Day 2 in Ladakh (part 1)
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  • Day 2 in Ladakh (part 1)

    On the second day we rented a car, a driver and a guide to take us around Leh and in a few different buddhist temples and monasteries. I learned a lot about Ladakhi culture and buddhism that day. Exiting the small village brings you through this gate. How does that compare to what we have in Moncton/Dieppe?

    Markets are setup along the road outside the village. The economy here is fascinating: after spending a couple days there I don’t feel like I understand how these people make a living at all. To be fair, the cost of life in Ladakh is also very low.

    In 2010 last year there was a devastating flash flood in the village and about 700 people died. Weather is unpredictable in the mountains there and too much rain and heat can make the water run down the mountains into the valleys in the form of what they call “slush”: water, building debris, mud, sand, stones all together destroying houses and killing the people. It was a great tragedy and even today they are still cleaning up and rebuilding where disaster struck.

    There’s a medical center / pharmacy:

    Sights from the trip to the first temple:

    We are turning prayer wheels as we climb up to the first temple. Prayer wheels were traditionally meant as an easy solution for uneducated people to pray. There are often hundreds of prayers written inside and turning the wheel is a symbol of your faith as you pray, so even if you don’t know the words you still have a way to speak out with your heart. It’s a little lazier than a Christian prayer.

    Climbing up… I think the white stones are stoopas. Stoopas are like graves for the ashes of highly spiritual people (many people fit in one stoopa).

    Prayer flags in the wind:

    And we finally reached the temple entrance!

    This is an ancient (probably 16th-17th century) lock. We didn’t have the key.

    I love those Buddha statues. Their faces are often taller than my body is, just to give you a rough idea.

    Paintings on the walls:

    Here’s a man spinning his portable prayer wheel!

    This woman was begging for money on the side of the road. I took a few pictures of her for 20 rupees. That’s less than 50 cents, but it’s considered generous here (low cost of life).

    We then drove to a different monastery (much of the same wonderful landscape along the way, which I will spare you from in this post) and found they had a traditional medicine shop. I thought it was cute.

    I saw this small child playing with a big prayer wheel and though he was also cute.

    They had beautiful flowers (which we didn’t touch). More stair climbing. Ugh.

    Chloé is enjoying the view!

    People going down the stairs we just climbed:

    I quickly took a picture of this old woman with her boy. The picture is a little blurry but I wanted to have more pictures of locals like this.

    Here’s the front of the temple:

    More idol statues and offerings:

    Men were doing repairs up there and carrying large beams of wood.

    I had the most wonderful fairy tale piss after visiting the temple. I wish they had urinals and toilets arranged like this in Canada. Privacy is overrated when you can have the mountains.

    The day was not finished and we still had some visiting to do! More pictures and stories are coming soon in part two of this fabulous day. Stay tuned!