Tso Moriri is beautiful. As simple as that.
28 August 2018.
With big skies and surrounded by snow capped mountains, it's also very photogenic - and dusty!
Most of the people who live here are nomads and have the leathery skin of people who exist in intense sunlight and some of the highest habitable parts of the world. The cremation of the Korzok Rinpoche took place yesterday, most people have left town but the village is still full of energy; a couple of Rinpoches have stayed overnight, one is staying in the room above us and in the morning is giving blessings to long queues.
We join a short queue. I'm about a foot and a half taller than most of the nomad women in the queue. The Rinpoche is a beautifully spoken man, he wants to know where we’re from - UK - “London, I go there often, we have a centre there, I hope you enjoy your stay in Ladakh”. A yellow thread is tied around our wrist. Tsering is given special small black round seeds.
Later in the day another Rinpoche gives a teaching to large numbers assembled in the monastery courtyard and the event finishes with another round of blessings. Our heads are touched with a peacock feather fan and a small stupa, water is poured into our hands and a red thread is tied around our wrists.
The Rinpoche departs as Ladakhi ladies in the turquoise peraks carry vases of flowers and monks play the discordant music of galungs.
On a small platform cut into the hillside above the monastery the Rinpoche has been cremated, his ashes contained in a newly built stupa. The local people and the nomads make their way there to pay their respects. His mother is also there, spending time alone with her son.
Fading light signals the end of the day, Padmasambhava gazes out over the lake.
The following day we will make the long drive back to Leh. It’s harvest time and horses are proving hard to find so we have to abandon our plans to trek to Zanskar. Instead we will drive to the village of Kanji and start a 7 or 8 day trek to the high altitude glaciers and mountains of Chomotang. It could be cold. It could also be spectacular!
Now it's goodbye to Tso Moriri.