Posts Tagged ‘ gompa ’

solo trip to Ladakh – Lamayuru and Alchi

the next day, i went on a trip out – to see 2 old monasteries, lamayuru and alchi. it took around 3-4 hours to reach lamayuru, and along the way the views were spectacular. the indus river, the zanskar river, the meeting point of both, numerous mountains along the way in different hues on their rock composition… from purple to green to brown, it was amazing how the colours changed. passed numerous villages along the way, nimmo, khaltsi…

the lamayuru monastery is from the 11th century and is located on the steep & rocky side of a mountain. it has beautiful wall paintings and the view from the roof is also lovely.

went to lunch to a local place at khaltsi… you basically get tons of rice with basic veggies and dal. the only problem i encountered was that there was no loo for miles! finally had no choice but to go to a local one by the side of the road, its just a shed with hole on the floor, rocks below! i think everyone from people to animals had been there! if you have any illusions about finding comfy toilets, lose the thought. it’ll be great to just find a loo in the first place!

the one with the open door – that’s for the ladies.

after lamayuru, it was time for alchi and this remained my favourite monastery overall. built in 1000 ad, its a protected heritage site. its a beautiful monastery, predominantly white, with low doorways, takes you back to another era. i saw some of the most beautiful wall paintings here, but no photography allowed inside the prayer rooms here, because of how old and precious the paintings are.


solo trip to Ladakh – Leh and beyond

the flight to Leh is spectacular as the plane flies through the mountains and onto the runway. the announcement “बाहर का तापमान २ डिग्री सल्सिउस है” (it was around 930am) was enough to bring out the cap, scarf and sweatshirt. was received at the airport by Rigzin, the driver + guide for the rest of the trip. my main contact here was a person called Dawa Jora. he organised everything. i was to stay at Mahey Guesthouse, which turned out to be run by his in-laws. its a basic guesthouse and the family lives right next to it. my room had a lovely view of snow covered mountains, one of which i know was Stok kangri.

i discovered then that there was no running water! there was a bucket of water in the bathroom, ice cold. since it was winter, most places didn’t have that since the water would freeze in the pipes. but the family was really nice and they gave me a bucket of hot water whenever needed.

didn’t do anything on the first day, had been advised by lots of people to give myself 1-2 days to acclimatise to the high altitude. in fact i caught up on the much needed sleep that day given my air travel annoyance. but i didn’t have any effects due to the altitude, no headaches, no nausea, no neck pain, nothing at all. i didn’t feel any different. that was great because i had heard numerous horror stories of people not being able to adjust to the altitude.

the first day evening, someone knocked on my door. it was my neighbour at the guest house – Erik, we were the only 2 people there! Erik is Canadian and he had with him Shozeb, an Indian from England, whom he had met on the flight in. both of them had come in a day before me. they asked if we could do some of the trips together – to Nubra Valley and Pangong Lake. it would definitely save us a lot of money as taxis are the main mode of transport and both the areas were far away. they both seemed like nice guys, and i didn’t mind meeting new people! so i said yes. they asked me if i wanted to go with them to one of the monasteries in Leh the next day at 6 am. but i was still adjusting to the cold so i decided against it. went back into the room, got some lovely home cooked food, sat next to the gas heater and enjoyed the whole experience.

the next day i went to some monasteries around Leh. they are all so quiet, peaceful and largely simple, nothing ostentatious about them… and the soothing colours, maroon, beige, made me want to spend more time in each one. i especially liked Thikse and Hemis. Hemis is located away from Leh and nestled in the mountains. its a very beautiful place and the drive is lovely.

i followed this up in the eve with a visit to the Leh palace and the Shanti Stupa. i bought myself a winter jacket before that! because despite the layers, i didn’t have anything really warm. its a good thing that i did because Shanti Stupa is at a height and its extremely windy and cold there. the stupa itself is primarily white in colour and has some beautiful wall paintings. it overlooks most of Leh.

so quite an eventful day for me, headed home in the evening looking forward to another home cooked meal. Erik asked me if i wanted to accompany him to the market to meet Shozeb for dinner, but i didn’t feel like walking in the cold.

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