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How to Book a Hotel in Leh
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When a hotel search in Leh is done, please select the room type, the included meals and the suitable booking conditions (for example, "Deluxe double room, Breakfast included, Non-Refundable"). Press the "View Deal" ("Book Now") button. Make your booking on a hotel booking website and get the hotel reservation voucher by email. That's it, a perfect hotel in Leh is waiting for you!
Hotels of Leh
A hotel in Leh is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger in Leh hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms in Leh are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Leh hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Leh hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels in Leh have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:
Upscale luxury hotels in Leh
An upscale full service hotel facility in Leh that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Leh hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.
Full service hotels in Leh
Full service Leh hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.
Historic inns and boutique hotels in Leh
Boutique hotels of Leh are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Leh boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels in Leh may be classified as luxury hotels.
Focused or select service hotels in Leh
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Leh travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Leh focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.
Economy and limited service hotels in Leh
Small to medium-sized Leh hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Leh traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Leh hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.
Guest houses and B&Bs in Leh
A bed and breakfast in Leh is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Leh bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Leh B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.
Hostels in Leh
Leh hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Leh hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.
Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels in Leh
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Leh hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels in Leh lack an on-site restaurant.
Timeshare and destination clubs in Leh
Leh timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts in Leh often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Leh on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.
Motels in Leh
A Leh motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Leh for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Leh motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.
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Leh/leɪ/ (Tibetan alphabet: གླེ་, Wylie: Gle), was the capital of the Himalayan kingdom of Ladakh, now the Leh district in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Leh district, with an area of 45,110 km, is the second largest district in the country, after Kutch, Gujarat (in terms of area). The town is dominated by the ruined Leh Palace, the former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace-the chief residence of the Dalai Lama until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to Dharamsala, India, during the 1959 Tibetan uprising. Leh is at an altitude of 3,524 metres (11,562 ft), and is connected via National Highway 1D to Srinagar in the southwest and to Manali in the south via the Leh-Manali Highway. In 2010, Leh was heavily damaged by the sudden floods caused by a cloud burst.
Leh was an important stopover on trade routes along the Indus Valley between Tibet to the east, Kashmir to the west and also between India and China for centuries. The main goods carried were salt, grain, pashm or cashmere wool, charas or cannabis resin from the Tarim Basin, indigo, silk yarn and Banaras brocade.
Although there are a few indications that the Chinese knew of a trade route through Ladakh to India as early as the Kushan period (1st to 3rd centuries CE), and certainly by Tang dynasty, little is actually known of the history of the region before the formation of the kingdom towards the end of the 10th century by the Tibetan prince, Skyid lde nyima gon (or Nyima gon), a grandson of the anti-Buddhist Tibetan king, Langdarma (r. c. 838 to 841). He conquered Western Tibet although his army originally numbered only 300 men. Several towns and castles are said to have been founded by Nyima gon and he apparently ordered the construction of the main sculptures at Shey. "In an inscription he says he had them made for the religious benefit of the Tsanpo (the dynastical name of his father and ancestors), and of all the people of Ngaris (Western Tibet). This shows that already in this generation Langdarma's opposition to Buddhism had disappeared." Shey, just 15 km east of modern Leh, was the ancient seat of the Ladakhi kings.
During the reign of Delegs Namgyal (1660–1685), the Nawab of Kashmir, which was then a province in the Mughal Empire, arranged for the Mongol army to (temporarily) leave Ladakh (though it returned later). As payment for assisting Delegs Namgyal in the Tibet-Ladakh-Mughal war of 1679–1684, the Nawab made a number of onerous demands. One of the least was to build a large Sunni Muslim mosque in Leh at the upper end of the bazaar in Leh, below the Leh Palace. The mosque reflects a mixture of Islamic and Tibetan architecture and can accommodate more than 500 people. This was apparently not the first mosque in Leh; there are two smaller ones which are said to be older.
Several trade routes have traditionally converged on Leh, from all four directions. The most direct route was the one the modern highway follows from the Punjab via Mandi, the Kulu valley, over the Rohtang Pass, through Lahaul and on to the Indus Valley, and then down river to Leh. The route from Srinigar was roughly the same as the road that today crosses the Zoji La (pass) to Kargil, and then up the Indus Valley to Leh. From Baltistan there were two difficult routes: the main on ran up the Shyok Valley from the Indus, over a pass and then down the Hanu River to the Indus again below Khalsi (Khalatse). The other ran from Skardu straight up the Indus to Kargil and on to Leh. Then, there were both the summer and winter routes from Leh to Yarkand across the Karakorum. Finally, there were a couple of possible routes from Leh to Lhasa. The first Englishman to reach Leh was William Moorcroft (explorer) in 1820.
The first recorded royal residence in Ladakh, built at the top of the high Namgyal ('Victory') Peak overlooking the present palace and town, is the now-ruined fort and the gon-khang (Temple of the Guardian Divinities) built by King Tashi Namgyal. Tashi Namgyal is known to have ruled during the final quarter of the 16th century CE. The Namgyal (also called "Tsemo Gompa" = 'Red Gompa', or dGon-pa-so-ma = 'New Monastery'), a temple, is the main Buddhist centre in Leh. There are some older walls of fortifications behind it which Francke reported used to be known as the "Dard Castle." If it was indeed built by Dards, it must pre-date the establishment of Tibetan rulers in Ladakh over a thousand years ago.
Below this are the Chamba (Byams-pa, i.e., Maitreya) and Chenresi (sPyan-ras-gzigs, i.e. Avalokiteshvara) monasteries which are of uncertain date.
The royal palace, known as Leh Palace, was built by King Sengge Namgyal (1612–1642), presumably between the period when the Portuguese Jesuit priest, Francisco de Azevedo, visited Leh in 1631, and made no mention of it, and Sengge Namgyal's death in 1642.
The Leh Palace is nine storeys high; the upper floors accommodated the royal family, and the stables and store rooms are located on the lower floors. The palace was abandoned when Kashmiri forces besieged it in the mid-19th century. The royal family moved their premises south to their current home in Stok Palace on the southern bank of the Indus.
Unlike other districts of the State, Ladakh Autonomous Hill Development Council (LAHDC) is in charge of governance in Leh. The 'Deputy Commissioner, Leh' also holds the power of 'Chief Executive Officern LAHDC'. The Current Deputy Commissioner of Leh (app. Sep 2015) is Shri Prasanna Ramaswamy G, IAS.
LAHDC was constituted in 1995. The conception of the council was conceived so as to provide a transparent development in the area. It has 30 councillors, 4 nominated and 26 elected. The Chief Executive Councillor heads and chairs this council.
Leh: Coexistence with religions other than Buddhism
Leh mosque and palace
Since the 8th century people belonging to different religions, particularly Buddhism and Islam, have been living in harmony in Leh. They co-inhabited the region from the time of early period of Namgyal dynasty and there are no records of any conflict between them.
"This mosque was built by Ibraheem Khan (in the mid 17th century), who was a man of noble family in the service of the descendants of Timoor. In his time the Kalimaks (Calmuck Tartars), having invaded and obtained possession of the greater portion of Thibet [Ladakh], the Raja of that country claimed protection from the Emperor of Hindoostan. Ibraheem Khan was accordingly deputed by that monarch to his assistance, and in a short time succeeded in expelling the invaders and placing the Raja once more on his throne. The Raja embraced the Mahomedan faith, and formally acknowledged himself as a feudatory of the Emperor, who honored him with the title of Raja Akibut Muhmood Khan, which title to the present day is borne by the Ruler of Cashmere."
In recent times, relations between the Buddhist and Muslim communities soured due to the petty conflicts motivated by political interest. With the visit of the Dalai Lama in August 2003 and his strong appeal to the masses regarding religious pluralism and peaceful coexistence, the situation has ameliorated and normalcy has been restored. Thus, Ladakh resumed its age-old tradition of cohesiveness.
Besides these two communities there are people living in the region who belong to other religions such as Christianity, Hinduism, and Sikhism, who too live in harmony and form a vital part of the society. The small Christian community in Leh are descendants of converts from Tibetan Buddhism by German Moravian missionaries who established a church at Keylong in Lahaul in the 1860s, and were allowed to open another mission in Leh in 1885 and had a sub branch in Khalatse. They stayed open until Indian Independence in 1947. In spite of their successful medical and educational activities, they made only a few converts.
Every year Sindhu Darshan Festival is held at Shey, 15 km away from town to promote religious harmony and glory of Indus (Sindhu) river. At this time, Leh is packed with thousands of tourists coming from all over India, as well as foreign countries.
Leh: Threats to the Old Town of Leh
The old town of Leh was added to the World Monuments Fund's list of 100 most endangered sites due to increased rainfall from climate change and other reasons. Neglect and changing settlement patterns within the old town have threatened the long-term preservation of this unique site.
The rapid and poorly planned urbanisation of Leh has increased the risk of flash floods in some areas, while other areas, according to research by the Climate and Development Knowledge Network, suffer from the less dramatic, gradual effects of ‘invisible disasters’, which often go unreported.
Leh and its surroundings
Mountains dominate the landscape around the Leh as it is at an altitude of 3,500m. The principal access roads include the 434 km Srinagar-Leh highway which connects Leh with Srinagar and the 473 km Leh-Manali Highway which connects Manali with Leh. Both roads are open only on a seasonal basis. Although the access roads from Srinagar and Manali are often blocked by snow in winter, the local roads in the Indus Valley usually remain open due to the low level of precipitation and snowfall.
Leh has a cold desert climate (Köppen climate classification BWk) with long, harsh winters from October to early March, with minimum temperatures well below freezing for most of the winter. The city gets occasional snowfall during winter. The weather in the remaining months is generally fine and warm during the day. Average annual rainfall is only 102 mm (4.02 inches). In 2010 the city experienced flash floods which killed more than 100 people.
Climate data for Leh (1951–1980)
Record high °C (°F)
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Record low °C (°F)
Average rainfall mm (inches)
Average rainy days
Source: India Meteorological Department
A view of agriculture around Leh.
Leh is located at an average elevation of about 3500 metres, which means that only one crop a year can be grown there, while two can be grown at Khalatse. By the time crops are being sown at Leh in late May, they are already half-grown at Khalatse. The main crop is grim (naked barley - Hordeum vulgare L. var. nudum Hook. f., which is an ancient form of domesticated barley with an easier to remove hull) - from which tsampa, the staple food in Ladakh, is made. The water for agriculture of Ladakh comes from the Indus, which runs low in March and April when barley-fields have the greatest need for irrigation
People of Leh
As of 2001 India census, Leh town had a population of 27,513. Males constitute 61% of the population and females 39%, due to a large presence of non-local labourers, traders and government employees. Leh has an average literacy rate of 75%, higher than the national average of 74.04%: male literacy is 82.14%, and female literacy is 65.46%. In Leh, 9% of the population is under 6 years of age. The people of Leh are ethnic Tibetan, speaking the East Tibetan Dialect (which is locally quoted by people out there as Ladakhi).
The Muslim presence dates back to the annexation of Ladakh by Kashmir, after the Fifth Dalai Lama attempted to invade Ladakh from Tibet. Since then, there has been further migration from the Kashmir Valley due firstly to trade and latterly with the transfer of tourism from the Kashmir Valley to Ladakh.
Ladakh receives very large numbers of tourists for its size. In 2010, 77,800 tourists arrived in Leh. Numbers of visitors have swelled rapidly in recent years, increasing 77% in the 5 years to 2010. This growth is largely accounted for by larger numbers of trips by domestic Indian travellers.
Religion in Leh (2011)
Buddhist 43.85%, Hindu 35.37%, Muslim 15.14%, Sikh 2.70%
Leh is connected to the rest of India by two high-altitude roads both of which are subject to landslides and neither of which are passable in winter when covered by deep snows. The National Highway 1D from Srinagar via Kargil is generally open longer. The Leh-Manali Highway can be troublesome due to very high passes and plateaus, and the lower but landslide-prone Rohtang Pass near Manali.
National Highway 1D
The overland approach to Ladakh from the Kashmir valley via the 434-km. Srinagar-Leh road typically remains open for traffic from June to October/November. The most dramatic part of this road journey is the ascent up the 3,505 m (11,500 ft.) high Zoji-la, a tortuous pass in the Great Himalayan Wall. The Jammu & Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (JKSRTC) 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.
Since 1989, the 473-km Manali-Leh road has been serving as the second land approach to Ladakh. Open for traffic from June to late October, this high road traverses the upland desert plateaux of Rupsho whose altitude ranges from 3,660 m to 4,570 m. There are a number of high passes en route among which the highest one, known as Tanglang La, is sometimes (but incorrectly) claimed to be the world’s second highest motorable pass at an altitude of 5,325 m. (17,469 feet). See the article on Khardung La for a discussion of the world's highest motorable passes.
Leh's Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport has flights to Delhi at least daily on Jet Airways and/or Indian Airlines and/or Air India which also provides twice weekly services to Jammu and a weekly flight to Srinagar. Connect in Delhi for other destinations. Go Air operates Delhi to Leh daily flights during peak time.
There are no railways currently in Ladakh, however 2 railway routes are proposed- Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh route and Sringar-Kargil-Leh route. See Bilaspur-Mandi-Leh Railway and Srinagar-Kargil-Leh railway for more information.
Leh: Media and communications
State-owned All India Radio has a local station in Leh, which transmits various programs of mass interest.
View of Leh
Leh, capital of Ladakh ca. 1857
The city-square in 1909
Shanti Stupa, constructed in 1983 by the Japanese
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa in Leh
Complete view of Leh as seen from Shanti Stupa
Leh in summer
Leh viewed from Stok
View of Leh Town
Shanti Stupa, Leh
Leh: See also
Sindhu Darshan Festival
Leh: See also
Cities and Towns
Daulat Beg Oldi
Rivers, glaciers and lakes
History of Ladakh
Lahaul and Spiti
Tourism in Ladakh
Wildlife of Ladakh
Curious BRO roadsigns
Geography of Ladakh
Hill (2009), pp. 200-204.
Francke (1977 edition), pp. 76-78
Francke (1914), pp. 89-90.
Francke (1977 edition), p. 20.
Francke (1977 edition), pp. 120-123.)
Rizvi (1996), pp. 109-111.
Rizvi (1996), p. 64.
Francke (1914), p. 70.
Rizvi (1996), pp. 41, 64, 225-226.
Rizvi (1996), pp. 226-227.
Rizvi (1996), pp. 69, 290.
Francke (1914), p. 68. See also, ibid, p. 45.
A History of Ladakh. A. H. Francke with critical introduction and annotations by S. S. Gergan & F. M. Hassnain. Sterling Publishers, New Delhi. 1977, pp. 52, 123
Travels in Central Asia by Meer Izzut-oollah in the Years 1812-13. Translated by Captain Henderson. Calcutta, 1872, p. 12.
Rizvi (1996), p. 212.
Sindhu Darshan Festival
"Tourist Boom Brings Threat to Leh's Tibetan Architecture". AFP. 19 August 2007.
Cunningham, Alexander. (1854). LADĀK: Physical, Statistical, and Historical with Notices of the Surrounding Countries. London. Reprint: Sagar Publications (1977).
Francke, A. H. (1977). A History of Ladakh. (Originally published as, A History of Western Tibet, (1907)). 1977 Edition with critical introduction and annotations by S. S. Gergan & F. M. Hassnain. Sterling Publishers, New Delhi.
Francke, A. H. (1914). Antiquities of Indian Tibet. Two Volumes. Calcutta. 1972 reprint: S. Chand, New Delhi.
Hilary Keating (July–August 1993). "The Road to Leh". Saudi Aramco World. Houston, Texas: Aramco Services Company. 44 (4): 8–17. ISSN 1530-5821. Retrieved 2009-06-29.
Hill, John E. (2009). Through the Jade Gate to Rome: A Study of the Silk Routes during the Later Han Dynasty, 1st to 2nd Centuries CE. BookSurge, Charleston, South Carolina. Buy book ISBN 978-1-4392-2134-1.
Leh: Further reading
Lonely Planet: Trekking in the Himalayas (Walking Guides)
Leh: External links
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Leh.
Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Leh.
City of Leh Thrives as Oasis of Peace in Kashmir
Leh & Ladakh Travel Guide
Place to visit in leh
Discover Leh Sightseeing Plan
Municipalities of Jammu and Kashmir
Leh Ladakh (Municipal Committee)
Chuglamsar (Census Town)
Spituk (Census Town)
Lahaul and Spiti
Sarchu (state border)
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