The Tibetan Market In Leh, Ladakh

Passionate travellers are also known to be shop alcoholic. Traditionally they may not buy tons of clothes or jewellery. But you will find them hopping around the authentic street-side shops and stalls looking very souvenirs and gifts for their loved ones or as a memoir. The beautiful town Leh, the capital city of Ladakh, is one such tourist destination where travellers prefer shopping exquisite handmade collections made by the locals and the Tibetans. One such prominent location is the Tibetan market in Leh.

Leh Market Square
Photo of ‘Leh Market Square’ by Chris Hunkeler under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Tibetan Shopkeepers

Ladakh has been inhabited by the Tibetan population for quite a long time now, almost 50 years before. Steadily and slowly they had mingled with the locals in Ladakh and blended their handicrafts and artwork with that of the existing culture. They sell these amazing artefacts to the tourists, thus promoting their artistic skill and talent. Tibetans are well known for creating meticulously carved sculptures and images, pottery, baskets and handmade paintings used for prayers and meditations by the Buddhist people.

The Market Locations

The Main Bazaar Road of Leh is filled with shops selling Tibetan goods. The shops sell a variety of products throughout the day, enticing the tourists to buy some of their exclusive homemade artefacts. The shops remain lively especially in the late morning hours and in the evening with the locals and visitors crowding to select their preferred items. The prices are affordable and you can bargain a bit with the shopkeepers. There is a handicraft emporium too, where the quality of the products are better and prices are higher compared to that of the street side shops. You can also visit Choglamsar village in Leh for buying the Tibetan handicraft items. A community showroom hosts many clothes, gift items, souvenirs, paintings, sculptures, pottery and many more.

The Tibetan Artefacts in the Market

The different varieties of items displayed in the Tibetan market will leave you awestruck. Especially the intricate skills of the artists in creating such amazing pieces of sculpture and paintings. The paintings are known as “Thangka” in the colloquial language with wonderful decorations. They are symbolically used by the Tibetans while worshipping Lord Buddha. You can find beautiful flowery motifs brightly coloured and attractive. Lord Buddha in his various incarnations and images can be found stitched or painted in the meditation clothes.

Sculptures and images of Lord Buddha in numerous poses and different sizes can be found in abundance in the shops. You can even find masks representing various incarnations and deities of Lord Buddha for sale. Holy flags, prayer wheels, singing bowls and the beads for meditation and worship are also quite famous among the tourists.

Pottery is a key skill of the Tibetans. They prefer drinking tea and other beverages in brass or copper pots. The copper pots are known as “Chang” in the Tibetan language. The pots are beautifully carved with the detailed design embedded in them. You can buy and take them back for a tea or coffee party with family and friends.

Another attractive handmade item in the market is the wonderfully carved wooden tables. The tables are traditionally known as “choktse” by the Tibetans. They are used mainly to serve food and drinks. The artists paint and varnish the tables in vibrant and spectacular colours.

The other handmade products and gift items available in the market are bamboo baskets, bamboo cradles, silver and stone jewellery, rugs, carpets, shawls and traditional dresses for men, women and kids.

How to reach the Tibetan Market?

Being located in Leh town, the Tibetan market is well connected by rail, road and flight. The nearest airport is at Leh and the nearest railway station is at Pathankot. Cabs for hire and buses are available in abundance from both the airport and the railway station and even fro various parts of Leh to reach the market.

Tibetan market remains open for a substantial time, allowing tourists to shop at their leisure. The beauty of the market is its presence amid the majestic snow-capped Himalayan mountain ranges. You can shop your favourite items while enjoying the views of the panoramic landscape. You can spend a relaxed evening wandering through the street side shops.

Tibetans are known for being humble and polite. Hence you can expect a good purchase from the market.

Featured Photo of ‘India – Ladakh – Leh – 081 – Tibetan Main (textiles) Market’ by McKay Savage under CC BY 2.0

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