Leh local sightseeing was the pending topic in my series of articles on completing the comprehensive travel guide for Leh Ladakh. Today, I will introduce you to the places to see around that comes under Leh local sightseeing.
It is almost inevitable (at least for people flying directly to Leh) to skip the local sightseeing of Leh town, so it becomes essential 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.
As you reach in Leh, you will be spending some part of the day getting the permits for places in Ladakh that you will be visiting as a part of your Ladakh trip itinerary. However, still, you will have about a day and an evening to spend in Leh. So, the question becomes what shall you visit near Leh in a day and how?
Let's quickly dive into the details:
Leh Local Sightseeing Guide
I have mentioned briefly about places to see in Leh town in my most recommended Ladakh trip itinerary already. However, in this article, let’s deep dive into the places that you see around Leh town and spend your time relishing them as a part of the day dedicated to Leh local sightseeing.
The Khar – Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle, Namgyal Gompa
The Khar is the so-called landmark of Leh almost since the 17th century. Being in Leh and the missing 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 the Leh Palace, Tsemo Castle and Namgyal Gompa on the same hills which houses this complex. The museum houses collection of ornaments, jewelry, thangkas and paintings about 450-year-old but still looks 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 1999. It is one of the most favorite tourist destinations among other places in Leh local sightseeing plan. The visit to Shanti Stupa would greet you with a wide panoramic view of entire Leh town in the foreground and with breath-taking landscapes in the background.
You can reach it using a drivable road all the way almost to top, or you can choose to ascend about 500-600 stairs. I will not advise stairs if you just landed a day or two back. After 7-8 days, 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. In the other section, you can see and get an idea of various things that form 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 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 motherland 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
The most attractive place of Leh is Leh main bazaar where you can have finest of cuisines and even shop for a variety of accessories for your mother/sister/wife/girlfriend or woolens 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 along with Changspa road of life in Leh Ladakh and maybe the 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. They light it up in the evening, and because visiting hours are only limited to morning and evening, I will say going in there for a short walk in the 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 the 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 the river 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 relax 🙂
About 8 km from Leh, at an altitude of 3300 Mtrs was built way back in the 11th century and can be a good addition to your Leh local sightseeing tour. The monastery houses about 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali which is unveiled at the annual Gustor festival held from the 27th to 29th day in the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar.
About 16 km west of Leh towards Srinagar was built back in the 15th century. It houses a 900-year-old museum that has an extensive collection of idols including several 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 the 17th day to the 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.
Sham Valley Tour
Not exactly a part of Leh local sightseeing but 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.
Of course, if you are interested in detail you can refer my detailed travel guide of Sham Valley.
When you travel east of Leh towards the most adventurous Manali – Leh Highway, you should be able to cover some of the popular monasteries in Ladakh, viz. Shey Palace, Thicksey Monastery, Hemis Monastery, and Stakna Monastery.
Depending upon the time at 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 hope you find the above information useful for planning your day for Leh local sightseeing on the Ladakh trip. If you have any questions or doubts, please feel free to post them under the comments section of this article.
If you like this article, do not forget to share it with your family and friends who are interested to know about the places nearby Leh town in Ladakh. In the end, in case you know about a place near Leh that you think I have missed, please do share it with fellow travelers.