Leh....The Capital City

Leh, the main town of the region, is dominated by Sengge Namgyal's nine-storey Palace, a building in the grand tradition of Tibetan architecture, said to have inspired the famous Potala in Lhasa, which was built half a century later. Above it,on NamgyaI Tsemo,the peak overlooking the town, are the ruins of the earliest royal residence at Leh, a fort built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 16th century. The associated temples remain intact, but they are kept locked except during the morning and evening hours when a monk toils up the hills from Sankar Gompa to attend to the butter-lamps in front of the images.

Though Leh has been the capital of this region since the 17th century, strewn around it along the Indus Valley are earlier capitals of the region.From Leh one can wander off on marvellous day expeditions to get a glimpse of some of the treasures of ladakh.

Leh has quite a few interesting places to offer. The mosque, city palace, the bazar and the gompas, are all within walking distance. Shey, Spituk and Phyang are quite close while Stok, Matho, Thiksey, Stakna, Chernrey, Hemis, Likir, Basgo and Alchi are all a day's touring distance. Rumbak and Markha offer exciting treks, while Stok Kangri is the best for a climb. Boating and river running too are possible on the Indus.