Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Leh, Ladakh, India 2007

Tsemo Gompa perched above the hills of Leh.

Leh is the capital of Ladakh, located up in the remote area of Jammu and Kashmir, India at 11,500ft. It spreads itself out from Shey Palace, loads of mud-brick housing and concrete buildings out towards the Indus river and the irrigated farm land that resides beside it.
It has a huge military presence due to its location within Kashmir and the position of the Line of Control and China. I say it is remote because the road is only open a few months out of the year and flying there can be difficult to not possible in the winter. During the winter it is mostly the military and their families who are a mainstay of the locals, as tourists hardly ever come.
I had the opportunity to drive there and fly out this year, and both where quite exciting. It is a great place because besides the military there is a huge Buddhist contingent, with the Dali Lama living here off and on throughout the year.
Ladakh was originally opened to foreign tourists back in 1974,. not that long ago and now as I found out reading The Times of India they are about to do a trek on the Siachen Glacier, the second largest glacier in the Karakorm, with civilians, formerly the worlds highest battlefield.

Gompa in the hills near Leh.

Monk looking down on the visitors at the Tikse Gompa.

Candle from the inside of Tsemo Gompa.
Tikse Gompa in the morning sun.

Leh itself has lots of options of things to do. From going to the Nubra valley over the worlds highest motor able pass at 18320ft, heading up to and visiting multipule gompas and stupas, to going rafting on the Indus or Zanskar rivers, or you can go walking to some amazing valleys. If none of that interests you there are a multitude of restaurants, cafes, and shops to spend time at while relaxing at in town.

At the top of Khardung La on the Water by Nature trip. And yes it was snowing.

Young monk at Hemis Gompa.
One of the many Stupas around Leh.

Shanti Stupa, Leh.
Prayer flags overlooking, Leh.

The boys cooking dinner.

Prayer flags dancing in the wind.

Photos by David Prothero.


Anonymous said...

Dear David, Thanks for sharing these wonderful photos and script with all. We are truly lucky to have you sharing these experiences with us. Thanks Love Mom and Dad

tijoe said...

Hey David...Are U Ted's brother? If so contact me please