Nestled between the great Himalayan and Karakoram mountain ranges lies the magical mountain kingdom of Ladakh. Ranging in elevation between 9000 and 25000 feet, the land is a high altitude desert because it is protected from the powerful Indian monsoons by the Himalayas. The flight to Leh offers views of spectacular mountains and valleys, as well as possible glimpses of the scenic Zhanskar river.
Leh is a capital city right out of the most vivid fairytale; from the massive nine storey royal palace that dominates the area (built over four hundred years ago), to the ruins of the hilltop fort built even before the palace, from the bustling fascinating shops of the main bazaar and the Tibetan markets, to the Buddhist Temple Jo-khang, from the impressive Sankar Gompa to the imposing 17th century Mosque. The Gompas (Monasteries) of Ladakh are among the most spectacular in the world, and among the greatest of them is Alchi. It is made up of five ancient temples, with a fascinating collection of paintings and images. The triple storied Sum-Tsek has remarkable murals created a thousand years ago.
The people of Ladakh are a simple, sturdy kind, and life here operates at a much more elementary level than other parts of India. The farmers pray for enough snow-melt so they can water their crops, the shopkeepers sell handcrafted treasures like many generations before them. Other ancient monuments and ruins as well as a few charming mountain villages can be viewed within a few kilometers from Leh. You can easily find genuine local antiques, semi-precious jewelry, and other unique handcrafted items during your visit here.