“You cannot travel the path until you have become the path itself.”- Buddhist saying.
Day two in Ladakh is great for local sightseeing. Conserving your energy for the more rigorous terrains often works good for you.
We had our travel inside Ladakh planned with an extremely enterprising young travel entrepreneur, Tundup Nurboo, who is also known as Siddharth, and manages his own adventure travel business, Ladakh Calling.
It was just a stroke of luck we had ran into him, and with his expert knowledge, we had drafted an itinerary that will suit our travel group of four adults and two children, with the youngest one being only six years old. We are a group who are a little fonder of our creature comforts, and taking the tough treks, really don’t go down very well at least with me, although my husband dear had different opinions. So we had decided to take it easy.
I am quite fascinated by Buddhist lifestyle, so our first stop was the historical Hemis Gompa (monastery) located in Hemis, around 40km away from Leh town.
Tucked away in the serene Himalayas, the monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in the area, dating back to 11th century. Located amidst picture perfect majestic mountains, this place always makes me feel at peace, one with the world. In early April, the museum and the souvenir shop of the monastery were closed, but what I took away from there was much more than mere baubles, I took away memories, and a sense of contentment.
Our next stop was the glorious Thiksey Gompa. Located 19kms away from Leh, the monastery resembles Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. Situated in the Indus Valley, the monastery is a delight for photographers, for the first glimpse of it, rising out of the mountain wall, will take your breath away.
At 11,800ft, the monastery is spread over 12 floors, and hosts a number of stupas (a semi spherical structure which hosts ashes of Buddhist monks), statues, thangkas (paintings on silk), wall paintings and swords, as well as an ancient library. But the most breathtaking sight was that of a huge statue of Buddha as Maitreya.
I am not a religious person, but Thiksey will always be one of the places where I felt the greatness of the One, where your head automatically bows down to the Master, looking at the wonder He has created all around this place.