Dadu Aur Madak
Leh is perhaps the most popular destination in all of India for foreign
visitors who want to do treks in the Himalaya. It is also a popular
spot to rent Enfield cycles for those who don't want the hassle of
driving from Delhi to the mountains. The town is full of travel
agencies offering package deals of all varieties, and it is a great
place to hire cars and drivers for day trips to gompas, or rides to various
trailheads. Swolen with tourists from all over Europe (we have yet to
run across any other Americans), the town offers everything from German
bakeries to pizza and lasagna. With a wide range of knock-offs from
nearby China, it is also the place to top up your supply of all types
of camping or hiking gear. There are scores of gompas within a day's ride of town.
We chose a popular circuit that included Thiksey and Shey, as well as
the summer palace at Stok, all of which could be visited in one day.
is one of the more spectacular gompas
we visited. We were advised to come early to witness the morning
the moment you pass through the gate you encounter a scene that is rich
in detail. At right is part of the courtyard.
young novices perform much of the manual labor. Here they carry water
for tea that they will serve to the monks at morning service.
At right they rested long enough for us to take this photo.
|We climbed to the roof to see the call to prayer, and the view of snow capped peaks in the distance and the Indus Valley. The monks announce services by blowing a Tibetan horn consisting of a conch shell that is adorned with a brass extension.|
between Thiksey and Shey is dotted with these chortens. Chortens or stupas are
said to contain relics of The Buddha.
|Shey is yet
another spectacular gompa whoose main feature is a twelve meter tall
statue of the Buddha. Unfortunatey the photos are somehow missing.
|Stok is the
summer palace of the Kings of Ladakh. It has an ineresting museum
showing ancient royal garments and accessories. Photography inside is
prohibited. Above is a view from the terrace towards the grounds below.