Lad: གླེ

‘Nomad Encampment’  City/Capital, Ladakh

Leh was an important junction on trading routes linking Tibet, Kashmir, and China where foodstuffs (grain, spices, salt) and textiles (silk, wool, cloth, thread) were exchanged.

Francke (1914) suggest the name’s origin:

the original name of the town is not sLel, as it is nowadays spelled, but sLes, which signifies an ‘encampment of nomads’. These [Tibetan] nomads were probably in the habit of visiting the Leh valley at a time when it had begun to be irrigated by Dard colonisers.

The famous nine-storey Leh Place was built in the 17thC by the Namgyal Dynasty but abandoned 200 years later following a Kashmiri invasion when the royal family moved to the Stok.

For related place names see Indian Place names and Ladakh place names.


Leh            Avenger Dove