Once upon a time,Leh was the capital of Laddakh Kingdom. Today Leh is a district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. You would be surprised to know that Leh is the second largest district in India. Situated at an altitude of 3542 meters above sea level, it is one of the most beautiful parts of Himalayas. If you love the mountains and the snow then this is the perfect holiday destination for you. Also, it is the haven of adventure lovers. Leh can be the source of immense serenity for the traveler. Let us take a look at the major tourist places and attractions in Leh. PangongTso This is a lake which extends to Tibet as well. This beautiful lake is situated at an altitude of 4350 meters above sea level. Without any doubt, this is a mesmerizing sight for the traveler. Though you have to travel 150 kms from the town of Leh to reach this lake, the journey is totally worth it. The good thing is that you will come across many breathe taking views on the way to this destination. However, the drive from Leh can be dramatic and rough. Tibet occupies the 60% of the lake. As a tourist, you will need special permission to visit the lake. Indian nationals can have individual permits. Shanti Stupa This is a white colored Buddhist stupa situated in the Leh district. It was built by a GyomyoNakamuram, a Japanese Buddhist monk. Also, the 14th Dalai Lama himself enshrined it. You will get a beautiful panoramic view of the landscape during the dusk and dawn. It is regarded as a major tourist attraction in Leh. It will only take 5 km to reach there by road from the town. Or if you are interested in climbing the 500 steps from the town, you will reach there easily. Leh Palace This beautiful palace was built in 1553. It is a 19 storey building. Apparently, it was regarded as the tallest building in the world during that period. The royal family resided there till mid-19th century. Royal family abandoned the palace when Dogra forces attacked laddakh. Today, the palace is under Archaeological Survey of India and they are restoring the palace. This palace is a museum now; you will find a rare collection of ornaments, crowns, Jewellery etc. here. You will also come across a very old Chinese paintings in the palace. Hemis Monastery To reach this Hemis Monastery, you need to travel 45 km from the town of Leh. This monastery was re-established in 1672 though it had existed prior to 11th century. This is the wealthiest and biggest Tibetan monastery in whole Laddakh. You will find the huge Thangkapaintings here. They hold an annual festival here to honor the Lord Padmasambhava. You should definitely see this festival as it is really pleasing to our eyes. Another interesting fact is that this monastery is the home to the endangered ‘Show leopard’. NamgyalTsempo Monastery This monastery is very near to the Leh Palace that we have already seen. This monastery was founded in 1430. The excellent view of the surroundings is the specialty of this place; the view includes the snow-capped mountains and Indus River. You can see the Zanskar mountain range from here. You shouldn’t miss the view of Leh from gompa as it is really breathe taking. You can also find very old Buddhist manuscripts here. However, the huge Maitreya Buddha statue is the biggest attraction here without any doubt. Hall Of Fame Museum This museum is maintained by Indian Army. If you want to learn more about Laddakh then you should definitely visit this place. You can learn more about Leh and its culture, history etc. from here. You will also learn about the flora and fauna of Leh from this must-see museum. You can learn more about the monarchs in Laddakh and the battles fought by Indian Army here. Khardung La It is also known as Khardung Pass and you can reach here after 40 km travel from Leh. It is considered as the highest motor able pass in the world. This pass was built in 1976. However, motor vehicles were allowed only from 1988. This is a strategy area for Indian Army as they use this area to carry military supplies to Siachen glacier. This place always attracts adventure seekers and bikers from all over the world. GurudwaraPatthar Sahib You can reach here after a 20 km travel from Leh town. This beautiful Gurudwara was built in 1517. They built it in the honor of Guru Nanak. As suggested by the name, this shrine has an immovable rock. It is a favorite stop for truck drivers and army convoys. They believe that they will have an easy journey ahead with the blessings of Gurudwara sahib. Shey Monastery This monastery is located 15 km from Leh. It was built in 1655 and it is part of the Shey Palace complex. Pre-Tibetan royal family lived in the palace during then. The huge statue of Lord Buddha in the compound of the palace is another attraction. It also has beautiful wall paintings. Leh Market The Leh market is located inside the town itself. It has many souvenir shops and Tibetan bazaars where you can buy many unique gift items. You can also check out the local cuisine here.