LADAKH – A stunning landscape, humble and good hearted people, trekkers and bikers paradise….
We travelled from Dubai to Delhi and then took a domestic flight from Delhi to Leh. Do insist on a window seat as you will get to see a magnificent aerial view of the snow capped mountains – depicted in the image below.
I had researched a couple of hotels in Leh and after going through the reviews of Grand Dragon hotel on Trip Advisor, we decided to book this one for our arrival in Leh.
The drinking tradition: Tibetan custom calls for butter tea to be drunk in separate sips, and after each sip the host refills the bowl to the brim. Thus, the bowl is never empty; it is constantly topped off. If one does not wish to drink, the best thing to do is leave the tea untouched until the time comes to leave and then drain the bowl. The host will not be offended this way.
Trek starting point (3550 meters) – desert like terrain. We walked from Likir to Yangthang, across Yangthang and Sumdo villages crossing small passes called Phobe La (3550 meters) and Charatse La (3650 meters).
Tekking path through streams….
mountains; uphill; downhill…
flat terrains, river ……..
Overnight camped near the village.
A visit to one of the homes in the village.
A typical Ladakhi kitchen which is used only during winters.
They have a separate kitchen that is used during the warmer months.
Feast prepared for us in the camp by our fabulous Nepali Chef.
Next day… post breakfast, trek towards Hemis Shukpachan village.
Overnight at the guest house in Hemis Shukpachan.
Lunch break… enjoying the packed lunch in the shade.
Group pic with our amazing trek team …. miss their smiles, warmth, humility and hospitality. We miss Lundup (guide standing between us) who kept us motivated throughout the trek and never gave up on us!
Last day of the trek.. Unbelievable!! Our cook baked this delicious chocolate cake especially for us with minimal equipments. We had pizza, pasta etc.. prepared by our cook for lunch that day!!! We wished he would come with us to Dubai 🙂
We managed to visit a few monasteries the next day, starting with Alchi monestary. This is the oldest monastery and one of the most important Buddhist centers in Ladakh. All over the region are monasteries with Tibetan prayer wheels called Mani wheel where powerful mantras, generally the Om Mani Padme Hum mantra, printed on paper are coiled inside the wheels. It is believed that the the sight of a mantra is as effective as reciting it. To experience a spiritually moving prayer offering, visit the prayer wheels enshrined within the monasteries of Leh.
Apricot and apples are the main fruit trees of Ladakh and are widely grown in the warmer and lower reaches of Ladakh, particularly in Sham, Nubra and Kargil. Traditionally, the apricots are sundried on the roof of houses or on large stones and sold in markets in Leh and Kargil.
The following day we attended a 2 hour prayer session at Thiksey Monastery. Highly recommended as you get to see the entire ritual conducted by the monks. Felt really good at the end of the ritual.
We then visited Hemis Monastery which is the wealthiest monastery in India and famous for its rich collection of ancient remnants like the statue of Buddha made of copper, stupas made of gold and silver. Hemis Monastery also has sacred Thangkas, murals and various artifacts.
On the last day we visited Tibetan SOS Children’s Village (TCV). TCV is a registered, non profit, charitable institution for the care and education of orphaned and destitute Tibetan children in exile. Much remains to be done as Tibetans continue to flee the persecution in their homeland!
Tibetan SOS Children’s Village (TCV)
For donations or to sponsor a child, please write to:
Ms Sonam Youdun at firstname.lastname@example.org
“When you put goodwill out there, it’s amazing what can be accomplished!”
I really don’t think you can take a bad photo in Ladakh. No matter where you point the lens you’ll get a great contrast between the endless blue sky, the crystal clear water and the arid brown peaks.
How can I desribe Ladakh? Barren beauty at it’s best