LEH LADAKH, Once is not enough
Part 2 : Want to have fun here but where shall I go? If you have this question in your mind, you should read this travel blog with the travel program that is not too tiring.
"Travel to widen your world"
This motto makes my girlfriend and I start to travel to learn more about our world and that is also the beginning of our page called "I break 2 travel" and a travel blog, http://www.ibreak2travel.com Firstly, I would like to tell all of you that...
Many years ago when I first get to know my girlfriend, "Pring is a traveler who is an office-woman, Titti is an office-man who wants to travel." We are completely different but once we are together, everything seems to fall into places perfectly. Therefore, we would like to create a travel page to encourage those who work in office to go out like us. We can go and so do you.
Please support our page (don't forget to set as "See First") so we would know that you are always there for us www.facebook.com/ibreak2travel/
Rest enough before start your journey
Julley, Sawasdee Krub!!
After we have rested enough, it is time to travel through Leh Ladakh. First of all, I would like to tell you that even though you are very fit, you shouldn't be too "Energetic" when in Leh Ladakh. You cannot run here and jump there as if you were at home. You need to always keep in mind that you are now at 3,500 meters above sea level.
Therefore, you should drink a lot of water, sleep a lot, and not running around when you first arrive in Leh Ladakh. You should also listen to your tour guide attentively, if not you won't be able to have a fun time here. So be calm please!… ^_^
Of course it is a wow... to see a view like this!!
Well!! It is time to start the day after a good long sleep. My girlfriend and I will take you to visit numbers of interesting tourist attractions near Leh Ladakh which is perfect for a One-Day Trip. You can choose your preferred tour program and ask for the price from a local tour operator or your hotel.
Even though there is a standard tour price, different tour operators offer different rates. You can pick the one you like.
Explore temples and palaces in Leh Ladakh
Ladakh region is greatly influenced by Tibet including the culture, architecture, religion, and the form of government. As a result, Leh and Ladakh are called "Little Tibet." However, Ladakh is completely separated from Tibet. Tibet is part of China but Ladakh is part of India. And to start a trip in Leh well, you should learn more about its culture and its main attractions.
The attractions listed below is not in any orders, I just do it the way I like. Photos are actually the combinations of my two trips in Lah Ladakh, therefore; you may find some major differences. Anyway, let's start with the first spot!
Shanti Stupa or Peace Pagoda is a Buddhist white-domed stupa located on a hill near the village of Changspa in Leh. It is a symbol of peace and commemoration of 2,500 years of Buddhism.
It is even more magical during the sunset.
In 1983, Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura, a Japanese Buddhist monk and Kushok Bakula, an Indian lama, together would like to bring the prosperity of Buddhism back to India as a birthplace of the Buddha. Hence, they built Shanti Stupa up with the support of voluntary labor and some financial assistance from locals and Prime Minister of India, Indira Gandhi. The stupa was successfully completed in 1991.
Shanti Stupa with the light right before the sunset in 2016.
Shanti Stupa with the light right before the sunset in 2014.
Apart from being able to pay homage to the relics of the Buddha,
panoramic views of the city you have got up here is another highlight. The late afternoon light in Changspa and the view of Namgyal Tsemo in the hug of the mountains are totally amazing.
Namgyal Tsemo Monastery view from Shanti Stupa.
The military base and the village of Changspa in the late afternoon light.
Snow-capped mountains in the light of the late afternoon are so pretty.
- To come and pray for the world peace!!
- It is a prime landmark right in the middle of Leh. Whoever see a photo of this place would know right away that it is Leh.
- The panoramic view of Leh from Shanti Stupa is beautiful. The view of Namgyal Tsemo Monastery from Shanti Stupa is even more beautiful.
- There is a restaurant with such a fantastic view up here. If you get bored with the local food, you can stop here for a hot instant noodle..!! It is also famous for a wide great range of tea. Sipping a cup of tea with a stunning view is incredible.
- Don't come here on a long public holiday of India, your view will be blocked by people!
- The light in the late afternoon and early morning are charming (but will you be able to make it here in the early morning?).
- If you are full with energy, you may want to walk up here. We have tried it (but on the way down though).
It is quite a walk to hike back down.
NAMGYAL TSEMO MONASTERY
Monastery in Tibetan is called "Gompa." It is usually put at the end of religious sites and one monastery may have more than one temple. "A temple" in Tibet is simply a place where an ordination hall located with a principal Buddha image inside so temples here don't have much space as in Thailand.
Photo taken from Shanti Stupa
According to the belief in Buddhism,
"To build a temple is to do the greatest merit." Kings in the land of Buddhism often build numbers of temples to show the veneration in Buddhism. Ladakh has also been influenced by the same belief. In addition, they tend to build a temple up in the mountain. They believe it is the way to show their best respect to Buddhism. Therefore, it is very easy for you to spot different temples from different corners in the town.
Namgyal Tsemo Monastery is one of the most important monasteries in Leh. You can see it from different corners of the town as it is located high up in the mountain behind Leh Palace. Namgyal Tsemo Monastery was built by King Tashi Namgyal in the 15th Century (around 1430).
The view of Leh before the sunset from Namgyal Tsemo.
One thing you must not miss to do when in Namgyal Tsemo Monastery is to witness the grand beauty of a copper Maitrieya Buddha image (but coated with gold) as tall as a 3-storey building. It is also home of amazing mural painting which is uniquely beautiful.
- To take a photo with the prayer flags, you can get the best shot here as the prayer flags are all aligned in a charming pattern
- You can view the peak of Zanskar Range clearly from here. "Nubu", our tour guide who is an ice mountain climber is so excited to points us the peak of Zanskar Range.
- This place offers the best photo shot of you together with Shanti Stupa and the town of Leh. The light during the sunset also offers the best color. And can you imagine how wonderful it would be on a clear sky day and the sun is about to set?
- Maitrieya Buddha image and the mural painting inside the ordination hall is mind-blowing.
The peak of the ice mountain of Zanskar Range
Selfie of us
- This corner is perfect for a photo shot with Shanti Stupa in the late afternoon. You should also prepare a telephoto lens of 70 - 200 mm.
- To get the best shot of Namgyal Tsemo, you should take it from Shanti Stupa in the morning.
- The sunlight is very strong in the afternoon so if you are here early you can wait inside the ordination hall for the good lighting in the late afternoon.
- Please ask permission from the lama before taking a photo inside the ordination hall! You are not allowed to take a photo of the Buddha image directly from the front, only from the side is allowed.
Shey Palace is a palace of the former Great King of Leh built before the 15th Century. In other words, it has been through the heat, rain, and cold for over 500 years. The palace was built by King Deldan in 1650 together with Numgyal Chorten Stupa or also known as "Victory Stupa." The top of the stupa is made of pure gold. There is also a huge copper Buddha image as tall as a 3-storey building inside the ordination hall.
However, the King and all the royal family members have moved to Stok Palace since 1834.
The stair up to Shey Palace which is pretty steep
The biggest Buddha image in Leh which is as tall as a 3-storey building
And you must not miss the grass field right in front of the palace.
If you have time, you should also walk on it.
- To visit the old palace of Leh and to see the biggest copper Buddha image in Ladakh
- To take a photo of donkey, cow, and goose that live on the green grass field in front of the palace
- To take a photo in hipster style with your friends
I am in Leh so I don't forget to take her here to take some photos.
This is another charming corner where you might get a photo shot or two with your friends.
- Most of the tour program will take you to visit Shey Palace on a first few days of your whole trip. However, the stair up to the palace is steep and your body is not well-adjusted with the high altitude yet. Therefore, you shouldn't walk too fast.
- The view of the grass field is amazing and you should walk on it if you have time.
The uncle who takes care of the palace, you can take a photo of him if you want.
Hemis Monastery is located about 45 kilometers south of Leh. It is the most important monastery in Leh for Buddhism studies. Hemis Monastery was constructed by Lama Stagsang Raspa Nawang in 1630 who was named as the Supreme Buddhist Patriarch of Leh by King Sengye Namgyal.
A huge square in the middle of the monastery
My girlfriend calls this monastery as "Wat Laplae (Hidden from Sight Temple)" because it is located far in a valley. It can't be seen from outside of the valley either, that's why this monastery is in a very good condition since it has never been invaded during the war. Once you arrive here, you will see that the monastery has been very well-kept and there are many lamas here for a Buddhist studies. You can take a photo of the lamas or you can even take a photo with them. The atmosphere here is also very nice.
Even though it is showering, a young lama is not afraid to stay out.
He smiles beautifully but his eyes look sad, very interesting.
Don't miss to take a photo with a lama!
What you must not miss when in Hemis Monastery is to pay homage the grand Buddha image inside the ordination hall (there are 2 ordination halls here). The mural painting inside is also magnificent and is in a very good condition. To take a photo inside the ordination hall, you need to ask for permission from the lama who looks after the ordination hall. Some mural paintings are allowed to take a photo (but actually depend on your luck).
But... flash is not allowed at all because the flash will damage the painting. So, please follow the rules!
We are lucky to be allowed to take photos inside.
Mural painting dates back many hundreds years, incredible!
I have finally got a chance to see Sand Mandara with my own eyes. It is incredible.
Another highlight that you must not miss is to visit the museum underground (free admission). The museum houses some very precious religious treasures and items such as Buddha images, ancient masks, old utensils, and religious items which reflect the artwork of the locals very well. However,… taking photo is not allowed at all inside the museum. You need to deposit your camera, mobile phone, and bag in the locker before entering.
- To take a photo of lamas especially those young ones, they are so cute..!!!
- To see Sand Mandara which is hardly to find one as it is normally deleted right after it is completed, they keep it for 7 - 15 days after completing it here.
- To visit the museum where it is full with precious religious treasures and items
- The restaurant in Hemis Monastery offers good foods with amazing view. If you have a lunchbox from your hotel, you can eat it in the restaurant but you may also want to buy something to support them a little bit.
- You can ask a young lama politely to take a photo of or with him. You may even consider giving him some tips.
- Don't miss to see the mural painting inside the ordination hall! It is truly beautiful.
- You should check the date and time before coming here as they have a very famous Hemis festival with the mask dance.
- There is a souvenir shop by the entrance to the museum that offers quality products at reasonable prices such as mug, vest, calendar, books, prayer flag, Tibetan amulets, and so on.
Thiksey Monastery is also known as Mini Potala because the architecture of the monastery strongly resembles the Potala Palace in Tibet. It is an important monastery in the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Thiksey Monastery is also one of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh. It is located approximately 17 kilometers south of Leh on the north by the banks of the Indus River.
This is a popular corner for tourists before entering Thiksey Monastery.
This photo was taken back in 2014 and I still love it.
Thiksey is a twelve-story complex in red and white color arranged on a hill slope. There are over one hundred buildings including 10 temples. Thiksey was first built in the early 14th Century by Lama Sherab Zangpo but not here. Thiksey Monastery was moved to this current location in 1430 by Lama Sherab Zangpo's nephew, Lama Pandal Sherab.
The monastery houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas of Vajrayana Buddhism (well-rolled up for worship), wall paintings, swords, etc.
It is constructed by wood, soil, and cement.
Thiksey Monastery is many hundreds years old, that's why there are so many interesting things to see here. You will be amazed with the architecture and the beauty of art once you are here.
The principle Buddha image inside the main ordination hall
We are here exact same time when His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people, teaching in Leh. As a result, locals are all excited and they color up the town beautifully.
Lamas are working on painting the ground.
The old prayer flags have been replaced with the new ones.
This is a photo of old prayer flags taken 2 years ago.
They are all waiting for the Dalai Lama.
- It is the most beautiful monastery in Leh so it would be such a pity if you don't come here.
- The architecture and mural painting in Tibetan style are in a very good condition and truly magnificent.
- Men's room… offers an amazing view.
- Ladies's room is clean and safe.
- The praying hall is huge and tranquil. If you have a chance, you may also want to listen to Tibetan monks while they are praying.
- The view here is second to none compared to other monasteries.
- If you love to spend your day slowly, you can spend your whole day here.
- Postcard sold at the souvenir shop is prettier than anywhere else.
- 1-day trip would be the best in order to treasure your day with all the interesting things here.
If you are keen to know how the royal family of Ladakh lives, you should visit Stok Palace. It is the last palace of the King of Ladakh located about 15 kilometers south of Leh. The palace was built entirely by the Ladakhi craftsmen under the order of King Tsespal Tondup Namgyal of Namgyal dynasty in 1825.
The hall inside the palace
The architecture of Stok Palace is outstanding. The style is a good blend between the native art and contemporary art. Moreover, the palace's library houses all 108 volumes of the Kangyur.
Furthermore, the museum in the palace exhibits regal costumes, Royal Crown, and royal items so that the tourists can admire (taking photo is not allowed inside the museum).
Stok Palace is still the summer home of Ladakhi royalty from the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh. One part of the palace has also been converted into a luxury hotel. For those who are interested in experiencing the true ambiance of the royal accommodation of Ladakh dynasty please click here http://www.stokpalaceheritage.com/index.html
- Monasteries and the palace in Leh may seem to be outdated but it is not totally true. Everything is well-kept and await for you to see.
- The museum in the palace exhibits the way the royal family of Ladakh used to live. It is very worth learning.
- The view from the palace's balcony is stunning.
- Masala Tea served here is so good and you can also have some ice cream here.
The view from the palace's balcony
Having a cup of tea here is so good.
- There is a golden Buddha image enshrined up in the mountain not far from the palace. You should go there if you have time because it is beautiful and you can also take a good photo of the palace from there.
- Please visit the museum of the palace with peace and don't damage anything!
Can you spot the golden Buddha image up in the mountain? It is a pity that the sky is full of clouds today.
It is so nice on a sunny day as you can see from the photo above that I took in 2014.
How is this travel blog as a collection of the monasteries and the palace in Leh so far? I have got to tell you that these attractions are just part of all tourist spots in Leh. There are many more interesting monasteries and palaces for you to discover. That's why "Once is not enough."
I hope this travel blog would be useful for you one way or another. At least, you know where you can go once in Leh. Lastly, please stay tuned for the upcoming episode of traveling in Leh travel blog, "Leh - Ladakh, Once is not enough."
"Travel to widen your world", there is always something you earn for life when traveling to new places but... How to travel wisely? How to get prepared? Well, you may find the answers to those questions at "IBREAK2TRAVEL."
Leh - Ladakh,Once is Not Enough
Leh Ladakh - An Unforgettable Journey and Something is Calling us back for more.
(Part 1) : Preparation process, A journey to Leh, How to handle the high altitude, and Leh Main Bazaar http://ibreak2travel.com/2016/09/13/my-leh-trip-01-2016/#comment-23
(Part 3) : From a salt lake to a silver dessert, Let's get a bactrian camel ride! (FROM PANGONG TO NUBRA VALLEY) http://ibreak2travel.com/2016/09/30/my-leh-trip-03-2016/
Indian Visa (not difficult to get one), Latest Update!!
"Travel to widen your world", this motto makes my girlfriend and I start to travel to learn more about our world.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017 11:48 AM