posted on Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Leh fourth day

The plan of visiting Hemis monastery by bike was put quickly aside in the morning as I am still struggling with cold and cough. Probably rafting yesterday didn't help. So I got up a bit later planning to take the bus instead but first I had to have those delicious pastries with a coffee. At the cafe I met up with the dutch couple who were on the Manali-Leh bus adventure, so we ended up chatting until after 11. Once reached the bus station I realised that my buses had all left so I resorted to some hard bargaining and eventually after showing all I had in my wallet, Jigme took pity on me and decided that what I had was good enough to drive me there and back after all. The monastery, the largest in Ladakh is unlike Thiksey, very secluded on a little side valley reached after 50 kilometres from Leh. Besides having wonderfully rich shrines with colourful paintings and thangkas, the setting made the whole monastery much more what I had expected a tibetan monastery to be. The fact that about 500 monks live in it can be felt, and being further away from the towns means it gets less overwhelmed by tourists. After the agreed one hour visit Jigme took me back to Leh where I treated myself to a fashionable 50 pence haircut!