Spituk Monastery (8 km)

Not far from Leh is an odd juxtaposition of the ancient and the modern that tickles the imagination – the See-Thub (Exemplary) Gompa. Also called the Spituk Gompa, it is built on a hill near the quietly flowing Indus River, overlooking the runway of Leh’s airport. The gompa, founded in the 11th century and subsequently administered by various religious orders, is now with the Gelukps or Yellow Hat Sect of Buddhists. With the passage of time, more and more structures were added, looking as if they are happily tumbling down the hill towards Spituk village. The monastery has a three-tier spirit shrine or latho at the top and a temple with a collection of ancient masks and veiled Hindu-style deities, who are unmasked only during the Spituk Festival.