Indus-Zanskar confluence

13 July 2010

We headed out west from Leh on the Leh-Srinagar highway. We wanted to see the ancient monasteries of Lamayuru, Alchi, Rizong and Likir.

On the drive we saw breathtaking views of the Zanskar mountain range and Stok Kangri, a difficult but popular peak for climbers visiting Ladakh.

The road circuits along the Indus river for a while. We came across an interesting cable car that is used by villagers to cross the river. Rahul absolutely had to try it!

Trying out the cable bridge

Rahul and Tsiring crossing the Indus

Rahul & Tsiring back to shore...

Overlooking the Indus river

The Indus river meets the Zanskar river and continues through Kargil district as Indus.

At one of the villages along the way called Saspol, we stopped for a break. This local lady was selling me apricots. The apricots from Kargil are well known and delicious.

Apricots from Kargil

After Saspol, the road leaves the Indus river and starts to climb up a steep hillside. The road has a lot of sharp hair-pin bends.

Hair-pin bends on the Srinagar-Leh highway

Along the road were colourful sights. We stopped to admire them.

Colourful moonscape

Colours & moonscape

We eventually reached Lamayuru, the oldest and largest existing gompa in Ladakh. We were welcomed by older Ladakhis. Two older men were using prayer wheels. The two ladies had completed circum-parambulating around the gompa. They sat down to take a little break and provided a perfect photo opportunity for us.

Ladakhi geriatrix

We drove up to Rizong gompa, which is along a very narrow road off the highway. The place is rather isolated and not visited by too many people. Nestled, up on the mountain, is this remote gompa.

Rizong Monastery

The next stop was Alchi. Alchi is the oldest gompa in Ladakh. It has a very pretty location and overlooks the Indus.

monk & prayer wheel

It was getting to be evening when we left Alchi. We drove on to see Likir monastery which has a giant statue of Buddha.

Approaching Likir gompa

Giant Buddha statue at Likir

Local transport

All of us were exhausted after this long 8 hour trip and needed to get back and rest. I was certainly amazed with our driver Tsiring. He was all set to be at our place next morning at 9AM to go to Nubra Valley, past the Khardung La pass.

(See here for more Ladakh photos)