Leh the head quarter of the district is a small town with monasteries and stupas almost at every turn however the two one shouldn’t miss during the stay at Leh is the Shanti Stupa and the Chowkang monastery.
HOW TO REACH
Leh is directly connected to Delhi through regular flights and it takes about 65 minutes to reach Leh from Delhi through flight. Direct flights also operate once a week from Leh to Srinagar and twice a week to Jammu and Kashmir. However, as the weather is unpredictable, a 2 to 3 hours hold-up is normal, especially on the early morning departures.
The nearest railway station to Leh is in Kalka from where you can take a bus or taxi to Manali via Shimla. There are regular taxis and bus services in Manali to and from Leh.
The two popular routes to Leh are from Srinagar via Kargil on the Srinagar-Leh Highway and from Manali via Sarchu and Dharchu on the Manali-Leh Highway. These routes are only open from June to October. The respective night halts on the two routes are Kargil and Sarchu. There are regular bus and taxi services to Leh. Leh Bus Stand is barely a kilometer from the city. Although, the roads to Leh are well maintained, it is a long and tiring journey of two days. However, the picturesque locales compensate for the monotony.
WHAT TO SEE
King Sengge Namgyal:-
Leh rose to prominence in the 17th century when King Sengge Namgyal shifted his court from Shey to Leh. Subsequently Leh became an important trade center on the famous Silk route. The avid interest in Leh tourism began in 1970 when Leh was opened to tourists.
The Shanti Stupa is one of the finest monuments in Leh, although of recent origin. It is an international collaborative effort between Japan and Ladakh to preserve the relics of the Buddha enshrined by the Dalai Lama himself.
The steep climb to the stupa is worth the effort as it provides breath taking views of the beautiful Leh valley. If you are interested in the ancient history of Leh, then you should visit the 17 th century Leh Palace, although in a dilapidated condition. The Palace, which once housed the royalty, is now under the Archaeological Survey of India.
Just above the palace on the Namgyal hill is the Victory Tower that was built in memory of Ladakh’s victory over the Balti Kashmir armies in the 16th century.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa:-
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is a fascinating monastery that houses a three-story high Buddha image and ancient manuscripts.
you will find a range of beautiful carpets and rugs with traditional Kashmiri and Persian motifs. The popular attractions from Tibet are the jewellery made from semi-precious stones, the native Thangka paintings and traditional items like Thangka paintings, small prayer wheels, music bowls, Ladakhi carpets, rugs, shawls and stoles. You will also be fascinated by the rubies form Burma and the Lapis Lazuli from Afghanistan.
Leh, being an important international destination, has plenty of eateries and restaurants all across the town which sell mouth-watering food at all price ranges. While there are many modest but hygienic establishments for tourists with limited travel budgets, there are other moderately priced eateries that serve Tibetan and local cuisine to continental and Italian options. Some of the more expensive and sophisticated options are Chopsticks, La Pizzeria, Summer Harvest Restaurant, Penguin Garden Restaurant, Bon Appetit Restaurant and the French Bakery. These restaurants mostly serve international cuisine.