Things to Do in Ladakh
Tourist Attractions at Leh-Ladakh:
Ladakh, the Capital of Buddhism in India. A visit to this place will leave you thirsting for more and weÃ¢€™re sure you can never say Ã¢€˜enoughÃ¢€™. It is a popular retreat for adventure enthusiasts also. Leh-Ladakh region offers a wide range of adventure sports activities including trekking, mountaineering, mountain biking, rafting, kayaking and canoeing. Another unique characteristic which Leh can boast of is the rich cultural heritage Ã¢€“ which exhibits a blend of Indian, Tibetan as well as Buddhism linings. A number of century old monasteries add to its old-world charm. on Earth.
Here is a list of places to visit in and around Leh for everyone who wants to explore this Heaven.
1. Leh Palace:
The Leh palace also called the Namgial palace is Leh townÃ¢€™s most prized possession .A major attraction for the travelers is the 16th-century palace constructed during the ruling of King Sengge Namgyal. ItÃ¢€™s a 9-storey building but some of the portions of the palace is now in ruins yet shines above the Leh town on a hill top. Right on the edge of the palace you can only get the best view of Leh. The palace is now under the maintenance of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and they are restoring some of the ruined portions.
2. SHANTI STUPA
The Shanti Stupa(Peace Pillar) is a white doomed Chorten situated on a hilltop in Chanspa built by both the Japanese Buddhists and the Ladakh Buddhists. The Shanti Stupa was built to advance prosperity and peace and more importantly to honour 2500 years of Buddhism. The view of Leh town from here is spectacular but that whole scenic beauty increases when you can see the sunset and sunrise in front of you and lounge at the cafe right below the Stupa. When the lights of the Stupa light up, the view will surely take your breath away!
3. Tsemo Khar(Fort) and Tsemo Gompa:
Situated on a mountain top behind the Leh palace, the Namgyal Tsemo Monastery in Leh was founded in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal. Right on the foot of the fort is the famous Tsemo Gompa, which is known for an eight-meter tall golden statue of Maitreya Buddha. The Namgyal Tsemo Monastery also houses statues of Avaloketesvara and Manjushri.
The view from the monastery offers some of the most splendid and breath-taking views and is a favourite among the photographers.
4. MAGNETIC HILL
Magnetic Hill, also called the gravity hill is situated on the Leh Srinagar national highway, just a few kilometres away from Leh, magnetic hill is a natural wonder in itself. It apparently has metallic properties which pull the car uphill when it is not in motion. There have been a lot of researches on this stretch of road and some people say that this is purely an optical effect caused by the specific layout of hills and deceptive fields of reference, go see for yourself weather it really is an optical illusion or just the magic of nature!
5. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib:
Situated 25 kms from Leh set amidst breath taking scenery, gives anyone who visits, a sense of spiritual and mental peace. 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.
6. Hall of Fame:
Located near the Leh Airfield, A museum that gives you a true insight into a soldierÃ¢€™s life. The Hall of Fame is a museum maintained by the Indian Army in the memory of the brave soldiers who had laid their lives for protecting the integrity of our country. Hall of Fame portrays the exemplary courage and bravery our soldiers have shown in the past wars and will always continue to show. You can also buy souvenirs from here and watch a little documentary on the wars that have taken place.
7. Stok Palace Museum:
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 artefacts 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 LadakhÃ¢€™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 LadakhÃ¢€™s kingdom, where people can see an impressive assortment of swords, shields, bows, arrows, quivers and guns.
8. Central Asian Museum of 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 LadakhÃ¢€™s history and heritage and is one such museum that depicts LadakhÃ¢€™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
9. Sindhu Ghat:
Situated 10kms upstream the Indus River from Leh near the Shey, the Sindhu Ghat is one of the most peaceful river banks where people go to soak their feet in the ice-cold Indus River. The Sindhu River originates near Mansarover lake and Mt. Kailash in Tibet enters in to India and flows through the Leh Valley and then 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.
10. Basgo palace:
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.
11. SANGAM- THE CONFLUENCE OF INDUS AND ZANSKAR RIVER
Sangam which is the confluence of Indus River and the Zanskar is marked by the splendid valley of Nimmu and can be seen from the Leh-Kargil highway and a lot of adventure activities are carried out here like white water river rafting stations. Many river rafting and water sport expeditions begin from this point and are carried out further.
12. Leh Bazaar
The Leh bazaar has some very interesting shops and sells almost everything! From bags to vegetables, the Leh market has a lot to offer. You will find a Tibetan Refugee Market on every corner that would be selling a variety of jewellery and artifacts! The perfect place to go mad shopping! There are also many good restaurants that can be visited in Leh. The food is quite affordable in most of the restaurants unless you decide to walk in a fancy one!
13. Donkey Sanctuary:
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.
14. Drass War Memorial:
The Drass War Memorial, located about 264 kms from Leh Airport and 5 kms from the Kargil town, 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.