Today on the 24th, the plan was to do some site-seeing around at Leh. In the morning, another member, Bhavin also came down from Delhi.
There are many places around Leh which are famous for their monasteries and we had planned to visit a few of them.
The first place which we visited was Shey Palace. 15 kms from Leh, is the former summer palace of the kings of Laddakh. The gompa is partially used and is still begin restored. The 12m high Shakyamuni Buddha statue is largest in this region.
We hiked up to the top. The views were very amazing from the top. The snow clad mountains of the Stok ranges appeared to be very close. We met bunch school children who had bunked their school to visit the Shey palace. The kids proudly told us that “3 Idiots” was shot in their school.
Thiksey Monestry was the next place. It is close to 17 km from Leh and is is very beautiful thanks to the extensive restoration work. It has a big statue of the Maitreya Buddha.
After Thiksey we visited Stakna Gompa. It is on the Hemis side of the Indus River and is around 800 years old. I found that in all the gompas, people make an offering of a lot of chocolates. As the old llama at the gompa showed as around, I realized that it was extremely cold in there, much too cold for us to bear. The llama on the other hand felt nothing.
We had some good hot food and decided to come back to the hotel. There is a very small duration in the day, between 6pm to 10pm when electricity was available in the Leh city. We did the packing of our stuff early that night and were ready for the next day.