An integral part of India’s legacy and heritage (dharohar) are its cities, towns, and villages. History awaits at every corner of India, whether it is a lost legend, a well-preserved palace, or a village bazaar. Through our ‘Dharohar’ section we bring to you some of India’s treasured places.
This month we showcase Leh, the joint capital of Ladakh, a union territory of India. It is located on the bank of the Indus, with the mountains dominating the landscape. Leh is known for its stunning scenic locales, temples and pristine environment. Barren mountains with brightly painted gompas (or monasteries), fluttering prayer flags, rocky ridges, tiny settlements, and the Indus River add to the overall charm of the region.
In the month of September, Leh is busy due to the Leh Ladakh Festival. The large-scale festival showcases the cultural richness of different communities and tribes of Ladakh. The main aim behind this festival is to revive and promote the rich culture, traditions, and folk heritage of Ladakh. The event includes traditional folk dances and songs, vernacular sports like polo game and archery contests, exhibitions of thangkas and handicrafts, monastic dances, food fest.
The most popular tourist attraction is Pangong lake which is one of the highest altitude lakes in the world and is famous for its color changing water, from blue to red and green. From camping to lakeside bonfire, a wide variety of activities can be enjoyed here. During the winter months, the lake can be seen completely frozen, which is a delightful sight.
Sitting on top of a hill, Leh Palace is one of the finest examples of medieval architecture. The palace is made of stones, wood, mud, and sand. The walls of the palace provide warmth in winters and create a cool ambience in summers.
The Shanti Stupa is a white-domed monument built on top of a steep hill. Facing snow-capped peaks is meant to be a symbol of peace. Being at a vantage point, the stupa affords unadulterated views of the valley below. Lit up at night, it acquires a beauty of its own.
Another popular destination lies in Khardung La pass – the world’s highest motorable road. It is located at a staggering altitude of 18,380 feet. It almost feels like a winter wonderland, because everything around from rocks to roads to mountains are draped in snow.
Another spectacular site to witness is Sangam, the confluence of Indus and Zanskar Rivers. It is located 35km from Leh, on the Leh Srinagar highway. The two rivers can be separately seen meeting at this point. While the Indus River appears as shiny blue, Zanskar River appears muddy green. It is a spectacular site to witness.
There are two ways to reach Leh – by road via Manali or Srinagar, and by air with a flight to Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airport located just 4 km from Leh city center.
Set amidst the epic Himalayas, Leh is a rustic and heavenly beautiful travel destination. The rugged valleys and mountains, winding roads coupled with the vibrant cultural life maintain the exuberance and charm of this region making it an exceptional tourist destination.