A Visit to the Land of the Lamas - Leh

by Antony Grossy July. 18, 2017 3180 views

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 Early morning Air India flight at 0630Hr from New Delhi about to land.... Well I really had to get up pretty early in the morning for this......The Spituk Gompa (Monastery) is bang on the Landing Approach to the Leh Airfield.

The Early morning Air India flight at 0630Hr from New Delhi about to land.... Well I really had to get up pretty early in the morning for this......The Spituk Gompa (Monastery) is bang on the Landing Approach to the Leh Airfield.

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.

Seamless Technology......A lady in her traditional dress speaking on a mobile....

Seamless Technology......A lady in her traditional dress speaking on a mobile....

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.

The Worried Look....... Will it be sufficient to buy some bread.........

The Worried Look....... Will it be sufficient to buy some bread.........

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.

The Worried Young Monk....Too young to be contemplating on the intricacies of life...... but this young monk of the Drukpa or the Dugpa or "Red Hat sect" from the Hemis Gompa (monastery) is doing just that.......

The Worried Young Monk....Too young to be contemplating on the intricacies of life...... but this young monk of the Drukpa or the Dugpa or "Red Hat sect" from the Hemis Gompa (monastery) is doing just that.......

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..

Thikse Gompa is located at an altitude of 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) in the Indus valley. It is a 12-storey complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya (future Buddha)

Thikse Gompa is located at an altitude of 3,600 metres (11,800 ft) in the Indus valley. It is a 12-storey complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya (future Buddha)

and then went on to visit Stakna Gompa on the Banks of the Indus River...

Stakna Monastery or Stakna Gompa is a Buddhist monastery of the Drugpa sect in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India, 21 or 25 kilometres from Leh on the left bank of the Indus River.

Stakna Monastery or Stakna Gompa is a Buddhist monastery of the Drugpa sect in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India, 21 or 25 kilometres from Leh on the left bank of the Indus River.

Stakna Monastery was founded in the late 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar and saint, Chosje Jamyang Palkar. The name, literally meaning 'tiger's nose' was given because it was built on a hill shaped like a tiger's nose. Of note is a sacred Arya Avalokitesvara statue from Kamrup, Assam.

Stakna Monastery was founded in the late 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar and saint, Chosje Jamyang Palkar. The name, literally meaning 'tiger's nose' was given because it was built on a hill shaped like a tiger's nose. Of note is a sacred Arya Avalokitesvara statue from Kamrup, Assam.

I concluded my day with a visit to Basgo, the capital city of the early Ladakhi empire...

Basgo Monastery, also known as Basgo or Bazgo Gompa, is a Buddhist monastery located in Basgo or Bazgo in Leh District, Ladakh, northern India approximately 40 km from Leh.

Basgo Monastery, also known as Basgo or Bazgo Gompa, is a Buddhist monastery located in Basgo or Bazgo in Leh District, Ladakh, northern India approximately 40 km from Leh.

Although the monastery was built for the Namgyal rulers in 1680, Bazgo itself  is frequently mentioned in the Ladakhi Chronicles when it was a political and cultural center. The monastery is situated on top of the hill towering over the ruins of the ancient town and is noted for its Buddha statue.

Although the monastery was built for the Namgyal rulers in 1680, Bazgo itself is frequently mentioned in the Ladakhi Chronicles when it was a political and cultural center. The monastery is situated on top of the hill towering over the ruins of the ancient town and is noted for its Buddha statue.

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......

Join the conversation
6
There are 6 comments , add yours!
Ravi Jaichand 2 years, 1 month ago

Beautiful pictures....👍🏻

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Mahel34 2 years, 1 month ago

Merci pour ce magnifique blog avec toutes ces photo très soignées. Bonne continuation.

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Antony Grossy Replied to Mahel34 2 years, 1 month ago

Merci de l'apprécier et de vos gentils mots

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Chweeleng 2 years, 1 month ago

Great series! +1 The architecture looks similar to the Potala Palace.

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Heike 2 years, 2 months ago

Great photos and interesting story !

2 years, 2 months ago Edited
Antony Grossy Replied to Heike 2 years, 1 month ago

Thanxx...

2 years, 1 month ago Edited
Up
Copyright @Photoblog.com