Ladakh was on top of my ‘To Do List” for long. A completely different and magical landscape very unique and distinct from the green Himalayas, that’s Leh. Freezing winds, hairpin contours, pure virgin sunlight and vistas of barren mountains Leh is a travellers delight.
On the way from Kargil you cross the enchanted Dras Valley formed by the Dras river, which rises in the Machoi glacier near the famous Zoji La pass.
For ten days staying disconnected from the rest of the world I enjoyed total bliss. I wandered around the lanes of the monastery land exploring local food, places and in the process finding some delightful beauties of nature. The treasure trove of landscapes left me stunned. A perfect stranger in the mountain kingdom as I I knew my heart wanted much more than the eyes could see or meet.
The Leh Palace: This eight stories palace right behind the market build by the Buddhist kings of Ladakh belongs to the royal family of Ladakh. This ancient and ruined palace is no way compared to the huge palaces at Rajasathan rather the rustic look and tattered walls speaks of a different charm. The unending maze of dark empty rooms with low ceilings reminds of you of the rustic ladakhi culture.
Also known as the Buddhist white-domed stupa, was Buddhist architecture was build by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. Standing on top of the stupa one can see panoramic view of the landscape. This capsule of purity holds Buddha’s relics, Holy Dharma Books and Buddha statues that are sealed for generations to come.
Hemis Monastery:In the foothills of Indus this Monastry stand tall and strong echoing the culture of the place. This Tibetan Buddhist monastery belongs to the Drukpa Lineage (Dragon Order of Mahayana Buddhism). The design and architecture of the monastery is very colourful and the monastery is divided into two parts – the assembly hall known as Dukhang and the temple which is called Tshogkhang.
Monastery also houses a lot of sacred Thangkas, murals and various artifacts. The Hemis Monastery also holds the annual festival, known as the Hemis Tse-shu.
Thikse Monastery: This monastery forms the part of forms part of Gelukpa order. This 12 storey monastery houses many stupas, statues, thankas, wall paintings, large pillar engraved with the Buddha’s teachings.
The Karma Bell: These Karma Bells or Peace Bell can be seen all across the city.
These prayer wheels are all about peace, wisdom and good karma and to purify the bad karma. Passersby can turn the entire wheel simply by sliding their hands it.
Pangong Tso: Beauty at its beat just stands just right for this place. A drive to this lake across the Changla Valley (third highest motorable mountain pass in the world) will be etched in my mind for the rest of my life. As you cross this place you experience an interesting mirage-effect.
The first glimpse of this serene beauty and cold chills touching your cheeks as you watch the bright blue waters and rocky lakeshore is worth a lifetime.
One can spot quite a few Brown-headed gulls as there is no aquatic life other than this few crustaceans. It’s like they are taking their flights of fantasy.
Bag full of memories, new friends and much more is what I came back with. In this land stillness speaks that will instantly touch your heart. While you I bet you will no longer feel like a stranger in this distant land. You would be back with a lot of stories to tell for a long time. It’s an adventure to live forever.