Music& Dances of Leh:
Ladakh Buddhist music comprises of religious chanting of sacred texts in either Tibetan or Sanskrit. Religious mask dances are an integral part of Ladakh's cultural life and hence hold their annual Ladakh festival from 1st to 15th September every year. Buddhist Monks dance to the rhythm of cymbals and trumpets and other performers flood the street with their garish and spectacular gold and silver costumes and ornaments.
Handicrafts in Leh:
Silver, brass and copper are the chief metals the Chillings use to make teapots, chang-pots, stands, and hukkah bases and small bowls for use in temples and for homes. And the local blacksmiths offer cheaper versions of the same ware. Weaving woollen clothing is a portable activity on looms at all spots of the city.
Leh city centre has numerous curio shops and organic food shops. Tibetan antiques and replicas and Kashmiri Pashmina shawls and carpets; Ladhaki semi precious stones and jewellery make good takeaways from Leh. Second-hand clothing bazaar is also a must-see.
Important telephone numbers:
Website: www.leh.nic.in. Chief Executive Officer, LAHDC, Leh. Ph: 01982-252010.
The Assistant Director of Tourism, Leh. Cell: 09419179021 or 01982-252297, 252094, 251843 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Altitudes of 10,000 ft and above demand that you get acclimatized on the first day of landing in Leh and not venture into any physical activity. You may experience hyperventilation, altitude diuresis and periodic breathing at all such altitudes.
Pay heed to all physiological changes in your body at such altitudes as it may start with dehydration; dehydration headaches; dizziness; confusion; nausea; fatigue and could lead to dangerous symptoms such as chest congestion; rattling breath and difficulty in walking and feeling generally ill which are clear signs of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). AMS if ignored will lead to High Altitude Cerebral Edema (HACE) where the brain swells and stops working normally; and High Altitude Pulmonary Edema (HAPE) where the lungs get filled with fluid from within the body.
Descending from that altitude and getting treatment at a local hospital is the only way to cure. Do not ascend further at any cost.
Preventive measures include gradual ascent and acclimatisation; and keeping Hydrated at all times. Over-the-counter medicines which stimulate breathing should be carried along with water at all times at such heights.
Accommodation at Leh:
Accommodation in Leh is categorized into 4 luxury categories plus economy and homestays. Generally the hotels at Leh are family run with much personalised attention to guests. The tariff could range between Rs 4000 to Rs 400 per single room ranging from top of the line hotel to a homestay depending on full boarding or room-only basis.
Leh temperatures range from -40 degrees Celsius in winter months from November to March to 30 degrees Celsius in summer.
Tourism Season of Leh:
The best time to visit Leh is between May and end of October after which the city has heavy snowfall and chill winters with temperatures dipping to -40 degrees Celcius.
Communications at Leh:
Satellite-run internet cafes and mobile and landline phone services for domestic and international calls are all over the city.
Medical Services at Leh:
Traditional local medicine comprises of Ayurveda and Chinese medicine combined with the Tibetan-Buddhist Cosmology and Philosophy. If you don’t want these then for any health related emergencies go to Sonam Narbu Memorial Hospital near the Leh bus stand or call them at 252360 / 252014.
Food in Leh:
The most prominent local foods are thukpa (noodle soup); tsampa (roasted barley flour); skyu (a pasta dish with root vegetables); and momos (dumplings). Also available are Indian, Chinese, Tibetan, Continental and Israeli food in both budget and fine-dining restaurants. Barley is also fermented into Chang – an alcohol beverage had on festive occasions.
Mahabodhi Meditation Centre and Open Ladakh run Buddha Dharma, yoga and meditation sessions and classes in summer.
Nightlife at Leh:
There is no nightlife in Leh. Restaurants serve ‘chang’ – local brewed beer and close pretty early in the night. You can venture out on a stroll in the night on your own as the city is safe even at nights. Carrying your own torch is a must as most parts of Leh do not have street lights.
Local Transport in Leh:
Horse drawn carriages – Tongas - offer the cheapest yet ambient modes of local transport. Taxis cost between Rs 200-300 a day. But the best way to soak in any place of its true essence is by exploring the city on foot.
Apart from the regular travel pack of clothes – winter-wear; woollen clothing; thick socks; gloves; scarves; woollen cap; walking shoes; sunscreen lotion; lip balm; goggles; camera; phone & camera chargers; local currency; written-down list of important local phone numbers and contact information of one’s home and family; first-aid kit and medication for stimulating breathing are all recommended to be carried at all times during the trip.