The Treasure I found in Ladakh

Continuing my journey in Ladakh ( please read Ladakh – A bucket list destination ( Day 1) Pangong Tso,  , The Mysterious Nubra Valley ).

After spending a night in Nubra Valley without a TV and cell phone or electricity I was quite rejuvenated. I witnessed a beautiful sunrise and clicked some nice pictures before heading towards Diskit Gompa.

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A view of Maitreya Buddha at sunrise
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View After sunrise
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Outside my resort
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Panorama of Nubra Valley
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Beautiful property of Desert Himalaya
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Sunrise in Diskit
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Another shot of first rays of sun hitting Nubra Valley
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After the sun was up
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On my way to Monastery

I  got to know that His Holiness Dalai Lama was inside the Gompa and hence vehicles weren’t allowed towards the Monastery. So I did a short trek to the Monastery and headed towards the statue.

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Police personal enjoying the view
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First glimpse of Buddha Statue
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View of the statue from Monastery
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Diskit Monastery
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CRPF Personal guarding the way
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The monk I met on the way

On reaching the top I found out that few people were still waiting for Dalai Lama to come out. So I also decided to wait for a while. The wait was a blessing as His Holiness’s vehicles crossed the same place. I tried to shoot a small video, but couldn’t capture him. So I was a little disappointed. The whole village went to attend the spiritual discourse of Dalai Lama.  I decided to spend some time at the Statue.

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View of Monastery from Buddha Statue

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I spent some time admiring the magnanimous statue which is definitely state of the art. Around 106 feet high and colorful, it gives a feeling that the Buddha will come alive and stand up anytime.

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Maitreya Buddha Statue
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Maitreya Buddha Statue
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Maitreya Buddha Statue front side 
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The foot of the Statue
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View of Statue from Monastery

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Also, the panoramic views of the valley were magnificent from the statute.

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Valley view from Buddha Point

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There was no one except me for 30 min on the highest spot of the town. It was a feeling I cannot explain in words.

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Inside Monastery
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Inside Monastery

After breakfast, I headed towards Panamik, another wonder of GOD – Hot spring in the Cold desert.

To be honest, it was not one of the best places of what I had already witnessed in 4 days and I got to know that very few people visit this place and if they do it is mainly for medicinal properties of the spring water. The views from the spot were good, but I think I had seen better through the journey.

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Cold Desert
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On my way to Panamik
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View from Panamik
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View from Panamik
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View from Panamik

On my way back I stopped at a Yarab Tso Lake.  The location of the lake was very interesting – let me try to describe why – The valley is surrounded by big mountains from all sides. In the middle of the valley there is a small hill or a couple of hills and inside those hills lies this lake. The lake itself was not so fascinating, but the walk to it was kind of mysterious. First I could spot a big hole in one of the mountains, there is a myth that “The Aliens” reside there and no one wants to talk about it. Second, there were lots and lots of prayer stones arranged all along the path, but I could hardly see any local till a long distance.

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Prayer Stones
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The Alien Cave
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The front of the cave
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Yarab Tso

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The Lake

While I was returning back, I stopped at the town Sumoor as I got to know that His Holiness is supposed to visit here shortly. I felt like now I may get a chance to shoot his pictures with my camera.

So I took a break and spent some time with the local crowd which had gathered to pay a visit to Dalai Lama. This was where I found that the biggest treasure of Ladkah – is its local people.  They are the biggest asset of Ladakh is its people who lead a simple honest life in one of the toughest terrains, some of them in their 90s but hail and hearty. The locals here do farming only for 5 to 6 months. Most of them have pits inside there house where they dump the vegetables for the tough winter season to keep them warm and take them out as they need. In such hardships, the people here have managed to keep maintain their cultural heritage, are known for their simplicity and honesty  The interaction with them was great and they happily shared their stories with me and also posed for the pictures and I can easily say they were one of my best models.

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People Flocking to see Dalai Lama
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Cute little Lama
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94-year-old Lady
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She and her friend were waiting outside for Dalai Lama

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I named her – The lady with the holy smoke
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89-year-old Man
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75-year-old woman waiting for Dalai Lama

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The 94-year-old woman

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She is 89, can’t stand straight, but was happy to pose
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Ladaki girl playing with her friends
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94-year-old man
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The leaders of Sumoor Village
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Local Crowd gathering – Wait for Dalai Lama

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How I Count my prayers
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Another old woman, waiting to see Dalai Lama
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School kids waiting to welcome Dalai Lama

My luck shined second time in the day and this time I could shoot a small video of His Holiness Dalai Lama greeting and blessing the crowd from his vehicle.

 

I didn’t explore Siachen or Turtuk, but I believe they can be a day trip from Nubra Valley just in case you have one extra day at Nubra.

I spent a less rainy night, witnessed the beautiful sunset and an early moon in the beautiful colors of the sky.

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Sunset at Diskit
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The moon is a little early 🙂

Next morning, I headed back to Ladakh to catch my flight. This ended my awesome 5 days in Ladakh, with the memories still itched in.

Best time to visit: June, July, and August as tourist months. September and October for real travelers.

For a complete Itinerary – what to do and what to take care of: please visit my previous blogs on Ladakh. You can also write to me and I would be glad to help with any info I can.

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