Area : 380 sq km
Temperature : 25°C to 12°C (Summers) 15°C to 30°C ( Winters)
Altitude : 5205 mts
Language : Ladakhi, Purig, Tibetan, Hindi, English
Best Season : May – October
Leh became the regional capital in the 17th century, when King Sengge Namgyal shifted his court here from Shey (15 km southeast) to be closer to the head of the Khardung La-Karakoram corridor into China. Very soon, the town blossomed into one of the busiest markets on the Silk Route. It was in 1974 that Leh was opened up for tourists.
Amidst the strikingly beautiful and majestic mountains, slowly merging into an oasis of green fields, Leh is situated on the banks of the Indus, at a height of 11,000 feet.
With a population comprising mainly of Buddhist, some Argoos (Muslim descendants of Yarkandi traders) and a small Christian community, Leh bears the distinct stamp of its history as the administrative, commercial and cultural capital of Ladakh. A memorable sight of the Leh bazaar is the group of women , traditionally attired , selling fruits, vegetables and household articles, spinning and knitting, and exchanging gentle banter between themselves and with passers-by. The mosque, city palace, the bazaar and the gompas, are all within walking distances of each other. Shey, Spituk and Phyang are quite close while Stok, Matho, Thiksey, Stakna, Chernrey, Hemis, Likir, Basgo and Alchi are all a day's touring distance. Rumbak and Markha offer exciting treks, while Stok Kangri is the best for a climb. Boating and river running too are possible on the Indus.
The beauty of Leh is that it introduces you best to Ladakh’s ways while you head out for short walks or drive around. Leh stands accessible, surrounded by the majesty of the Himalayan enclave. The experience can best be described as a peek into the delights that make up this ancient trade route.Ladakh
Ladakh is a land like no other. Bounded by two of the world's mightiest mountain ranges, the Great Himalayas and the Karakoram, it lies athwart two other, the Ladakh range and the Zanskar range. In geological terms, this is a young land, formed only a few million years ago by the buckling and folding of the earth's crust as the Indian sub-continent pushed with irresistible force against the immovable mass of Asia. Its basic contours, uplifted by these unimaginable tectonic movements, have been modified over the millennia by the opposite process of erosion, sculpted into the form one sees today by wind and water.Best time to visit
This is perhaps what keeps going an ordinary Ladakhi in most inhospitable conditions. At a place where the mercury plummets below zero degrees celsius in winters and the rainfall during the year is as scant as 50 mm, one needs to be little more than fit to lead a healthy life. Buddhism is the way of life in Ladakh, though there are people of other faiths in Ladakh who live in harmony with each other. Since Ladakh is part of Jammu and Kashmir, 11 per cent of the population is Muslim here. No wonder then, the Buddhist monasteries dot the Ladakh landscape and are the center of attraction during the various fairs and festivals.
Monasteries in Ladakh either belong to Mahayana or Hinayana sect of Buddhism. Hemis is one of the largest and most popular monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery is quiet popular among tourists and most travelers to Ladakh visit the monastery. The Hemis is center of action during the annual Hemis festival that takes place in June-July. The festival is held to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. This is the best time to see the cultural side of Ladakh. During the festival, locals from remote corners of Ladakh converge on the Hemis monastery.Buddhism
Buddhism is the dominant religion in Ladakh and one can find its stamp all over in Ladakh. Be it monasteries, music or simple of way of life, Buddhism is essence of Ladakh. One can find 'tangkhas', masks, musical instruments and precious items in the Gompas in Ladakh. A huge painting of the Buddha inside the Hemis Monastery is the biggest draw. Thikse and Shey monasteries are the classic architectural wonder in the region. No matter which part of Ladakh you travel, the smiling Buddha and His followers greet you in smile.