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Leh is the heart of the Leh district and capital of Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Leh was an important stopover on trade routes along the Indus Valley between Tibet to the east, Kashmir to the west and also between India and China for centuries. The main goods carried were salt, grain, pashmina or cashmere wool, charas or cannabis resin from the Tarim Basin, indigo, silk yarn and Banaras brocade. Its importance as a trading town slowed down with the partition of British India. Since opening to tourists in 1974, it has become a bustling tourist town, with large numbers of Kashmiri traders.

Leh-Ladakh lies at an altitude of 3,524 metres (11,562 ft), and is connected via National Highway 1 to Srinagar in the southwest and to Manali in the south via the Leh-Manali Highway. There are three ways to reach Leh, one by road from Manali in Himachal Pradesh, second from Srinagar-Leh highway or take a flight from Srinagar and third take a direct flight from Delhi to Leh. Both road routes are equally spectacular in different ways, and both are time consuming with winding, narrow roads, scenic landscapes and numerous military checkpoints for security purposes. There will be stopovers and by road it will take you two days; some people even go in one shot and the journey takes about 20 hours. Take rest on the first day of arrival to acclimatize with the high altitude region. Changspa road and old Leh road has many restaurants and cafes’ serving really good food. Changspa is much more a touristy place with budget guesthouses and its also near Shanti Stupa.

Places to explore in and around Leh-Ladakh:

  • Leh Palace
  • Namgyal Tsemo Gompa
  • Shanti Stupa
  • Cho Khang Gompa
  • Chamba Temple
  • Gurdwara Pathar Sahib
  • Sankar Gompa
  • War Museum
  • The Victory Tower
  • Zorawar Fort

Day trips or longer trips from Leh-adakh:

  • Khardung La
  • Spituk Monastery
  • Stok Palace & Stok Monastery
  • Thikse Monastery
  • Shey Monastery
  • Hemis gompa
  • Alchi Monastery
  • Magnetic hill
  • Indus River - Zanskar River sangam (confluence)
  • Pangong Tso Lake
  • Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve (Tsomoriri Lake)
  • Hunder Valley
  • Sand Dunes Nubra
  • Ti-suru
  • Turtuk
  • Trekking & camping

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