Leh the erstwhile capital of the kingdom of Ladakh is now a dream destination of many and the Mecca of adventure enthusiasts! Leh, one of the coldest deserts in the world is located at a distance of 434 Kms from Srinagar and 474 Kms from Manali (Himachal Pradesh). At the time of reorganization of districts in 1979, Ladakh was divided into Leh and Kargil and now Leh district is synonymous with Ladakh and vice-versa! Built by the Buddhist kings of Ladakh in 1553 the Leh Palace was once the world’s highest building. The primary attraction within the Leh city this palace is structurally similar to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. Now only the palace prayer room lives up to the sense of former grandeur of Leh Palace. Leh is a backpacker's haven with numerous trekking trails, valleys, and picturesque lakes. Renowned as the land of monks and monasteries there is lots to see in this amazing piece of land. There are three sub divisions of Leh with 7 different tour circuits identified for international tourists in Leh with breathtaking Himalayan panorama.
How To Reach Leh
Leh is connected with Srinagar by road which remains closed during winter months due to heavy snow fall especially on Zojila pass, the pass in the Great Himalayan Wall that serves as the gateway to Ladakh. The road to Leh opens in late May or early June, & closes by mid-October every year depending upon the weather conditions. Journey from Srinagar to Leh via Kargil is approx. 434 Kms and takes 2 days with night halt at Kargil where accomodation is available in Hotels / Guest Houses etc. Jeeps and cars are also available for the journey from Srinagar to Leh. The most dramatic part of this road journey is the ascent upto 11,500 ft and 3,505 m high Zojila pass. The J & K State Road Transport Corporation (J&K SRTC) operates regular Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Srinagar and Leh on this route with an overnight halt at Kargil. Taxis (cars and jeeps) are also available at Srinagar for the journey. Groups can charter Deluxe and A-class buses for Leh, Kargil or Padum (Zangskar) from the J & K SRTC at Srinagar.
Leh is connected with Manali also by road with distance 473 Kms. Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second overland approach to Ladakh. This road also remains closed during winter months. This high road traverses the upland desert plateau of Rupsho, altitude ranges from 3,660m to 4,570m. A number of high passes fall enroute among which the highest one known as Taklang-La is world's second highest motorable pass at an altitude of 17,469 feet/5,235m. Himachal Pradesh Tourism, HRTC and J & K SRTC operate daily Deluxe and Ordinary bus services between Manali and Leh. The bus journey between Leh and Manali takes about 19 hours or two days with an overnight halt in camps at Serchu or Pang. Maruti Gypsy and jeep taxis are also available, both at Manali and Leh at quite reasonable rates.
Some Important road distances from Leh are:
Delhi - 1047 Kms
Srinagar - 434 Kms
Manali - 473 Kms
Kargil - 234 Kms
Deskit(Nubra Valley) - 118 Kms
Srinagar - Kargil - 204 Kms
Kargil - Padum (Zanskar) - 240 Kms
Indian Airlines operates 3 flights in a week between Leh and Delhi, 2 flights in a week from Jammu and once in a week from Srinagar. Jet Airways also operates six flights in a week between Leh - Delhi and Go Air operates daily flight Between Leh - Delhi.