After a long time, coming back to completing the comprehensive Travel Guide for Leh – Ladakh, here in this article I will introduce you about the places to see around Leh town or in other words local sightseeing around Leh town. It is almost inevitable (at least for people flying directly to Leh) to skip the local sightseeing of Leh town, so it becomes really important to know what all places are there, either in Leh or nearby Leh town so that you can spend a day or two easily without getting bored and utilize them effectively.
The Khar – Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle, Namgyal Gompa
The Khar is the so called landmark of Leh almost since 17th century. Being in Leh and missing a sight of this mega structure (almost and comparatively), seems something has horribly gone wrong with your planning or you were somewhere else in Ladakh but not in Leh 😉 … It houses Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle and Namgyal Gompa on the same hills which houses this complex. The museum houses collection of ornaments, jewellery, thangkas and paintings about 450 year old but still look as new as it can 🙂
Built on a hilltop in Changspa region of Leh at an altitude of about 14K feet (4267 Mtrs), Shanti Stupa was built in 1991 and is considered to be the most favorite tourist destination in/around Leh. The visit to Shanti Stupa would greet you with wide panoramic view of entire Leh town in foreground and with breath-taking landscapes in the background. You can reach it either through a drivable road all the way almost to top or you can choose to ascend about 500-600 stairs, which I will not advice if you are just landed a day or two back. After 7-8 day, you may give a try to fatigue using those stairs otherwise avoid them to let your body acclimatize properly.
Hall of Fame
Worth a visit for every Indian to get a feeling of undue respect and salute the spirit of heroes of the Kargil War, especially if you have not been to Kargil War Memorial on Srinagar – Leh Highway. On the other section, you can see and get an idea of various things that forms the rough life of our brave soldiers at Siachen viz. the shoes used by soldiers, the food they eat and how they heat them using Hexamycin tablets etc. You will walk out of with a different feeling if you really respect those brave souls, a feeling that can help you co-relate their rough life with yours which we keep cribbing over either some official matters or daily homely issues. Next time you do that think of these soldiers posted here for us, to protect our mother land and think how they get the strength to keep going in their lives 🙂 … My heart was full of emotions when I walked out first ever from Kargil War Memorial…
Leh Main Bazaar / Leh Main Market
Most attractive place of Leh is Leh main baazar where you can have finest of cuisines and even shop for variety of accessories for your mother/sister/wifey/girl friend(s) or woollens for yourself and family or contact some travel agents for money exchange or planning your tours/treks etc. In fact this is the only place where you will find most of the hustle bustle of life in Leh – Ladakh and may be the most busiest part of Ladakh 🙂 …
Sankar Gompa / Monastery
It is about an easy half-hour walk from Leh towards the road leading to Khardung La pass. It is well lit in evening and considering the fact that visiting hours are only limited to morning and evening, I will say going in there for a short walk in evening is not at all a bad idea 🙂 …
If you happen to have some interest in history and ancient culture, then you can visit Zorawar fort which is about 30-40 mins walk/hike from Leh main market and jeepable too if you are not interested in hiking. General Zorawar Singh owned this fort and is remembered here for struggle with Chinese. Europeans even termed him little Napolean of India.
Datun Sahib is a Meswak tree that is located close to Leh Palace or just behind the Jama Masjid in the Leh Main Baazar and holds quite religious significance for the whole Leh – Ladakh region. It is said to be the first ever tree planted by Guru Nanak ji, who blessed the town by planting it.
A peaceful place where you can enjoy the river banks of Indus and relax amidst beautiful surroundings. The music of river just relaxes all the nerves you get after reaching this place. If you want to spend a lazing afternoon, go and be there at Sindhu ghaat and just relax 🙂
About 8 KMs from Leh, at an altitude of 3300 Mtrs was built way back in 11th century. The monastery houses about 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali which is unveiled at annual Gustor Festival held from the 27th to 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar. Read more info at the Wikipedia link here.
About 16 KMs west of Leh towards Srinagar was built back in 15th century. It houses 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, thangkas, Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian firearms and weapons. The Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival is held annually from 17th day to 19th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. On the 2nd and 3rd day of the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar Phyang serves as a venue for sacred dances. Read more info at the Wikipedia link here.
Sham Valley Tour
West of Leh towards Srinagar on Srinagar – Leh Highway, Sham Valley tour includes a day trip to Sham Valley that consists of (in order from Leh) Gurdwara Pather Sahib, Magnetic Hills, Zanskar and Indus River Confluence at Nimmu, Ruins of Basgo Palace and Basgo Plains, Alchi Monastery and Likir Monastery I will say it is a must do trip for anyone visiting Leh – Ladakh. I will write a detailed article for the same describing all these places and link it here, pretty soon.
East of Leh towards Manali on Manali – Leh Highway, Monastery tour includes a day trip to Shey Palace, Thicksey Monastery, Hemis Monastery and Stakna Monatsery Depending upon the time in hand and your interest, you can also choose to visit Matho Monastery and Stok Palace a bit ahead of Stakna Monastery and complete the circuit while exiting towards Leh from Stok. I will write a detailed article for the same describing all these places/monsateries and link it here, pretty soon.
I hope you find the above information useful whenever you will be traveling to Leh – Ladakh in coming future. Please do share your views and any places or details I have missed out if you have been there in case I have missed any.