[Located: North East Himalayas]
Leh is the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Ladakh.
Home to more than 30,000 people, the city is surrounded by arid high altitude deserts, snow-capped peaks, and for five months out the year, blizzards close off the roads to the outside world.
The city itself stands at 12,000 feet, and to arrive by the Southern route you must ascend through a pass that peaks at 17,000 feet (nearly the same elevation as Everest base camp).
Long ago, Arab conquerers and muslim traders carried the Silk Road through the snowy passes and mixed with Ladakh's primarily Buddhist population who has long found sanctuary and solace amidst the start and beautiful landscape. Long part of China, the region only joined India in the 20th century. The peoples who inhabited these heights speak Ladakhi and were traditionally nomadic yak herders. They are renowned for their incredible woven yak and goat wool fabrics.