Camera Model Name: Canon EOS 5D
Lens: EF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM
Tv (Shutter Speed): 1/1250
Av (Aperture Value): 13.0
Metering: Partial Metering
ISO Speed: 1000
Focal Length: 400.0 mm
Flash: Off

DAY 17

Altitude: 3, 505 m / 11, 499 ft.

Walking into a nearby restaurant, Ankur orders a huge breakfast of toasts, pan cakes, boiled eggs, omelets, hot chocolate and coffee. He absolutely insists that we consume all of what he has ordered as there is a long day ahead and we might have to forgo the lunch. Stuff myself to the best ability but absolutely no match for him!

Our first stop is to one of the most spectacular monastery of Ladakh, the buildings of which can be seen from far away and seem to tumble down the steep hillside, it presents an amazing sight. This Gelugpa sect monastery dates back to 11th century and accommodates over 100 monks. Phagpa Shesrab is said to be the founder, who had translated many Sanskrit Buddhist writings into Tibetan. Presently the gompa is under the patronage of Tensing Chogyal, a brother of H.H. Dalai Lama.

Reaching at the base of the hill with fascinating streaks of colors, on which the monastery sits, is asked about my preference between walking and driving up. After such a heavy breakfast, was secretly hoping that we would drive up but admitting such is embarrassing, thus let my travel mate decide. Should have known that walking up would be the natural choice!

The steep path leading up to the chapels situated on the top threads through a maze of old structures which are mostly monk’s quarters. While struggling with the upward climb the hoodie sweatshirt soon gets wrinkled as a used Kleenex tissue soaked with perspiration. Give up any further desire to beat Ankur to reach the top, who looks completely unruffled and almost fly rather than walk!

Having covered about slightly more than half the distance, the lungs seem to be ready to explode and the throat feels incredibly parched. Now it is a matter of putting one foot before the other, accept that it is fine to climb at my own pace, rest for a moment and take a sip when necessary.

Note: Dear friends and contacts,

After struggling for months with the injury had been advised by the doctor to return to the gym for weight training in addition to swimming, cycling, walking and most importantly to resume normal life. So, did what someone like me is expected to do, went back to the Himalayas for a ‘trial’!

It was a very short break, but one that triggered long winter travel plans! Would like to thank each of you for your warm wishes and support, it indeed meant a lot and gave me the strength to get back to my feet, do another travel and live to tell another tale! 🙂

Posted by Candle Tree on 2010-05-21 07:37:30

Tagged: , Gompa , Buddhist Monastery , Monastery , Friary , Buddhist Friary , Hermitage , Buddhist Hermitage , Buddhism , Buddhist , Ladakh , Cold Desert , Mountain Desert , Semi Arid Desert , High Altitude Desert , Trans-Himalayan Monastery , Trans-Himalaya , Mountain Monastery , Gelugpa Sect , Gelugpa Monastery , Phagpa Shesrab , 11th Century Buddhist Monastery , Tensing Chogyal , Brother of H.H. Dalai Lama , Jammu & Kashmir , India