Day 13: Leh
Leh Travel Blog› entry 14 of 26 › view all entries
The solidest joy of Leh is seeing its Palace from every angle and in every light; from below, as it stands in the full dazzle of the morning sun; from the side, in the afternoon from the roof of my hotel, as one of its sheer sides ignites slowly in the dark; from behind, on the road to Leh from Sankar, as it rears, ghostly in the moonlight, hardly distinguishable from the massy dark rock it is built on.
A Journey in Ladakh - Andrew Harvey
Yesterday's chang had been kind to me.
Weather had been dreadful again the past night and this morning it was raining again in Tak Tok.
Then it was time to say goodbye to the rest of the crew and after a series of handshakes and hugs we left this fine bunch behind, making our way back to Leh at . Passing the now familiar sights of Thiksey and Shey we arrived back at the Mountain Edge hotel 1,5 hours later. Tomorrow we would leave Ladakh and this was the last day to explore Leh, so after repacking some of our stuff we took a taxi to Ladakh's capital city one more time at one o' clock.
One place we hadn't visited yet was Leh's palace. The palace, overlooking Leh from a hill above the old town, was build in the 17th century resembling a mini version of Lhasa's Potala, the former residence of the Dalai Lama's. After the royal family had been banned to exile in Stok by the Kashmiri in the 19th century the palace had fallen in disuse and disrepair. Since it's mostly build from wood and mud bricks, time had not been kind on this nine story building.
After the tiring climb to the entrance we explored the ruined insides of the palace. Unlike others I fortunately knew what to expect: a vast collection of empty corridors, rooms and stairs, dark and damaged and some of them smelling of urine. It was a good thing I brought a flashlight because some corridors had dangerous holes in the ground. Only two rooms in the palace were actually used, one for an exhibition about restorations in the Jammu and Kashmir province and one nice prayer hall with statues of the Buddha and Avalokiteshvara.
Best thing about the whole palace is reaching its roof and being able to see all sides of the town from this amazing height. The roof of the gompa, the m
We spent the rest of the afternoon browsing around Leh's bookshop (so many wonderful books, so little space in my backpack!), Tibetan handicraft markets, relaxing with a coke and cappuccino (read: Nescafe with instant milk powder) and checking our e-mails in a cyber cafe. This specific one had its own power generator which was helpful since there was another power failure in Leh today.
We picked up our laundry at Dzomsa and joined the others that had gathered at Tashi's office at six o' clock to have dinner. We decided to settle for Il Forno's roof restaurant and after devouring our pasta's and pizza's we took the bus Tashi had arranged back to the hotel. Packing our last things and were in bed at . Tomorrow would be another very early day ...