Leh Trip N ALTO …. Yup!! — Part II

PART I : Leh Trip N ALTO …. Yup!! — Part I

All this part of the country is higher than the Zozila, the valley of Kharbu being nearly 12,000 feet above the sea, and Lamayuru 11,520.

Colorful Landscape....
Colorful Landscape….

Day 4 : Namik La Pass

The sky was clear in the morning but it was colder when we started our juorney further from after spending a night at Mulbekh. Here onwards we noticed a dramatic change in the Landscaps with the lush green fertile fields giving way to barren countryside. It was a scene from another century. The field was flat and brown with the snowy mountains in the background. Namik La was a small pass at a not so high altitude, Beyond Namik La the roads were shade better, but still enough to break one’s back if they are not careful.

Barren Landscape I

Barren Landscape I

Lill Alto @ Namik La 12800 Ft

Lill Alto @ Namik La 12800 Ft

Namik La @ 12800 Ft

Namik La @ 12800 Ft

Day 4 : Fotu La Pass

Climbing steadily, we crossed the Namikala Pass and then the Fotula Pass at 13479 ft.. The climb has been steady but steep, and this is the highest we have been so far. The scene from here was very wild. On either side of us towered rocky peaks wrapt in cluods and we looked through this gap in the mountains over an immense sea of high, snowy domes and streches of bare yellow earth, but not a tree, nor a blade of grass.

Lill Alto @ Fotu La

Lill Alto @ Fotu La

Jalebi Loops at Fotula

Jalebi Loops at Fotula

The ride is another jaw dropper, gradually climbing higher and higher, hugging the mountain side on narrow roads. No guard rails and often I see nothing but a roadless space out my side of the car with the ice cold river far below. At one point we round a turn and are confronted with a stalled truck smack in the middle of the road making it impossible to get around him. On the one side is the mountain and on the other a shear drop off to you know where.

Hum Na Juda Honge... : )

Hum Na Juda Honge... : )

Ye Kahan AA Gaya Hum .... Lill Alto Feeling

Ye Kahan AA Gaya Hum .... Lill Alto Feeling

Day 4 : Lamayuru — The Moonwalk

At the farther end of the valley, just before it narrowed again into a gorge, we saw the village of Lamayuru on a steep, bare hillside, with its gompa crowing the crags above. But what made this view so very striking, was Lamayuru sitting high on the side of an eroded crag a good ways up the mountain side. We pass through what I would describe as a fantasy land, or a land of hobbits, another type of moonscape. It is different from anything I have seen in Ladakh or anywhere in India.

Moonwalk III

Moonwalk III

Lamayuru has the distinction of being the oldest known gompa in Ladakh, probably built sometime in the 10th century and was once a safehaven for criminals. Once they made it here they were welcomed and protected by the monks. Not a bad deal! Thus its former name, Tharpa Ling or ‘Place of Free4dom.’ The fantasy land we passed just below the monastery was likely once a large lake. One theory is that it was created by a glacial dam.

Lamayuru Gompa - View from the Top

Lamayuru Gompa - View from the Top

From a distance it is a different color from the surrounding landscape, a creamy color, and has been eroded over time which gives it a moonscape, fantasy land appearance. Parts of the monastery itself, built into the side of the mountainous crag, have the appearance of a fantasy land with rooms carved out of the rock and walkways weaving in and out of the hill, disappearing here and reappearing there.

Moonwalk I

Moonwalk I

Moonwalk II

Moonwalk II

The views are breathtaking from the rooftop. As I look across at the mountain on the other side of the gorge, I see quite a few mountain goats making their way to a higher elevation. From here they appear as specks and move slowly but I get a better view through my zoom lens.

Lamayuru Gompa I

Lamayuru Gompa I

http://picasaweb.google.com/109322041121313048099/500D?authkey=Gv1sRgCNT1qYz7qq6DyQE#

5 Comments

  • Shobhit Kumar says:

    Real good pics there….
    looks like you people had good fun….
    trip of a life time….
    Enjoy

  • Sushant says:

    Simply WOW !

  • Teena says:

    Hi Shalini,

    Not only the pics, i like the way its presented and narrated:-D

  • nandanjha says:

    Just 3 comments ???. I guess this story came up too soon :-)

    Let me read part 3 before I ask few questions around
    – How many days one should plan for this route to reach Leh

    that moonscpe pic is of land, right ? It actually looks like a fantasy land.

  • ajay15111968 says:

    Dear Friends,
    We (Me and my wife 40/34) going to Leh from Delhi by car, We are searching another Couple for the same. We are going to start on 08/08/2012 night to Kashmir Kargil Leh Keylong Manali _ Delhi 17th morning we can come back.
    If interested do massage us.” ajay15111968@rediffmail.com

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