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Ladakh - Motorcycle Diaries

Indus river and wind swept mountains on its banks

In your eagerness to reach your destination it is easy to forget why you are here in the first place, it is 

easy to be swept up by the pull of your mundane life back home

easy to overlook the serene, mighty flow of the Indus

easy to ignore the windswept barren beauty of the mountains

easy to forget why you are here in the first place.

As you land in Leh, you only get a glimpse of mighty barren heights amid which the aircraft lands. Soon you are in the midst of cramped, dingy airport, beset by greedy cabbies eager to take their toll on your wallet. If you can manage to keep these material details abstract or simply look past them soon enough, good for you, but don't count me in. I need time to ruminate and forgive the greedy trappings of this material world. I guess I'm too naïve to let go the strings soon enough.

What appears to be a creative design for lamp shade turns out to be a native design for a backpack. You get carried away with what you see and realize where it actually came from much later, till that time just keep it zipped lest others will see your foolishness.

Lamp shades
lamp shades
lamp shades

Acclimatize to high altitude by obsessively snapping away at a gompa which is at a higher altitude still, anyone?  

Spituk Gompa overlooks the airport and has a personality of its own. POP statues painted in candy colors (no, they are not edible), monks who are hooked on Coke, loads of white (and a lone yellow) scarves piled high to the ceiling, it's special love for exotic brass and copper lamps and very old prayer wheels...don't take this place for granted just because it is in an urban setting. Spituk's soul is firmly rooted in its past. Oh! the canteen sells Ladakhi breads and beverages.

To the south of Spituk the barren, wind swept expanses are both imposing and intimidating, perhaps not for the C-17 Globemasters hovering above. Venture down south, up into the villages in those hills and you fill find some villagers serving Ladakhi fare to discerning gastronomes. They are stingy about the home brewed rice wine though. It is called Chaang (like Chang brand beer in Thailand). It's hard to come by, too much demand too little production.

Nubra river is a mighty artist, carving its way out of the great mountains, it nurtured many towns along its way to join the Shyok. It's an oasis in the high desert.