Leh, the capital of Ladakh is a fascinating hill station. Lying amidst the snow-capped hills of Himalayas with many monasteries and colorful markets, it is also the Buddhist capital of North India.
At a height of 11,000 feet, there are many strikingly beautiful and majestic mountains here, which slowly merge into an oasis of green fields.
But that is not all; it has enough to offer to the varied interests of the tourists it attracts from all over the world. The sport and adventure lovers may indulge in hiking, trekking, river rafting, polo and archery. The quieter ones may try out meditation at the Mahabodhi Meditation center.
The must visit place in Leh is the Leh Palace, which is a miniature version of the Potala in Lhasa. Above the palace, at the top of the Namgyal hill, is the Victory Tower, built to commemorate Ladakh's victory over the Balti Kashmir armies in the early 16th century. Then there are Buddhist gompas like the Namgyal Tsemo Gomapa, Soma gompa and the Sankar gompa, which are also a must see. One may also climb up the Shanti Stupa to get a better view of the neighboring exotic locales.
Shopping is an exciting experience in Leh. You can shop for turquoise and silver jewellery that come from Tibet and Burma. Souvenirs of the local handicrafts and traditional clothes can be picked up from the Ladakh festival or from the bustling bazaar. Popular souvenirs picked up by tourists include, Thangka paintings, small prayer wheels, music bowls, Ladakhi carpets, rugs, shawls and stoles.