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Entry from: Leh, India
Entry Title: "Day 2 & 3 - Nubra Valley"
"Next morning, we(kk, Ben and me) started at 5:30 towards the Tiksey Monastery. The reason for starting this early was to be able to make it in time for the 'Synchronous Chanting' that is a ritual in the monastery. We were getting used to the unbelievable beauty that was scattered so carelessly all around us and at the same time, more awed than ever. Tiksey is en route to the Leh-M****i highway and on the way, we saw the Shey Palace/Monastery but decided to visit it on the way back. We were at Tiksey (which is 15 KM from Leh) at around 6:30 AM but it was already so sunny. There was a chill in the air and absolutely no sound, except the birds chirping. White and red are the predominant colors in Buddhism and the monks wear red robes. We went into this dark prayer hall, where all the monks - old and young were seated in 4 rows. Tantric Buddhism is what is followed in Ladakh and I was just wishing I had read up more on Buddism before making this trip. It was so different from any other religion I have been exposed to. You see the Buddhist influence in everything in Ladakh, and yet it doesn't feel like a religion - it's truly a way of life (as any religion is supposed to be). The prayers follow a set ritual involving some quirky musical instruments. I, even, recorded a sound clip of the ongoing prayer.
After the prayer got over, we roamed around the monastery, clicking several pictures. We saw a famous 14 Ft. long Maitraya Statue. After having clicked our fill of pictures and videos, we started back towards Leh - stopping over at Shey briefly.
We reached Leh around 9:30 and after taking several copies of the our highly suspicious Permit and gulping down some breakfast, we went back to our Guest House to change and pack our stuff so we could check out of the guest house. At about 11:15, our Taxi was there to pick us up and we proceeded towards Nubra. To reach Nubra, you have to cross Khardung La (the highest motorable pass in the world). You have to negotiae hairpin bends and views of deep, scary gorges everywhere you go in Ladakh. Since this was our first real trip, we were quite awed by the experience. Of course, our driver only added to the scariness of the experience. He was a part-time driver, who was working with J&K police in Jammu. Everytime he needed to speak to me, he would simply turn back - while driving through those high mountains with the hairpin bends and scary gorges!! As we travelled higher up, we could feel the altitude. It was getting colder and we could feel the scarcity of oxygen. Already scared of my motion sickness, I was pretty sure I would throw up but Avomin saved the day for me. Thankfully, our permits didn't raise any suspicion at the check posts and we relaxed a bit. After four hours of travelling, we reached Khardung La. Clicking the usual snaps next to the famous board, we proceeded further. At Khardung La, we could of course see snow. It was kk's first time, so she was more excited about it, of course. But yes, to see snow in July (!!) and that too in various shapes is pretty exciting and more beautiful than seeing only a mountain completely covered with snow, in my opinion. The roads in this area were pretty bad, which was understandable since the snow would melt onto them almost all the time. After crossing Khardung La, the journey was all downhill and we could feel the warmth setting in. The snow was now, replaced with meadows and streams. We also saw some pretty interesting wildlife on the way - Yaks, Marmots and the Himalayan Blue Sheep (Bharal). We stopped over for Lunch at a lone hotel-cum-restaurant on the way. After lunch, we continued on our journey. The meadows were slowly replaced with rocky mountains and barren lands. There was a river, with dirty silver water, flowing through ..."
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Photos from this trip:
1. "On way to Tiksey"
2. "Monks going for prayers"
3. "Inside the prayer hall"
4. "Old Wall Paintings"
5. "View from Tiksey"
7. "Full View of Tiksey"
8. "Leh from the height"
9. "View of the glaciers from Khardung La"
10. "The famous sign board"
11. "Khardung La"
14. "Postcard view"
15. "A common bird"
16. "Thru the sand dunes"
17. "A typical sand dunes pic"
18. "Beautiful desert"
19. "Panamik - Tirisha Lake is be behind the hills"
20. "Tirisha Lake"
21. "A Cute Camel At Hundur"
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