Ladakh: Land of enchanting beauty

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“Although I deeply love oceans, deserts and other wild landscapes, it is only mountains that beckon me with that sort of painful magnetic pull to walk deeper and deeper into their beauty. They keep me continuously wanting to know more, feel more, see more.” - Victoria Erickson

Call it, "Land of Lamas" or "Land of high passes" or "Land of culture", or whatever you want, but sure this is one of the best place of the world to experience the beautiful landscapes as well as Buddhism culture in one go.

And finally Ladakh's beauty called us too.

The early morning flight from New Delhi was the perfect choice, as the view from the window seat was awesome. The vast Krakoram range of Himalaya wrapped in white blanket of snow is waving you and trying his best to hug you. The Sun rays suddenly comes out and changes the whole environment. It seems like someone is painting on huge white canavas with golden color.

We reached early in the morning as this complete day is reserved for acclimatisation only. (If you are travelling by air be sure to spare minimum one complete day for your acclimatisation, otherwise really you are going to miss the enchanting beauty of  Ladakh.) After taking a light breakfast we packed ourselve in the hotel room. In the evening we hired Royal Enfield 350cc and started roaming and exploring the Leh city & visited Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace & Shanker Gompa. 

Shanti Stupa:
The white-domed stupa on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh, is one of the most popular tourist attraction of Ladakh, not only due to its religious significance but due to the mesmerising panoramic view of the surrounding landscapes from the top of the stupa.

Built as a two level structure to promote world peace and prosperity and to celebrate the 2500 years of Buddhism, is able to spellbound every nature lover. The first level features the central relief of Dharamachakra. A central golden Buddha sits on a raised platform depicting the "Turning wheel of Dharma". The second level has reliefs depicting Birth of Buddha, Death of Buddha (Mahanirvana) and Buddha defeating the devils while meditating. 

Early in the next morning we were feeling more energised and ready to explore. We headed towards west crossing confluence of Indus-Zanskar at Nimmo, Gompa of Alchi and finally we reach Lamayuru Monastary.

Lamayuru Monastary:

Yungdrung Tharpaling Monastary, today known as Lamayuru, is the most ancient monastary of Ladakh. Ancient legend says that the region where Yungdrung Tharpaling is situated today, was under a big lake at the time of Buddha Shakyamuni. The lake is said to having home to many Nagas (holy serpents). It is said that the when Arahat Madhyantika visited the lake at Lamayuru and made water offerings to the Nagas, suddenly crack made into the ground of the lake and water started leaking out. Then he pronounced prophecy that in the future, this place will flourish the teachings of Tantra and Sutra. 

Thereafter Mahasiddha Naropa(1016-1100) visited the place and spent a long time in a cave there and turned this place into a sacred land. The cave still exists, well preserved and forms part of the main shrine of Lamayuru Monastary.

During the 16th century, when Denma Kunga Drakpa first visited Lamayuru, he saw the cave of Naropa and the grains of barley had used in his water as offering, suddenly this barley sprout in the forms of Swashtika. Considering such blessings the land had recieved, he established a monastary and named is Yungdrung. The king of Ladakh and the ruler of Balti put down the law that even the cruelest criminal will escape execution, if he personally visits to Yungdrung Tharpaling before judgement day. Therefore the monastary was also named "Tharpaling"-The Land of Liberations.

It is said that even when the Kashmiri Tambi Malik invaded, he ruled that Lamayuru will be tax exempted and no bullet sound was allowed in this sacred land. 

Due to significance of this sacred land this Lamayuru Monastary enjoyed a special autonomy, no other monastary in Ladakh had.

After spending our good times on this sacred land, we headed back to Leh having stopover at Nimmo to see the beautiful confluence of Indus-Zanskar, then tested the magnetic effects at Magnetic hill and finally saluated the  great warriors of Indian Army at Hall of fame. 

Though it was just the first day of our bike tour, we were exhausted by evening but the sacredness of Lamayuru wiped out all of our tiredness and the memory of beautiful landsacpes twinkeled our eyes.

To be continued.......

Stay tuned with दो - घुमक्कड़ more Photo Stories on this Enchanting Ladakh coming soon and you can also Write Us for more Serene Photographs & Stories from this Moon Land.

Happy Travelling!!

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