Day 3 in Leh began early in the morning, when we left the town to visit the picturesque town of Alchi, which hosts one of the oldest Buddhist monastery in the region.
Around 60 Kms from Leh, the journey to the small sleepy mountainous village is through one of the most breathtaking views of the valley. Long roads through miles of brown and barren mountains, stretches of treeless stony cliffs, and tiny village hamlets.
The road will take you past the Pattharsahib Gurudwara, a pristine gurudwara (temple of the people from the Sikh community) set in the hills and managed by the volunteers of the Indian defence forces. If you are in the mood to enjoy your journey, I suggest that you stop for a few minutes at the temple, and enjoy the connect with your spiritual self. The lovely calm of the place,a quick bow to the Guru, or remembering your God, and eating the Prasad of boondi (a dry Indian sweet) and hot tea, will all make you appreciate the local culture, and make you proud of our defence forces.
Stop on your way to Alchi at the Magnetic Hill, where the sheer brilliant landscape will make it look like your car is being pulled upwards in the hills, even when you have the gear stick on neutral. Don’t worry, it’s not something bizarre happening of nature, but just an optical illusion of your eyes. But the stopover will be good for you, will allow you to appreciate the wonder of Mother Nature.
Probably the most memorable view of the journey will be at the confluence of mighty Indus River and its tributary, Zanskaar. The view of the blue water of Zanskaar pouring into the grey water of Indus is breathtaking. I always make it a point to stop and enjoy the view whenever I travel that way.
The last stop on the way was Alchi Monastery, a place which dates back as early as tenth or eleventh century AD, an old heritage building with stone walls, and wooden floors, with dark prayer halls and amazingly lovely painted murals, a virtual treasure trove even for the uninitiated. The season was perfect for the apricot flowers that bloomed almost at every corner of the place.
While coming back to Leh, don’t forget to stop over at the Hall of Fame museum maintained by Indian Army. It’s a place to get back your sense of patriotism and a sense of pride in your country’s forces, a time to sit back and pay a silent tribute to the numerous heroes who gave their lives so that you can sleep at night. The place makes my eyes tears, and makes me hold my head in pride, and I feel no visit to Leh is complete without a trip to the museum. I guess, I owe it to my country.