Leh General Information
- Area 6 sq. km
- Area 380 sq. km
- Population (1991) 192967
- Altitude 5205 m above sea level
- Languages Hindi, English, Ladhaki and Urdu
- Best Time to Visit April – September
- STD Code 01982
Leh – An Introduction
Ladakh is a land abounding in awesome physical features, set in an enormous and spectacular environment. Bounded by two of the world’s mightiest mountain ranges, the Karakoram in the north and the Great Himalaya in the south, Ladakh is traversed by two other parallel chains, the Ladakh Range and the Zanskar Range. Today a high-altitude desert, sheltered from the rain-bearing clouds of the Indian monsoon by the barrier of the Great Himalaya, Ladakh was once covered by an extensive lake system, the vestiges of which still exist on its south-east plateaux of Rupshu and Chushul, in the drainage basins or lakes of Tso-moriri, Tso-kar and Pangong-tso. But the main source of water is winter snowfall.
Places of Interest:
Around 12 kms south of this city, it was the seat of power for the first king of Ladakh, Lhachen Spalgigon who constructed the hill top fortress. The ruins can be seen from above the present Shey Palace. There is a monastery too and its main image is the three-story statue of Buddha Shakyamuni, made of Copper guilt.
This has been the Royal Palace since the King was dethroned by the Dogras and is now the home of the last king’s widow. It is around 12 kms away. There is an interesting museum that contains an odd collection of exhibits including the King’s teacup holder, the queen’s turquoise headdress, and many more interesting things.
In south of Leh the most beautiful of all the monasteries in Ladakh belongs to Gelukspa Order. Around 80 monks reside here at present. Thiksey festival is held in the month of October-November.
Ri-dzong, situated a few kilometres up a side-valley from Uley-Tokpo, was founded only a century and a quarter ago by a devout layman-turned-lama, with the purpose of following the strict monastic rules of the Gelugspa sect.
Hemis monastery is around 45 kms south, and is one of the largest and most famous monasteries belonging to Dukpa Order. The Hemis festival is held in the month of June. This festival is a very famous one attracting people from far off places.
Around 125 kms west, you pass through several villages on the way with scenic beauty especially the Moon land type features. In Lamayuru, there is a monastery too, which belongs to Drigunp a Order of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery is remarkably built on a rock.
The Likir monastery is around 53 kms west, which belongs to Gelukspa Order. This is also worth seeing. Likir festival takes place on the 28th & 29th of the 12th month of Tibetan Calendar.