Two New Yorkers spend six months 18 months!?! in Bangalore and other places in India.

Friday, June 16, 2006

The Himalayas in 13 Photos

You can look at another another set of photos from Ladakh, but here's the deal in 13 shots:

Recovering from the altitude took a whole day. We didn't feel so amazing the next day, either.

The approach to the Leh monastery. I developed a bad attitude about halfway there.

Prayer wheels at the Hemis monastery. You turn them (clockwise direction only) to spread prayers outward.

Prayer scarves tied to door, I believe as a sort of offering.

Usually located at the top of a mountain, the Buddhist monasteries had views that sometimes rivaled the structures themselves.

We hired a driver for two days to drive us to a total of six monasteries. I can tell this photo is from the second day because the driver had moved the rose up, so that it didn't cover up the mirror anymore. The driver spoke no English, and we spoke no Ladakhi. He was an aggressive driver and kinda sullen, but maybe you have to be both on roads like these, especially the mountains paths we hit on the second day, heading west of Leh.

The temple complex at Alchi was one monastery that wasn't on a mountain. It was at the bottom of town, sloping down near the Indus. Streams of water were flowing all around the buildings, like small moats.

Likkir monastery's Buddha is huge -- maybe 40 feet tall. Somewhat unusually, it's also out in the open.

While we checked out the monasteries, our driver would hang out and smoke cigarettes. At Likkir, he went behind a barrier and sat next to one of the many streams. How do I know he did this? Because he lost the car keys, and that was where they were finally found. Oh, that was a funny 15 minutes, while we all looked around and wondered when and how we'd get back into Leh. The driver went up the hill a bit more, pressed the boy monks into service (or they volunteered) and one of the youngest found the keys. The kid monk were all very sweet, and used to posing, as you can see.

This is a shrine for a sage at the Spituk monastery.

Geddit? It was a bottle of Old Monk, and there were actual old monks in the vicinity. Oh, never mind. (The bottle most recently held vegetable oil, I think. For the many lamps.)

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