Holiday Scout posted on 04 September 2016A Photographer’s Dream
Most of Ladakh lies at an altitude above 3000 meters. Ancient mountains made of granite and deep sea sediment display a striped and surrealistic coloring which, in the absence of forest, is amplified against a dark blue cobalt sky. Deep-hued lakes sparkle like jewels in the arid desert and sinuous rivers flow through craggy gorges, punctuated occasionally by the small green oasis of a village. All this forms a stunning backdrop against which the enchanting faces, dwellings and monasteries of the region are presented, images beckoning to be captured.
A Gateway to Outdoor Adventure
Fed by snow melt from the lofty Tibetan plateau, the mighty Zanskar River unites with the Indus in a dramatic gorge near Nimmu Village in Ladakh. Offering class 3 rapids and views of a canyon lined with rippling layers of rock that formed during the uplift of the Himalayas, a rafting expedition here is a must-try activity. For those geared up to the fitness level required for trekking, Ladakh has many routes that provide spectacular views on their way past tiny hamlets and remote Gompas.
A Showcase for Tibetan Buddhist Art & Architecture
The proximity and influence of Tibet gave firm root to Buddhism in the North and East of Ladakh. Here prayer flags dot the landscape and conical whitewashed Chorten stand like sentinels guarding each village and monastery. Often nestled into cliff sides, the Gompa are places of retreat. A winding upward path opens onto a courtyard from which steps lead away to various assembly halls and vestibules. The outside walls are often painted with frescoes while inside, Thangka scrolls depicting central Buddhist figures are filled with the colors of crushed stones and a generous splash of gold.
A Taste of the Silk Road
A walk around the narrow lanes of Leh Bazaar feels like stepping into a time capsule, going back to the days before souvenir seeking tourists arrived on the scene. There are many shops dealing in Thangkas, precious stones and artifacts like Gur-Gur, the container in which buttered tea is churned, and Perak headdresses studded with turquoise. Village markets are equally charming and offer genuine handicrafts of good workmanship at reasonable rates.
A Land of Warmhearted People and Customs
In Ladakh, sunny smiles and the magical greeting “Jhuley” welcome visitors. In any home, whether affluent or humble, guests are invited for a cup of tea and a place on the best rug in the house. Ladakhi food is wholesome, featuring noodles, vegetables and dumplings, and Ladakhi dress made of homespun wool is warm and comfortable. On auspicious occasions, ladies don embroidered aprons and shoes along with glittering jewelry and a top hat. Thanksgiving festivals after harvest are celebrated with fanfare and music, offering a wonderful glimpse of local villagers in their traditional finery.
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