Explore the world of Leh on more than 41 Places
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A land like no other with superabundance of attractions to visit and phantasmagoric and fabulous landscapes, amazing people and culture, Ladakh is truly a heaven on Earth.
Bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalaya and the Karakoram, it lies athwart two other, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range. Ladakh is mystical in all the spheres it covers, from nature, geography, sceneries to the modest cultures that it fosters. Right from gompas to the sensational momos, the superabundance of attractions to visit makes this city make it heaven on earth. It is said that only in Ladakh can a man sitting in the sun with his feet in the shade suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time.
For those of us living in the constant confusion about the difference between these twin locations, Leh-Ladakh, here is something that might help you. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is divided into three parts: Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh. Ladakh, further is divided into two districts: district Leh, and district Kargil. The former district has a popular town “Leh”and is a great tourist attraction because of its beautiful monasteries, picturesque locations, and interesting markets defining the culture of the place.
Travellers are preffering these places in Leh
Experience Time: 3 Hour
Distance: 114 kms
The famous and sparkling blue Pangong lake is situated near Leh-Ladakh in the Himalayas, approximately at the height of 4350 meters. This endorheic lake is 12 kilometres long and extends from India to Tibet, with two-thirds of it lying in the latter. Owing to its altitude, the temperature here ranges from -5°C to 10°C as a result of which the lake freezes completely during winters in spite of its salinity. A unique feature of the lake is that it does not remain blue throughout the year or even the day, rather it changes colours from azure to light blue to green and grey too! It has been a tourist attraction for a very long time and has gained further popularity after being a 'hot-spot' for many film shoots, apart from being an essential for anyone travelling to Leh - Ladakh. The sublime beauty, crystal waters and gentle hills of Pangong Lake are an exceptional example of the beautiful landscape of the region.
Due to the briny water, the lake does not support aquatic life other than some ocean bugs called crustaceans by oceanographers. Pangong lake is home to many migrating birds in summer, and one can witness numerous ducks and gulls "surfing". Other than being a haven for these birds, it is also an important breeding ground for birds like Brahmani ducks and seagulls. Some are lucky to spot a Kiang which is a wild ass or a Marmot, which is a brownish rodent native to Ladakh that can grow upto the size of a small dog. There are two streams from the Indian side that form the wetlands and marshes at the edges. It is the beauty of the impeccable blue waters that embezzle the tourist's attention the most. The serenity and tranquillity of this place are the tourist's paradise.
Experience Time: 2 Hour
Distance: 44 kms
Shanti Stupa is one of the magnificent Tibetan structures that has ever been built. The architecture and the beauty of this place are unexplainable. Shanti Stupa is a white-dome structure dedicated to Buddhism. This brilliant structure stands atop a steep hilltop at a dizzying height of 11,841 feet above sea level. This dominating altitude of the Stupa allows it to offer picturesque views of its beautiful surroundings and hence, draws the attention of thousands of tourists every year. Facing towards the Leh Palace, the stupa overlooks the entire vibrant and colourful city of Leh and offers panoramic views of the Changspa village too. The beauty of Shanti Stupa takes a level up at night, especially during the full moon night when it is naturally illuminated by the moonlight.
Shanti Stupa was constructed in the year 1991 by Japanese Buddhist, Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. The construction was jointly done by the Japanese and Ladakhi Buddhists to mark the completion of 2500 years of Buddhism and to promote world peace. It is a part of peace pagoda mission, which aims to spread peace through the preaching of Buddha. The stupa has various relics of old Buddhism culture including the huge idol of Buddha placed at this base; the idol was enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama.
Mighty ranges of snow-capped mountains provide a stunning backdrop to Shanti Stupa. The view of the milk-white snow carpeting the magnanimous Himalayas and sparkling under the soft shine of the shying sun is sure to enthral you like never before. Shanti Stupa is a perfect getaway for both- those looking to obtain peace from offering prayers to God and those waiting to be mesmerised by nature's wondrous beauty.
Distance: 125 kms
The lesser known of the many lakes within the Changtang Wildlife sanctuary, Moriri Tso lake is a twin to the Pangong Tso Lake. Located inside the Changtang wildlife sanctuary, this lake offers a scenic place of peace and tranquillity. The water body measures about 28 km in length from north to south, and about 100 feet average in depth. The lake is surrounded by barren hills, with the backdrop of beautiful snow-covered mountains. Since Moriri Tso lake is the lesser known of the two lakes, the crowd frequency is less too. Pangong lake always has many more people and is now crowded with little stalls that sell Maggi and tea. Tucked away in the remotest parts of the country makes this lake a perfect star gazing sight rendering a complete mind-stirring site.
Tso Moriri has been declared as a wetland reserve. A number of species of birds included bare-headed goose, the great-crested grebe, the Brahmin duck and the brown-headed gull. Himalayan hares are abundantly found here. Moriri Tso is also called the 'mountain lake', owing to the peaks that surround it, towering at a height of 2000 meters, shutting it off from the outside world.
Distance: 42 kms
The Leh Palace, also known as 'Lhachen Palkhar' is one of the most historically rich edifices that can be found in the country and is located in the breathtakingly beautiful Kashmir, in the town of Leh in India. This grand structure was built in the 17th century by King Sengge Namgyal as a royal palace, and the King and his family were the former residents of the majestic mansion. The Leh Palace is also one of the tallest buildings of its time with nine stories in all, and offers marvellous panoramic views of the entire town of Leh, as well as of the Stok Kangri and Zanskar mountains of the mighty Himalayan ranges, thereby giving the palace a strategic position.
Sunrises and sunsets are extraordinarily beautiful and captivating scenes when viewed from the top of this palace, and it is this aesthetic beauty and charm that attract tourists from all across the globe to come and pay a visit to this hidden gem in northern India. The palace looks even more stunning when it is lighted up on certain special occasions, such as Galdam Namchot festival when locals gather around the palace to celebrate the local festival.
Even though a huge part of the Leh Palace has now been turned into ruins due to the Kashmiri invasion that took place in the 19th century, the palace continues to remain a stunning place to explore. The beauty of the Leh Palace still stands in pride with a lot of ancient Buddha relics, paintings, old utensils, cutlery used by the royal family and artefacts adorning the walls of the palace. The regal palace is presently under the Archaeological Survey of India, which is working to renovate the ancient structures of that era and striving to keep intact the history of the Namgyal dynasty in Leh.
Experience Time: 30 minutes
Distance: 49 kms
The popular Magnetic Hill of Ladakh is said to be a gravity hill where vehicles defy the force of gravity and move upwards on the hill when parked at the marked location. The hill lies at a distance of 30 km from the town of Leh, at an elevation of around 14,000 feet above sea level. To the eastern side of the hill flows the Sindhu River, originating in Tibet and is an almost essential stopover for all those who travel to Ladakh. An optical illusion or actuality, the Magnetic Hill in Ladakh has mysterious magnetic properties that draw tourists from across the globe.
Many theories have emerged as to why this hill may be fraudulent, a simple illusion or how it may actually be a great discovery and one of the Earth's many geological wonders. It is believed that the absence of a visible horizon and the backdrop scenery make a faint downwards sloping stretch appear to be an upward slope, creating the illusion of the vehicles moving upwards. Irrespective of the theories and beliefs that surround it, Magnetic hill is a nice place to stop by on your trip, just for the fun of it and to experience mystery beyond the limits of our everyday lives.
Experience Time: 1 day
Distance: 97 kms
Nubra valley is a dash of lush greenery in Ladakh's dessert and moonlike landscapes and slopes, being almost 3000m lower than Leh. Snuggled between the Karakoram Range and nourished by two rivers, Nubra is brimming with Sea buckthorns and Alfalfa.
During summers, the whole valley is carpeted with Pink and yellow roses and by Autumn in oodles of wild lavenders which, like almost everything around it, a sight beyond simple natural beauty. To travel to this place, tourists require an Inner Line Permit, that they can obtain in Leh.
Rafting expedition is done on Zanskar River, called the Grand Canyon of India, with high cliff like gorges at certain places. The Zanskar Rafting expedition is one of The best river trips in The world.
Traveling to the Namgyal Tsemo Gompa makes you encounter the steep mountains and submerges you in its serene and spiritual folds. The monastery has long lured travelers seeking Buddhist experience but surprises them with something unexpected- the moon like, quiet and mystic expanse of Ladakh's landscape.
Today, the guardian deities reside in the monastery's Gongkhang and the fluttering Tibetan prayer flags in and around the monastery lend their own spiritual cadence.
Experience Time: 4 Days
Distance: 74 kms
"Chadar" refers to the blanket or sheet as the Zanskar river transforms itself from a rapid river into a white blanket of ice during winter.
The frozen spectacle awaits the trekker to be experienced of glass ice ranging from a bluish tinge to golden yellow that is seen during the few hours that sunlight reaches directly into the gorge to the milky whitish on a moonlit night. Chadar Frozen River trek is said to be a trek journey like no other. This is one of the toughest and most adventurous treks.
Distance: 46 kms
Spituk Monastery also called as Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa. It is a Buddhist monastery in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India. It is located at 8 kilometres from Leh. The monastery contains 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali.
Spituk Monastery is also known as Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa among the locals. It is a Buddhist monastery situated in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India. The site was blessed by the Arhat Nyimagung. It was founded by Od-de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od when he came to Maryul in the 11th Century. He introduced the monastic community. When Lotsewa Rinchen Zangpo (Translator) came to that place he said that an exemplary religious community would arise there and so the monastery was called spituk. It consists of 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali.
Distance: 77 KM
Tso Kar is called the white lake, and unlike its counterparts Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso, Tso Kar is the most peaceful and calm of them all and also the smallest of the three. There are only a few yak sheds, a monastery and a couple of nomadic families in the surrounding. An overnight camp here is recommended. The lake and area of Tso kar is home to many nomads who travel these areas continuously. Tso kar also has a large variety of birds for bird lovers as the marshlands surrounding the lake supports an amazing array of bird life.
The common birds that are seen are Brahmin ducks, bar headed geese and great crested grebe. The main attraction, however, is the black necked crane. The black necked cranes, known for their fidelity, come to Tso Kar to lay eggs. The sight of the bird, with a wingspan of almost 8 ft, taking off is an amazing sight to witness against the backdrop of green plains and the snow covered mountains.
Distance: 42 KM
Located close to the Indus river, it was built in 1825 AD by King Tsespal Tondup Namgyal. Well known for its architecture and design, beautiful gardens and amazing views, the palace presents a collection of royal attires, crown and other royal materials.
Easily reachable through jeeps and shared taxis, the palace is a worth seeing place. Spituk Monastery is a nearby attraction to visit.
Distance: 119 KM
Zanskar Valley is known for its wide views and sceneries, cave monasteries and mostly travelled to for its trekking trails and river rafting experiences and the Suru Valley, the two valleys almost always visited together. Nestled between two tiny alpine lakes, most isolated of all Himalayan valleys, the valley has an area of about 5,000 sir. Kms. and is situated at an elevation of 13,154 above sea level.
This valley seem to be cut off from the rest of the world for over 9 months of the year. Adventure is the main cause as to why people like Zanskar. River rafting and other sports are very famous here, and Zanskar is known for it clear waters.
Distance: 80 KM
A sign hanging over its entrance reading 'The model village of Alchi', Alchi is home to a 900 year old Buddhist monastery, that boasts of a rich culture that was somehow lost. This hamlet, high in the Himalayas houses the monastery covered with 11th- 12th century Indo-Tibetan paintings in bright ochre, gold, green and azurite hues. The painted statue of Bodhisattva Maitreya looms over the entire monastery making anyone who enters gasp at the beauty of the sight they are looking at.
The monastery remains as one of the most well preserved sites to have showcased an age old culture, though scholars say that with rising humidity levels, the paintings are at risk of getting damaged. The only reason it has stayed in such marvelous condition is because of the low humidity levels in the Himalayas. Apart from the monastery, it is recommended that travellers stay in Alchi for a night or two to experience a true Ladakhi village life. Alchi is a must visit, for one of the most unique, beautiful and enjoyable travelling experiences.
Distance: 182 KM
Kargil lies near the Line of Control facing Pakistan-administered Kashmir's Baltistan to the west, and Kashmir valley to the south. Zanskar is part of Kargil district along with Suru, Wakha and Dras valleys. Kargil was at the center of a conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999.
Experience Time: 1-2 Hours
Best known as the gateway to the Nubra and Shyok valleys in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, the Khardung La Pass, commonly pronounced as Khardzong La, is a very important strategic pass into the Siachen glacier and claims to be the world's highest motor able pass at an elevation of 5,602 m.
The pristine air, the scenic beauty one sees all around and the feeling that you are on top of the world has made Khardung La a very popular tourist attraction in the past few years.
Experience Time: 2-3 Hours
Distance: 45 kms
Located at approximately 4 km from the main city, this glorified museum was built in memory of the brave soldiers who lost their lives fighting for India at the Indo-Pakistan war.
Maintained by the Indian Army, the museum showcases seized arms and amenities of Pakistani Army, pictures and biographies of brave soldiers. A section of the museum also displays Siachen area, exhibiting apparel and amenities used by the Indian Army in the region. Apart from this, one can also witness items related to Ladakhi culture, history, vegetation and wildlife found across the globe.
Experience Time: 2-5 Hours
Distance: 76 kms
At an altitude of about 4000 to 9000 feet, Changtang wildlife sanctuary is a world away from the world offering its visitors something extraordinary from the wildlife reserves one usually sees. You can spot rare wildlife like the black necked crane and the Tibetan Wild ass and roam around a host of lakes and marshes. The sanctuary is frequented often for the Pangong Lake that it houses, which is quite a highlight of Leh's tourism scene.
Apart from the fact that it is a set apart from the rest, the majestic river Indus runs through the sanctuary, cutting it into two parts. Changtang is a plateau, part of the Hindu Kush Himalaya, the natural enchantress. And true to its name, it doesn't fail to enchant the viewer with its sparkling lakes and dreamy scenery.
Experience Time: 2-4 Hours
Distance: 107 Kms
Nyoma is a small tow in the district of Leh. It is 148.7km from Leh and 370 km from Shri Nagar, the capital of Kashmir. The most appealing feature of the town is that lies on the banks of the Indus river. Tourists with the inner line permit can visit the small Buddhist monastery in the town called Gompa.
The town has an advanced landing ground for the Indian air-force which is proposed to be active. Nyoma will give you infinite photographic moments and irresistible scenic beauty.
Distance: 111 Kms
The Phuktal or Phugtal Monastery is an isolated monastery situated in the south-east part of Zanskar region in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir. The Gompa owes its legacy to the renowned preachers and scholars who in ancient times resided in this cave. It has been the place for meditation, teaching, learning, and enjoyment. Phuk means "cave", and tal means "at leisure" in Zanskari dialect. The Phuktal monastery, which once was a retreat, looks like a honeycomb from a distance, hence giving it the name. The 2250 years old monastery is the only one that can be reached by foot. Trekking lovers would find this as a great getaway full of enchanting sights and sounds.
The primary focus at the monastery is on the beliefs of Buddha culture- Vasika, Posadha, and Pravarna. There is a school delivering free education to the children located nearby. Full facilities are provided to them by the sponsors. The knowledge of their culture and beliefs are also included in their studies. Everyday prayers are offered by the people in the temple to accumulate good karma for life. The festivals here are celebrated with extreme enthusiasm and amusement.
A magical hollow is a mystical attraction in this cave. What is unique about this is that the degree of water flowing through it remains the same in spite of the pace of water outside. Moreover, it has medicines for various treatments which are entirely a gift from nature. Due to such amazing and influential facts listed under its name, this monastery situated atop the Zanskar range becomes a mandatory location to visit when in Ladakh.
Distance: 20 kms
Chemrey monastery, a 400 year old yet unexplored Buddhist monastery, is located approximately 40 kilometres (25 mi) east of Leh, Ladakh, northern India.
It belongs to the Drugpa monastic order and was founded by the Lama Tagsang Raschen and dedicated to King Sengge Namgyal in 1664.
Also known as Deskit/ Diskit Gompa, this is the oldest and largest monastery in Nubra valley, belonging to Gelugpa (yellow hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
The monastery was founded by Changzeb Tserab Zaongpo, the disciple of Tsong Khapa who was the founder of Gelukpa. As you will step on the rocky stairs towards the hill top, it would lead you to the prayer hall adorned by the statue of Maitreya Buddha, huge drums and several images of fierce guardian deities. Because of the river Shyok flowing at the foot hills and rich green vegetation in the vicinity, Diksit has been named as "The orchard of Ladakh". Diksit monastery also has a school which is run in collaboration with an NGO named "The Tibet support group". The school provides computer facilities and also teaches the Tibetan kids science in English language. The Monastery is renowned for its festival "Dosmoche" or the festival of scape goat. In the festival the monks perform the mask dances expressing the power of Goodness over evil. It is said that this dance form eradicates bad luck. Apart from this, images made from dough are also thrown out to usher peace and the clothes of the idols are also changed during this time. The festival is organized during February and usually its only the people of Nubra valley who attend it because the heavy snowfall that results in a cut off of the region with other places. And to embrace Buddhism a bit more you can visit Lachung temple nearby, believed to be the oldest in Nubra and has a large idol of Tsong Khapa. There also is Hundur Monastery located below the main road near the bridge.
Distance: 144 Kms
The villages of Dah and Hanu are amongst the only few villages that are home to the Drogpa tribe. The tribe, which is different from the Ladakhi tribe found in the rest of the area are quite hospitable people. The Drogpa are culturally, racially and linguistically different from the rest and are said to be the only living descendants of the original Aryan (Indo European) race.
These villages are a must visit for those who are interested in cultural diversity. The Drogpa tribes are known for their distinct ornaments and head gears. The villages have been visited by countless photographers who absolutely enjoy clicking photographs of the people of this tribe.
Distance: 79 Kms
On the banks of a sparkling Indus river, near the village of Saspol, on a hillock in the valley of Likir, sits Ladakh's oldest monastery, Monastery Likir or Likir Gompa.
Housing a large seated statue of Maitreya Buddha, gilded in gold and a sprawling 75 feet tall, this monastery was built in the 15th century by the 5th monarch of Ladakh. Fraught with paintings, murals and stone reliefs, the monastery is a stowage of Buddhist heritage, its founding principles, history, legends and teachings. There's a school inside the monastery run by the Central Institute of Buddhist studies and a library open to visitors where old manuscripts, volumes and books on Buddhism and the teachings of Tsong Khapa are housed.
Distance: 97 Kms
How about getting allured by a camel ride amid marvelous sand dunes?! These camels are not even the usual ones that you must have seen in Rajasthan or in pictures.
These are bactarian camels, having two humps and were the major mode of transport to travel to silk route. The ride starts from Hunder to Turtuk and the timings are 9:00 Am to 12:00 Pm and 3:00 Pm to 6:00 Pm.
Experience Time: 4-5 Hours
Distance: 35 kms
At an altitude ranging from 3,300 m to 6,000 m above sea level, this sanctuary is known to be the highest in the world as well as the largest park of South Asia. It is also a habitat to the rare Snow Leopards.
Other than these, also spot here, Ibex, shapu, bharal and amongst various others. With several alpine and steppe trees along with shrubs spreading over the valley bottoms, and 73 varieties of registered birds residing in this place, it tends to be a tempting landscape for forest and nature walks.
Distance: 19 Kms
Often termed the paradise of mountain bikers, Leh has thousands of tourists coming in every year to experience the thrill of driving on its steep slopes and adrenaline gushing paths.
For adventurous daring mountain bikers Leh-Manali highway is spectacular road while enjoying the picturesque landscapes. The rides are best possible or opens in late May and closed by September end when the snow fall reclaims the high passes. Some guided tours - Helmet Stories, Himalayan Odysey.
Distance: 28 kms
Hemis Monastery (Gompa) is a Buddhist Monastery in Hemis, Ladakh. Located 45 km from south of Leh, the Monastery was built by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal. It is regarded as one of the seven wonders of India and is a world heritage site of the country. Surrounded by green hills, spectacular mountains and banks of River Indus, it looks both impressive and intriguing. It is also the biggest and the most popular monastery in the region making it a major tourist attraction.
Hemis Monastery is ranked as one of the wealthiest monasteries in India. It houses a spectacular copper statue of Lord Buddha along with stupas made of gold and silver, thangkas (a painting on cotton or silk, depicting Buddhist deity) and murals. The vast courtyard and a picturesque verandah are adorned with colourful paintings of Buddhist kaalchakra. Hemis Monastery belongs to the Red sect or Dugpa Kargyupta order of Buddhism. All four sides of the monastery are decorated with the colourful prayer flags which flutter in the breeze and sends out prayers to Lord Buddha. It is also an institution for the teaching of Tantric Vajrayana.
At the top of the monastery is the home of Buddhist nuns, Chomoling which offers a spectacular panoramic view of the valley. Every year during June/July the Monastery becomes a venue for the popular 2-days Hemis festival that is a major tourist attraction for both the Buddhist spiritual followers and for casual travellers. Hemis Monastery truly is a remarkable mix of ancient spiritual culture and beautiful natural surroundings which leaves a memorable impression on everyone visiting the place.
Distance: 98 Kms
Located at a distance of about 140 Km from Leh, the capital of Ladakh and at the height of 3183 meters above sea level is the northern most part where the foreigners are allowed.
The road further leads to Siachan base camp, the highest battle field in the world. Panamik lies on the bank of Nubra river and is well known for its hot water spring, Pashmina goats and the bactarian camels which have two humps and were a great mode to transverse in the silk route. Although everything about this place is captivating, the view of the sun capped peaks and green valleys is truly mesmerizing. The panorama is more enchanting during the month of September and October when the trees turn yellow with a tinge of red. The village also is a base camp for trekkers heading to Ensa Gompa. You can also indulge in shopping for some beautiful Pashmina shawls, Kashmiri carpets, woolen socks, apricots, apples, walnuts and some exquisite Kashmiri or Tibetan artifacts. Also, don't rely on public vehicles here as there is no frequent service for the same, though there are drivers of trucks and military vehicles who help in the time of need. And not just transportation, there are limited number of places to stay at. You can only find rest houses with basic amenities.
Distance: 3 kms
Sankar Gompa is located approximately 3 km from the main city and is well-known for its traditional architectural style. Inside the gompa, there is a figure of Avalokitesvara having 1,000 heads and arms. Often known as Sankar Monastery, it can be reached on foot from Leh. There are around 20 monks living at this place. The visit time is limited to morning and evening.
The steps at this monastery lead to double doors that are the means to reach 'Dukhang' or the assembly hall. On the right of the doors, there are three green drums along with a place of the Gyeskos. The walls of this monastery are painted completely with mandalas and a Tibetan calendar. Tourists can also visit guest rooms, library and the rooms of Abbot that are located upstairs.
Distance: 43 Kms
This holy lake is often referred as "the hidden lake", perhaps because it is isolated and one needs to hike uphill for about fifteen to twenty minutes to reach the lake.
Yarab Tso lake is located near Sumur village and approximately 15 Km from Diskit village. The route is pretty rough, but the magnificent landscape more than makes up for it.
Experience Time: 1 Day
Distance: 117 Kms
Lamayuru is a small village situated midway between Kargil and Leh on NH1-D also known as the Srinagar- Leh Highway. It is situated 100 km ahead of Leh, after Fotu La- the highest pass on the Srinagar-Leh Highway. Known as the 'place of freedom' and housing the oldest and one of the largest monasteries in Ladakh region, Lamayuru is the place to visit for all those seeking peace and tranquillity. Lamayuru is immensely famous for a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery located nearby. However, its claim to fame is accredited to the surreal breathtaking view of moonlike landscapes carved into the mountains. A large lake long ago dried up and the protrusions looked like the surface of the moon. Tourists from various places visit this relatively serene destination to immerse in this scenic beauty.
Experience Time: 9 Days
Distance: 120 Kms
An amazing experience that all the trekkers yearn for, Darcha Padum Trek is one of the popular treks which lead to the Zanskar Valley. Situated in Himachal Pradesh, the trail continues to lead through Zanskar Village and several monasteries there.
In fact, the trek before it even begins bestows its trekkers with magnificent views of scenic beauty from Manali to Leh. The beauty of the pastoral mountains as you head towards Leh is unparalleled and glorifying. The ancient villages and inhabitants of the villages have a rustic feel to them displaying their beautiful culture and traditions. A trek through north crossing the Shingo La and with every ascent in altitude, you get closer to the pass and a steep descent takes you to heart of the Zanskar, the Tsarap River. The trail follows the river almost all the way from here on. Secluded villages and distinct Buddhist monasteries in contrast with its background, adds charm to this lovely place, especially at Phuktal, Lingshet and Lamayuru. If your zest for this unquestionably one of the most unique intriguing Indian trek isn’t quenched, a fascinating and renowned Ladakhi capital of Leh awaits an expedition.
Distance: 118 kms
A peculiar landscape near Lamayuru on Leh-Kargil Road is the MoonLand. It is called so fondly, because the landscapes here are said to be like that of the moon.
It has also been said often, that on a full moon night, the area is an extraordinary sight to behold, something one doesn't get see everyday, making it a must visit area of the town.
Distance: 72 Kms
Near the Diskit monastery stands a 32 meter tall statue of Maitreya Buddha facing towards the Shyok river. This statue has been recently built, with 8 Kg gold which was donated by the head of Gompa and was sanctified by H.
H. Dalai Lama on 24th July 2010. It is said that this statue was built to protect the village from wars and to promote world peace.
Distance: 87 Kms
Samstanling Monastery is in Sumlur village and was founded by Lama Tsultim Nima, 140 years ago. The monastery houses 50 monks and this is the main monastery of the region.
On the way and around the monastery the landscape is enchanted with the yellow-red trees, vibrant and colourful prayer flags, berry bushes, golden-grey mountains reaching out to cuddle the pristine blue skyline. The monastery has two assembly, both of which have spectacular murals and paintings of Buddha, Dharma chakra, the four heavenly kings, guardians and lots of other aspects of Buddhism. The guest house in the monastery is the resident of the 7 year old incarnation of Lama Bakula Rinpoche, who is a great visionary.
The Wanla Gompa was built around 1000 AD at the time of Lama Rinchen Zangpo, the saint who translated the Buddha’s teachings into Tibetan. The monastery is located near the Lamayuru Monastery.
One of the major attractions of the monastery is the three-storied image of the 11-headed Mahakaruna or Avalokiteshwara. This gompa also showcases several paintings and murals of Buddha, Bodhisattvas and Mandalas along with the image of the Chovo-je-Paldan Atisha.
The main attraction of the Lamayuru region, the sprawling Lamayuru Monastery, lies at a distance of about 127 km from Leh. Murals, frescoes and column paintings exemplifying the Kashmiri style of Buddhist iconography are what stand out in this monastery.
The monastery also has a small temple dedicated to Avalokiteshwara, the manifestation of the compassion of all Buddhas. Two annual Mask Dance Festivals are held in Lamayuru Monastery, marking one of the best times to visit the place.
Distance: 30 kms
A 45-minute walk away from the world, is a retreat centre above Hemis Gompa is a retreat centre called Gotsang Gompa.
Not accessible through car, it is one of the Buddhist centers in the area where one can get a room and spend the night. While the monks are not exactly fluent with the English, it usually does the job of getting you a room and showing you, your way to it.
Distance: 29 Kms
A small shaky bridge over the Indus, leads one to the Stakna Gompa, on the banks of the river and looking out onto perhaps some of the most panoramic and beautiful views of Hemis.
While the structure itself might not be as sprawling and colorful as a lot of other monasteries around the area, the sceneries that it finds itself amongst, more than make up for it. The name literally translates into 'tiger's nose' since the hill that the monastery crowns, is believed to have resembled a tiger's nose.
Distance: 71 Kms
In midst the snow peaked mountains and wrinkled terrains of Leh and Ladakh, Shang Gompa is a symbol of composure, tranquility, placidity and spending. The chanting of the monks is almost hypnotizing.
The paintings are intricate, colorful, and incredible, depicting deities wearing crowns bedecked in jewels and human skulls, holding swords, or lotus flowers, wearing silken robes and tiger skins.
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