Buddhism and the Himalayas in Leh
Leh Travel Blog› entry 15 of 26 › view all entries
Leh was a welcome stop after the long bus ride of two days to get there! The air was crisp and cool - as it was so high an altitude - but at the same time the sun was closer than ever and hot! At arrival I walked with some of the travellers I'd met to a nice guesthouse up a peaceful lane in the northern part of the town. The bed was white and clean for once - with a spotless bathroom and western toilet. For three pounds a night that was actually a bit pricey but no problem really. We met for dinner - but the lonely planet recommended restaurant was closed (which happened every time we tried to meet at one) and so we ate elsewhere. It was nice to be in a group of travellers - even if we were all quite different. There was a German guy about 25, two finnish young travellers, a guy from norway and a kiwi guy who had been in London before going home through India. Always an interesting mix!
Slept well in my big bed but the pillow was pretty hard! Wandered through the town all day the next day - which was so different with the types of faces! More like Nepali and Tibetan mountain folk - certainly not indian! So India varies yet again... This part is right next to the former Tibet - so many exiles live here. The shops were brimming but the shokeepers were pretty relaxed. I was right at the end of season so some thigns werent even open. The streets were lined with multi-coloured prayer flags - yet another sign of the differing religious practices in India. This was the first Buddhist part I had seen - and the beautiful large apinning prayer wheels you walk around in a clockwise direction - making them spin - were an unknown delight to see. I walked around looking at the Gompas - the Buddhist shrines I think - and the Palace right on the hill above the town. I also did the difficult climb of steps to reach a Gompa really high above the town - which at such a high altitude is not easy with the lack of oxygen! Luckily I had been acclimatising the past few days anyway so was ok. It was pretty chilly and late in the day at the top - so i looked at the view and the little Gompa - which was lit with tacky little kitche coloured fairy lights and spinning gold and coloured shiny memorabilie for Buddha - giving it a super kitcsh charm! Walked up onto the Stupa - a large round monument you walk around in a clockwise direction with murals and painting of Buddha on it. I sat and did a bad scetch of Buddha until I was too cold and walked back down the many steps. Much easier than going up there!
The food here didnt really agree with me - and i think it was something to do with the oil in it. but it was sickly sweet so i tried to eat but gave up. hadnt eatne much here and i kept feeling slightly sick. decided to head home for a week and see what was up there - sort out my bamking - see the family and emilio and also see Villalobos at Fabric... heh. Was a mission booking the flight what with the rules on using foreign credit cards - the increasing prices by the minute - credit card rejections - power cuts contantly in the mountains - and slow connection speed but eventually i was going home the next day when i arrived in delhi. mad.
had a nice dinner with the travellers i met and a last look at this lovely little haven in the mountains. Was so beautiful flying over the himilayas that morning. stunning landscapes. Will add the pictures in time!
Would love to come back here with a group and do some trekking - from here to Nepal. Would be lovely! Any takers? x