is home to a valuable collection of scriptures with title pages in sterling silver and the text in golden letters.  Another major attraction of the Chemrey Monastery is the festival of sacred dances that takes place every year on the 28th and 29th day of the 9th Tibetan month. The dances are performed in association with the festival as an initiatory ritual. The successive reincarnations of Lama Tagsang Raschen serve as the incumbents of the Chemrey Gompa. This monastery makes you gape in awe at the astounding architecture and the beautiful depiction of Tibetan culture. This monastery is steeped in heritage and culture and makes for an enriching experience for whomsoever who visits.

Distance from Airport – 46.8 kms from Leh Airport

 

52. Stakna Monastery – Pray to the sacred Arya Avalokitesvara statue from Assam 

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh - Stakna Monastery

 Visit Stakna Monastery for – Heritage, Photography, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Stakna Monastery – Hotel City Palace , Grand Dragon, Hotel Kidar

Restaurants around Stakna Monastery  -Tea shop  , CP restaraunts

Activities Nearby – Sunset Point , Sightseeing , Photography

Small but visually impressive, the Stakna Monastery lies at a distance of 25 kms from Leh on the left bank of the river Indus. The monastery formed part of the one of the many religious estates offered to the great scholar saint of Bhutan called Chosje Jamyang Palkar in about 1580 AD by the Dharmaraja Jamyang Namgial, who had invited him to Ladakh. The monastery was built on a hill shaped like a tiger’s nose and thus the name “Stakna” was given which means the tiger’s nose.  A unique feature of this monastery is the sacred Arya Avalokitesvara statue from Kamrup, Assam. This statue is truly a thing of beauty and makes this monastery just so much more astounding. Behind the main prayer hall, the smaller sub-shrines retain the 400-year-old sandalwood statues, original frescoes and statuettes of the Bhutanese lamas who founded the monastery. Apart from this, off the gompa’s small central courtyard, there are four rooms with vivid new Tantric murals that can be visited. The tiger’s nose is one such place of worship that makes all those who visit, amazed by the riches of the Buddhist culture and makes for an enriching experience that leaves most tourists awe struck and gaping.

Distance from Airport – 27.7 kms from Leh Airport

 

53. Phyang Monastery – Admire the beautiful iconography of the Drikung tradition of the Phyang Monastery

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Visit Phyang Monastery for – Heritage, Photography, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Phyang Monastery – Hotel Kanika Himalayan View, Hotel Lasermo, Hotel Antelope

Restaurants around Phyang Monastery – Himalaya Café , Summer Harvest , Leh View Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Camping at Pangong Tso, Trekking at Chaddar Trek, Yak Safari in Leh

Situated at a distance of approximately 20 kms west to Leh, the Gangon Tashi Chodzong, also better known as Phyang Monastery was established by Choje Denma Kunga Drapka in the 16th century with the sponsorship of his disciple Chogyal Tashi Namgyal, the 21st Dharma King of Ladakh. The site where the monastery now stands was once a part of the numerous monastic properties offered during the reign of King Tashi Namgyal to Denma Kunga Drakpa. The name of the monastery is derived from the beautiful blue mountain right behind the monastery. Home to a 100 monks, the Gangon Tashi Chodzong has a number of shrines inside the monastery complex. Numerous exquisite wall paintings adorning the walls coupled with frescoes dating from the royal period and a 900 year old museum which has an extensive collection of idols including a number of fine Kashmiri bronzes probably dating to the 14th century. The monastery also houses a collection of masterly painted old Thangkas and statues, extremely precious for the iconography of the Drikung tradition. Phyang’s oldest temple is the Gomkhang (Mahakala Temple). It was built and painted at the time of the founding of the monastery in the 16th Century, The Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival is held annually from the 17th day to 19th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. Phyang serves as a venue for breathtaking views of the village and the Stok Range, offering a vantage point for all landscape photographers and beauty seekers. This ancient place of worship truly has a lot to offer to all those who visit and ensures that no one goes back home disappointed.

Distance from Airport – 16.0 kms from Leh Airport

 

54. Matho Monastery – Witness the wondrous Oracle Matho Nagrang Festival at the Matho Monastery

Visit Matho Monastery for – Heritage, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Matho Moanstery – Suggestion: No place to stay. Find accomodation in nearby areas.

Restaurants around Matho Monastery  – Tea shop

Activities Nearby – River rafting, Photography, Sightseeing at Indus River

Located on the banks of the Indus River, the Matho Monastery is located directly to the Thiksey Monastery. The village of Matho is located at the mouth of a deep gorge running out of the Zanskar Range and across the Indus. Because it does not lie on the main highway from Leh, it sees fewer visitors than Hemis, Thiskey or Shey. The Matho Monastery is the only example in Ladakh of the Sakypa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Noted for its six hundred year old thangkas and its Matho Nagrang Festival, the monastery’s walls are adorned with beautiful paintings and a Sakyamuni Buddha as the central statue. There is a small chapel on the top storey containing images of Sakya Pandita and other Sakya lamas. There is a museum adjoining it with a number of ancient thangkas, some of which are thought to have been brought from Tibet in the first half of the 15th century when the monastery was founded. The masks and robes worn by the lamas in the annual dance festival may also be seen in the museum. Known to most for its annual Oracle Matho Nagrang Festival held on the 14th and 15th days of the first month of the Tibetan calendar, this festival sees two oracles, known as “Rongtsan” and are said to inhabit for a few hours the body of two monks. The purpose of these oracles is to attempt to predict the fortunes of the local village communities for the coming year. The monastery is without doubt one filled with rich heritage and culture which makes this a visit filled with surprise and wonder.

Distance from Airport – 27.2 kms from Leh Airport

 

55. Takthok Monastery –  Pay your tributes at the rock-roof meditation cave of Guru Padmasambhava

Visit Takthok Monastery for – Heritage, Photography, Spiritual

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Takthok Monastery – Suggestion: No place to stay. Find accomodation in nearby areas

Restaurants around Takthok Monastery – Suggestion: Carry food along with you

Activities Nearby – A network of chic homestay accommodations in the Indus Valley, reached by hiking, rafting, or driving

Located in Shakti village about 46 kms from Leh in Ladakh District, Takthok monastery is the only monastery in Ladakh which belongs to the Nying-ma-pa sect, or the Red Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is also known as the “old order” monastery. The monastery was founded around the mid-16th century during the reign of Tshewang Namgyal on a mountainside around a cave in which Padmasambhava is said to have meditated in the 8th century. The name Takthok, literally meaning ‘rock-roof’ was named because both the roof, as well as the walls is made up of rock. The first thing that catches the attention of the visitors after entering the main courtyard is the rock outcroppings around the gompa. On the left side is the cave chapel infront of which are statues of Padma Sambhava and Avalokitesvara. At the back of the images is a door that opens into the cave. This cave is believed to be the one where Padmasambhava stayed and meditated. Visitors are not allowed inside this cave. A flight of steps from the courtyard leads upto a temple, Kandshur Lhakhang. This temple preserves the 108 volumes of Buddha’s teachings along with two statue of Shakyamuni. Images of the two followers of Shakyamuni stand on both sides. On the walls are painted murals of guardian divinities. On the opposite side of this temple, there is a small chapel with religious books and four Buddha statues. The monastery is also famous as it houses the Kandshur, the sacred book of Buddha’s teachings in 108 volumes. The monastery is famous for another set of Buddhist volumes written by Lamas to protect against evil spirits, curses and epidemics. These were written with pure gold and silver letters..The monastery’s new temple is also a major attraction and is known for its murals, paintings and statues of Buddha. It was consecrated by 14th Dalai Lama in 1980. Festivals at the Takthok monastery attract a lot of locals as well as tourists. Dance especially the Cham dance by the Lamas is very popular. This rock monastery is both a spiritual and a historically important place of worship that is home to rich heritage and culture.

Distance from Airport – 51.7 kms from Leh Airport

 

56. Sindhu Ghat – Come and admire one of the most historically revered rivers at the serene Sindhu Ghat

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Anindya Sankar Dey

Visit Sindhu Ghat for – Heritage, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Sindhu Ghat – Hotel Lasermo, Mahey Retreat, Hotel Antelope

Restaurants around Sindhu Ghat – Suggestion: Carry food along with you

Activities Nearby – Camping, Sightseeing, Photography at Sindhu River

Situated 10kms upstream the Indus River from Leh near the Shey, the Sindhu Ghat is one of the most peaceful river banks. The Sindhu  River originates near Mansarover lake and  Mt. Kailash in Tibet enters in to India and flows through the Leh Valley and the enters into Pakistan. The importance of this river to us is that it has given our country the name India and people living here are called the Hindu which is the distorted name of Sindhu in the Arab world. The Sindhu is one of the seven most sacred rivers in India. Sindhu Darshan festival is celebrated every year on Guru Purnima. The festival which takes place over three days every year is the perfect time to visit the remote regions of Leh and Ladakh. People travel for a Darshan and a Puja of the River Sindhu, this festival is also a symbolic salute to the brave soldiers of India who have bravely fought the odds to protect the mother land at Siachin, Kargil & other such places. The beautiful and the tranquil river and the brown barren mountains, the wet sand and stone and the lush green trees make for a visual experience that will truly take your breath away. This revered ghat amidst nature’s bounty makes this place a must visit.

Distance from Airport – 12.2 kms from Leh Airport

 

57. Shey Monastery – Be awestruck at the 39 feet high Sakyamuni Buddha in the Shey Monastery

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Visit Shey Monastery for – Heritage, Photography, Spiritual

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Shey Monastery – Ladakh Sarai,Hotel K2 Continental, The Grand Dragon Ladakh

Restaurants around Shey Monastery  – Summer harvest , Dolphin Bakery,Dreamland restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking, Sightseeing, Photography

The Shey Palace was built in 1665 by the king Deledan Namgyal. The Shey monastery is architecturally and culturally very rich. Almost all the walls in the monastery are adorned with paintings. The Paintings on monastery walls depict tenets of Buddhism, Buddha and his disciples. This monastery is home to the commanding statue of Sakyamuni Buddha whichis 39 feet high and covers three floors of the monastery. Gold and copper were collected from the Zanskar area and was used in sculpting the statue. The statue was so big that it was cast in parts and then welded together in the monastery. About 400 meter from the monastery, is another small shrine built by Sengge Namgyal. It is known for the big idol of Buddha and murals similar to the main monastery. Perched on top of the hill, the monastery commands panoramic view of the surroundings of Thikse, Stakna, Matho, Stok and also Leh. The “Shey Rupla” festival marks the harvesting season. On this occasion farmers offer the first fruits of the corn at the monastery. The beautifully seated monastery is home to not only the gape worthy Buddha statue but also provides to all who visit, a spiritual peace and calm.

Distance from Airport – 16.0 kms from Leh Airport

 

58. Rafting on Indus River – Ride the powerful rapids of the prominent Indus

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Visit Rafting on Indus River  for – Rafting

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Indus River  – Suggestion: No place to stay. Find accomodation in nearby areas.

Restaurants around Indus River – Suggestion: Carry food along with you.

Activities Nearby – Sightseeing, Photography , Rafting at Indus River, Camping , Trekking

The Indus River offers a spectacular river rafting course and is much easier than a raft down the Zanskar River. The Indus, originates near the Kailash Mountain and the Mansarovar Lake in Western Tibet. Locally known as the Singhe Khababs (out of Lion’s mouth), the Indus flows across the north west to the south east, passing through Ladakh and flows into Pakistan where it joined Shayok and Suru to become major historical river. The white water Indus has rapids generally of I, II and III grades . The popular rafting points are from Phey to Nimo and also from Upshi to Kharu or from Upshi to Nimo. The other points run from Phey to Saspol or Phey to the Indus – Zanskar confluence at Nimo and from Nimo to the historical monastic enclave of Alchi, about 75 kms west of Leh. Experienced rafters may also want to try the more challenging route between Alchi and Khaltsey, which takes in the kilometre long series of rapids at Nurla. Easier runs include the run between Hemis (40kms south of Leh) situated along a road crossing the Indus and Choglamsar, which is a three-hour trip that goes through quiet, calm waters, and passes through the riverside villages of Stakna, Shey and Thiksey (25kms south-east of Leh), before ending at Choglamsar, just short of Leh city. The experience gives all an instant adrenaline rush and is truly an experience of a lifetime.

Distance from Airport – A few kms from Leh airport

 

59. Rafting on Zanskar River – Raft on the whitewater rapids of Zanskar river, comparable only to the Grand Canyon

Visit Rafting on Zanskar River for  – Rafting

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Zanskar River – Suggestion: No place to stay. Find accomodation in nearby areas.

Restaurants around Zanskar River – Suggestion: Carry food along with you.

Activities Nearby – Sightseeing, Photography, Rafting at Zanskar, Trekking, Camping

An escape from the mundane and a dive into the extra ordinary is exactly what river rafting on the Zanskar River makes you feel. Located in the prestine northern region of India, in Ladakh, the river pushes off to the snow capped Himalayans. The thrill of the raft is enhanced with the promise of beaches, spectacular canyons and beautiful white water to enhance the journey. This is one of the most exotic rafting expeditions in the world that is comparable only to the Grand Canyon.The expedition on the Zanskar River is completely self supported, and passes through the steep gorges carved out by the river over countless years. The Zanskar gorge has been referred to as the ‘Grand Canyon’ of Asia by many explorers. The river is graded as Class IV, and it passes through very remote and difficult to access terrain of Ladakh. The river’s water is very cold (around 7 degrees Celsius ), and cold water gear like wet suits etc are necessary. In the winters, the Zanskar river freezes, and the local inhabitants use it for accessing the outer world. Amongst trekkers this is famous as the ‘Chadar Trek’.

Distance from Airport – A few kms from Leh airport

 

60. Basgo Palace – Wander amidst the ruins of the Basgo Palace

Visit Basgo Palace for  – Heritage, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June -September

Hotels around Basgo Palace – Hotel kidar , Hotel Antalope , Thongsal

Restaurants around Basgo Palace – Suggestion: Carry food along with you.

Activities Nearby – Sightseeing, Shopping at the local markets, Photography

The historically prominent Basgo palace is certainly the most impressive of Ladakhi citadels despite its ruined state. Situated 42kms west of Leh, the castle is also known as Basgo Rabtan lharsekhar and is in top of a hill clay. The palace was built in the 15th century and is home to three Maitreya temples of varying size and importance. The Principal image there is that of the imposing Golden Maitreya, a sacred copper-gilt image of the Buddha Maitreya which is two storeys in height. The beautifully painted walls and ceilings make for a spectacular site. Basgo was once an important cultural and political center and is frequently mentioned in the Ladakhi chronicles. Despite being in ruins, the Basgo palace gives one a sense of amazement and wonder of the rich cultural and political past that seems to be encaged within the walls of this palace.

Distance from Airport – 8.4 Kms from Leh Airport

 

61. Pangong Tso (Pangong Lake) – Be mesmerised by the enchanted Pangong lake

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Devang vira

Visit Pangong Tso for – Nature Walk, Getaways

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Pangong Tso – Camp Sambhala, Naaz Guesthouse, D’zojila

Restaurants around Pnagong Tso – The camps and hotels provide food

Activities Nearby – Trekking, camping and hiking activities are in Leh

Situated in the upper reaches of Himalayan Mountain range in Leh district lays the splendid Pangong Lake. The most notable feature of the lake is the ever changing hues of the lake. At a commanding height of about 13,900 ft, the name Pangong is a derivative of the Tibetan word Banggong Co meaning “long, narrow, enchanted lake”. One third of the lake is in India while the remaining two thirds lies in Tibet, which is controlled by China. Majority of the streams that fill the lake are located on the Tibetan side. The Pangong Tso is about a five hours drive from Leh in Ladakh and the route passes through the spectacular Ladakh countryside, over Chang La. The salt water lake does not support vegetation or aquatic life except for some small crustaceans. However, there are lots of water birds. The lake acts as an important breeding ground for a large variety of migratory birds like Brahmani Ducks, Rare black necked cranes and Seagulls. One can also spot Ladakhi Marmots, the rodent-like creatures which can grow up to the size of a small dog. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. A narrow ramp-like formation of land running into the lake is a favorite among tourists. The first glimpse of the serene, bright blue waters and rocky lakeshore remains etched in the memory of all those who visit. Witnessing the wondrous miracle of nature makes for an awe inspiring experience of a lifetime.

Distance from Aiport – 170 kms from Leh Airport

 

62. Changla Pass – Come explore the third highest motorable road in the world

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Visit Changla Pass for – Trekking, Photography

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Changla Pass – Ladakh Sarai, Hotel Chube, Hotel Kang La Chen

Restaurants around Changla Pass – Himalaya Café, La Terrasse, Leh View Restaurant

Activities Nearby – Trekking activities in Leh and also Camping in Pangong lake

The third highest motor able road in the world, the Changla Pass stands at an elevation of 17,586 feet. The Himalayan mountain pass is located on the road from Leh to Pangong Tso in Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. The Chang La is on the route to Pangong Lake from Leh. The name literally means “Pass towards the South” or “Pass in the South.” The Changla Pass is the main gateway for the Changthang Plateau situated in the Himalayas and is on route to the Pangong Lake. The nomadic tribes of the region are collectively known as the Changpa or Chang-pa. Driving up to the Chang La Pass takes one through the sheer rock faces on one side and a deep cliff on the other side. The air thins as one climbs higher. A view from the top of the Changla Pass, opens a wide vista of snowcapped mountains. Greeted by a sign of the Indian Army announcing the feat you have just achieved by driving up to Chang La top is an experience of pure exhilaration and joy. Trekking to the Changla Pass is a favorite among trekkers owing to the level of sense of accomplishment that one achieves upon exploring the unexplored routes.

Distance from Airport – 178 kms from Leh Airport

 

63. Dha Village and Hanu village – Interact with the Drokpa community of Ladakh

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Vishnu Vardhan

Visit Dha and Hanu Village for – Trekking, Photography, Getaways

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Dha and Hanu Village – Skybapa Guest House, Hotel Kargil Continental, J&K TDC Tourist Bungalow

Restaurants around Dha and Hanu Village – Food is provided in the places to stay

Activities Nearby – Trekking and camping in Dah Hanu village

Renowned as ‘The Land of Aryans’, the Dha and Hanu village are settlements of the Drokpa or Brokpa community in Ladakh. The villages are located about 163 kms northwest of Leh at the confluence of rivers Shyok and Indus in Kargil region in Jammu and Kashmir. According to popular belief, the Brokpas were part of the army of Alexander the Great and came to the region over two thousand years ago. The Brokpas reside in five villages; however, tourists are allowed only in two villages – Dha and Hanu. Besides tourists, the villages also attract anthropologists. Customs of marrying within the community has ensured that the Brokpas retain their distinctive features. Brokpa’s have fair complexions and blue colored eyes. The custom of marrying within the community has, however, limited the population of Brokpas. The community hardly numbers over 2000. The Drokpa or the Brokpa communities are racially and culturally distinct from the common Ladakhis. The community has a unique sense of dressing. The community especially women makes it a practice to wear flowers on their hats. The practice has earned them the sobriquet of flower women of Ladakh. The community also practices polyandry. The villages of the Brokpas are also famous for their scenic splendor. Unlike the Spartan landscape of Ladakh, the Brokpa villages have more green cover. Isolated from the modern world, the community mainly thrives on horticulture. These unique villages make for a fascinating visit that leaves most tourists more culturally enlightened.

Distance from Airport – 163 kms from Leh Airport

 

64. Tso Moriri Admire the high altitiude Tso Moriri Lake

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Martin Sojka

Visit Tso Moriri for – Nature Walk, Getaways

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Tso Moriri – Nomadic Life Camp, Mentok Guesthouse, Lake View Guest House

Restaurants around Tso Moriri – Food is provided in the places to stay

Activities Nearby – Tso Moriri Wetland Conservation Reserve: the Trans-Himalayan bio-geographic region

 Snuggled in the breathtakingly beautiful Rupshu Valley, the high altitude Tso Moriri Lake is less than 250 kms southeast of Leh. Flanked by lofty mountains, this serene lake is about 4,000 meters above sea level. Tso Moriri is approximately 29 kilometers long and up to 8 kilometers wide. This beauty of a lake attracts a range of wildlife, including migratory birds, marmots and rarely the Tibetan wolves. The Tso Moriri Lake is consideree to be one of the most beautiful, calm and sacred high altitiude lakes in India.  The lake is fed by springs and snow-melt from mountains on the Changthang plateau. Water enters the lake in two major stream systems, one entering the lake from the north, the other from the southwest. The beautiful multi shades of blue color offered by this lake along with a picturesque landscape around gives this place an extremely romantic aura and a breathtaking feeling. However, in reality this place is extremely harsh and difficult to survive especially in winters. There is only one cemented accommodation available around the lake and the facilities like electricity, medical aid, hot running water, western toilets etc. are rare to find. The lack of oxygen makes survival difficult if your body is not properly acclimatized to its high altitude. A paradise for nature enthusiasts and budding photographers, this water conservation reserve is one that should be experienced come what may.

Distance from Airport – 202 kms from Leh AIrport

 

65. Tsokar Lake –  Photograph the scenic beauty of the samllest alpine lake

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Prabhu B Doss

Visit Tsokar Lake for – Nature Walk, Getaways

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Tsokar Lake – Camp Sambhala, Hotel Dolphin, Hotel Royal Jannat

Restaurants around Tsokar Lake – Bon Apetite, Chopsticks, Penguin Garden

Activities Nearby – Trekking and hiking activities are there in Leh

The smallest of the three high altitude alpine lakes in Ladakh , the Tso Kar Lake is known for its scenic beauty and the wide variety of wildlife it supports. Pangong Tso and Tsomoriri are the other high altitude lakes which have become a popular tourist attraction. Situated in the Rupshu Valley at an elevation of over 14,700 ft, Tso Kar is spread over an area of 10 sq kms. It is named the Tso Kar or the White Lake due to the immense amount of salts and borax that get deposited on the banks of the lake. Tso Kar is also renowned as the highest brackish water lake in India. The lake is very popular with bird watchers as the marshlands surrounding the lake supports an amazing array of bird life. The common birds that are seen are Brahmni ducks, bar headed geese and great crested grebe. The main attraction, however, is the black necked crane. The black necked cranes, known for their fidelity, come to Tso Kar to lay eggs. The sight of the bird, with a wingspan of almost 8 ft, taking off is an amazing sight to witness against the backdrop of green plains and the snow covered mountains. Tso Kar also sustains other wildlife too. The most common mammals here are the Kiangs (the largest of the wild asses). It’s not an exaggeration to say that Tso Kar is the best place to see Kiangs. The lake remains desolate for most parts of the year as very few people visit this lake. This lake offers a spectacular variety of nature’s bounty and leaves a picturesque memory etched in everyone’s mind.

Distance from Airport – 160 kms from Leh Airport

 

66. Korzok Monastery Pray at one of the highest monasteries on the planet

Visit Korzok Monastery for – Trek, Heritage, Getaways

Best Time to Visit– May – September

Hotels around Korzok Monastery – Ladakh Sarai, Hotel Lasermo, The Grand Dragon Ladakh

Restaurants around Korzok Monastery – Bon Apetite, Chopsticks, Penguin Garden

Activities Nearby– Trekking and hiking activities are there in Leh

Built in the 19th Century, the Korzok Monastery is a highly revered monastery on the right bank of the Tsomoriri River. Belonging to the Drupka Lineage, the monastery is situated at a an elevation of 4,595 metres. Korzok monastery as seen now is said to have been re-built in the 19th century on the right bank of the Tsomoriri River. The old monastery was built on a gentle slope, unlike other monasteries that are generally perched on hill tops. An impressive photong is also located near the Gompa and a number of Chortens are also seen near the monastery. The monastery houses the commanding statue of Shakyamuni Buddha along with images of other deities. The monastery is also home to many a beautiful painting (Thangkas). The Korzok Gu-stor festival is held at the monastery and attracts many Chang-pa, the Tibetan plateau nomadic herdsmen. The festival lasts for two days during the months of July or August and ends with the dismemberment and dispersal of the ‘Storma’ (sacrificial cake) by the leader of the Black Hat dancers in a ceremony called the ‘Argham’ (Killing). With the efforts of the WWF-India the Tsomoriri has been pledged as a ‘Sacred Gift for a Living Planet’ by the local community. As a result, the monastery has not only opened up for tourists but has also become a highly sacred place of worship with a panoramic view that leaves most awe struck.

Distance from Airport– 214 kms from Leh Airport

 

67. Changthang Come interact with the Changpa Nomadic Tribes

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Manish Lakhani

Visit Changthang for  – Nature Walk, Getaways

Best Time to Visit – May – September

Hotels around Changthang – Homestays in the villages and small guesthouses in the changthang sanctuary

Restaurants around Changthang – Food is provided in the places to stay

Activities Nearby – Changthang village treks are available in the area itself

Home of the Changpa nomads, Changthang, simply meaning Northern Plateau in Tibetan, is a high altitude plateau in western and northern Tibet extending into South Eastern Ladakh, with vast highlands and giant lakes. From Eastern Ladakh, Changthang stretches approximately 1600 kms east into Tibet, as far as the state of Qinghai. All of it is geographically part of Tibetan plateau. Away from mainstream development, Changthang is home to many farmers, The Tibetan culture is practiced and followed in this land. The people of the Changthang are nomadic pastoralists, they are known as ‘Changpa’, for ‘northerners,’ or ‘Drukpa’ for ‘nomads’ in Tibetan. As of 1989, there were more than half a million nomads living in Tibetian Changthang region and only 7000 settlers in the Ladakhi Changthang region. Unlike many other nomadic groups the Changpa are not under pressure from settled farmers as the vast majority of land they inhabit is too inhospitable for farming. The economy of the region is based around the livestock of the Changpa, and the most important resource is the plants the animals graze on. The movement of the Changpa over one year limits the impact that their animals have on the grazing lands, the grasses of which are dead for 8 – 9 months of the year, and provide poor fodder during that time. Unlike many other nomadic pastoralists the Changpas do not move from one climatic region to another. This plateau gives those who visit a fascinating encounter with these unique nomads and their way of lifestyle.

Distance from Airport – 496 kms from Leh Airport

 

68. Losar festival – Come celebrate the festival of the Tibetan new year

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Albina Wallner

Visit Losar Festival for – Heritage, Festival, Getaways

Best Time to Visit – December – March

Hotels around Losar – Places to stay are available in the area of the festival

Restaurants around Losar – Food is available in the nearby areas during the fests

Activities Nearby – Camping and treks to the festival are organised within the area itself

Considered to be one of the most important festivals in Ladakh, the Losar Festival marks the beginning of the New Year. During this festival the Ladakhi Buddhists make religious offering before their deities in the domestic shrines or in the Gompas. A medley of cultural events, ancient rituals and also traditional performances are performed during this festival. The Losar festival dates back to pre-Buddhist Bon era in Tibet. As per the ancient tradition a spiritual ceremony was conducted every year in the winter. During this ceremony people offer considerable amount of incense in order to propitiate the local deities and the spirits. Later, this ceremony was converted into a yearly Buddhist festival which most probably started during the tenure of the ninth Tibetan king, Pude Gungyal. The Tibetan New Year is said to last 15 days, but the first 3 days are considered to be most important. It is mainly celebrated over a period of 3 days during late January or February, according to the Tibetan calendar. On day 1 of the festival religious offerings are made to Goddess Palden Lhamo, the supreme authority of Dharma. The Dalai Lama leads every spectator and joins in the ceremonious chanting to invoke the supreme authority of Dharma. The second day witnesses’ representatives from countries like China, Nepal, Bhutan, India, Mongolia and other places to attend the celebrations. This colorful and lavish festival is a once in a lifetime opportunity to experience the richness that the Buddhist culture has to offer.

Distance from Airport – 489 kms from Leh Airport

 

69. Hemis festival Come participate in the festival of good over evil

Visit Hemis Festival for – Heritage, Festival, Getaways

Best Time to Visit– June – July

Hotels around Hemis – Places to stay are available in the area of the festival

Restaurants around Hemis– Food is available in the nearby areas during the fests

Activities Nearby– Treks, camps and hiking is done during the festival

Hemis Festival commemorates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava. Held in the Hemis Monastery, the two-day Hemis Festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. One can see a number of people dressed in bright and colorful clothing to celebrate the festival. The Tibetan calendar indicates that on the lunar month’s tenth day, the Lama Head organises this Hemis Festival. In order to protect his people, the Tibetan Buddhism founder, Guru Padmasambhava, fought the evils. On his birth anniversary, believers and non-believers celebrate the Hemis festival with great pomp and show. The highlight of the Hemis Festival is the Masked Dance, performed by the lamas, that illustrates good prevailing over evil. The performers wear elaborate and bizarre costumes and brightly painted masks. These masks are the most vital part of the dance. The dance movements are slow, and the expressions grotesque. The music is characteristically punctuated with sounds of cymbals, drums, and unwieldy trumpets. The Hemis Festival is without doubt a once in a lifetime experience. Tourists have a lot in store during this bright and colorful festival. During the Hemis festival, a colorful fun-fair is held. This fair has a number of stalls and shops where one can purchase a variety of souvenirs and handicrafts. The items kept on sale are also displayed as a part of an exhibition, where people can choose from a large variety and also window-shop.

Distance from Airport– 44.7 kms from Leh Airport

 

70. Samstanling Monastery – Be blessed by the young reincarnation of Lama Bakula Rinpoche

Visit Samstanling Monastery for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Samstanling Monastery – The Grand Dragon, Hotel Cho Palace, Lah Ri Sa Resort

Restaurants around Samstanling Monastery – Hotel Sten Del Restaurant(multi cuisine restaurant

Activities Nearby – Sight Seeing

Founded by Lama Tsultim Nama in the 19th century, the Samstanling Monastery is locared in the Sumur village of the Nubra Valley. The Samstem Ling Gompa belongs to the Gelung-Pa sect and is home to around hundred odd monks. Samstanling monastery beckons from afar with its distinct traditional hues of gold, red ocher and white. Past a path lined with bushes full of berries, the red flight of steps leading up to the monastery’s entrance is lined with religious prayer flags overhead. On one side of the monastery is the older assembly hall (dukhang), with exquisite hangings and murals of Buddha and his teachings. Both the old and new assembly halls are lined with elaborate murals and paintings depicting Buddha, Dharamchakra, the Four Heavenly Kings/Celestial Guardians and other facets of Buddhism. On the other side of the monastery’s complex is the guesthouse, the residence of monastery head and also where the recently discovered reincarnation of lama Bakula Rinpoche, a great visionary, lives. Barely 7 years old, the young boy greets and blesses devotees with great solemnity, tying sacred threads around their wrists. Set in the midst of picturesque ambiance, the monastery and its surroundings truly call out to all those who seek spiritual and mental peace alongside a destination which is rich in Buddhist heritage.

Distance from Airport – 124 kms from Leh Airport

 

71. Diskit Gompa Witness the ancient sub-gompa of the famous Thiksey Monastery

Places to Visit In Leh Ladakh

Image Credit: Amit Basu

Visit Diskit Gompa for – Heritage, Spirituality

Best Time to Visit – June – September

Hotels around Diskit Gompa – Hotel Lingzi, Hotel Caravan Centre, Home stay

Restaurants around Diskit Gompa – Suggestion: carry your own supplies for food

Activities Nearby – Sight Seeing

Built in the 14th century and founded by Chagzem Tserab Zangpo, the Diskit Monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The Diskit Monastery is the major attraction in the Nubra Valley and is the oldest and largest in the region. Other attractions close to the Diskit Monastery are the Lachung Temple and the Hundar Monastery. The Diskit Monastery is a sub-Gompa of the Thiksey Monastery and holds a statue of Maitreya Buddha in the prayer hall. Further, the monastery also arrests tourist with several images of fierce guardian deities. It has a huge drum and a dome like structure that draws a fresco of the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. One can get a spectacular view of the Nubra Valley from the roof of the monastery. The Monastery administration runs a school, with support from a Non-Government Organization (NGO) known as the “Tibet Support Group”, which has computer facilities and teaches scienece subjects, in English, to Tibetan children of the region. Further the Diskit Monastery hosts a prayer festival, which is known as Dosmoche, in the month of February. Being held in the winter season, the festival is inaccessible to global tourists as the region gets covered with a deep layer of snow, but it is attended by the locals from the nearby villages in Nubra Valley. The photong or the official residence of the Chief Lama of Nubra is located at the foot hill where there is also a very large statue of Jampa (Maitreya) Buddha. This impressive 32 meter (106 foot) statue on top of a hill below the monastery faces down the Shyok River towards Pakistan. This culturally rich monastery is home to many enigmatic images and is equally popular for its contribution towards educating the children of the region. A perfect balance of modernity and ancient heritage, this monastery is a place you don’t want to miss.

Distance from Airport– 122 kms from Leh Airport

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