Leh is the capital of remote Ladakh – a vast highland desert lying between the Karakoram and the Himalayan ranges. Ladakh is the name of the eastern two-thirds of the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
Variously described as Little Tibet and the last ‘Shangri-La’, it’s in a beautiful Himalayan range, characterised by a desolate moonlike landscape and snowy peaks (it’s inaccessible by road during winter). Ladakh is extremely dry - with rainfall levels as low as in the Sahara - because the mountains keep clouds out. When Tibet was swallowed by China in the 1950s, the Chinese did their best to dilute Tibetan culture, but Ladakh’s Tibetans have carried their traditions forward unimpeded. That’s not to say Ladakh is untouched by outside influences. The area has been open to tourists since the mid 1970s, and substantial changes have occurred. There are still sections, however, that seem to have remained unchanged for centuries.
Leh Palace, which resembles Tibet's Potala, offers great views from its heights. Above the palace is Namgyal Tsemo gompa (monastery). The bazaar and old town offers greats atmosphere and Leh gompa (monastery). Just outside Leh are however probably the most stunning gompas. Some of these include the Shey, Hemis and Tikse monasteries.
Stok Palace, also just outside Leh is the seat of the erstwhile Ladakhi royal family, which now houses a small museum and the Stok gompa.
To get you started with planning your holiday to Leh & Ladakh, we have showcased below some popular itineraries requested by our clients which we hope will inspire your visit to India
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