Indian government's decision in 1974 to open Ladakh to foreign tourists was a major shake-up. From the start, Leh bore the brunt of the annual invasion, as busloads of backpackers poured up the road Srinagar. Twenty or so years on, though the main approach is now via Himachal Pradesh rather than Kashmir, the summer influx shows no sign of abating.
Leh India has doubled in size and is a far cry from the sleepy Himalayan town of the early 1970's. During July and August tourists stroll shoulder to shoulder down its main street, most of whose old style outfitters and provision stores have been squeezed out by Kashmiri handicraft shops, art emporiums and Tibetan restaurants.
Around the Leh India
Leh India has nonetheless retained a more tranquil side, and is a pleasant place to unwind after a long bus journey. Attractions in and around the town itself include the former Palace and Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, perched amid strings of prayer flags above the narrow dusty streets of the Old Quarter.
A short walk north across the fields, the small monastery of Sankar harbours accomplished modern Tantric murals and a thousand beaded Avalokitesvara (also spelt as Avalokiteshvara) deity.
Leh is also a good base for longer day trips out into the Indus Valley. Among the string of picturesque villages and Gompas within reach by bus are Shey, site of a derelict 17th century palace, and the Spectacular Tikse Gompa. Until one has adjusted to the altitude, however, the Only sightseeing one will probably feel up to will be from a guesthouse roof terrace or garden, from where the snowy summits of the majestic Stok-Kangri massif (6,120m), magnified in the crystal clear Ladakhi sunshine, look close enough to touch.
Leh India - Monastery Circuit
Leh is usually used as a base to explore the monasteries in and around. There are actually two monastery circuits that have been marked out for the convenience of those who travel to Leh and are keen to visit the monasteries. The first circuit covers monasteries like Shey, Thiksey, Stakna, Matto, Chembray,Tak-Tok and Hemis. The second one, on the other hand will take you to Spituk, Phyang, Likir, Alchi, Ridzong and Lamayuru. It is also noteworthy here that the monasteries of Leh cover all four of the important schools of Buddhism - Nyingmapa, Drukpa, Saskyapa and Gelugspa. On your Leh travel tour, you can pick up any of these circuits and explore them in a timespan of one day each.
Leh India - What to Buy
If you are interested in purchasing sovenirs for you close ones, then head straight towards the Main Bazaar where you will find many shops that sell such items. Tibetan antiques is what you will mostly find here. There is also a Second Hand Clothing Bazaar for those of you who need to purchase some warm good quality clothings. Pashmina shawls are also a good buy on your Leh travel tour. Once in Leh, it is hardly possible that you will miss out a chance to trek. And for your your journey, you will also require a bit of food items. Leh, probably, is one of the best places to buy trekking food. Apart from regular stuffs like instant noodles, biscuits, powdered milk and chocolate, there are also fresh and dry fruit and veggies along with few other luxury foods.