Leh Trip N ALTO …. Yup!! — Part III


Leh is set amongst dramatic surroundings: in a fertile side valley of the Indus River and rigned by high mountains of the Stok and Ladakh range in the East & West. Leh has a character unique to itself; old world charm at its best – friendly, hospitable yet mindful of its dignity and culture.

Leh @ Night (View from our Guest House's window)

Leh @ Night (View from our Guest House's window)

Prayer Stones

Prayer Stones

Day 4 : Reaching Leh

After descending the gorge for several miles, we last opened out the broad valley of Indus, up which our road was to lie for the rest of the journey to Leh, and we saw for the first time that mighty river, even here of considerable volume, swollen and discoloured with melting snows of regions of Tibet.

Welcome to Leh

Welcome to Leh

Here two spurs of the mountain range to the north of the Indus open out, leaving a great sand plain between them. At the head of this plain, about five miles from the Indus and at the point where the hills approach again to form a narrow valley, stands the city of Leh, surrounded by cultivated fields, groves of lofty poplars and other trees.

We reached Leh late evening around 3. 30pm and checked into Oriental Guest House, This is a highly recommended place to stay in Leh – the owner/family, Phunchok/Dawa Tsering, being an extremely hospitable host with a wealth of information on the region. We stayed at this place for 4 days (it was our base while we visited the nearby Khardungla Pass and Chan La). My friend Phunchok also organised permits for all the destinations we planned to visit.

Oriental Guesthouse - Dining Area

Oriental Guesthouse - Dining Area

Day 5 : Leh’d Around

Spent the day planning our itinerary and pottering around Leh. We also took our Car to Maruti Authorised Service Centre in Leh, asked them to check everything silencer etc etc.. Aaha!! Nothing serious jus 2 dents (we got one a Zozi La and another one at Hanniskoti), then shopped a bit and generally relaxed. We went up to the Shanti Stupa from where the view of Leh and the mountains was simply stupendous.

Shanti Stupa II

Shanti Stupa II

View from Shanti Stupa

View from Shanti Stupa


Donkey Sanctury

Yes, you heard it right, On our way to Shanti Stupa, we noticed this small board and got curious to see what it is all about

Way to Donkey Sanctuary

Way to Donkey Sanctuary

We decided to follow my curiosity, but it only led us to a series of more signs till I nearly out of town. We were beginning to wonder if someone was making us fool (read Donkey).. but no there we were at a real “Donkey Sanctuary” and primarily providing shelter, food to those who are not capable of any work, due to old age or disabilities, and have been abandoned by their owners.

Donkey Sanctury Message Board

Donkey Sanctury Message Board

Anyway we moved back to main street and as planned paid a visit to Famous Leh Palace, built by King Singe Namgyal in 17th Century. The Palace is nine storeys high. The upper floors accommodated the royal family, while the stables and store rooms were located in the lower floors. We also saw “World’s Highest Polo Ground” clearly visible from the Leh Palace.

Leh Palace

Leh Palace

Statue inside the Palace (Photo Quality... No flash allowed in very Dark Room)

Statue inside the Palace (Photo Quality... No flash allowed in very Dark Room)

World's Highest Polo Ground at Leh

World's Highest Polo Ground at Leh

Above the Palace, on the top of the Namgyal Tsemo Hill, stands the ancient Leh Fort built in early sixteenth century.

Leh Fort

Leh Fort


Shey Palace & Gompa

Gompa is the term in Ladakhi for “Temple” and there are countless Gompas around (or in little distance) from Leh. So we decided to visit “Shey” Palace and Gompa on this day. These Gompas belong to different sects of Tibetan Buddhism. Located on the road, 15km from Leh , Shey was our pick of the day. This was built in 1655 and above it there is even older and ruined fortress.

Shey Palace View

Shey Palace View

There was 12m high Budhha statue in the Gompa, made of copper glided with gold and was the largest of its kind in Ladakh.

Bhudhha @ Shey Gompa

Bhudhha @ Shey Gompa

There were exquisite fresco all around the wall but getting damaged by water

Wall @ Shey Gompa

Wall @ Shey Gompa

And for perfect end we paid a short visit to Thiskey Gompa..

Thiksey Gompa

Thiksey Gompa

11 Comments

  • Onil Gandhi says:

    wow. gr8 ghumakkaring

  • Ram Dhall says:

    Your brilliant write ups will be of a great help to the first timers.

    Reading the post, all through I had a feeling of being a part of the entourage.

    Shall await your next post.

  • travellers says:

    Hi Shalini,

    Keep going. Its fantastic.

    Auro.

  • Mahesh Semwal says:

    Dear Shalini,

    Very informative write -up supported with beautiful pictures. The first picture is awesome. Good to know about the donkey sanctuary.

    Any detail about the prayer stone?

    • SKoli says:

      Thanks Mahesh, Those are like small stone dolmens (about 20-30 cm tall), with a pile on white stones on top. They are some sort of religious offering that the local call “Mandas”. There were several all around Ladakh Region especially near Gompa, Stupa…

  • nandanjha says:

    Brilliant pictures.

    So from this route, what would you advise in terms of stops. My constraint is that I do not drive at night, prefer a early morning start and call quits when it starts to get too dark, say by 8 PM odd.

    • SKoli says:

      Hi, Except our starting drive i.e. Gurgaon to Kud done on 23/24 June 10 all other drive in day light only.

      Our stops were …. KUD, Sonmarg, Mulbek while going to Leh…
      Drass & Katra while coming back…

      We have spotted enough J&K Bunglow in the way to Leh from Srinagar and can be acquired any time.

  • munnabhai says:

    Thank you very much for this wonderful article, superb incredible photos and factual narratives. Thanks Shalini.
    Now i feel lucky I subscribed to ghummakkar.com

  • JS says:

    Really appreciate the Photograph , must be from a SLR

  • gautamadhikari says:

    mam … even we friends are making a plan to leh… can you please give us a brief about the no. of days you planed n no. of break according to the days (where n when you took your 1st break n on)

    kindly help

    thanks

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