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Places to visit in Leh Ladakh

Discussion in 'Jammu & Kashmir' started by KalpeshW, Sep 11, 2016.

  1. KalpeshW

    KalpeshW New Member

    I have been through the forum, and there is a lot of information provided about reaching Leh Ladakh, which is very informative. There is also something else which I would like to know, and that is the places to visit in Leh Ladakh, which I think is as important to find out about.

    I read a lot of things, but not all information is clear, by posting my query on the forum, I would be able to get to the point information.

    I would reaching Leh by flight, and will be hiring a taxi there to see places.

    The help I require is to find out what places to visit in Leh Ladakh, so I can have a day to day plan sorted out.

  2. briannagodess

    briannagodess Well-Known Member

    Hi there, welcome to the forum!

    Leh is quite a breath of fresh air as compared to the metropolitan cities of India. Most of the villages here are uninhabited, some only have a few residents. There are plenty of natural sceneries and places to explore, from lakes, rivers and even a high altitude desert. There are also plenty of monasteries and temples here that you can visit. Trekking, river rafting and camping are just some of the adventure activities that you can do here. Here are some of the best places to visit in Leh Ladakh:

    • Sankar Monastery - This monastery is easily reachable from Leh, at about four kilometres away from its city centre. The main deity of the monastery is Dukkar, which has 1,000 arms and also 1,000 feet. The main monastery, where the presiding deity's idol is installed, can be found opposite to the courtyard. The main assembly hall of the monastery has several paintings in the walls and also has many sculptures. Outside the monastery, there are also plenty of stupas that you can visit around. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sector of Tibetan Buddhism, built over 90 years ago.
    • Namgyal Tsemo Gompa - This monastery was built around the 14th century, during the rule of King Tashi Namgyal. It is about five kilometres away from the city centre of Leh. The main attraction of the temple is its three-storey high statue of Maitreya Buddha or the future Buddha. The statue is made of gold and is located inside the temple. On the sides of the statue are shrines dedicated for Avalokiteswara and Manjushri. There are also some paintings on the walls of the monastery, which are newer and created around the 19th century. There are older murals found in the ceilings of the monastery but they are less vibrant than the wall paintings. From a distance, the monastery is very visible, as it's perched on top of a hill and has a bright red facade. This monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sector of Tibetan Buddhism, just like the Sankar Monastery.
    • Hemis Monastery - A bit further away from Leh at 51 kilometres away, the Hemis Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Leh. Believed to have been established in the 11th century, the monastery was renovated and opened to the public in the 16th century, through Sengge Namgyal. Perhaps the monastery is most well-known for its annual celebration of the Hemis Festival, which attracts both locals and foreigners alike. The Hemis Monastery is also one of the richest in the region, as evidenced by its gold studded stupas and library with rare ancient manuscripts. This monastery belongs to the Drukpa sector of Tibetan Buddhism.
    • Thiksey Gompa - This monastery is located in Thiksey, a village located about 18 kilometres away from Leh. You can find it just before you reach Leh, so you can visit the monastery en route to your destination. It is the largest monastery in the whole state of Ladakh, with about 12 storeys. Inside the monastery, the large 40-feet statue of Maitrieya Buddha would greet you. The monastery has several prayer rooms, a library, many smaller temples and a rooftop temple where only males are allowed. The monastery also houses many stupas, paintings and other sculptures. This monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sector of Tibetan Buddhism.
    • Shey Monastery - Shey is about 13 kilometres away from Leh. Shey Monastery is located on a hillock in Shey. The monastery is located within the Shey Palace, both were built around the middle of the 16th century by Deledan Nagmyal. The complex is easily visible from a far, with its white bricked exteriors and red accents. The main feature of the monastery is its 12-feet statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, covering about two floors. There are also numerous paintings around the main hall where the Sakyamuni Buddha is located.
    • Likir Gompa - Likir is about 49 kilometres away from Leh. Likir Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Leh, having been built around the end of the 10th century by Lama Duwang Chosje. However, the newer structure of the monastery today has only been built around the 18th century as the original monastery was destroyed by a fire. The older assembly hall of the monastery has images of Sakyamuni Buddha, Maitreya Buddha and Marme Zat Buddha. The newer assembly hall of the monastery has an image of Avalokitesvara. The monastery is also lined with numerous sculptures, murals and thangkas.
    • Spituk Monastery - This is just about six kilometres away from Leh. This monastery was built around the 11th century by Od-de. He was the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. The presiding deity of the Dolma Lokhang Temple is Tara, shown in her 12 forms. The Gon Khang Temple is dedicated to Goddess Kali Mata. The Chokhang Temple houses the statue of Sakyamuni Buddha, along with Guru Padmasambhava. The main temple or Dukhang has murals of different powerful deities along with the seats for the five lamas. The monastery now belongs to the Gelugpa sector of Tibetan Buddhism.
    • Matho Gompa - This is about 25 kilometres away from Leh, located in the village of Matho. The monastery was built around the 14th century by Lama Dugpa Dorje. This is the only monastery that belongs to the Sakyapa sector of Tibetan Buddhism in the region, that alone is a reason enough to visit the gompa. The Dukhang of the monastery houses three main statues of Avalokitesvara, Maitreya Buddha and Sakyamuni Buddha. The walls are adorned with paintings of the Buddhist guardian deities. The monastery is also well-known for its rich collection of ancient thangkas. A museum is in the works for these thangkas, which can be traced back to over 4,000 years ago.
    • Phyang Monastery - At about 19 kilometres away from Leh, Phyang Monastery was founded by Lama Chosje Danma Kunga Dagspa during the 15th century. It is also one of the only two monasteries belonging to the Drikung Kagyu sector of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery has a number of shrines as well as school for the young Buddhist monks. It also houses a museum within the premises with a rich collection of thangkas and weapons.
    • Jama Masjid Ladakh - At a distance of about two kilometres away from Leh, the Jama Masjid was built around the 16th century. It is the biggest mosque in the whole region of Ladakh. It was built by Deldan Namgyal, after an agreement with Aurangzeb. Its creamy white facade with brown accents is impossible to miss in Leh, especially because as it stands out as one of the few mosques in a city filled with monasteries. The mosque can only be visited by men, but even for the women, just seeing the mosque from the outside is quite a treat for the eyes.
    • Shanti Stupa - This stupa is located in Chanspa, which is about five kilometres away from Leh. The white imposing dome structure is a symbol of peace and also a commemoration of the 2,500 years of Buddhism. It was built by the Japanese Buddhist, Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura during the 19th century. Some parts of the walls of the stupa has paintings showing the life of Buddha. It is best visited during sunrise or sunset, when the sunlight is reflected upon the pure white walls of the stupa. The views from the second floor of the stupa are amazing, where you get to enjoy panoramic views of Chanspa, Leh and the far away mountains.
    • Leh Palace - This is about 2.7 kilometres away from the city centre of Leh. The palace was built around the 17th century by Sengge Namgyal. During the 19th century though, the war took a toil in the palace and destroyed many of its parts. But it's still worth a visit, as you can still see the glory of the past era from the ruins of the palace. Take a closer look and you'll find some murals within the walls of the palace. There also many paintings of the former royals who lived in the palace displayed in the main hall. The rooftop of the palace provides a commanding view of the town of Leh.
    • Stok Palace - This is about 13 kilometres away from Leh. It was built around the 18th century by King Tsespal Tondup Namgyal. A stay here is permitted as long as it's arranged in advance. So if you have the money for it and want to live like royalty, then consider staying at one of the rooms in the palace. Otherwise, a visit here would also take you through time, with rooms showcasing various royal items like a gold-studded crown, sword and other treasures of the royal family. There's also a rooftop cafe where you can dine in and enjoy the views of the region.
    • Hall of Fame - This is about 4.5 kilometres away from Leh. This memorial is dedicated to the soldiers who lost their lives in the Indo-Pakistan War. The memorial/museum has several sections including a history of the Ladakh region, the story regarding the Indo-Pakistan War and photographs of the brave soldiers who dedicated their lives for the war. There is also a section for the weaponries seized from the Pakistani army. Visiting the Hall of Fame is also giving tribute to the brave soldiers who dedicated their lives for the nation so it's a must to include in your Leh itinerary.
    • Pangong Tso - At a distance of about 149 kilometres away from Leh, Pangong Tso is a destination that cannot be missed in the region. During summer and monsoon season, the lake is a picturesque beauty. Its colour changes from different shades of blue and is also home to many species of birds. During winter, the lake transforms into ice and is a popular ice skating destination for locals. You can opt to stay near the lake, as there are many home stays and guest houses offering rooms for guests.
    So these are all the nearest places that you can visit in Leh. Other attractions are 150 kilometres away from Leh so I didn't include them. I hope this helps you.:)
    Chahal likes this.