Leh, Ladakh

I didn’t travel in May, the next adventure was during June, when I visited Ladakh with two friends. This is a restricted area, if you are a foreigner, it is convenient to check for the latest updates about permits before making any arrangement. There are daily flights from Delhi to Leh, which take approximately 1:30 minutes. When planning, it is important to consider that you will spend the first day getting used to the high altitude because Leh is at 3,500 meters above sea level. We arrived on a Friday and didn’t do much except relaxing at the hotel. The next day, we hired a taxi to takes us around the city.

Leh was the capital of the Himalayan Kingdom of Ladakh. It was an important  stopover on trade routes between Tibet to the east and Kashmir to the west. Overlooking the city, you can see the Ancient Palace of Leh. It was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 16th century. It is nine storeys high; from the top, you can have a fantastic view of the city.

Oh the other side of the city, you will find Shanti Stupa sitting on a hilltop. The stupa holds relics of the Buddha at its base. Its construction started in 1983 and it was inaugurated in August 1991 by the 14th Dalai Lama.

A few kilometers south of Leh, you will find Shey Palace. It was built in 1655 by the King of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal and it was used as a summer retreat by the kings.

Further south, 19 kilometers from Leh, you’ll find Thiksey Monastery, affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on a hilltop in Thiksey village. It is said that the the building resembles Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. One of the main attractions is the Maitreya temple which was built to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama in 1970. The Maitreya statue is 15 meters high, the largest in Ladakh.

To complete the day, we walked around the downtown. Most of the morning it had been clouded, but at the end, the skies were clear blue and we enjoyed great views of the surrounding mountains. At nigh, the full moon illuminated the valley.

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