“Biker’s Paradise” is a title reserved only for the town of Leh. The town is a part of the Ladakh District, a secluded part of India in the Jammu and Kashmir state. The hilly terrain, frozen landscapes, and serene atmosphere call to all the wanderers.
Leh Travel Guide
After a few Bollywood movies that realized a decade ago made way to the hearts of millions of Indians, Leh has become a destination every Indian dream of going to.
And why not, the Buddhist monasteries with their festivities and color, the lakes have has now developed for tourism with serene bliss wrapping it, high altitude passes which boast of being the highest motorable road in the world are few of the wonders you get to see here.
Photo: View on the way to Leh / The Art of Travel Partners
Things To Do In Leh
Everyone is advised a day’s rest when you land here due to the altitude. And it is best if you do take a day rest and not start moving the very day you land. You will get to know how your body is adjusting and give you a good idea on how to go about, the next day.
Magnetic Hill & Confluence
The magnetic hill is located on the highway to Kargil from Leh. It is claimed to be a natural wonder where any vehicle goes in the opposite direction of gravity for a few seconds. You might not feel it that well but it is a beautiful windy highway where you are sure to get a few lovely pictures and memories.
The confluence of 2 rivers: Zanskar and Indus also lie a little ahead on this highway and you can go to be lost in this picturesque landscape.
Photo: Confulence of 2 rivers during peak winter / The Art of Travel Partners
This Monastery also located on the highway to Kargil from Leh is a beautiful old Monastery with ruins of a village lying right next to it. The colors, the old structure and the beauty of nature from every other window and door of this monastery make for a must visit trip here.
Photo: View from the ruins in Lamayuru / The Art of Travel Partners
Once claimed as the highest motorable road in the world, this is a place where every adventure junkie must visit. If you are a biker then rent a bike and reach the peak to get a photo with the Indian flag and the banner with the altitude and place written.
During winters you won’t be able to ride a bike so you will have to hire a taxi, but during summers don’t miss a bike ride up here.
Photo: The highest motorable road – Khardung la / CC0
Hunder is a high altitude desert located 4 hours from Khardungla, and also the home to the double-humped camel. To see the sand and realize you are at an altitude of more than 3000m above sea level will strike you as a revelation once here.
The locals are very friendly and many offer camel rides and local cuisine, all of which are worth it.
Turtuk is a beautiful village nestled next to the Shyok river on one side and high mountains on the other. It is a Muslim dominated village with one monastery present. The people here are beautiful, warm, shy, playful, a little bit of everything.
You will get a good dose of its history if you visit the Turtuk Palace and walk through its narrow lanes and get a feel of how remote Himalayan villages can be and how their lifestyles are.
Photo: Experiments with photography under the starry skies in Turtuk / The Art of Travel Partners
Located just an hour away from Leh, this famed monastery is home to an amazing museum which houses a collection of antiques which will make any history buff go weak on his knee. It is also the place where the Hemis Festival takes place every year and their traditional masked dances and performed.
Photo: Bright colors of Hemis Monastery / The Art of Travel Partners
This is one of that postcard monastery with the main temple located on top of the hill and all the monks stay on the hillside.
Walk up to the monastery form the road instead of taking the vehicle all the way up to get a feel of their local culture and get into a conversation with one of the monks to know more about the place.
Photo: Thiksey Monastery on top of the hill / The Art of Travel Partners
Located in the main city of Leh, this palace which is now being maintained by the local government is a place to visit. You can sit in one of the balconies or get lost in its numerous long corridors all while admiring the architectural marvel and how people built with just mud and wood back then.
Photo: View of Leh from oneo of the Palace Balcony / The Art of Travel Partners
This stupa built for peace is located at a high point in Leh which gives you a wonderful view of the whole city. Sit here to just witness the sunset and how the city of Leh evolves below you. Try finding your peace.
Photo: View of the city of Leh from Shanti Stupa/ The Art of Travel Partners
After a scene in the Bollywood movie, 3 Idiots was shot here, this beautiful high altitude lake has become very famous. Its crystal clear salty water, 7 shades of blue which you can see during summers and a fully frozen lake where you can walk all the way to China in winter, this is one of those serene spots which have now fallen prey to tourism and might be losing its bliss.
Photo: Frozen Pangong with a human walking on it during Winters / The Art of Travel Partners
Tso Moriri lake in Changthang region of Ladakh is one of the most beautiful, calm and sacred (for Ladakhis) high altitude lakes in India. In fact, it is the largest high altitude lake in India that is entirely in Indian territory. This beautiful blue pallet lake is about 7 km wide at its broadest point and about 19 km long.
Leh’s main Bazaar Road is lined with shops and stalls selling these products. Ladakh Art Palace is a good place to start looking for a Tibetan handicraft jewelry. The Buddhist Thangka House has a variety of thangkas as well as other items such as Ladakhi hats and jewellery.
The Tibetan Handicraft Emporium on Bazaar Road and the TibetianHandicraft Community Showroom in Choglamsar are other places where you can buy souvenirs. Be warned that these shops have fixed prices that are somewhat inflated at times.
If you are looking for bargains, head to the open markets – Tibetan Market (off Old Leh Road) for clothes and antiques (genuine and otherwise!) and Moti Market (near Leh bus stand) for handicrafts, semi-precious stones and jewellery. Running parallel to Bazaar Road is the Shar Market where you can buy traditional Ladakhi dresses.
Reaching Leh involves dangerous roads and possibly altitude sickness. If you are traveling from Delhi, then take a flight to Srinagar and rest a day. After that, when your body gets used to the altitude, head for Ladakh. You can also fly directly to Leh and rest for a day.
There are also bus tours from Manali to Leh. Government bus runs every day and it will take you 2 days to reach Leh.
However, the best way to arrive is by riding a bike. Rent a bike at Bike Rentals Manali, and explore the scenic route. It takes three days to reach Leh by bike, almost the same as by bus! Jeeps allow you to reach Leh within a day, but then you risk getting altitude sickness. Make sure you take breaks to help avoid altitude sickness. Getting sick can quickly ruin a trip.
Photo:Flying into Leh will make you witness surreal landscapes / The Art of Travel Partners
Best Time to Visit
Remember that Leh is in the northern part of India and thus, during winter months the roads fill with snow. It becomes very difficult to travel on the roads. The snow begins to melt in April. Plan your trip in May or June because even when summer hits temperatures in Leh are still bearable.
But an extreme winter trip will definitely also be memorable and you can avoid the crowds and see how the locals live.
Experiences to have in Leh
In Old Town, you will discover historic buildings which stand unguarded such as the Palace of the King of Ladakh, also known as the Palace of Leh.
If nature is more your cup of tea, then try camping near the Pangong Tso Lake, beneath the stars.
This trip is one of the best experiences a nature lover can have in India. Or visit Nubra Valley, where you can ride Bactrian Camels off into the Hundar Sand Dunes.
After all these adventures, visit the Magnetic Hill, a spooky site for adventurers. Bike, car, or dune buggy, no matter the vehicle once you reach the hill, the magnetic field defies gravity and pulls you up.
Leh also abounds in monasteries and temples including Soma Gompa and Karma Dupgyud Choeling, which are Buddhist shrines.
Where to stay
The city has numerous places to stay. It has places to suit all budgets, from 5-star hotels to budget hostels.
December 22, 2017 12:37 am
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