Places to visit in Jammu And Kashmir
Things to do
Best time to visit
When you fly into Leh airport, you are not surrounded by clouds. Instead, you are enveloped by the mountains. Snow-covered peaks rise to meet you. As you glide on the clouds, bordered by the mountains, you feel as if you have been transported to another world.
A place like no other, Leh, is surrounded by the mighty Karakoram range and the great Himalayas. The city’s old brick houses, Buddhist gompas, and souvenir shops all add to its quaint charm. As the joint capital of Ladakh and its largest city, the town is the first stop for all travellers, hikers, and bikers who are drawn to Ladakh’s vast unexplored mountainous wilderness.
More than any other city, Leh has grown to be synonymous with Ladakh. Yet, when you come to Leh you do not only come to the mountains. It is here that you encounter Ladakh’s rich culture, history and traditions… And most importantly its people.
WHAT TO SEE
Leh Bazaar: At the heart of Leh is the Leh Bazaar. It is the soul of this sleepy town. Here’s where you taste authentic Ladakhi and sample its handicrafts. But most importantly, it’s a chance to meet the simple, cheerful people of Ladakh’s biggest town.
Jama Masjid: At the Leh Bazaar you cannot miss the town’s main mosque, which towers over the rest over the rest of the market. The mosque was built over three hundred years ago as part of an agreement reached between the Ruler of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal and the Mughal ruler Emperor Aurangzeb. While the Mughal Empire protected the kingdom, Deldan Namgyal both paid Emperor Aurangzeb a fee and built Ladakh’s most famous mosque.
Leh Palace: This seventeenth-century palace built by King Sengge Namgyal faces the Himalayan ranges of Stok Kangri and Zanskar and looks down over the entire Leh town. It is truly a view of Leh unlike any other. Even though the palace was ruined during the Kashmiri invasion, its architecture, old paintings, and many other royal artifacts continue to make it a tourist attraction. It is currently managed by the Archaeological Department of India, which has converted it into a museum and is currently working on restoring the structure. Just above the Leh Palace, you can also visit the Victory Tower, which was built to mark the kingdom’s victory over the Balti Kashmiri forces in the sixteenth century.
Our tip: It is indeed a steep climb to the top but having seen a view of Leh from the top, we know it’s effort well spent.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa: Among Leh’s most revered monasteries, the Namgyal Tsemo Gompa was built by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh. Besides its ancient manuscripts and frescoes, the monastery is also recognised by its three-storey high golden statue of the Maitreya Buddha.
Shanti Stupa: This magnificent white dome-like structure stands tall on top of Chamspa hill. Travellers visit it not only for its architecture and religious significance but also for its spectacular view. A more modern structure, it was constructed by a Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomo Nakamura when Buddhism completed 2500 years of existence in 1991 and continues to be run by the Ladakhi monks. It is considered as a symbol of peace and is also a part of the Peace Pagoda mission, which strives to spread peace through the Buddha's teachings. The stupa appears to go a level higher on full moon nights.
Zorawar Fort: A historical structure that has almost fallen off the tourist map, the Zorawar Fort was built by Wazir Zorawar Singh under the reign of Maharaja Gulab Singh of the Dogra dynasty. It served to both protect Ladakh from Chinese invasions and protect the wealth of the Dogra kings.
SEMCOL: A more recent entrant to this ancient hill kingdom, SEMCOL was established in 1988 to reform Ladakh’s educational system. Its eco-friendly campus is known to pioneer new “green” ways of living and also organises tours of the campus for travellers who want to explore an alternative way of living. The founder of SEMCOL is Sonam Wangchuk, whose work was first presented in the movie 3 Idiots.
Our tip: SEMCOL is open to visitors between Monday and Friday. Visitors can have a tour of the campus between 10 am and 12 noon in Summer and between 11 am and 1 pm in Winter.
War Memorial: When visiting Leh, you could also stop at the War Memorial, off the Leh-Srinagar Highway to visit the War Memorial and museum commemorating India’s vistory in the 1999 Kargil War. The museum also documents India’s continuous history of conflict with Pakistan in this region.
WHAT TO DO:
What to eat: Leh is a great place to try Ladakh’s legendary combination of thupka, momos and tingmo. Thupka is a Ladakhi clearsoup, momos are dumplings with a meat or vegetable filling, and Tingmo or Timok is steamed Tibetan bread served with vegetables and meat.
What to buy: The Leh Bazaar is a great place to buy prayer bells, paintings of Buddhist motifs on silk, and Kashmiri handicrafts. Pashmina shawls from Ladakh are especially highly valued. Many travellers also carry back the prayer flags so commonly found in its mountains, as nothing represents the deep spirituality of Ladakh, the land of high passes better.
Our tip: Don’t miss the apricots and apples at the Leh Bazaar. They are delicious takeaways! Also try the traditional Ladakhi bread at the Leh Market.
Getting around: Most places within Leh are accessible by foot. But the land here always slopes steeply, so it will challenge your fitness. But when you are travelling outside Leh, you will need to hire your own vehicle. This usually needs to be a jeep suited for travel in Ladakh’s mountainous terrain.
Where to stay: Ladakh has scores of hospitable homestays. Make sure you find one that is not more than 10 minutes away from the Leh Bazaar. This should make all of Leh accessible on foot.
The best time to visit: The best time to visit Ladakh is between the summer months of May and November.
How to get there: Ladakh is connected to the rest of India by road and air. Both the roads to Leh from Himachal Pradesh and Srinagar are amongst the most scenic routes you will experience in India and are immensely popular with tourists.
Our tip: While the scenic road routes to Leh are known, not enough has been said about sighting Leh in the air when you are on a flight. It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Content and photo credit: Christina Daniels
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Leh Shopping guide - the must visit shopping places in Leh for all budgets
Shopping adds excitement to any tour and travel itineraries. Moreover, it is an integral activity or event of any tour. Just like that, shopping in Lehi is as much important as on the tour of any other tourist attraction. You buy things from the destination and bring it back with you as a memory of that place to cherish later. Markets and shops here in Leh are flooded with plenty of local stuffs. The famous products from the markets of the Leh that one must purchase are Pashmina Shawls, native handicrafts, carpets, woollen, and traditional silver jewellery. So, here is the list of the markets and shops where tourists can visit for an exciting shopping experience in Leh.
Nightlife in Leh
Leh doesn’t have a happening night life like other tourist destinations in the urban cities. Leh is not a place for nightclubs, casino, a theatre, adult spots, or a disco. Hence, tourists here go to a restaurant or café to enjoy tea, coffee, or soft drinks with their friends and loving ones. However, Leh’s night life is something different, as tourist can go stargazing in the sky at night. Leh is the best place with very less pollution, from where the moon and stars look so near and clear that as if one could touch them. Shooting stars add to the amazing beauty of the Leh by striking a sparkling shine tearing the darkness for some seconds. Here is the list where you can catch up the various activities and enjoy your night life in Leh.
Foods of Leh- 10 Dishes of Leh Cuisine that you must try when visit Leh
Leh Ladkah is like a dream for those who like to take a road tour through serpentine roads and among humungous mountains covered with snow. Many people think that food in Leh is just restricted to Ladkakhi cuisines like momo and Thukpa noodle soup, but in reality it is even more than that. The food and dishes here very unique, but for that you have to search a little bitby putting some effort and reaching to the local people out there. Dishes in Leh are the combination of Tibetan, Chinese, Continental, and Korean, etc. You must try the unique foods here to know more about the people of Leh. So, here is the list of some famous dishes of Leh. You might be familiar with some listed here, but you will surely know more about some new as well.
Bilaspur-Manali-Leh Route To Have The World’s Highest Railway Line
Indian Railways are planning to build the world’s highest railway line of the world on Bilaspur-Manali-Leh route, which is expected to be completed in 2022. This 498 km long railway line will include 74 tunnels, 124 major bridges, and 396 minor bridges, according to the first phase of the survey done for the project. Not just that this striking railway line will pass through the Shivaliks, Himalayas and Zanskar range and four mountain passes of Rohtang La, Barlacha La, Lachung La, and Tangla La, thus reducing the travel time from Delhi to half. This proposed project will have the highest road point, which is only comparable to Qinghai-Tibet line in China and enroute will connect other important locations between Bilaspur and Leh, such as Sundernagar, Manali, Keylong, Mandi Koksar, Upshi, Darcha, and Karu. Whereas in Bilaspur, the line will commence at the elevation of 500 meters and will culminate in Leh. The highest point on the route will be Tanglangla Pass which is at 5360 meters. Also, near Sino-India border, there will be a 27 km long tunnel with Keylong station inside- making it the first station inside a tunnel of Indian Railways network. According to the officials, “The line is strategically important and will provide all-weather surface connectivity to far-flung areas of Ladakh region. It will also boost tourist inflow, which will be beneficial for the local population. Travel time will reduce by half, the rail project will be executed in a way that it need not close during extreme weather.” The countdown has begun and soon travelers can travel to Leh by train any time of the year and to many other places in the Himalayas. So keep your fingers crossed. Book your Manali tour packages at best price with HelloTravel.com & get exciting deals on Manali vacation.
Delhi to Leh Ladakh Road Trip Details
Going to Ladakh via place through Delhi is something common but planning a road trip from Delhi to Ladakh is something different. It will be a lifetime experience which you will cherish throughout your life. This trip will take around ten days but these ten days will be the best period of your life. Given below are the details of Delhi to Ladakh Road Trip. Call 08048736040 to Enquire
A Bike Journey To Leh Is Just What You Need To Unwind
Bike Trip to Leh is one of the most breathtaking trips which you must take at least once in your lifetime. It is considered among the best adventure experiences in the land of pristine lakes, high passes, and clean water. The natural beauty and breathtaking views attract thousands of tourists from around the globe. An effective journey planning to Leh is crucial to make this legendary trip a reality. Moreover, there are numerous trip makers who can help you a lot from booking to executing the tour properly. So the first thing you need to plan is when you intent to go to Leh. The best time to go on a bike trip is from June to September as it offers magical scenes which cannot be enjoyed during any other season. Also during the remaining months, it can be dangerous to go to Leh as the weather and the terrain can a tricky to Maneuver. The second thing to keep in mind is expenses. You need to take into account everything. Keeping all the expenses in mind, it will cost you approximately Rs 35000 for 15 days if you travel on a bike. Here is the list of place that you will come across while traveling to Leh.