Lekh. On top of the world
... and it used to be very popular among cattle drovers, caravans and merchants that went with their goods through India deep into the continent and back.
Today, Lekh, or, as they say, Ladakh reminds us a fairy tale town but an unfinished one. Its old streets are knotted with each other, they wind and lead a traveler to one’s discretion — either to the bazaar, then to the mosque or to the monastery, or even to someone’s yard littered with rubbish. Walking through the Old Town is an adventure, it may remind you a journey into the past, when Lekh was a significant trading and Buddhist center.Photo polarsteps.com
It's an ordinary Asian city, inhabited by elderly dogs revered as sacred animals, cows, street vendors of fruits, dilapidated buildings. There are also tourist areas with souvenir shops, small coffee shops. Although there you mau see mostly indigenous people of India. Locals come just to sit on the sidewalk and watch foreigners. And among the travelers themselves there are many residents of the capital and southern states because Lekh is cooler that any other part of the country. So the Indians come here for a weekend or holiday in order to cool down a bit.Photo insidehimalayas.com
Among those arriving in Lekh are people who can not remain indifferent to the tops of the mountains surrounding the ancient city. And although some peaks here reach six thousand meters above sea level, many of them are considered fairly simple to climb. Therefore, there are also tourists in Ladakh wishing to conquer their next peak.Photo insidehimalayas.com
In the center of the Old City there is an abandoned Royal Palace where no one now lives, and which requires major repairs. Only one room was repaired inside, it’s also a prayer room. Tourists are allowed to look at ancient manuscripts and masks for Buddhist ceremonies inside this room. There is also a photo exhibition that tells how the city lived 100 - 200 years ago. The Royal Palace was built in the 16-17 centuries, and the noble family left iy after only two centuries. But it is necessary to visit it at least because of the stunning panorama that opens view to the whole Ladakh and the snow-covered mountains that surround it from all sides. There are many markets in the city. They are called Tibetan, and their sellers are quite unlike the Indians. They are friendly, welcoming and not as annoying as in other Indian markets. They sell any housewares - blankets, capes, dishes, dried fruits, tea.
You can walk Lekh aroung in just a few hours.Photo insidehimalayas.com
But, despite the fact that Old Ladakh is relaxing, it also invites the traveler to leisurely spend a day or two in his cool embrace, Buddhist relics are worth seeign in the city. Each street is reminiscent of the significance of this particular religion. There are a lot of white stupas, scattered around Lekh, that are called prayer drums, stones with mantras and flags. In Lekh and its environs there is a large number of Buddhist monasteries. There are a lot of them here. Lots of.Photo insidehimalayas.com
So, if you set a goal to visit some monatries for several days, you will have to stay in this town for a week or two. Among them there are rich monasteries with gilded statues of Buddha, and there are very simple with wooden or stone attributes of worship. Among the frequently visited monastery is Tiksi. Bright, reminiscent of a postcard to the carnival, it consists of nine temples and is located on twelve levels. Tiksi is a large library and filled with sculptures of protectors, in which Buddhists believe. They look so much terrifying that some of them are covered with blankets so as not to frighten unprepared tourists with such a chilling look. In order to deserve their mercy, who came to the hall, throw bills under the feet of these monsters. However, Tiksi’s most visited place is the Buddha’s Hall, in the center of which stands a huge gilded sculpture of a deity, painted with mantras.Photo club-miry.ru
Ladakh is not big, however, everyone will find himself among his old streets, ancient monasteries, among stones with mantras, snowy peaks, colored rocks, green fields on which horses freely graze, and marmots dig minks - and anyone can find themselves on top of the world.
Cover photo pathadventure.com