The Ladakh has several places to visit that include the magnificence of Ladakh in tourism industry. A few of the places to stopover and breathe in Ladakh are - Nubra Valley Ladakh, Magnetic Hill Ladakh, Shanti Stupa, Tsomoriri Lake Ladakh, Leh Palace, Thiksey Monastery Ladakh, Pangong Lake Ladakh, Suru Valley Ladakh, Shey Palace Ladakh etc. Ladakh is well known for these places and tourism and from across the world lots of tourists come to visit Ladakh.
Built by Japanese monks to promote world peace, this large, hilltop Shanti Stupa has brightly coloured reliefs on its mid-levels and is topped by a spired white hemisphere (smoking is prohibited here).
The greatest attraction is the stunning view of Leh. Ideally make the breathless 15-minute climb around 5.30pm when golden afternoon light still illuminates the city, while the steps up from Changspa are in cooling shadow.
Construction of the nine-storey dun-coloured Leh Palace started in 1553. Built by the Buddhist kings of Ladakh, it was once the world’s highest building and bears more than a passing similarity to the Potala Palace in Lhasa (Tibet). The very sturdy walls are mostly unadorned and a few interior sections remain in a state of partial collapse; only the palace prayer room gives any sense of former grandeur. Nonetheless it’s gently thrilling to weave your way through the maze of dark corridors, hidden stairways and makeshift ladders to reach the rooftop for great views across the city. Carry a torch and watch out for holes in the floor.
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 . About 1km beyond the airport terminal on the Spituk–Kargil road, this small museum has displays on Ladakhi culture and the war with Pakistan.
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
General Zorawar Singh owned this fort and is remembered here for struggle with Chinese. Europeans even termed him little Napolean of India. This is very close to the main Market and can be visited if History interests you .
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 .
Monasteries around Leh – Stok Side (Manali – leh Road)
Shey Palace :
The Shey Monastery or Gompa and the Shey Palace complex are structures located on a hillock in Shey,15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the south of Leh in Ladakh, northern India on the Leh-Manali road. Shey was the summer capital of Ladakh in the past .The palace, mostly in ruins now, was built first in 1655, near Shey village, by the king of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal, also known as Lhachen Palgyigon. It was used as a summer retreat by the kings of Ladakh.
Thicksey Monastery :
Thikse Gompa or Thikse Monastery (also transliterated from Ladakhi as Tikse, Tiksey or Thiksey) (thiksok Nambar tak pe ling) is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect, located on top of a hill, approximately 19 kilometres east of Leh in Ladakh, India. It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet and is the largest gompa in central Ladakh
The monastery is located at an altitude of 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) in the Indus valley. It is a 12-storey complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya (future Buddha) Temple which is installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970
Hemis Monastery :
Hemis Monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery (gompa) of the Drukpa Lineage, located in Hemis, Ladakh (within the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir). Situated 45 km from Leh, the monastery was re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal. The annual Hemis festival honoring Padmasambhava is held here in early June.
Sham Valley (Leh – Srinagar Road )
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, Alchi Monastery and Likir Monastery.
Gurdwara Pathar Sahib :
Gurdwara Pathar Sahib, is a beautiful Gurudwara sahib constructed in the memory of Guru Nanak, about 25 miles away from Leh, on the Leh-Kargil road, 12000 ft above sea level. The Gurdwara was built in 1517 to commemorate the visit to the Ladakh region of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder Guru of the Sikh faith.
Magnetic Hill :
Magnetic Hill is a gravity hill located near Leh in Ladakh, India. The hill is alleged to have magnetic properties strong enough to pull cars uphill and force passing aircraft to increase their altitude in order to escape magnetic interference .The “magnet Hill” is located on the Leh-Kargil-Srinagar national highway, about 50 km from Leh, at a height of 11,000 feet above sea level. On its south side flows the Indus, which originates in Tibet and goes to Pakistan. The so-called magnetic hill has become a popular stop for domestic tourists on car journeys
Zanskar and Indus River Confluence at Nimmu :
One is a shining blue river. The other is dirty green. Both of them originate in the high Himalayas. While the Indus originates in the Changthang Cold Desert, the Zanskar river originates in the Zanskar ranges. Both these Himalayan rivers join at a scenic setting near the town of Nimmu in Ladakh about 30 Km West of leh .home
Alchi Monastery or Alchi Gompa :
Alchi Monastery or Alchi Gompa is a Buddhist monastery, known more as a monastic complex (chos-'khor) of temples in Alchi village in the Leh District, of the Indian state under the Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council of Jammu and Kashmir. The complex comprises four separate settlements in the Alchi village in the lower Ladakh region with monuments dated to different periods. Of these four hamlets, Alchi monastery is said to be the oldest and most famous
Likir Monastery or Likir Gompa :
Likir Monastery or Likir Gompa (Klud-kyil) is a Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, northern India, located approximately 52 kilometres (32 mi) west of Leh. It is picturesquely situated on a little hill in the valley near the Indus River and the village of Saspol about 9.5 kilometres (5.9 mi) north of the Srinigar to Leh highway. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism and was established in 1065 by Lama Duwang Chosje, under the command of the fifth king of Ladakh
Is a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Diskit the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh town, the capital of Ladakh district. Nubra is now popular for the Sand Dunes and Double Humped Camels .The valley was open for tourists till Hunder (the land of sand dunes) until 2010.
Khardung La :
Khardung La (Khardung Pass, la means pass in Tibetan) is a high mountain pass located in Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The local pronunciation is "Khardong La" or "Khardzong La," but, as with most names in Ladakh, the romanised spelling varies. The pass on the Ladakh Range lies north of Leh and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. Built in 1976, it was opened to motor vehicles in 1988 and has since seen many automobile, motorbike
and mountain biking expeditions. Maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, the pass is strategically important to India as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. Its elevation is 5,602 m (18,379 ft) metres high and it is the world's highest motorable pass. It Lies about 40 KM from Leh town and it takes about 2 hrs to Reach .
Beyond Hunder ( Turtuk ) :
The region beyond Hunder gives way to a greener region of Ladakh because of its lower altitude. The village of Turtuk which was unseen by tourists till 2010 is a virgin destination for people who seek peace and an interaction with a tribal community of Ladakh. The village is stuffed with apricot trees and children. The local tribe, Balti, follows its age old customs in their lifestyle and speak a language which is just spoken and not written. For tourists Turtuk offers serene camping sites with environment friendly infrastructure.
Administrative headquarters of Nubra valley, and offers variety of accommodation to travelers. It has a monastery atop a hillock from where you can also enjoy panoramic view of the valley. Deskit sand dunes and double-humped camel ride reminds of silk route tradition.
Sumur is a village across the Shayok River along lush green meadow. Samstanling monastery of Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism with historical and religious significance attracts both devotees and tourists.
Famous for hotspring and it was a major stopover for Caravans of Silk Route before continuing further journey towards Leh.
Lakes of Ladakh
Tso Moriri Lake :
Tsomoriri or Lake Moriri (official name: Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve), is lake in the Changthang (literally: northern plains) area in Ladakh. The lake is at an altitude of 4,595 m (15,075 ft); it is the largest of the high altitude lakes in the Trans-Himalayan biogeographic region, entirely within India. The lake sits between Ladakh, India to the North, Tibet to the east, and Zanskar in the west.
The lake is located to the Southeast of Leh in Eastern Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir, at a road distance of 215 kilometres .
Pangong Lake :
Pangong Tso also referred to as Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km2. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. The Lake is 160 Km from Leh & can be reached in about 5 hrs .
A twin lake Tsokar and Tarsaphuk tso form the part of a wide picturesque valley with many wildlife including migratory birds, wild asses (Kyangs) and Changpa nomads with thousands of livestock including sheep, goats and yaks live in their tents around the lakes in the vast expanse of pasture.
Kargil, headquarter of Kargil district, is the central meeting point between Srinagar, Leh and Zanskar with almost equal distances from all sides. Shia Muslim populated town has hotels and guest houses for tourists traveling between Leh, Zanskar and Srinagar.
Located on Leh-Srinagar highway is second coldest inhabited place on earth. A magnificent view of Tiger Hill can be enjoyed from the main road. It has memorial museum of Kargil Heros and 10th century rock carved Buddhist statues.
Suru Valley :
A lush green valley on the way to Zanskar with Shia population is famous for magnificent closer view of Nun Kun glacier peaks and giant rock carved statue of Buddha.
Zanskar is most isolated region of Ladakh, situated in the Kargil district of Ladakh region, approx. 430 Kms. away from Leh Town. Large number of Buddhist monasteries such as Karsha, Phuktal, Zongkhul, Stongdey, Sani and Bardan etc. and the interesting folklores, myths and startling natural beauties attract thousands of tourists to this land.