- LEH AND BEYOND
Leh, the capital of Ladakh, lies nestled among low hills on the north side of the Indus Valley, between the Stok Mountains to the south and the Ladakh Range to the north. For centuries it has been a place where travelers of different nationalities have rested, before continuing over the mountains along the ancient trade routes that radiate from the city.
Ladakhi women sell vegetable along shady side of the Main Bazar; old men and women spin hand-held prayer wheels in the narrow side streets; Muslims congregate in animated conversation around the mosque.
It’s worth spending a few days in Leh before embarking on your trek, not only to acclimatize to the rarefied air but to give yourself time to explore the fascinating villages nearby Leh is a small town with a population of about 45,000. Because of this it’s easy to escape from the vibrant chaos of the center by walking out into the surrounding fields along poplar- and willow-lined paths.
Everything is within walking distance. The central focus is the Main Bazaar, a wide and straight street with the Royal Palace above it at one end. The majority of shops are found along this road at ground level and popular restaurants take up the first-floor space. The old town, a fascinating network of rabbit-warren streets, is immediately beneath the Palace, while the rest of Leh sprawls away downhill from here.
The main bus stand, hospital, Tourist Reception Centre and post office are all outside the center along the road leading south to the airport.