Return to Ladakh.
16 July 2019. I've written many posts about Ladakh and Zanskar, our favourite Buddhist areas of northern India; this post is partly to act as an index page to tie together some of the previous posts. To find more use the search query.
Our plan this time is to make a short trek but also to visit some smaller monasteries and nunneries as well as travelling out to Hanle, the site of a large ancient monastery and Indian's Astronomical Observatory. It's in the Changtang, a high altitude plateau, a place of beautiful empty landscape, bitterly cold winters and nomads. Only 12km from the border with Tibet/China. I've always been drawn to the edge of the map but this is the first year we've been able to get permits.
Hanle ranks among the places with the lowest light pollution on the planet and we're hoping for spectacular views of the night sky and The Milky Way. Fingers crossed. We'll spend the first few days with our friend Tsering Dolma and her family close to Choglomsar near Leh, the site of the Tibetan refugees settlement and the Dalai Lama's residence when he visits Ladakh. Tsering is on summer vacation from her Masters degree in Chandigarh.
In the last three years Tsering's been with us on our stepwell expeditions in Rajasthan and Gujarat, she's been a wonderful companion, translator and scourge of restaurants and hotels giving bad service! You can see one of her photographs of the Bhawaldi Baoli stepwell in Bundi here.
On the map, Leh is marked with a pointer, Srinagar and Kashmir are on the far left; Tuolin temple, over the border in Tibet, on the lower right, is as far west as we could get in our trip to Far Western Tibet in 2014; Hanle is middle right near the dotted lines that are the disputed border between India and China. China is changing all the place names in Tibet from Tibetan to Chinese and we know Tuolin as Tholing, it's the site of the 11th century revival of Buddhism in Western Tibet and one reason for our trip to Tibet.
Last year we trekked to Chomotang with our wonderful guide Stanzin who you'll see in many of our photographs. Read the blogs Descending from the High Pass and Getting High in Ladakh.
In the same year an earlier blog Journey to Ladakh is the photo journal of the flight over the Greater Himalayas to the landing at Leh airport. The strange pattern in the lower right is an unfinished mandala cut into the earth.
Return to Ladakh and the Gomang Stupa is also from 2018 and is mostly photos from Leh and one of my favourite stupas hidden in the backstreets of Leh.
The Salt Lakes of Ladakh and Tso Moriri and Korzok follow the drive from Leh to Tso Kar and on towards Tso Moriri. We happen to be at Korzok for the commemoration of the Korzok Rinpoche who was killed in a car crash earlier in the year while driving over the Rohtung La from Manali. The monastery is filled with hundreds of the nomadic people of this region.
We plan to go further east this year, past the salt lakes on our drive to Hanle.
In 2017 we acclimatised at another lake, Pangong Tso. On the map at the top of the page Pangong Tso can be seen extending on both sides of the border between India and Tibet/China. There are spectacular photos in the blog Silk Road: Pangong Tso and Changtang.