Nothing more than a photo-op, the Shanti Stupa is a modern monument built by Japanese monks with Ladakhi labour in the 1990s to promote world peace. It stands on a hill opposite the Leh Palace and overlooks the town of Leh. The stupa, notably different from gompas and other Ladakhi monuments, is a large pristine white dome that gleams in the golden late afternoon light. The reason you want to climb the steps to the top is the stunning view of Leh. If you give it a miss, don’t forget to gaze up at the monument at night, when the stupa is lit up.