Ladakh, abode of the Gods

 

Spectacular scenery as we enter the state of Ladakh, Northern India

 

Ladakh, land of monasteries
Having passed all these passes, we arrived in the large valley of the Indus river. This dry and sandy area surrounded by snow caped mountains is home to a string of beautiful Buddhist monasteries. Ladakh is out of reach for 8 months each year because of the weather. We had decided not to drive to Leh immediately but to spend time visiting the monasteries first. Our first night in this valley was spent at Matho Gompa. We asked the monks if we could park the car next to their monastery to sleep. The next two hours were spent explaining our journey and giving them a demo of our rooftop tent !

 

Hemis Gompa (left), a lock and colourful door to a prayer hall (centre), Stakna Gompa on top of a hill (right)

 

 

Some essential Buddhist objects : the prayer wheels (left), the teachings of Buddha in the library (centre) and the ubiquitous butter lamps (right)

 

Chrten (Tibetan word for stupa). Originally these were reliquaries, now there are often erected as cenotaphs in memory of a Buddhist saint.

 

To the West of Leh, the capital of Ladakh, along the Indus river and on the way to the troubled areas of Kargil and Srinagar are the monasteries of Lamayuru, Alchi and Likir. Lamayuru and Likir are famous for their spectacular location. Alchi is renowned for having some of the finest artwork in the whole Buddhist world.

 

11th century frescoes (left and right) and colourful ceiling decoration (centre) in Alchi monastery

 

Alchi monastery, Ladakh

 

On our way to the monasteries. Moon landscape (left), Indus river (centre), Gasbo village (right)

 

Likir Gompa, Ladakh

 

Lamayuru gompa on top of the cliff (left), shoes scattered in front of the main prayer hall where we attended the puja or worship.

 

We are doing well !

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