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Leh Ladakh Adventure::1I

Leh

Leh 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 km2, is the second largest district in the country, after Kutch, Gujarat (in terms of area). The town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace.(The Potala Palace was 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 3524 metres (11,562 ft), and connects via National Highway 1D to Srinagar in the southwest and to Manali in the south via Leh-Manali Highway.

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. 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.

 



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