- Leh shopping tips for tourists
- Places to see in Leh Ladakh
- Leh Ladakh trip ideas for travelers
- Tourist place in Leh Ladakh that one should not miss
- How many days required to visit Leh Ladakh
- Places to visit near Leh for tourists
Leh city’s main shopping attraction is Main Bazaar, a street market with many lanes and bylanes lined up with small shops selling a wide variety of products. There are zillion ways to burn pockets if interested in souvenirs like curios, stone studded jewelry, Tibetan handicrafts, traditional dresses, antiques, handwoven carpets & rugs, Thangka paintings, apricots, and pashmina shawls. On Old Leh Road, Tibetan Refugee Market is located, adding charm to shopping in Leh.
Shopping in Leh
In traditional shops, one can also find tastefully decorated art pieces like sonorous bowls made of nine metals like cymbals, decorative brass and copper trumpets. For those who have come to mountains in the search of peace, can find cymbals having religious themes, prayer wheels, choktse (Tibetan tables) and Buddhist masks. Due to Ladakh’s strategic location, it has rich art and culture, influenced by Kashmir, Persia and Tibet.
Tourists who are on a lookout for adding to their collection of handwoven rugs and carpets, they can visit the Leh’s bazaar stocked up with traditional Persian and Kashmiri themes carpets. The ones which are appreciated most are woven in plain/floral/geometric designs/dragon motifs and are available in various sizes and price ranges. They are beautiful pieces of art, made from the wool of Ladakhi goats and colored using natural dyes.They can alternatively be used as wall hangings bringing the living space to life with amalgamation of vibrant colors and intricate patterns.
For the ones who are always on a lookout to enhance their collection of unique handicrafts can pamper themselves with intricate Thangka Paintings. They are eye-catching,richly infused into the local Ladakhi culture and make for beautiful, sacred wall-pieces and meditational means. These paintings capture the teachings of Budhha, his different poses in the form of story, are embroidered on cotton or silk applique adorning the walls giving feeling of magnum opus. One can find these paintings adorning huge walls of famous monasteries of Ladakh, like Hemis monastery.
A woman’s fascination of Leh Bazaars lies in its shops selling trinkets and jewelry. One can never get tired exploring them for jewelry which includes the vibrant turquoise jewelry worn by local Ladakhi women, antique silver and the ones made from semi-precious stones. One can also find the lapis lazuli from Afghanistan and the rubies from Burma. Sliver jewelry and pearl collection is worth having a look but before going for purchase ensure that it is hallmarked for authenticity.
Apricot, locally known as “chulli,” is one of the most nutritious, delicious and commercially important fruit crop of Ladakh which can be bought as souvenir for friends back home. The most popular varieties of Halman and Lakste-karpo can be bought from the Main bazaar shops lined up in the beginning of bazaar. One can savor fresh apricot juice and jams.
The hottest selling souvenir in Leh is the pashmina shawl and a connoisseur can spend hours browsing through shops lined up on the streets of Leh and main market. The delicate, plain and painfully beautiful carved ones, and very warm, pashmina shawls made with fine Kashmiri wool can be found aplenty here. In addition to pashmina wool, hand knitted garments such as sweaters, caps, stoles, scarves, gloves and socks are favorites for tourists. These shops sell anywhere in the range of Rs 2500 to couple of lakhs, with each one claiming to be original, one needs to take informed decision before buying the right fabric. If one can carry with sense of style, a fashion enthusiast can try traditional warm robe goncha, made with wool or cotton, and the colorfully embroidered and embellished headgear perak, worn by the locals.
Tibetan Refugee Market
Before closing special mention about several Tibetan markets springing up in Leh is needed. The one which is most popular is the Old Tibetan Market, a couple of minutes’ walk away from Singgee Palace. These shops owned by Tibetan refugees offer colorful handicraft items, jewelry, Buddha idols, ear wears, keychains,prayer wheels,trendy clothes, shoes etc. but one has to be beware about their authenticity before making a decision.
Finally a word of caution – It is quite common to negotiate the final payment price in open market but the discount varies depending on individual’s negotiating skills with the seller. Though in the emporiums on the Main Bazaar Road like Ladakh Art Palace, Tibetan Handicraft Emporium the prices quoted are fixed one cannot bargain.’ It is always recommended to carry sufficient cash since some shopkeepers donot accept payments in credit/debit cards or due to fluctuating network connectivity the machines donot work.
Conclusion to the entire experience of shopping in Leh is it is tough to go back home empty handed with availability of innumerable choices for every genre. These souvenirs and memorabilia will subsequently assist on the path of retrospection.