EXPLORE LADAKH

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Leh Palace

Leh Palace is a former royal palace overlooking the Ladakhi Himalayan town of Leh. Modelled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, the palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 16th century. It is nine storeys high; the entrance takes you onto the second floor from where you can head through narrow corridors to various apartments and royal quarters, situated on several different floors of the palace.

Namgyal Tsemo Monastery

Namgyal Tsemo Monastery or Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is a Buddhist monastery in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India. Founded in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh, it has a three-story high gold statue of Maitreya Buddha and ancient manuscripts and frescoes

Shanti Stupa

Shanti stupa is situated to the west of Leh on a hill that overlooks the town. It was built by the a sect of Japanese Buddhism to promote worldwide peace and inaugurated by the Dalia Lama in 1983.

Magnet Hill

Magnetic Hill lies on the Leh-Srinagar National Highway in the Trans-Himalayan region. To the east of the Magnetic Hill flows the Sindhu River, making the surroundings a photographer’s delight. The layout of the area and surrounding slopes create the appearance of a hill. The hill road is actually a downhill road. Objects and cars on the hill road may appear to roll uphill in defiance of gravity when they are, in fact, rolling downhill.

Hall of Fame

Hall of Fame is a museum constructed by the Indian Army in memory of the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives defending the motherland in the Indo-Pak wars. The Hall of Fame museum is located on the Leh-Kargil Road, about 4kms from the city of Leh. It stands as a reminder of the great sacrifices made by our soldiers to ensure the safety and security of our country.

SANGAM

Confluence of two rivers Zanskar and Indus, this spectacular sight of two diverse rivers meeting is best from an elevated point. The convergence of two rivers occurs around 30 Kms west of Leh. Part of the Zansker River tends to freeze during extreme cold conditions. Indus, on the other hand, never does.

KHARDONGLA

Khardong-la is situated at an altitude of 18, 379 ft above the sea level, the highest motorable pass in the world. It is the gateway to the remote Nubra and Shayok valleys. The road over Khardung La was built by the Indian military and opened in 1976.

TURTUK

It is the last destination of the Indian territory towards the western part of Nubra valley. This is a Balti village that became part of India only after 1971..

PANAMIK

Panamik was once a major caravanserai stop on the trade-route from India to central Asia and famous for its hot water sulphur springs. In the old days, traders would rest up at Panamik and enjoy bathing in the hot spring. It is known for its sulphur hot springs that are said to have medical properties.

Pangong Lake

Pangong Lake, is an endorheic lake in the Himalayas situated at a height of about 4,350 m (14,270 ft). It is 134 km (83 mi) long and extends from India to China. Approximately 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. All together it covers 604 km2. During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. It is not a part of the Indus river basin area and geographically a separate landlocked river basin.

TSOMORIRI LAKE

The lake is situated in the Changthang valley at an altitude of 4595m. The lake is fed by small glacier streams. It is also home to a number of bird species including the Black- necked Crane.

Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley is a tri-armed valley located to the north east of Ladakh valley. Diskit the capital of Nubra is about 150 km north from Leh town, the capital of Ladakh district, India. Local scholars say that its original name was Ldumra (the valley of flowers). The Shyok River meets the Nubra or Siachan River to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakoram Ranges.

Spituk Monastery

Spituk Monastery, also better as Spituk Gompa or Pethup Gompa, is a Buddhist monastery in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India. 8 kilometres from Leh. The site of Spituk 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.

TSEMO MONASTERY

Founded in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal of Ladakh, it has a three-story high gold statue of Maitreya Buddha and ancient manuscripts and frescoes. The Gon-Khang shrine stands just above and behind the Maitreya temple. A Gon-khang is a temple that contains all the fierce looking guardian deities of Tibetan Buddhism; the deities are usually kept covered, and always in dark.

THIKSEY GOMPA

Thiksey gompa was established in Ladakh during the period of reformation of Tibetan Buddhism in the 15 th century by the Tibetan lama, Tsong Khapa. Thiksey is perhaps most famous with visitors for the beautiful giant statue of Maitreya it houses. The statue is 12 metres tall and is made from terracotta bricks and clay, painted with gold. Apparently, it took 30 people three years to make it.

HEMIS GOMPA

Hemis Monastery is Ladakh’s largest and richest gompa which was built with the support of King Singee Namgyal in 1630. The Hemis festival in July continues to be the largest annual event in the region. Once every 12 years, the monks unfurl the monumental Guru Padmasambhava Thangka (scroll painting), the world’s largest at 3 stories high which was created in 18 th century. At Hems Museum you will get to see the astounding 1500 artefacts, some dating back to 1400 years ago.

SHEY PALACE

Shey palace was built in early 17 th century. It has three storeyed statue of Buddha made of copper and below the palace are 11 th century rock carved statues of five Buddha called Dhyani Buddha.

SINDHU GHAT

Sindhu is another name for Indus River. The Sindhu Ghat is a place where the annual Sindhu festival is held.

GURUDWARA PATHAR SAHIB

This Sikh religious site of Guru Nanak is just off the main road. Legend tells how a demon tried to thwart the meditating Guru Nanak by throwing a boulder onto him, but it miraculously turned soft and molded around him instead. The imprinted stone of Guru Nanak is a testament to the miracle.

SPITUK GOMPA

Spituk Monastery, built during the 11 th century, also Pethup Gompa, was founded by Od-de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub. Today, it is home to 100 monks as well as a giant statue of goddess Kali, which is shown to the public during the yearly Spituk festival. Although founded in the form of a Red Hat institution, it was taken over by the Yellow Hat sect during the 15 th century. Every year, this three-chapel monastery, located 8 kms away from the main city of Leh, plays host to the Gustor Festival, held at Spituk during the eleventh month of the Tibetan calendar.

LIKIR MONASTERY

Likir Monastery gets its name from the word Lukhgil which means ‘coiled snake’. Buddhists believe that the Snake King Jokpo slept at Likir Monastery once and that the monastery is encircled and guarded by the spirits of two great snakes—Nanda and Taksako. The monastery, affiliated to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, was founded in the early 11th century by Lama Duwang Chosje. However, what we see today at Likir is not the original structure of the monastery. It was rebuilt in the 18th century after the gompa got destroyed by fire. Presently, it is headed by Ngari Rinpoche, the youngest brother of the 14th Dalai Lama. The main attraction of Likir Monastery is the 75 ft high gold gilded statue of Maitreya Buddha.

ALCHI MONASTERY

Alchi is one of the oldest monasteries which has many thangkas dating back to 11 th or 12 th century. This is an Archeological site known for its Kashmiri and Indian style fresco which was common in 11 th century. The oldest and most famous monastery was built by the great translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055. However, inscriptions in the monastery state it to be of the 11th century. This monastery is actually a complex of temples consisting of 4 separate portions that have monuments built at different times. The main complex has three temples- gTsug-lag-Khang (main temple), 'Jam-dpal lHa-Khang (Manjushri temple) and Dukhang (assembly hall). Intricately carved paintings adorn all these structures and are believed to be the oldest surviving in Ladakh.

Lamayuru

Lamayuru, fondly referred to as the Moon Land, is a major stopover on the Leh-Kargil Road. Hidden in the folds of the mountains of this mystical land is the Lamayuru Monastery. One of the oldest gompas in Ladakh and  Spiti , this monastery is perched atop a cliff. Going by the legends, this region was once under a lake that was made to dry up by a holy man. The main sanctum of the monastery has a cave where Mahasiddha Naropa meditated for years. The entire region is considered sacred owing to the monastery’s presence and a visit is believed to liberate people from all their sins. Other than its religious significance, the place looks like a picture postcard that has turned real.

STOK MUSEUM AND PALACE

Stok Palace, built by King Tsespal Tondup Namgyal in 1825, in the present times is the residential palace of the royal descendants of King Sengge Namgyal. The architecture of this palace is a perfect mix of the traditional and the contemporary architectural styles. This palatial property consists of a number of beautiful gardens as well as a library that has around 108 volumes of the Kangyur (a collection of teachings of Lord Buddha). The palace is located around 15 kms away from the main city of Leh.