A visit to the Land of the Lamas has long been on my 'Bucket List" places to go in Life and materialized when I got some time off from work. The trip started from Delhi as an early morning Air India Flight from Delhi and I had to get up at 4AM to board it. The flight itself was not so smooth and we circled the Leh airfield twice before the pilot informed us that we had to return back because of bad weather... Looking down I saw the Air Field and the town all bright and sunny and could not understand "Bad Weather". Confusing as it was, I decided not the tax myself any further and decided to fruitfully utilise me time making up for lost sleep.
The next day too was a repeat of the previous day and this time I had to wake up at 3 AM.... Well the day was starting in a good way, but I hope it would end well. Well the trip was as bumpy as before, but this time we landed after circling once. On landing I realised that the day earlier the landing had to aborted due to very strong winds since the airfield can only be approached from one direction.
The first thing other than than numbing cold and lack of oxygen that hits you when you reach Leh is predominance of the colour brown in the landscape (in happens to be a dry cold Desert) and the locals here.
Well the locals are completely different ethnically from the Indians. They infact have mongoloid features. It is really amazing to see how being so far away from civilization they have seamlessly integrated with technology, at the same time maintaining there unique culture and identity.
The first two days was spent resting and acclimatizing on doctors orders since the altitude is above 11000ft. The only activity allowed was a brief visit to the local market which in itself was quite unique and interesting.
It was here that i met my first Lama (Monk). A young boy in his early teens.... and lo behold I was in the land of the Lamas.
As the guide started calling for us to return to the hotel I realised that each and every place in India is so very unique and distinct from each other.
Well the next day was for our visit to the Gompas (Monasteries) where the Lamas stay..... We started with Thiksey a huge Gompa..
and then went on to visit Stakna Gompa on the Banks of the Indus River...
I concluded my day with a visit to Basgo, the capital city of the early Ladakhi empire...
With the sun setting and the chilly evening wind blowing I decided that it was time to call quits and returned to the hotel, looking forward for fresh adventure the next morning.
To Be Continued......