The Leh Main Market is one of the most attractive and energetic places in Ladakh. You can get everything from jewelry to clothes, groceries, to local street food. The market consists of various stores, shops, and stalls set up in a fanciful arrangement, where you can make your way between the shopkeepers and sellers to find items of your choice.
The market is divided into several small pathways and streets, with sections allocated to clothes, artifacts, spices, food, souvenirs, and handicrafts. One of the top things that Leh Main Market is famous for is its woolen garments. Because of the cold climate, the people in Leh have a culture of creating handwoven woolen clothes, which have now become popular and demanded local products of Ladakh.
The central location of the market also eases visits to many nearby attractions such as Jama Masjid, Leh Palace, Zorawar Fort, Hall of Fame, Shanti Stupa, and many more. Whether you are looking for artistical hand-crafted Pashmina shawls, delicious dried fruits, or simply looking forward to getting a glimpse of the lives of the local Ladakhi people, the Leh Market has a lot to fulfill all your expectations.
Leh Main Market Travel Guide
Are you planning to visit the Leh Main Market? This travel & shopping guide will help you prepare for your visit to the Leh Market and what to expect during your Leh Market visit for the first time.
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What to buy from Leh Main Market – Shopping Guide
- Tibetan Handicrafts, Artifacts, and Artisanal Gifts: Ladakh is famous for its Tibetan handicrafts and artifacts. You can find intricately painted Thanka paintings of different sizes that make for unique wall hangings. Prayer wheels, beads, and prayer flags are found plentifully which can be used to decorate your vehicle. You can also look out for carved wooden tables that are varnished and painted in lively colors.
- Stone and Silver Jewelry: The elegant Ladakhi jewelry can make a stunning addition to your jewelry collection. You can find a wide variety of rings, earrings, necklaces, key chains, and bracelets while shopping in the Leh Main Market. But you need to make sure that it is hallmarked for its authenticity.
- Woolen and Pashmina Products: Ladakh is also famous for its delicate and warm Pashmina shawls made with pure pashmina wool. You can buy caps, socks, sweaters, blankets, and traditional robe “Goncha” embroidered with colorful threads.
- Ladakhi and Kashmiri Carpets: The Leh Main Market is a one-stop shop to make your home a place of radiance. Don’t forget to buy Ladakhi carpets handwoven with wool and dyed naturally by the local people. On the other hand, Kashmiri carpets have more sophisticated designs and are woven with more refined wool. Nothing can add a touch of elegance and regality to your home as a Ladakhi carpet with its sparkling colors.
- Ladakhi Crockery / Kitchenware: You can also buy cups, mugs, and other kitchenware with Ladakhi imprints printed on them to remind you of your Ladakh trip.
- Apricot Jams: That only fruit that grows amply in the harsh climate and barren terrain of Ladakh are apricots. The locals use this luscious fruit to make oil, juice, and jams. You can buy dried apricots or enjoy freshly plucked apricots sold in the Leh Main Market.
Itinerary Guide – How to plan your Itinerary for Leh Main Market
Planning an Itinerary for Leh Main Market without a professional guide is not easy. We have built an Itinerary with our trained specialists and planned a trip to Leh Main Market to share our fantastic experience with you. We hope this guide will help you know all about Leh Main Market to plan your visit easily.
Preparing for our visit to Leh Main Market
We started from Leh after having our breakfast. Our car made a smooth glide on the long pitched roads, and we could notice the army barracks keeping vigilance on the approaching vehicles. At a distance, we saw a group of soldiers marching past our car against the backdrop of dry landscape, reminding us of the complex reality of Ladakh.
We had decided to pick three of our friends who came to Ladakh for the first time. So, we stopped to pick them up at their hotel and headed towards the Main Market. On the way, we could see many whitewashed chortens fo the monasteries on the maroon and brown mountains.
Reaching the Main Market
After driving for 15 minutes, we finally reached the market. The Leh Main Market is a blend of traditional age-old handicrafts and exceptional craftsmanship and artistic skills of the local people. Many restaurants and cafes were open in Leh Market that served delicious local cuisine to the visitors. Several choices of souvenirs were available for any enthusiastic traveler in Leh Market.
Ladakhi Restaurants in Leh Main Market
We entered one of the lovely eateries where they served authentic Ladakhi cuisine prepared in Tandoor. The lamb stew and steamed dumplings were exactly what we needed to add fuel to our otherwise plain evening. After having our lunch, we walked into the market for a couple of hours.
Stalls in Leh Main Market
While strolling in the market, we could notice the dried herbs and potatoes abundantly sold in the market. Candy packages with Chinese letters reminded us of the fondness of people to eat similar eatables across the borders. Loads of apples and apricots were sold by the street vendors.
Jewelry Shops in Leh Market
The most exciting thing in the market was the jewelry shops. We noticed that most of the local women wore silver and turquoise jewelry. The extraordinary design amazed us, and we decided to buy some to gift our friends.
There were several jewelry shops that sold bracelets, earrings, rings, neckpieces, and anklets that can make an elegant addition to your jewelry collection. Just make sure that you verify the genuineness of the precious stones and silver ornaments before buying them!
Tibetan Handicrafts in Leh Market
We also came across the Tibetan population who have permanently settled in Ladakh from ancient times. They were extremely warm, kind, and friendly people. Their presence in Ladakh added to the richness of the local culture, and they welcomed us inside their small shops. There were eye-catching Thanka paintings that were painted intricately by these people.
Statues of Buddha, Padmasambhava, and other sacred objects were exquisitely sculpted. We also saw some beautifully carved wooden objects painted in radiant colors to perfection. After spending some time with these lovely Tibetan people, we finally bought some colorful flags, and exquisite bowls carved very intricately.
Pashmina Shawls in Leh Market
As we entered one of the shops, we were captivated by the sight of the best Pashmina shawls. The shawls were fairly warm and were made from pure Pashmina wool. Although pure Pashmina is quite rare, this shop was very famous for its high-quality woolen and Pashmina products.
There was a time when only the rich could afford Pashmina, but now there are plenty of shops that sell Pashmina products in the form of sweaters, gloves, blankets, caps, and shawls. The best thing about the Pashmina products is that it’s incredibly lightweight but offer warmth when we wear them in winters.
Ladakhi Carpets and Rugs
The Ladakhi carpets in the Leh market were abundantly present in many local shops. These hand-weaved carpets were made from wool, and their vibrant colors could even lighten up a room. We considered purchasing one of the Ladakhi carpets handmade by the local artisans. These carpets were dyed with natural colors, and their beauty will genuinely add a touch of magnificence to your home.
Shopping in the Leh Main Market is an open invitation to explore the craftwork and culture of Ladakh. Besides, you can buy various local items and handicrafts as Ladakh souvenirs as well. But before you rush to fulfill your excitement, be mindful to ensure some essential points.
Bargaining is the most important thing to keep in mind while shopping in Ladakh. Even when the shopkeepers fix the prices, do not hesitate to indulge in some good bargaining. Also, when you buy silver jewelry, do not forget to check the hallmark on the jewelry.
Now that you know everything, you are good to go shopping in the Leh Main Market. Get ready to buy some Ladakhi souvenirs and warm shawls to take back home for your friends and relatives. We hope you return to your home with a soul full of smiles and bags full of goodies.
Leh market in winter
The winter season in Ladakh lasts from November to March. During winters, the temperature drops drastically, sometimes up to -15 degrees Celcius at night. There are high chances of roadblocks and landslides, which can hinder your travel plans in Ladakh. So, if you want to explore the Leh Market perfectly, it is not advisable to visit during the winter months.
How to Reach Leh Main Market
There are many convenient ways to reach the Leh Main Market. The easiest way to reach Leh Market is to arrive in Leh via flight and then hire a taxi or a cab to reach the Leh Market. You can use other forms of public transport to reach the Main Market as it is well connected through local buses also.
- Flight: Leh Airport – Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the nearest airport connected with some of the major airports in India. You can hire a taxi from the airport to reach your hotel in Leh and then plan a day trip from Leh to Leh Market and some other nearby attractions.
- Cabs / Bus: The local buses and cabs function well in the Ladakh region during the summer months. There are several cabs available outside the airport. You can book a cab from the airport to reach the Leh Market.
- Train: Jammu Tawi is the nearest major railway station from Leh, Ladakh. You can book a cab from the railway station to reach Leh. After reaching Leh, you can take a taxi to reach the Leh Market, as mentioned above.
If you want to know more about this topic, take a look at this blog post, How to Reach Ladakh.
Best Time to Visit Leh Market
Although both summers and winters have their own charm when it comes to selecting the right time to visit Leh Market. The best time to visit the Leh Market is from May to September.
- Summer: During summers, the weather is most suitable for traveling. The Srinagar-Leh highway and the Leh-Manali highway remain open during summers as there are fewer chances of rainfall and landslides on the Himalayas. The radiant sunlight offers a spectacular contrast with the cold weather of Leh. You can find the perfect opportunity to explore every nook and corner of the Main Market.
- Autumn: The autumn season starts from September and lasts until October. As the weather gets colder in Ladakh, the Srinagar-Leh highway and Leh-Manali highway close due to heavy snowfall. The number of tourist arrivals also reduces noticeably, making it the best time to visit the Leh Market.
If you want to get detailed knowledge about this subject, you can take a look at our blog post, Best time to visit Ladakh.
Food Options in Leh Market
Numerous people visit the Leh Main Market, including the local people of Ladakh. The market is surrounded by permanent food joints, small food stalls, and eateries that serve Indian and local authentic Tibetan food.
Although the restaurants serve a variety of traditional and regional cuisines, they make sure that the food is prepared hygienically for a fabulous dining experience. You can choose from the local varieties of dishes such as thukpa, momos, and an incredible range of Chinese and Indian food.
Leh Market Travel Tips
- Rest as much as possible on the first day of your arrival for acclimatization in Leh.
- The sunrays in Ladakh are of high intensity. So, apply a good sunscreen and do not forget to wear your sunglasses on sunny days.
- Carry warm clothes if you plan to visit Ladakh during the winter months. Please read our blog post Things to Carry for Ladakh Trip to get detailed information about the essential items for the Ladakh trip.
- You can easily find petrol pumps in Leh as they remain fully functional even during winter.
- Subscribe for a BSNL, Airtel, or Jio postpaid number as other networks do not function well in Ladakh.
- Although the items in Leh Market are reasonably priced, you can try bargaining to get the best price for any item.
- Enquire about authentic stores that sell verified items as there are a variety of products available in the Leh Market. Spend your money judiciously on exotic items such as jewelry, shawls, and handicrafts.
- You can also collect some local authentic dried fruits and home-cooked food from the small shops set up by the local people.
Please read the World health organization’s travel advice before traveling anywhere.
Read Indian Government travel guidelines.
|Leh Palace||1.5 km|
|Zorawar Fort||1.2 km|
|Jama Masjid||1 km|
|Sankar Gompa||3.6 km|
|Namgyal Tsemo||4.6 km|
|Central Asian Museum||2.1 km|
|Shanti Stupa||4.9 km|
|Hall of Fame||4.2 km|
|Spituk Gompa||6.6 km|