Over a billion people, several hundred dialects, 29 states, and a cultural diversity that baffles the mind and cannot be put in words…Each of India’s states – and the uncountable villages within- has a distinct history, cultural markers and allure. It is a land of a thousand untold stories.
Route : Delhi – Leh – Thiksey – Stok – Lamayuru – Uleytokpo – Alchi – Leh – Delhi
As the pre-landing announcement to secure oneself by the seatbelt filtered its way to our ears, I felt goose bumps tingle my skin. No, it wasn’t that I was flying for the first time, or, for that matter, was setting my foot for the first time on the stark Ladakh landscape. Rather it was the expectation of what lay ahead… an experience of a fascinating lifestyle and the opportunity to interact with some of Ladakh’s not so well-known inhabitants that made me nervous and excited at the same time.
So follow our footsteps and experience Ladakh that’s tucked away from the prying eyes of the world.
The first stop – Thiksey Monastery
Apart from the rugged landscape, it is the Thiksey Monastery that has turned out to be Ladakh’s face. A beautiful old structure, commanding a majestic view of the surroundings perched on a hill top, it houses a two storey statue of the Maitreya Buddha seated on a lotus, along with a temple dedicated to goddess Tara with her 21 images placed in glass-covered wooden shelves.
Thereafter to – Twin villages of Dha and Hanu
Watching the inhabitants of these two villages from close quarters you would be struck by their facial features. A far cry from the typical Mongoloid stock that inhabits the region, the denizens of Dha and Hanu belong to Indo-European stock. The people here lead a fascinating lifestyle, practicing polyandry and the women enjoy the right to divorce. Forming a part of the greater Brokpa villages, Dha and Hanu are the only two places that tourists are permitted to visit.
Play football with little lamas of Rodzong Nunnery
The meeting with the inhabitants of the Rodzong Nunnery fills you sweet memories. Interacting with them, watching them go about their daily chores and in general, just being with them, is an experience that stays with you. As you while away your time, if you prefer, playing football with the young lamas in a stark barren landscape you wonder at the contrast between the rock solid earth and the playfulness of the life.
Visit Alchi, interact with school children at Likri Monastery, River rafting at Zanskar, Drive to Khardung La, Explore Nubra valley and See Turtuk village
An 80 km drive that takes about 2 hours from Uleytokpoto takes you to the scenic bank of the rowdy Indus River. Not far from the gurgling waters lies your destination—Alchi. Otherwise a sleepy village, life in Alchi waxes and wanes with the tourist season. The months of a leisurely, even lazy lifestyle reverberates with activity as the summers arrive and brings with it people taking days off or to interact with the people or fill themselves with awe at the nature’s splendor.
At Alchi, as you chat with school children at Likri Monastery and soothe your adrenalin in the nerve wrecking waters of Zanskar River or drive to Khardung La on treacherous precipice, explore serene Nubra Valley and visit tiny Turtuk village, rest assured there will never be an experience like the ones offered by Alchi and its surrounding areas.