I got involved in a rafting trip between Leh and the confluence of the Indus and Zanskar rivers - fun!!! It's possible to raft from Leh down to just past this point, on what is a low grade rafting trip that beginners can manage. Yes, I got a taste for it and would love to try again.The Zanskar holds some record for apparently being the fastest...more
Poll outside Rhizong, which is situated at the top of a spectacular gorge (not shown due to lack of webspace). Rhizong is a seventeenth century gompa, thus is relatively new by Ladakhi standards. The place is full of thangkas and murals, amongst which there are images of Shakyamuni, Amitaus (Buddha of Long Life) and Chenrezig (Buddha of...more
What's wrong with this picture (apart from the fact it's a bit blurry - you try taking a good picture in low light without a tripod)?Nothing!!! That's the point I'm trying to make especially to people who've been to Tibet. You don't see the Dalai Lama's picture in the open, even in the most devout Yellow Hat monasteries there. A few miles away in...more
Lucky timing meant arriving here at the height of the monk's prayer and chanting (sorry, I don't know the Buddhist name for it). Even luckier was having the crap scared out of me when the boy monk right next to me gave me a full blast of his horn that I didn't know he had hidden under his robes!!!Likir (first picture) was founded in 1065 by Lama...more
Chortens as Stupas are known up here, are also planted out all over Ladakh and can grow anywhere, including fields and on top of mountains. However, the locals seem to leave them there when it comes to harvest.Seriously, chortens are symbols of devotion, containing in many cases Buddhist relics and revered just as much by the locals as the main...more
Beefy and Poll can be seen here enjoying views of the Zanskar range, in what I regard as one of the most photo-genic parts of Ladakh. Alchi and th local gompas (Buddhist temples) is a place to just chill out in and around, and have some free time to yourself.The crop is Barley, which is the only sizeable crop that can be grown up here.more
No, they are not bales of hay with their own legs - they are people carrying bales of hay through the Alchi countryside!!!Now that's straightened out, on the right is a Kashmiri-style Buddha - this is the Maitreya or Future Buddha (Buddha to come). This three story Buddha is one of the few surviving examples of it's kind, as most like it were...more
The top picture is of a sand mandala in Sumstek Gompa. A mandala is a symmetrical, geometric representation based on circles and squares, of the Buddhist cosmos symbolising the order and harmony achieved by the enlightened mind. They hare supposed to have a great deal of power, where the forces of the universe are gathered in them. In tantric forms...more
Sometimes you get lucky, such as arriving in Alchi during a local festival. Sometimes you're luck runs out on you, like when you dash down the hill to find the dancing ending just as you arrive, tripping over and only narrowly avoiding falling on the lens of your £300 camera. For me, it was one of those day, that said, I did get to take a few...more
According to my guidebook there are three buses from Leh to Alchi every day and it takes 3 hours one way. As I wanted to visit Lamayuru and Likir too, and was short of time, it was not an option for me to take the bus.
All travel agencies in Leh have a booklet with the fixed price for taking a taxi to different destinations. A booklet with the new fare is published every year.
Before leaving Ladakh I wanted to visit Lamayuru, Alchi and Likir. It can’t be done using public transportation in one day so I chose to take a car with driver. The fixed price to visit those three places was Rs 3750 (July 2010). I asked around at some travel agents and at Oriental Guesthouse to find some people to share the price with, but no one signed up. So in the end I went alone.
First we drove to Lamayuru which is furthest away. It took almost three hours to go there and for long we drove along Indus River. When we had crossed the river and the road was ascending there was a new road and the old road to take. The old road takes one hour and the new road is supposed to take half an hour. The new road was still under construction, but we took it, as did many others. Along the way we passed a small minivan stuck in the gravel. We stopped to help them push their car and they could continue. Well, it seemed the road was not good enough for all cars jet.
After Lamayuru we went to Alchi and then to Likir. When we came back to Leh the daytrip had taken 10 hours.