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Gompas and stupas

Leh Travel Blog

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Hemis Monastery

Everyone talks about seeing the gompas and stupas in Leh and its environs, but I confess I had to look up both words.  And I bet other people either won’t admit they don’t know what these words mean or don’t bother looking them up.  So to make it easier for you, a gompa is a Tibetan monastery, and a stupa is a Tibetan Buddhist monument that’s mound- or dome-shaped.

 

Anita and I hired a car and driver to take us to a few gompas of his choice, since we didn’t have a clue where to go.  Unfortunately much of the drive covered the same territory as the bus ride from Manali to Leh, so the scenery wasn’t new.  But were were in a jeep, so much more comfy than the bus.  We saw the Hemis Monastery, known (I think) for having the largest number of Tibetan monks in India, somewhere around 300.

Hemis Monastery
  But it was a smaller one, the Thiksey Monastery, which blew me away.  The views were spectacular, and the place had a palpable sense of calm and peace.  We wandered around and saw a few young monks.  One in particular, probably about five or six years old, with a shaved head and red robes, was so adorable.  I missed it, but Anita noticed that he wore slippers with cartoon characters on them.  He may be a monk in training, but he’s still a kid.  Too cute.  The trip ended with a visit to the Shey Palace, a tough hike up but worth it.

 

Every monastery has prayer wheels, usually lots of small ones and one or two large ones.  They’re all over Leh, too, in what seem to be random places.  The wheels have prayers inside them, and spinning them clockwise has the same effect as orally reciting the prayers.  I love the sentiment.

 

Our time with the driver was supposed to be four hours, but it last nearly six door to door.  The driver was very relaxed about it, and we weren’t charged anything extra as we would be in the US.  I forgot: Time just has a whole different meaning in India.  It's simulataneously one of the things that frustrates me about India and also something I'll miss when I'm back in the US.

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Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Hemis Monastery
Anita and I had lunch at the monas…
Anita and I had lunch at the mona…
Approaching Thiksey Monastery
Approaching Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
The view of Leh from Thiksey Monas…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Mona…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Monas…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Mona…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Monas…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Mona…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Monas…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Mona…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Monas…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Mona…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Monas…
The view of Leh from Thiksey Mona…
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
This little boy is a monk in train…
This little boy is a monk in trai…
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Prayer wheels (and Anita) at Thiks…
Prayer wheels (and Anita) at Thik…
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
This Buddha statue is enormous, an…
This Buddha statue is enormous, a…
These candles are actually made of…
These candles are actually made o…
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery
Shey Palace
Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
The view of Leh from Shey Palace
Shey Palace
Shey Palace
A stupa outside Shey Palace
A stupa outside Shey Palace
Leh
photo by: anupa_rk