Ladakh is a land known for numerous passes, cold desert,snow covered mountains, and crystal river located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir to the north of India. Isolated and unique spot to visit in northern India comprise of two district Leh and Kargil bounded by Karakoram and Himalayas ranges. The altitude varies between 9000 to 15000 above sea level. In the past region comprised of three district Leh, Kargil and Skardo but later on after cease fire between india and Pakistan, district of Kardo and part of Kargil became territory of Pakistan. In 1962 the war between India and China, India lost some part of un inhabited land in the south of Leh to China. Ladakh belong to the people originated to Indo Aryan and Tibto Brahmin race. In Leh, Buddhism is the dominant religion followed by Shia Islam, Christian and other in some number. But in Kargil majority of people are follower of Islam followed by other religion.

History says, the people originating to Brokpa who came from Gilgit and Mon from Kullu were first to settle along the Indus valley. Gyapacho became the leader and established first seat of government at Gya. In around 10 century Kotang,s nomads made series of attract on Ladakh, gyapacho was not in a position to reply their attrack. Later on he took the help of Skilde Namagon descendent of Tibetan king succeed in defeating the invasion. Later on he offered king, un inhabited shey and thiksay for his help. Nimagon became first king of Ladakh chose Shey as head quarter and built fort on the hill top.

King Tsewang Namgial united whole Ladakh into one and made a powerful nation change capital from Shey to Leh. His son Jamyang Namgial was enthroned and became king of Ladakh. During his ruled he attracted Skardo but unable defeated the Sher Khan, result took him to prison. His daughter name Gyal khatoon used to take food, fell in love with the king and later on married and brought to Leh. Gave birth to baby boy. Their son Singee Namgail was enthroned in 1590 AD. He loved arts and architecture, result built Leh palace, Himis monastery and Hanle monastery. Got success in invading many surrounding countries. His son Deldan Namgial constructed Shey palace and built copper guilt statue of Lord Shaskya Muni Buddha in memory of his father. Till upto reign of King Dorjay Namgial ladakh ruled by many king, who constructed Stupas, Castles, forts and monasteries which can be seen even today. Dogra army lead by Zorawar Singh invaded ladakh and rule for many years. Later on ladakh put in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Place to visit in and around Leh.

Shanti Stupa
Open stupa/Monastery on the hill top, to the west of market in the village of Chanspa built by Japanise Bikshu in the year 1991. Beautiful and picturesque spot stand alone on the top with amazing surrounding view of fields, palace and nearby villages in east. To the north you can enjoy the view of Ladakh and Karakoram ranges and south with Zanskar and Himalayan. About km away from Leh market good to walk for acclimatize.

Leh Palace
Nine storey palace on the hill top started constructing during the reign of King Tsewang Namgial, who had changed the capital from Shey to Leh and final shape was given by Singge Namgial the king with extra ordinary skill in arts and architecture. Even now this is the only building with such a height that brings charm to the city. Must visit place to see and understand the architecture of 17thcentury. And enjoy the view of nearby from its country yard. Amazing to experience the view of surrounding place.

Tsemo Gonpa
The monastery was built by the king Tashi Namgial founder of “Namgial Dynasty”. He built this monastery on the top of Tsemo (Victory peak) after won the war of Hor, with the pray to stop further invasion in the region, Two main temple are there in this monastery, Chamba Lakhang (Metriaya) contain image of future Buddha, three storied in height. And next one Gonkhang (Clay statue of protector deities.

Gonpa Marpo
Just below the Lehchen Spalkhar, there is a temple constructed by king Drakspa Bumde, contain statue of Metriaya (Future Buddha) Vajra pani(boddisatva) Manjushri (Boddisatva of wisdom) and Avaloketeshvara. (Bodhisattva of compassion). Leh Phodo tsogspa taking care of the monastery and arrange festival called Dosmochey every year on 29 and 30 days of 12 month of Tibetan calendar.

Gonpa Soma
In the middle of market, there is a monastery constructed by Ladakh Buddhist Association in the year 1956. With only assembly hall, contain images of Crown Buddha (Jovo Rinpochey) in the centre, on the right statue of Guru Padma Sambava and on left Avaloketeshvara. For religious gathering and Chanting Mantra of Buddha’s and Bodisatva’s for world peace. It remains open for visitor throughout the day. Nice place for meditation and to enjoy sitting under shade of trees in hot weather condition.

Sankar Gonpa
Sankar monastery part of Spituk monastery, built in the centre of village belongs to Gelukspa order of Tibetan Buddhism. about 1 km away from Leh market. Tourist can visit this monastery on foot. The monastery mostly remain close during day time. You are advised to visit only during morning and evening hours.

Hall of Fame
Hall of fame is a museum started and run by Indian army in the memory of brave Indian soldier, who sacrificed their life while defending motherland in fighting war with Pakistan. Museum contains belongings and stories of the soldier with their achievement. Only 3 to 4 km away from Leh town. Remain open for whole day. When you are in Leh must visit this place, to know the story behind our victory and to pay tribute to this brave soldier.

Shey Palace
Shey Palace or Gonpa built on a hillock some 16 km to the south of Leh constructed by King Deldan Namgial for summer retreat of royal families of Ladakh. In this palace there is three storey height copper guilt statue of Shakaya Muni Buddha got built by king in the memory of his father. history says the copper and guilt used for making statue was brought from Lingsed and Zanskar. Nice place to visit Thiksay and Hemis are on the way.

Thiksay Monastery
Around 19 km away to the south of Leh town. Thiksay monastery was built on the hillock by Paldan Sharap to the north of river indus with beautiful picturesque. Belongs to gelukspa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Reform sect of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Tsongkapa. Most beautiful monastery in the region resemble to Potala of Tibet. There are almost 50 monks in the monastery who learn monastic activities. Thiksay Rinpoche is the head lama of Gonpa taking care of Gonpa and monks.

In Dhukang Karmo large assembly hall, monks gather during morning and evening to perform prayer (puja). Now a days tourists visit this monastery to attend morning prayers and bless himself with speech of Buddha. The second chapel to visit is Chamkhang (Metraya temple) three storeys in height statue of Buddha shown made in recent years, shown in standing gesture. Gonkhang contain statue of protector deities Buddha Dharma and Sanga.

Hemis Monastery
Hemis monastery around 45 km to the south of Leh, the most famous and largest in the region belong to Drukpa order of Tibetan Buddhism. Founded by Lama Taktang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in the year 1630. The king invited him to Ladakh and offered religious estate to spread the teaching of Buddha and whole ladakh. Later on the king youngest son Nawang Namgial became monks and got the teaching from Lama. Gradually monk community was introduced and the monastery was given name Changchub Samling. Hemis festival is held every year in the monastery courty yard in the month June 09 and 10 days as per Tibetan calendar. Prayers are done and monastic mask dance are performed for two days. at present there are around 300 monks. Gyalwang Dukpa Rinpoche head lama of the monastery and lookafter the monastic works and prevail the teaching of Tsangpa Gyarey founder of drukpa school of order. In Ladakh majority of people are follower of Grukpa school.

Lamayuru Monastery
Lamayuru Monastery built on sand stone around 125 km west of Leh, beautiful picturesque structure little away from main road named Yungdung Tharpaling belong to Drugung Kargyud sect of Tibetan Buddhism. history says there was a lake at this place. the Arahat Nemagung visited this place and wished to have a monastery there and made offer to the Naga spirit, who were the guardian of the spot. He threw some wheat and later on lake dried and thrown wheat grew in the form of Swastika. Montastry was built where wheat grown. At present there are 150 monks in the monastery, who perform all the ritual activities of the monastery and Stobdan rinpochey is head lama and taking care all the works of the monastery. Festival called Yuru kapgyab is celebrated every year 17th and 18th month as per Tibetan calendar. Tourist attend this festival and visit temple and enjoying the views of painting drawn of the wall.

Little away from monastery there is a spot called moonland resemble to the surface of moon. Picturesque spot to click the photo of this unique surface.

Alchi monastery
The most famous and largest monastery built by Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo (the translator) in 11 century in the region almost 69 km away from leh to the west. Named Alchi Choskor. Comprised of four chapel assembly hall, Manjushri lakhang, Lotsava etc. The main statue is that of Verochana. Unlike other monasteries, the wall painting and statue are made in Indian style. For this works he brought some painters and wood carver from Kashmir and made this monastery different from rest in the region. some families were kept to lookafter it. Since 15 century the monastery is taking care by monks of Likir monastery. No monk community is introduced so far. Only priest is there to look after and offer butter lamps.

Likir Monastery
Around 69 km west of Leh belongs to Gyelukspa order of Tibetan Buddhism headed by Nari tsang rinpoche. As per history of the monastery it was founded by Lama Duwang Chotse during the reign of King Lachen Gyalpo and named Lhukhil Galden Targyasling and introduced monk community to prevail the teaching of Tsongkhapa founder of Gelukspa order of Tibetan Buddhism. As like other monastic festival Likir dosmochay is being celebrated every year on 28th and 29th of 12 months as per Tibetan calendar.

Nubra valley
The valley lies to the North of Leh, about 140 Km away from district Head quarter. En route you meet famous khardungla pass 18380 ft with mountains cover white snow throughout the year. Nice spot to click photos with amazing view of high peaks and snowy mountains. Shayok the tributaries of Indus and Siachen glacier river confluence at Diskit, become vast to enjoy the rafting adventure in river Shayok.

The view of hillock Diskit monastery and open statue of Meteraya Buddha bring more charm to the area. Hunder is the nest village known for sand dune and camel safari. Desert bike riding is also done at the spot. Lovely village of full of hotel/guest house and camping suit every budget. If you are interested in visiting broder side area of India, visit Turtuk unique village dominant by people, who follow Islam, with special art of rock carving. Place known for growing apricot. Originate Gilgit, Baltistan with different way of living.

Oh the other side Summor is the centre with lots of guest houses and hotels. Lovely village with beautiful view of Samstanling monastery. Must visit Samstanling monastery and Panamik hot Spring.

You can also enjoy double hump camel ride on sand near Siachen river. You can do round trip of Pangong lake via Shoyok. Its save time and closer in distance from Nubra.

Tsomoriri lake
Tsomoriri lake lies to the south east of leh located in Rupsho valley. This high altitude lake is bounded by high mountains from all side. Average elevation of lake 4520 M. On clear weather, the reflection of mountains in the lakes makes more beautiful. The colours of the water keeps on changing with passage of day. Total length of this lake is 19 km and width varies from 1 to 3 km. if you are adventure lover than there are many option of trekking and expedition of peak above 6000M near the lake. En route you can visit Chumathang hot spring known for healing different diseases under local treatment. Korzok monastery is near lake is good place to visit. Taxi is only source to approach this lake. There are some guest house/hotel and camping near the lake with ok service.

Pangong lake
Pangong lake located in Durbuk Block of Tangtse to the south of Leh town. About 155 km from Leh town. This most famous and beautiful lake is about 150 km long from east to west and 15 km from north to south (width). Cover around 30% in India and rest lies in the territory of China. It is said that the water of the lake from eastern side is fresh and from west it is totally salty. Changing colour of water during clear sky is make the lake more interesting to visit. It is lies on an average altitude of 4242 M and deepest point reach 55 M. You reach Pangong after the drive of 5 to 6 hours via Changla pass. one the way you will see marmot at one place and after reach at the lake you enjoy view of wild birds flying over the lake in groups.