Leh was an important stopover in the trade route between India and China as early as the 1st century AD. In the 10th century, a kingdom was formed in the region by the Tibetan Prince Skyid Ide Nyima Gon. Several artifacts of the era are still found in the valley. During the 17th century, the Leh Palace and Jama Masjid were built. The area became a tourist destination owing to its climate and historical importance after India became independent. The ancient monuments and cultural pluralism of the land may have contributed to the booming interest of travelers.
Leh offers several locations that travelers find interesting. But make sure to acclimatize yourself before you start visiting them as even the most physically fit youngsters find it difficult to cope with the high altitude. The 4 century old Leh palace with an amazing nine-storied construction is prominent among them. Shanti stupa which was built as a monument for world peace is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Leh. The view from Khardung La and Nubra valley is breathtakingly beautiful. You have the opportunity to visit some Buddhist monasteries in Leh. Spituk and Sankar monasteries attract tourists with ancient artifacts and monuments in them. The cuisines of the land are unique because they are highly influenced by Tibetan culture. Make sure to try some before you leave Leh.
Top attractions in Leh
Best Time To Visit Leh
Weather in Leh is predominantly cold. The Summer season which falls between April and June is considered the best time to visit Leh. The temperature at this time of the year sees a maximum of 15 degrees Celcius and a minimum of -1 degree. As the snowfall stops during this time it is ideal for visiting the Khardung La pass and such areas that are closed during other seasons. As travelers flock Leh in great numbers in summer make sure to book your hotel and travel facilities in advance.
However, if you are an adventure enthusiast who loves to see the snowfall, you have to visit the place during winter. Though the temperature in Leh will be in the negative range at this time, it is a unique opportunity to enjoy the famous Chadar trek.
How To Reach Leh
If you are planning a trip to Leh, the best way to reach there is by air. There is a domestic airport in the heart of Leh which serves flights from almost all major cities. The railway station is too far away and the roads leading to the area are closed except during the summer season.
- By Air: There is a domestic airport in Leh which is served by flights from Delhi, Srinagar, and Mumbai. The airport is named Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport after the late Rinpoche, considered the 19th incarnation. There are frequent flights to the airport during tourist season. You can hire a cab and reach your place to stay in no time.
- By Road: There are frequent bus services operated by Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC). You can avail of the service from Pahalgam and Chamba which are at a distance of almost 800 kilometers from the destination. You can also enjoy a thrilling drive to Leh if you are a driving enthusiast. Recent years saw a surge in the number of motorcycle riders going to the region. But make sure the roads are open before you start the trip as they are closed during heavy snowfall.
- By Rail: It is difficult to reach the tourist destination of Leh by train as there are no railway stations close by. The nearest ones are Pathankot and Chandigarh which are nearly 740 kilometers away. You can get a cab or a bus from there. But it will take almost a day to reach Leh. Hence it is better to avoid it.