Himalayan Adventure

(1) LEH – Ladakh

Leh, was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, now the Leh District in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. Leh, with an area of 45,110 km2, is the second largest district in the country (after Kutch, Gujarat) in terms of area.
The town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace. Leh is at an altitude of 3524 metres (11,562 ft), and connects via National Highway 1D connects it to Srinagar in the southwest and to Manali in the south via Leh-Manali Highway.

The royal palace, known as Leh Palace, was built by King Sengge Namgyal (1612–1642), presumably between the period when the Portuguese Jesuit priest, Francisco de Azevedo, visited Leh in 1631, and made no mention of it, and Sengge Namgyal’s death in 1642. The Leh Palace is nine storeys high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, and the stables and store rooms are located on the lower floors. The palace was abandoned when Kashmiri forces besieged it in the mid-19th century. The royal family moved their premises south to their current home in Stok Palace on the southern bank of the Indus.

Geography:
Mountains dominate the landscape around the Leh as it is at an altitude of 3,500m. The principal access roads include the 434 km Srinagar-Leh highway which connects Leh with Srinagar and the 473 km Leh-Manali Highway which connects Manali with Leh. Both roads are open only on a seasonal basis. Although the access roads from Srinagar and Manali are often blocked by snow in winter, the local roads in the Indus Valley usually remain open due to the low level of precipitation and snowfall.

Climate:
Leh has a cold desert climate with long, harsh winters from October to early March, with minimum temperatures well below freezing for most of the winter. The city gets occasional snowfall during winter. The weather in the remaining months is generally fine and warm during the day. Average annual rainfall is only 90 mm (3½ inches). The temperature can range from −28 °C (-18.4°F) in winter to 33 °C (91.4°F) in summer.

Nearby Attractions:
1.  Shanti Stupa.
2.  Leh Palace.
3.  Hemis gompha
4.  Leh Trekking Trails.
5.  War Museum.
6.  Chamba Temple.
7.  Jama Masjid.
8.  Gurdwara Pathar Sahib
9.  Jo Khang Gompa.
10.  Namgyal Tsemo Gompa.
11.  Sankar Gompa.
12.  Stok Palace.
13.  The Victory Tower.
14.  Zorawar Fort.

Transport:
1. Road: Leh is connected to the rest of India by two high-altitude roads both of which are subject to landslides and neither of which are passable in winter when covered by deep snows. The National Highway 1D from Srinagar via Kargil is generally open longer. The Leh-Manali Highway can be troublesome due to very high passes and plateaus, and the lower but landslide-prone Rohtang Pass near Manali.

2. Air: Leh’s Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport has flights to Delhi at least daily on Kingfisher, Jet Airways and/or Indian Airlines which also provides twice weekly services to Jammu and a weekly flight to Srinagar. Connect in Delhi for other destinations.

3. Rail: There are no railways currently in Leh Ladakh, however a railway is proposed.

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