After getting a bit jealous of all these smug people coming from Manali on their motorbikes we decided to rent one for ourselves and see a bit of the Indus and Nubra Valleys, and possibly take the road to Pangong lake – the later two were not to be due to extremely unforeseen circumstances.
We planned to take the NH1D towards Srinagar as far as Lamayaru to see the monastery there and come back via Alchi, Likir and Spitok. All famous for their imposing religious structures. Lamayaru was not to be though. Landslides were a problem and we were constantly waiting for them to be cleared. We turned back to Alchi and stayed the night and next day visited the 11th century Alchi Gompa with its frescoes of 1000 Buddha’s, Sadly no photos allowed, and the other Gompas or Monasteries.
The next day we travelled upstream on the other side of the Indus to Stok and Hemis. Stok Palace is the now residence of the former Ladakhi royal family and has a small museum and photos of times past in the area. Hemis is a gompa of the Drugka Sect of Buddhism. It’s one of the most timeless places in the Indus valley with a small village sprawling down a gulley and the imposing Gompa sitting as a crown on top. Inside painstaking work is constantly done to keep this monastery and Its museum in perfect condition, befitting the R100 entry charge.
Later in the day we returned via Thiksey and Shey back on the Leh side of the Indus. There are ancient Buddhist rock carvings as well as forests of Chortens or stupas all along the road. As well as the ubiquitous army bases.
The next day we were all set to travel up to Khardung la, the highest road in the world at 5602m and down the other side into the Nubra Valley. Stepping outside into the rain we decided to have a day or two rest and go then – Driving a motorbike in the cold rain with no waterproofs is not an enjoyable experience. It proved to be a particularly good decision as the events of the next couple of days revealed.
Anyway have a look at the Photos