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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Faces in the Crowd - The Old Man at the Monastery

We were at the Rumtek Monastery, and we were enthusiastically discussing Tibetan Buddhism and life in Sikkim, with our guide, Monay. An old man standing by smilingly said something, and our guide laughed and translated – “So many questions you have!




That was so true. We did have innumerable questions, and it was good to see our guide answer us patiently. We told him to tell the old man that yes, we had many questions, we wanted to know more about the monastery. He smiled again, and the smile lit up his eyes, and his age lines seemed to smile too. I usually avoid clicking photos of people, but something about this old man made me want to click one of him, so I asked him, pointing to him, and then my camera. He nodded, and I clicked these two photos.



As we turned back, our guide told us that he was among the oldest inhabitants of the monastery, one who had been blessed by three Karmapas (the leader of this order)! He had been a child when his parents had brought him to seek the blessings of the 15th Karmapa who had arrived in Sikkim on a pilgrimage. When the 16th Karmapa arrived here in exile from Tibet, he joined the order, and in recent times, he has also been fortunate to live with the present Karmapa, the 17th.  He is now in his 90s according to our guide, and yet is active, both physically and mentally. He is truly blessed, isn’t he?



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Comments

  1. So true! He is blessed! He has a calming effect too. And content.
    Looks like he has 100s of stories within him, waiting to come out.

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    1. Yes, Nisha.. that calmness and contentment was the most striking thing about him. Unfortunately, he couldnt understand english or hindi, and apparently doesnt speak too much, or it would have been nice talking to him

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  2. There is something that makes me uncomfortable in the presence of most elderly people. It's like a feeling of a subtle guilt for being young and strong whereas they are not anymore. However, this old man doesn't project anything of this sort - he's young and strong in his own way.

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    Replies
    1. Thats an interesting thought, Antonina. I have never really felt uncomfortable around old people, but that is probably because i grew up in a house filled with them! our house, when I was growing up had, apart from my grandparents, scores of grand uncles and aunts, and i was close to all of them... and this old man actually reminded me of them...

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  3. Well, he just taught me - Wrinkles can't deter ur smile and spirit. If i ever visit this place, i m definitely going to look out for him. Amazing soul. God bless him!

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