The town of Leh is located in a small valley north of Indus Valley. Opened for tourists in 1974, it is the capital of the region since 17th Century when Sengge Namgyal shifted its court from Shey. Since then, the town of Leh has come a long way and can be rated as most scenic and atmospheric town of Central Asia. Approximately 60 or so years ago, this town was the busiest market between Yarkhand and Kashmir, whereas these days the streets of the markets are full of Curio shops and Handicraft Emporiums and still retain the Central Asian feeling. There are lovely vegetable sellers dress in Coral necklaces and turquoise headgears. Leh is the town of Buddhist monasteries. A look at the monasteries gives you a peep into the lifestyle of the people of Ladakh. After a quite long journey, one reaches at this place. Leh gives you ample scope to enjoy its tranquility. Nowadays this town is also an important military centre for India.
The important landmarks of this place are:
This village is famous for its 8th to 9th century Buddhists carvings.
Built in 17th century this deserted palace is a miniature of POTALA PALACE OF TIBET. It is the most striking building of the town built by King Sengge Namgyal and still belongs to the royal family. This building is the standing example of medieval tibetan architecture with gigantic slopping walls and projecting wooden balconies, that rises boldly for 9 storeys above the surrounding houses. The palace has a museum with some thangkas and paintings. On the 4th storey, there is Dukhar Temple which is a gloomy shrine and houses a thousand armed image of Goddess Tara, masks, musical instrumens and weapons used for the religious ceremony that once used to be held in the courtyard outside the palace. The terrace of the palace offers a spectacular view over the mud brown roof-tops of old town and snow covered peaks of Stok Kangri mountains.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa
A steep hike above the Leh Palace leads you to Namgyal Tsemo Gompa which was built in 1430 by Namgyal rulars. Approaching towards the Gompa, the first building is the red painted Matreya Temple which houses the famous 3 storeyed Buddha's image and rare collection of ancient manuscripts. One can also enjoy magnificent view from the roof-top of this Gompa.
Shanti Stupa - Inaugurated by H.H. Dalai Lama in 1985, this gompa was built with the efforts of a Japanese traveller with funds provided by Japanese goverment. The side panels of this pagoda are decorated with gilt panels that depict the stories from the life of Lord Buddha. The best time to visit this Gompa is during dusk when the puja ceremony of the monks create a mesmerising atmosphere.
Is an important centre for studies on tibetan buddhism, culture & history. this place has got tibetan library ,handicraft shops, bookshops, medical centre and central institute of Buddhist Studies. Tourist Destinations around Leh Hemis gompa, Matho, Shey, Spituk, Stok, Tikse.
Other Attractions Sankar Gompa, Ladakh Ecological Development Group (this group aims to preserve the culture, art & heritage of this area).