|by Deepesh & Ash|
|LADAKH-THE LAND OF
Ladakh sometimes called little Tibet is situated north east of the great Himalayan divide. The capital Leh is situated at the apex of the triangular plateau formed by Indus river. It is 11,500 feet above sea level. Religion is the backbone of this land. There is an all-pervading spirit of Buddhism & hence the presence of the many magnificent monasteries or Gompas.
It has a forbidding terrain of stark arid brown granite mountains,
which run across the landscape changing to various hues of purple as the sun sets.
The Himalayas have influenced the climate.
Leh has almost total lack of rainfall.
There is extreme dryness & a very high exposure to suns rays.
In winter the temperature hits a bottom of 30 degrees Celsius.
People depend on melted snow for water.
The landmarks of Ladakh are mainly its monasteries or Gompas. The palace though in ruins is magnificent. The Namgyal Tsemo (peak of victory) serves as a backdrop for religious ceremonies. The Hemis Monastery, 40kmfrom Leh has a valuable collection of Thankas including the largest one which is displayed once in eleven years. The Thikas monastery known for its architectural beauty. It has exquisite wall paintings. The Shey Gompa has a 7.5mt high statue of Buddha made of copper & plated in gold. The Alchi Gompa built a thousand years ago.
The specialties of Ladakh are Momos (steamed dumplings) & Chhang the local barley brew.
All monasteries celebrate their individual festivals in winter. With the first rays of the sun, the monks blow large copper trumpets from the roof of the monastery. This marks the beginning of the festival. Masked dancers dance to the music and offerings of butter, oil & incense are made to the deities.
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