Leh, Or Le, a city of Cashmere, India, capital of the province of Ladakh, situated in the upper part of an open valley of the Himalaya, 3 m. N. of the Indus and 11,500 ft. above the sea, about 150 m. E. of Serinagur or Cashmere; lat. 34° 8' 5" N., Ion. 77° 40' 36" E.; pop. variously estimated from 5,000 to 12,000. It covers the slope and surrounds the base of a low spur on the E. side of the valley, the middle and W. side of which are occupied by extensive cultivated tracts, the fields rising in terraces one above another. It is surrounded by a wall defended at intervals by towers. The streets are irregular and intricate. The houses are mostly of stone or of unbaked brick, with flat roofs. One of the most striking buildings is the rajah's palace, a huge pile of masonry upon a high rocky pinnacle in the centre of the town. There are also several picturesque temples. Outside of the walls, in a valley surrounded by hills, is a large cemetery containing many groups of monumental buildings, far exceeding in number the houses of the living.
Leh is an important commercial centre, it being the place of rendezvous for merchants travelling to and from Yarkand, and the principal market for the sale of the shawl wool of East Turkistan. In the summer, when the caravans from central Asia and India meet there, its population is greatly increased. The town is called Ladak by Capt. Knight in his "Diary of a Pedestrian in Cashmere and Thibet" (London, 1863).
The Rajah's Palace, Leh.