Shanti Stupa & Leh Palace
During your stay at the TUTC, you’ll have the opportunity to witness some of the most popular landmarks of the region, including the magnificent Leh Palace. Built by King Sengge Namgyal in the 17th century, the palace has nine storeys. Some parts of this palace are in ruins, while some sections display fine traces of Ladakhi architecture.
While in Ladakh, a visit to the LAMO [Ladakh Arts & Media Organisation] Centre is a must. Housed in Munshi (Togoche), it is one of Leh’s most important heritage houses. The view of the old city from the terrace of the Munshi House is a sight that should not be missed, and a cup of special Ladakhi tea with light snacks makes this experience even better.
Shanti Stupa, perched upon a great vantage point over Leh, is an equally fascinating attraction. This Buddhist stupa with a stunning white-dome (Chorten) offers panoramic views of the surrounding stone-strewn landscape. Built to promote world peace and to commemorate 2,500 years of Buddhism, Shanti Stupa looks especially stunning when it is lit up at night.
Ancient Secrets of Nyerma -the Nunnery
The Nunnery at Nyerma houses a school for the community of Buddhist nuns. It was established under the aegis of the present Khenpo Rinpoche of Thiksey, and is home to approximately 25 nuns from various parts of Ladakh in the age group of 11 to 87 years. They practise meditation, study Buddhist philosophy and adhere to monastic practices. The Nunnery is located within the precincts of the rich, ancient temple complex, founded by the Rinchen Zangpo, the Tibetan translator.
Evidence from ruins that surround the Nunnery suggests an ancient regional learning centre for Buddhist philosophical studies (dating back to the 11th century). A peek into the innards of the stupas will give you a glimpse of some very special Buddhist painting of a bygone era.
The village of Nyerma is also a mini-oasis in which many regional flora and fauna flourish. Here you’ll get to learn about various indigenous herbs and plants used for medicines and cooking.
Thiksey is one of the few Ladakhi villages which actually sits on the flat valley floor. The local community of these villages, therefore, have taken to making mud bricks the traditional way, which is a fun thing to experience first-hand.