Shanti Stupa

Buddhist Monument in Leh

Image by The world as Getty Images

Dominating Leh from a high, rocky ridge, this gigantic white spired pudding of a stupa was built between 1983 and 1991 by Japanese monks to promote world peace.

You can circumambulate to canned mantras and meditate in the Buddha hall but the greatest attraction is the stunning view over Leh. Ideally, make the breathless 15-minute climb up from Changspa when golden afternoon light still illuminates the city but the steps are already bathed in cooling shadow. There's a small, simple cafe at the top of the stairway.