YD has chalked out the plan for the day and after a sumptuous breakfast at Ladakh continental, we started our first journey together as a Junglelore group.
It was also the first intro to our cab driver : a sweet old chap, very caring and well versed with the mountain curves. He ensured we always reached our destination on time and in one piece.
With its range of mountains and clear blue sky, Ladakh has started unwinding its beautiful vista in front of our eyes.
Our first stop was Pather Sahab Gurudwara – a holy place for Sikhs with an interesting history. More here : http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Gurdwara_Pathar_Sahib
If you have ever visited a gurudwara, we cannot agree more that they are one of the most peaceful prayer centers on earth. And this one was no less. Right from the entrance, till we reached the main hall, the divine atmosphere soothed our senses. Now, thinking out aloud, may be the blessings were a reason we had an awesome trip , no one fell ill, nature was at its best, and we created some beautiful memories which are forever to remain.
There is a small flight of steps to take you to a view-point.
Further ahead, we encountered our first milestone. India’s NH1
Next was the confluence of Sindhu and Zansar rivers. A bit muddy which disappointed me , but at least the colors were distinct.
This site had the bridge I have been waiting for, from the time I watched Jab Tak hai Jaan.
A bit about BRO – Border Roads Organization. These folks are entrusted with maintenance of road infrastructure at Ladakh and they take their job pretty seriously. Deserve a word of appreciation for sure.
We finally reached the highlight of our trip: Lamayuru monastery. This is one of the largest and oldest in Ladakh. Picturesque and ancient in every way, this monastery introduced us to a Buddhist form of prayer – a low rhythmic drum beat , with regular chanting. A few glimpses of this place:
The prayer wheels. I was told not to rotate them in reverse direction, the mantras create a negative effect
She obliged me with a beautiful shot.
These are the residential quarters of Lamayuru monks.
Another distinct feature in Ladakh are these huge prayer wheels. You’ll find them near every monastery and even in the main market. As you rotate, an attached iron rod rings a bell, quite innovative.
Just a few km away, are the moonland , so-called due to their resemblance to the surface of the moon.
Winding roads and with lush green valleys are a common site at Ladakh.
With his keen eyes, our cabbie spotted a Barhal – mountain goat almost camouflaged in its surroundings.
It was noon and we were pretty hungry. YD took us to a famous highway joint. With a garden like ambiance and river flowing by, it was an ideal place to relax and rejuvenate. Thupka, momos, fresh lime for lunch and we were all charged up for the next part.
I guess I have already mentioned that Indian Army has a huge presence in Ladakh due to its close proximity to international borders. Hence its very important, that if mentioned, please refrain from shooting any locations which are categorized as restricted army areas. Hence, wherever permitted, I tried to capture as much as possible.
Alchi was not in the itinerary but SB had mentioned it once and was delighted when YD instructed the cabbie to take us there.
A small village on lowlands, it houses probably the oldest monastery in Ladakh. A distinct feature of these are wooden carvings, intricate wall paintings and huge Buddha statues.
The walk till the main monastery is an experience in itself.
En route, there were a series of stupas and bridges, which emphasize the diversity Ladkah holds – it has retained its tradition, yet adapted to changing times with grace .
The last photoshoot was at Magnetic Hill – a place believed to have magnetic effect on : check for yourself.
We did too. It’s hard to defy the magnetic, charismatic nature of Ladakh. With each passing day, we were getting attracted towards it beauty, peace and spontaneity. How about you ??