Travelogues: vandana2923 >> INDIA : Leh-Ladakh

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NOT the Sahara ! Indian lake view
NOT the Sahara ! Indian lake view (256)
Trip Information
Trip Date:2006-06-01 - 2006-06-09
# Photos:7 [View]
Countries visited:India
Viewed: 5646
by Vandana Bajikar (vandana2923) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2465 W: 5702 N: 125] (22207)
Leh: Leh, the capital of Ladakh is situated at a height of 3505 meters and is towards the eastern parts of Jammu and Kashmir. The region is watered by the Zanskar River, which flows into the Indus River just below. Spilling out of a side valley that tapers north towards eroded snow-capped peaks, the Ladakhi capital sprawls from the foot of a ruined Tibetan style palace - a maze of mud-brick and concrete flanked on one side by cream-coloured desert, and on the other by a swathe of lush irrigated farmland.

9 storey Leh palace built by Sengge (means Lion) Namgyal, Ladakh's most famous king. He ascended the throne about 1616 as a minor. He convinced Buddhists and adopted policies towards strengthening Buddhism. He died in 1642.

Spituk monastery: Spituk Gompa founded early in the 15th century apparently on the site of an 11th century monestry, was the first Ge-lugs-pa (meaning "Effective as an Example) establishment in Ladakh. The gompa is situated almost at the summit of a small but precipitous and craggy hill, about 8 km down the Indus(Sindhu) from Leh, above the fields and houses of Spituk village.

Phiyang monastery: Phiyang gompa crowns a small hill dominating the village of the same name, which must be one of the prettiest in all Ladakh. It is situated in a valley just off the main road down to Indus, about 15km from Leh. One thing you may see at Phiyang gompa is neatness, cleaness and unusual amount of light.

Khardung-La Pass: The route from Leh takes the traveler over the Khardung-la, the highest motorable road in the world. The line of the road is different from that of the old pony-trail - longer and actually higher (18,300 feet / 5,578 m).

Hundar: Here there is a small population of Bactrain camels, shaggy double-humped animals, which in the old days, were used as pack animals on the Central Asian trade routes. During the past 50 years, they have been bred for transport purposes in Nubra; today visitors can take a camel safari out into the dunes from Hundar. The shaggy, double-humped Bactrian camel carried loads of 300 Kg on the mountain trails of the Kun-Lun and Karakoram range. One of the few survivers breed in Nubra

Diskit monastery: Not only spiritually but also materially, the glory of Ladakhi Buddhism is undoubtedly the gompas or monasteries. Gompa means "solitary place", and few of them are certainly like that.Most of the gompas are situated near, and usually above the village, the pattern of whose houses they compliment with their square piled-up outlines. Often build on slope or near a summit of craggy hill, they rise tier upon tier, as much as seven or eight storeys, dominating the landscape around.

Nubra valley: The sandy plains at Nubra valley. The Nubra Valley was first opened to outsiders in 1994 and remains a restricted area.
Fertile green villages stand out in the desert-like environment along the Nubra and Shyok rivers which flow in the wide valley floor formed by the Karakoram Mountains to the north and the Ladakh Range to the south. This valley was on a major branch of the ancient silk route between Leh and Yarkland.Nubra valley is known as "Valley of Flowers" in Ladakh area. In summer all the places gets wild roses and wild flowers.

Shey monastery: Situated on a hillock 15 km south of Leh, was once the residence of the royal family & it was constructed by the first king of Ladakh, Lhachen Palgyigon. According to tradition, it and of successive kings. was the seat of power of the pre-Tidetan kings. Around 12 Ft. Shakyamuni Buddha?s statue made by copper guilt is the largest in the region, built by Deldan Namgyal in 1633 is a funerary memorial to his father, king Singee Namgyal. There is another statue of the Buddha three stories in height at dresthang down the castle. Stone carving and many chortens are scattered around the Dresthang Gompa. On the 30th day of the 1st Tibetan month celebrates shey rul-lo and on the 10th day of the 7th Tibetan month the festival of Shey Surb-lo is held.

Alchi: Alchi village is about 70 kms west of Leh. Alchi Chhoskhor has five temple structures and few stupas. The five old temples, includes Lhakhang Soma, Sumr Tseg, Dukhang, Lotsawai Lhakhang and Manjushri Lkakhang, whose interior murals and painting is tremendous valued. Alchi gompa is from 11th century, and the paintings here are one of the rare style of paintings called Gandhra art. There are absolutely few places (you can count them on one hand) where this marvolous paintings are still alive. Unfortunately taking pictures inside the temple is not allowed at Alchi.

Ri-Dzong monastery: The track to Ri-Dzong leaves main road along the Indus at Ule-tokpo, between Saspol and Nayurla, to follow the valley of tributary stream; a couple kilometers up continue on foot located is the gompa. The gompa is situated at a point where two spurs approach each other from either side. The 'reformed' gompa of Ri-Dzong was founded only a 100 years ago, to give full expression to the monastic ideal of the Ge-lugs-pa. It has maintained its strict adherence to the rules of monastic life, and has the distiction of being the only one of the major central Ladakh monasteries to have remained so far off the beaten track that even now cannot be approached except on foot.

Lamayuru: With the hairpin bends down to Lamayuru, surely one of the most picturesque and dramatically situated villages in India, if not in world.
The oldest and spectacularly set holy site Lamayuru monastery is about 125 kms. West of Leh, founded in the 10th century . Lamayuru was once a lake. It was blessed by a lama after which, as legend goes, the water of the lake receded upto the mountains leaving place for the monastery to be built. It is also the free zone of Ladakh since not even a criminal can be apprehended in this place the Lamayuru Gompa dates back to the 10th century and is known to be the oldest house of faith in Ladakh.The monastery is also famous for being one of the most picturesquely loca-
ted monasteries in Ladakh. It belongs to the Kagyupa Order of Buddhism and is believed to have been wrecked and reconstructed several times.

Thikse monastery: About 20 kms from Leh, Thiksey is an imposing monastery and one of the finest example of Ladakhi architecture. This Gompa is situated on the top of the hill and part of Gelukpa order, the disciple of Jangon Tsongkhapa, Sherab Zangpo of stod, first built the temple of Stagmo Lakchung at the top of Stagmo Lakchung at the top of the Thiksey valley. Then Paldan Sherab nephew of Sherb Zangpo, founded Thiksey monastery.

Pangong Lake: the Pangong Lake, situated at 14,000 feet (4,267 m). A long narrow basin of inland drainage, hardly six to seven kilometer at its widest point and over 130km long, it is bisected by the international border between India and China.