Leh religious destination with beautiful backdrop
Leh city is a high altitude place on the roof of Himalaya. It’s the capital of the Leh region in northern India’s J&K state. At the height of 3524 m (11562 feet), Leh is in between the erstwhile trade route that connected India and China. It was a stopover for trading caravans as it was the only settlement before hundreds of miles of wilderness. Leh religious destination is now known more for its Tibetan Buddhist sites and high hills trekking. It’s also famous for its snow deserts and a huge Leh Palace.
How to reach
Air– Leh has one of the highest civil airport in the world. It has regular flights from Chandigarh and Delhi.
Road– Manali -Leh Road is 473 km. Tough high altitude road that varies between 3660m to 4570m. Distance from Delhi is 1047 km while Srinagar is 434km via National Highway 1D.
The history of Leh religious destination is a bit vague before 10th century Tibetan Prince Nyjma Gon, grandson of non-Buddhist king Langdarma of 9th century. Nyjma Gon conquered Leh area and built several Palaces and towns namely Shey 15 km from Leh in Indus Valley is among them. Shey became seat of ancient Ladakhi kings. In 17th century under rule of Namgyal huge Leh palace was built, in part ruins now, and a Sunni mosque as a favor to Kashmir’s Nawab for keeping Mongols away. The mosque is an exotic mix of Islamic and Tibetan architecture.
Religious sights to see
Shanti Stupa was built in 1914 by Japanese and Tibetan Buddhists. It’s located at 4267 m on Chanspa hill Leh and the stupa is white domed shape building. Inaugurated in 1991 by Dalai Lama, after Indian PM sanctioned construction of the road to the temple. Besides its religious significance, it has panoramic view from there.
Thiksay Gompa or Thiksay Monastery is a Gompa affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is located on top of a hill in Thiksey village, 19 km east of Leh. It has history that goes back to 15th century. Beautiful location and historical attractions are its focal points.
Namgyal Tsemo Monastery
Built in early 15th century, it’s known for its three-floored high solid gold idol of Maitrieya Buddha. Situated on a mountain top behind the Leh palace, the monastery offers panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, serenely flowing Indus river and the snowy peaks of Zanskar mountain range. View of Leh from the Gompa is breathtaking as the view changes with light.
Gurudwara Pathar sahib
25 km on Leh Kargil Road there is a Gurudwara dedicated to Guru Nanak Dev, the 1st Sikh Guru. At 12,000 feet altitude Gurudwara was built in early 16th century after Guru Nanak’s visit here. Tibetans used to revere him as Buddhist saint as Guru Gomka Maharaj. A rock with Nanak’s foot print is kept there, hence Gurudwara named such.
Besides there are other attractions, 17th century Jama Masjid in Leh and ancient Shiv temple nearby, that have substantial following.