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0 About Leh Ladakh (J & K) Travel Information

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About Leh Ladakh (J & K) Travel Information

Ladakh is a mountainous place located in Jammu & Kashmir, Northwest India. It is the largest and least populated area of Jammu & Kashmir. Leh is the district area of Ladakh located in Jammu & Kashmir. The population is a mixture of Buddhist and Muslims equally.

Leh Ladakh architecture is much influenced by Tibet style of building. The residential buildings and the monasteries both are very similar to Tibetan style. Tour of Ladakh starts with exploring Buddhist monasteries. Ladakh is very much famous for the distinguished style of monasteries. Some of the popular monasteries of Ladakh include Alchi, Hemis Monastery, Likir, Spituk, Thikse, Sankar etc.

There are enough opportunities for adventure sports such as trekking, river rafting, mountain climbing, cycling, camel safari, yak safari etc. in Ladakh. You can also enjoy exotic wildlife species like Yak, Nyan, Urial, Churu, Snow Leopard etc. These wild animals live on minimal vegetation, bitter cold, poor habitat and rock landscape.

Shanti Stupa
Built by a Japanese Buddhist order as part of a global peace drive that constructs Peace Pagodas, this domed stupa was inaugurated by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1985. The pristine white stupa& magnificent even by moonlight& offers spectacular views of the sunrise, sunset and the Zanskar range.

Leh Palace
This almost forgotten monument was built in the 17th century by King Singe & Lion& Namgyal as the nine-storied royal residence. Meander your way through massive buttressed walls and overhanging wooden balconies to soak up some old world charm. Currently, the Leh Palace is being used as the headquarters of the Indian Government's archaeological conservation organisation.

Sankar Gompa
This is small but more interesting place to visit than the Leh Gompa and can easily be visited on foot. The Sankar Gompa is an under Gompa of Spitok Gompa. At the most only 20 monks live here and few are permanently in residence although the monastery itself is fairly active. Thus the Gompa is only open to the public from 7.00 am to 10.00 am and from 5.00 to 7.00 pm. It is, however, well lit, so an evening visit is worthwhile. At these times the monks will welcome the visitors and may offer one yak butter tea, 'Tsampa' and boiled and spiced mustard plant.

Leh Gompa
The Leh Gompa stands high above the palace and also overlooks the ruins of the older palace of the King of Tagpebums. The Red Gompa also known as Namgyal Tsemo Gompa was built in 1430 by King Gvags-Pa-Bum-Ide and has a fine three-storey high seated Buddha figure flanked by Avalokitesvara on the right and Manjushri on the left. In all there are three Gompas at the top of the hill, the topmost one is in a very ruined condition but offers extremely fine views over Leh and the surrounding countryside. To the right of the palace one can see a Buddha painted on the rocks, a remnant of an earlier monastery.

Other Leh Gompas
There are a number of lesser Gompas in the old town of Leh - such as the Guru Lakhang to the left of the palace, beneath the large Chorten. The Chamba Lakhang, south of the palace, and the Chenrezig Lakhang, to the southeast, are similarly less famous since they contain little of interest compared to other more splendid Gompas around Leh. In the centre of Leh the Buddhist association of Ladakh in 1957 built the new monastery or Gompa Soma or Jokhang. It contains an image of the Buddha Sakyamuni that was brought form Tibet. Meetings of the Buddhist association are held in this monastery.

Leh Fort
The Leh fort, built by Zorawar Singh, contains three temples but cannot be visited because it is within the military camp area.

The Bazaar And Old Town
After settling into a hotel or guesthouse, most visitors spend their first day in Leh soaking up the atmosphere of the bazaar. Sixty or so years ago, this bustling tree lined boulevard was the busiest market between Yarkhand and Kashmir. Merchants from Srinagar and the Punjab would gather to barter for Pashmina wool brought down by nomadic herdsmen from western Tibet, or for raw silk hauled across the Karakorams on Bactrian camels. These days, though the street is awash with kitsch curio shops and handicraft emporiums, it retains a distinctly central Asian feel. Clean shaven Ladakhi Lamas in sneakers and shades rub shoulders with half bearded Baltis from the Karakoram and elderly Tibetan refugees whirring prayer wheels, while now and again, snatches of Chinese music crackle out of the shopkeepers transistor radios. At the bottom of the bazaar, women from nearby villages, stovepipe hats perched jauntily on their heads, sit behind piles of vegetables, spinning wool and chatting as they appraise the passers by.

Namgyal Tsemo Gompa
Standing on a hill above the city behind the Leh Palace is the NamgyalTsemo Gompa& Temple of the Guardian Deities& which houses a three-story high, gold idol of Maitreya Buddha(also known as the Laughing Buddha). Built in 1430, this temple is a part of a fort, and the best time to visit is in the wee hours of the windy morning, during the daily prayers.

The Monastery Circuit
Dotted along the Indus, you can find a grand number of Buddhist Monasteries; namely Shey, Thiksey, Hemis, Stakna and Matho. Each of these holy sites offers a little something unique for the day-tripper, from castle locations and ancient Buddhas to the largest thangka in the world.

Stok Palace Museum
Stok Palace has been the official residence of the Ladakhi royal family for the last two hundred years& since they were ousted from Leh and Shey. The only part of the 77-room Palace that is open to tourists has now been converted into a museum which houses a collection of the royal family& s attire, thangka paintings, prayer instruments and crowns.

Hemis National Park
Bounded by the great Indus and spread over nearly 4,440 sq km, the Hemis National Park is Ladakh& s wild-and-hidden wonder. About 200 snow leopards call this park their home along with Asiatic ibex and Himalayan Griffon vultures.

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