Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, or Leh Airport for short, is named after the revered Ladakhi statesman, Kushok Bakula Rinpoche. Presently, the airport only serves the domestic market, to airports in India including Indira Gandhi International, Jammu, and Sheikh ul Alam. Airlines serving Leh Airport are Jet Airways, Air India Limited, Go Air and Air Sahara. The airport is well known for two things: extremely tight security and location at a high altitude of 3,256 metres above sea level. Due to security reasons, carryon baggage is disallowed on flights to Leh Airport.
From the airport, take a taxi directly to the city centre. Taxis can be easily found outside the airport, at most times of the day. Otherwise, board the bus to the bus stand located about 5 kilometres away, and transit to a bus service heading towards the city. Alternatively, head to the Leh railway station approximately 5.5 kilometres from the airport, and take the right train to your desired destination. Railways are generally considered to be the best form of transport as the service is usually regular, comprehensive and frequent.
Within town, a common mode of transport is by taxi. Taxi fares are typically Rs50 to 70 for short trips around the city. Should you require taxi services early in the morning, arrange one the night before. Another way to get around is on a bicycle. Rent one in Changspa, from Himalayan Bikers. The bike rental company also organises cycle tours to places like Pangong Tso and the Khardung La, useful for travellers intending to visit those areas. Otherwise, go au naturel and discover Leh on foot. However, travellers should get accustomed to the high altitudes before overexerting themselves, or risk suffering from acute mountain sickness.
What to See & Do
Leh is the capital of Ladakh, situated right in the centre of the Ladakh region. It is a picturesque city framed by the snowcapped Himalayan peaks. Many tourists visit Leh for its historic sites and Buddhist monasteries.
Start with the Leh Palace, one of the most prominent structures steeped in ancient Tibetan tradition and culture. The palace looms over the city, like a watchful omnipresent figure. Apart from its impressive architecture, the palace makes a great vantage point for spectacular views of the city. When exploring the palace, bring along a flashlight for clearer visibility in the dark rooms and corridors of the grand structure. When making your way to the Leh Palace, stop by Old Town. The town contains old traditional buildings eroding with time, making it an ideal location for photography.
Know about Best Time To Visit Ladakh
Visit the Hemis Gompa, the largest monastery in Ladakh, constructed by the Red Hat sect of Buddhism. The walls of the gompa are decorated with stunning murals. Significant religious artefacts like the world’s biggest Thangka painting of Guru Padmasambhava and the Sakyamuni Buddha statue, crafted from precious stones, rest safely within the walls of the monastery. The annual Hemis Festival is also held in Hemis Gompa to celebrate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism, in Tibet. Take part in this vibrant festival filled with traditional music, colourful dances and stalls selling intricate handicraft.
Adventure-seekers and those who love the great outdoors will be pleased to find exciting hiking, mountain climbing, white water rafting, camel riding, and paragliding options around Leh.
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