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Stok Kangri The Expedition — Day 12: Around Leh

With the trek completed, we had an extra day to spare which we decided to make use of in the best possible manner. Suhas and few others were interested in rafting while saloni, nutty and few others wanted to rest in the guest house after a long and hard trek.

Myself and Anshul decided to visit the local places in leh. The local sightseeing began with a visit to the Leh palace which was  just walking distance from the main market. We had to take a detour and go via a longer route due to a bollywood shooting. Passing via some narrow streets we reached the palace from the back side.

First look at Leh palace

The palace is in a ruined state now and ASI is working on renovating it. One can however get a birds eye view of leh town from top of the palace.

Birds eye view of leh

We first went to the gompa which is situated just below the palace. The gompa is pretty old and as other gompas around it contains paintings depicting the teachingsof buddha. There was also a small library which cotains the manuscripts which are used by the lamas. A couple of photos there and we headed to the palace

Paintings and sacred books

With nothing much to do in the palace we head back to the city and looked for options to reach thiskey monsatery. This is one of the major monstaries in leh and one not to be missed. We were looking for bus which would drop us at thiskey however the bus had already left. With not many options left we had to settle for a shared taxi which we took for a short distance. We were told we could get buses from the place where we would stop. A short wait and we soon hopped into a bus and headed to thiskey

Thiskey monastery is situated on top of a hill and the sun was hitting hard by the time we got there. To get to the monastery we had to again climb a whole lot of steps. Before we could begin the climb we took a few snaps from below and headed to a small gompa present at the base

Thiskey Monastery

Photography was prohibited inside and we looked around briefly. Soon it was time to climb and we proceeded one step at a time. The hot weather didnt help us either as we huffed and puffed our way up. A couple of short breathers along the way and we reached the top. There was already a huge crowd by the time we reached there.

There were statues of buddha’s guru and other dieties present. As usual there were paintings on the wall as it was in other monasteries. We played around with the exposure and other settings in the camera and took a few photos before moving to other parts of the monastery. The monastery is huge and contains various sections

Dieties

As we toured the monastery we found other idols. Many of these idols resembled hindu gods n godesses. Clicking photos we contined the tour.

More idols

Towards the final part of the monastery visit we saw the huge idol of maitrey buddha. As per the description it took the craftsmen 3 yrs to finish the idol. The idol is simply amazing to look at. Taking photos from different angles we relaxed for a while. Our stomachs were already rumbling and we headed back to the main road in search of a resturant

Maitrey Buddha

Lunch was consumed at a resturant on the way down and we headed to the bus stop for our next destination Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery is one of the first monasteries in ladakh and is situated far away. With no buses to go we again had to settle for a cab. After negotiating with the driver we headed to the monastery. We took a deviation near shang and continued to the monastery. Suprisingly there were not many visitors. We were expecting to see something interesting in the monastery however we were disappointed as it was the same as other monastries. Some of the paintings were being restored back by the painters.

Hemis

Headed back to the parking lot and came back to Leh thus completing a amazing trip. Evening was spent packing our stuff and after dinner it was time to hit the sack as we had a early morning flight to jammu

Snaps can be found here

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Coorg-Gaalibeedu Tour

I would firstly like to apologize to everyone for posting this post so late :).

Though I had been to coorg either on trips or treks , the place always seems to invite me again and again. This time I went with my friend as he hadnt seen golden temple and we were keen on visiting some less visited places in coorg. After  some research my friend came up with a place called gaalibeedu. This place was near to the talathmane circuit which was used by YHAI for their coorg national treks.

With the usual bookings done we left for madikeri for a 1 day visit on 5th sept. The rainy season was not yet over and it was still raining intermitently. We reached coorg at 6 in the morning, only to find ourselves caught in the rain. We hired a auto to a nearby lodge where we could freshen up before heading out.

Our first stop was the golden temple. The rain had just stopped and left to kushalnagar by bus. After reaching kushalnagar we hired a auto to reach the golden temple.

Golden Temple Complex

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This place has one of the largest buddhist temples in south india and also home for large number of tibetian refugees. The temple contains status of buddha along with his disciples. Once we entered the complex we found the people sitting for prayer. After clicking a few snaps and spending time there, we went back to madikeri.

Buddha N Disciples

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Post lunch we headed to gaalibeedu. A small village with pristine scenary. We got down there and took a stroll in the streets. There was a heritage resorts which we payed a visit. Upon inquiring the rates we found they charge 8000 per couple. Though the resort is well maintained , we left the rates were too high.

Greenary in Gaalibeedu

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We continued our walk through the greenary. After sometime we decided to head back to the city. Hiring an auto we reached our lodge. Evening was spent strolling in the streets of coorg before heading back to bangalore

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Snaps can be found here

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