18885 – Sightseeing Places of Ladakh

Home / 18885 – Sightseeing Places of Ladakh
The places of interest in Sham Valley Ladakh which includes Alchi, Likir, Basgo, Zanskar and Indus Confluence at Nimmu, Magnetic Hills, Gurudwara Pather Sahib  they all are very much close to each other and requires about 160 KMs of drive for the complete tour and back to Leh in a day. So, lets look at all these places one by one in this complete Travel Guide of Sham Valley in Ladakh.
Gurudwara Pather Sahib

Gurudwara Pather Sahib about 22 KMs from Leh and at an altitude of 3600 Mtrs, was constructed in memory of Guru Nanak Dev ji. It is right on the Srinagar – Leh Highway and is believed that this sacred stone/boulder refused to move in road construction operations even by huge machines/bulldozers etc. due to holy blessings/touch of Guru Nanak Dev ji. After offering the prayers, taking prasad you can move ahead to Magnetic Hills as next stop on the tour of Sham Valley.

Magnetic Hills

Magnetic Hills is located about 30 KMs from Leh at an altitude of 11000 Feet approximately at Srinagar – Leh Highway. Magnetics Hills, a phenomena that defies gravity. It is believed that the Magnetic Hills have magnetic properties so strong to pull cars towards it. We put the car in the marked box and placed it in neutral gear and voila!! the car started climbing. People say it is nothing but an optical illusion, we could not judge it because the car was actually going upwards in the direction of Magnetic hills. May be a ball will be useful to judge the situation. If the ball also goes towards the hills then certainly there is nothing but an illusion that projects a descending road as ascending road.

Confluence of Zanskar and Indus Rivers

As you move ahead from Magnetic Hills, just before Nimmu Village, there comes a famous confluence of two rivers Indus River coming from Tibet (left) and Zanskar River coming from Zanskar Valley (right). Zanskar River is known for its famous Chadar Trek. Chadar Trek is done in peak winters when the Zanskar river freezes and people trek over it to reach Padum Village in Zanskar Valley from Leh because of heavy snowfall. Now, there is a tourist spot that has been created along the shores of the confluence where you can spend some relaxing time along the two rivers.When you head towards Basgo, on the way you can also see the longest Mani Wall (about 600 Mtrs) just at the exit of Nimmu Village.

Basgo Palace

Basgo Palace rather ruins of Basgo Palace, is about 40 KMs from Leh and is approximately 500 years old, built for Namgyal rulers. Basgo Palace now houses a monastery as well and is a nice place to visit. Some shots of movie “Dil Se” was also shot here. As you will go towards Likir diversion from Basgo Palace, there comes a stretch straight as an arrow, which looks beautiful and many advertisements have been shot around this place.

Likir Monastery

It is time to head to Likir Monastery As you go Move towards Sasapol, about 10 KMs before you will see a diversion towards right going to Likir monastery. About 52 KMs from Leh, Likir Monastery was built in 11th century and was again re-built in 18th century and houses a 25 feet Lord gold covered Buddha Statue. It is a bit tough to climb the stairs with un-acclimatized body. Views from the terrace are every penny worth the effort. You will be amused to see the models created with butter which do not melt. Locales say those who have created it had powers in their hands that is why these models does not melt. Amazing Art!! Time to leave towards Alchi Monastery.

Alchi Monastery

As you come back to Srinagar – Leh Highway from Likir Monastery, you need to take right and go towards Sasapol about 10-12 KMs ahead. At Sasapol, there comes a bridge named by Alchi bridge from where you take left and goes towards Alchi village. About 65 KMs from west of Leh and about 3100 Mtrs of altitude, Alchi Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Leh and have monuments and scriptures dated as old as 10th century. You can buy a bottle of oil and light to be offered in the monastery and headed down to monastery which is so calm and peaceful. The time spent will bring you more close to Buddhism if you are into it and sense of peace it offers to one’s soul, remarkable!! You can walk down to Indus River as well from the back of the monastery and spend some time along the river.

Leh Palace

The Leh Palace stands on its ruinous state, is one of the important historical monuments of the Ladakh region. Modeled on the Potala Palace of Lhasa in Tibet, this 9-storied royal palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. But in later period, the royal Ladakhi family abandoned the palace when Dogra kingdom took control over the Ladkh region in 19th century. Design and architecture of the palace is similar to Potala Palace and it resembles the fine Tibetan architectural style. The interiors of the palace are decorated with beautiful motifs and murals. Exterior of the royal palace also looks magnificent from atop of Namgyal hill in Leh.

Shanti Stupa

Shanti Stupa is situated at a height of 4267 meters overlooking the Leh city, it gives a panoramic view of surrounding snow capped mountains . Situated at a distance of about 5 km drive able road from the Leh city or one can reach here by climbing 500 steps. The location of Shanti Stupa is such that it is visible from all over Leh city.

It is built as a two level structure, a flight of stairs leads to the first level where a Dharmchakra (as in white strip of Indian national flag) with two deer on each side, features a central image of Lord Buddha in golden colour sitting on a platform turning the Dharmchakra wheel, the second level depicting the birth of Buddha, defeating of devils in meditation and death of Buddha along with many small images of meditating Buddha, all embossed in vibrant colours.

A white dome Stupa (Chorten) built on a Changspa, a steep hill, opposite the Leh Palace different in architecture from the Ladhakhi style gives a magnificent view at sunrise and sunset; it looks more beautiful at night illuminated in the white light. It was built by the Ladakh and Japanese Buddhists, Ladakhis offered voluntary labor, construction started in 1983 and it was inaugurated in August 1991 by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. It was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate the 2500 years of Buddhism.

Hemis Monastery

It is the biggest monastery of Ladakh, situated on a green hill and surrounded by mountains located approximately at a distance of 47 km from Leh.It belongs to Dugpa order and was founded in year of 1630 by the First incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. Hemis Monastery Ladakh existed before the 11th century.The monastery is richly endowed and decorated on all the sides by prayer flags dedicated to Lord Buddha. Observe the annual Hemis festival dedicated to the dancing reincarnate of Buddha, Lord Padmasambhava, whose mission is to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings. See the painted and decorated white walls of the main building. The monastery hosts the guardian deities and the Wheel of Life, as well as an important library of Tibetan style books.

Khardung La Pass   

Khardung La pass or the “Pass of Lower Castle” is the world’s highest motorable pass and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valley in Ladakh.

One of the most picturesque locales in Leh, Khardung la Pass is situated 39 km by road North of Leh and is at a height of 18,380 ft from the sea level. The road from Leh to Khardung La is asphalted for about 24 km till the South Pullu check post but from there the road is made up of gravel (Loose Rock) and dirt track till the North Pullu check point (15km) and occasional rivulets of snow melt. Khardung la pass connects Leh and Nubra Valley and also serves as a gateway to the famous siachen glacier.Khardung La pass offers amazing views of the valley and the roads winding up the mountain. The pristine air, scenic vistas and the feeling of being on top of the world have made Khardung La a popular tourist attraction. Inner line permit for Indians and Protected area permit for foreigners is required to visit Khardung La top. A steady climb over winding road gave a panoramic view of Leh town below with Stok Kangri peak in the background. An isolated gompa on a small hill provided an enchanting picture as one climbs up. The weather is highly unstable and can change surprisingly fast leaving you stranded for hours or even days so you need to come prepared when planning to visit Khardung La.

Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley is one of the MUST VISIT places in Ladakh especially if you are visiting for the first time. Nubra Valley is among the sub-districts in Ladakh, located in North East side having Diskit Village as the its main headquarters. Diskit is situated about 120 odd KMs from Leh town which is the main capital of Ladakh district. The Shyok river, a tributary of Indus river, meets the Nubra or Siachen river to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakorum Ranges. The ultra wide landscapes, humongous mountain faces, lovely trails, wide variety of colors and musical Shyok river flowing midst the valley will take your breath away at first sight. No wonder, if you are missing on this part of Ladakh on your trip, you are almost missing out on the heart of the Ladakh trip.

Diskit Monastery

Diskit has a monastery which is largest and oldest Buddhist monastery in Nubra Valley it is 515 Years Old and houses a 106 feet tall Maitrey Buddha statue. There is Lachung Temple as well which is quite close to monastery.

Hunder

Hunder is famous for its sand dunes and double humped bacterian camel safari.

Old

The places of interest in Sham Valley Ladakh which includes Alchi, Likir, Basgo, Zanskar and Indus Confluence at Nimmu, Magnetic Hills, Gurudwara Pather Sahib  they all are very much close to each other and requires about 160 KMs of drive for the complete tour and back to Leh in a day. So, lets look at all these places one by one in this complete Travel Guide of Sham Valley in Ladakh.

Gurudwara Pather Sahib

Gurudwara Pather Sahib about 22 KMs from Leh and at an altitude of 3600 Mtrs, was constructed in memory of Guru Nanak Dev ji. It is right on the Srinagar – Leh Highway and is believed that this sacred stone/boulder refused to move in road construction operations even by huge machines/bulldozers etc. due to holy blessings/touch of Guru Nanak Dev ji. After offering the prayers, taking prasad you can move ahead to Magnetic Hills as next stop on the tour of Sham Valley.

Magnetic Hills

Magnetic Hills is located about 30 KMs from Leh at an altitude of 11000 Feet approximately at Srinagar – Leh Highway. Magnetics Hills, a phenomena that defies gravity. It is believed that the Magnetic Hills have magnetic properties so strong to pull cars towards it. We put the car in the marked box and placed it in neutral gear and voila!! the car started climbing. People say it is nothing but an optical illusion, we could not judge it because the car was actually going upwards in the direction of Magnetic hills. May be a ball will be useful to judge the situation. If the ball also goes towards the hills then certainly there is nothing but an illusion that projects a descending road as ascending road.

Confluence of Zanskar and Indus Rivers

As you move ahead from Magnetic Hills, just before Nimmu Village, there comes a famous confluence of two rivers Indus River coming from Tibet (left) and Zanskar River coming from Zanskar Valley (right). Zanskar River is known for its famous Chadar Trek. Chadar Trek is done in peak winters when the Zanskar river freezes and people trek over it to reach Padum Village in Zanskar Valley from Leh because of heavy snowfall. Now, there is a tourist spot that has been created along the shores of the confluence where you can spend some relaxing time along the two rivers.When you head towards Basgo, on the way you can also see the longest Mani Wall (about 600 Mtrs) just at the exit of Nimmu Village.

Basgo Palace

Basgo Palace rather ruins of Basgo Palace, is about 40 KMs from Leh and is approximately 500 years old, built for Namgyal rulers. Basgo Palace now houses a monastery as well and is a nice place to visit. Some shots of movie “Dil Se” was also shot here. As you will go towards Likir diversion from Basgo Palace, there comes a stretch straight as an arrow, which looks beautiful and many advertisements have been shot around this place.

Likir Monastery

It is time to head to Likir Monastery As you go Move towards Sasapol, about 10 KMs before you will see a diversion towards right going to Likir monastery. About 52 KMs from Leh, Likir Monastery was built in 11th century and was again re-built in 18th century and houses a 25 feet Lord gold covered Buddha Statue. It is a bit tough to climb the stairs with un-acclimatized body. Views from the terrace are every penny worth the effort. You will be amused to see the models created with butter which do not melt. Locales say those who have created it had powers in their hands that is why these models does not melt. Amazing Art!! Time to leave towards Alchi Monastery.

Alchi Monastery

As you come back to Srinagar – Leh Highway from Likir Monastery, you need to take right and go towards Sasapol about 10-12 KMs ahead. At Sasapol, there comes a bridge named by Alchi bridge from where you take left and goes towards Alchi village. About 65 KMs from west of Leh and about 3100 Mtrs of altitude, Alchi Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Leh and have monuments and scriptures dated as old as 10th century. You can buy a bottle of oil and light to be offered in the monastery and headed down to monastery which is so calm and peaceful. The time spent will bring you more close to Buddhism if you are into it and sense of peace it offers to one’s soul, remarkable!! You can walk down to Indus River as well from the back of the monastery and spend some time along the river.

Leh Palace

The Leh Palace stands on its ruinous state, is one of the important historical monuments of the Ladakh region. Modeled on the Potala Palace of Lhasa in Tibet, this 9-storied royal palace was built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century. But in later period, the royal Ladakhi family abandoned the palace when Dogra kingdom took control over the Ladkh region in 19th century. Design and architecture of the palace is similar to Potala Palace and it resembles the fine Tibetan architectural style. The interiors of the palace are decorated with beautiful motifs and murals. Exterior of the royal palace also looks magnificent from atop of Namgyal hill in Leh.

Shanti Stupa

Shanti Stupa is situated at a height of 4267 meters overlooking the Leh city, it gives a panoramic view of surrounding snow capped mountains . Situated at a distance of about 5 km drive able road from the Leh city or one can reach here by climbing 500 steps. The location of Shanti Stupa is such that it is visible from all over Leh city.

It is built as a two level structure, a flight of stairs leads to the first level where a Dharmchakra (as in white strip of Indian national flag) with two deer on each side, features a central image of Lord Buddha in golden colour sitting on a platform turning the Dharmchakra wheel, the second level depicting the birth of Buddha, defeating of devils in meditation and death of Buddha along with many small images of meditating Buddha, all embossed in vibrant colours.

A white dome Stupa (Chorten) built on a Changspa, a steep hill, opposite the Leh Palace different in architecture from the Ladhakhi style gives a magnificent view at sunrise and sunset; it looks more beautiful at night illuminated in the white light. It was built by the Ladakh and Japanese Buddhists, Ladakhis offered voluntary labor, construction started in 1983 and it was inaugurated in August 1991 by His Holiness The Dalai Lama. It was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate the 2500 years of Buddhism.

Hemis Monastery

It is the biggest monastery of Ladakh, situated on a green hill and surrounded by mountains located approximately at a distance of 47 km from Leh.It belongs to Dugpa order and was founded in year of 1630 by the First incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. Hemis Monastery Ladakh existed before the 11th century.The monastery is richly endowed and decorated on all the sides by prayer flags dedicated to Lord Buddha. Observe the annual Hemis festival dedicated to the dancing reincarnate of Buddha, Lord Padmasambhava, whose mission is to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings. See the painted and decorated white walls of the main building. The monastery hosts the guardian deities and the Wheel of Life, as well as an important library of Tibetan style books.

Khardung La Pass

Khardung La pass or the “Pass of Lower Castle” is the world’s highest motorable pass and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valley in Ladakh.

One of the most picturesque locales in Leh, Khardung la Pass is situated 39 km by road North of Leh and is at a height of 18,380 ft from the sea level. The road from Leh to Khardung La is asphalted for about 24 km till the South Pullu check post but from there the road is made up of gravel (Loose Rock) and dirt track till the North Pullu check point (15km) and occasional rivulets of snow melt. Khardung la pass connects Leh and Nubra Valley and also serves as a gateway to the famous siachen glacier.Khardung La pass offers amazing views of the valley and the roads winding up the mountain. The pristine air, scenic vistas and the feeling of being on top of the world have made Khardung La a popular tourist attraction. Inner line permit for Indians and Protected area permit for foreigners is required to visit Khardung La top. A steady climb over winding road gave a panoramic view of Leh town below with Stok Kangri peak in the background. An isolated gompa on a small hill provided an enchanting picture as one climbs up. The weather is highly unstable and can change surprisingly fast leaving you stranded for hours or even days so you need to come prepared when planning to visit Khardung La.

Nubra Valley

Nubra Valley is one of the MUST VISIT places in Ladakh especially if you are visiting for the first time. Nubra Valley is among the sub-districts in Ladakh, located in North East side having Diskit Village as the its main headquarters. Diskit is situated about 120 odd KMs from Leh town which is the main capital of Ladakh district. The Shyok river, a tributary of Indus river, meets the Nubra or Siachen river to form a large valley that separates the Ladakh and Karakorum Ranges. The ultra wide landscapes, humongous mountain faces, lovely trails, wide variety of colors and musical Shyok river flowing midst the valley will take your breath away at first sight. No wonder, if you are missing on this part of Ladakh on your trip, you are almost missing out on the heart of the Ladakh trip.

Diskit Monastery

Diskit has a monastery which is largest and oldest Buddhist monastery in Nubra Valley it is 515 Years Old and houses a 106 feet tall Maitrey Buddha statue. There is Lachung Temple as well which is quite close to monastery.

Hunder

Hunder is famous for its sand dunes and double humped bacterian camel safari.