Thiksey & Hemis
Chang La & Pangong
Drove back to cross river at Khalsar (minor traffic jam due to two
passing lorries getting stuck). Had a short wander around Samur and
stopped at painters and joiners for a chat. On to Samtanling Gompa,
interesting. Picnic bag in garden of guest house in Samur. Heading back
went up to Buddha statue at Diskit, impressive with excellent views.
Very, very hot and chickened out of long, steep climb to monastery. Had
a look round and cup of tea in Diskit (bit of a dump). Went to see
camels. Sand dunes underwhelming, had expected them to be much more
Exquisite morning and watched the veggie patches outside the tents
being irrigated. Early start to avoid traffic and good run with
excellent visibility on run to Khardung La. Stopped at North Pulla to
consume elevenses bag then got held up by road closure for roadworks.
Called in at Shakti office in Leh (able to check email - internet
glacial) then onto Shey Village House for lunch and compulsory rest.
Michael walked with guide to see carved rock below Palace - and feed
fish, which seems to be local high spot. Frightening to see silt
deposit from flood. (The August 2010 storm was reported in UK as a
localised event in Leh causing relatively little damage/loss of life.
In fact it covered an extensive area - all of the places we went
- and seriously damaged infrastructure. We heard various figures for
killed/missing, 400-500 most likely.) Shey Vilage House. Large old house set in fields and very quiet. Stylish room, lovely staff and marvellous dinner.
Longish drive west along Indus valley, much of it with river in various
gorges. Light lunch (excellent naan!) at Khalse then on to Lamayuru.
Inspiring run back via old road which runs high above valley with
excellent views before steep drop back down to Indus valley and on to
Alchi for the night. Alchi Resort.
Bedroom blocks scattered around garden in a very quiet and pleasant
village. Room very basic but clean and quite acceptable. Food good, not
much contact with staff but seemed friendly enough.
Up early for very interesting walk on our own around village which had
fascinating lanes to explore. Turning hot on way back for
breakfast. Walked down to monastery, not many people there early but
apparently heaves later in day. Monastery is mind blowing with
fantastic murals and fittings (sadly no photography - most other places
except museums allow it without flash). Back to main road and east to Likir
for picnic bag in garden below monastery which has amazing setting and
was very good. Then to Nimoo Village House for lunch. Very naughty and
ignored guides’ instructions for rest and went for wander round village
fields. Had cookery session with chef, interesting but disappointing as
was based on evening’s Chinese dishes whereas we had hoped to get a lot
general information about Indian cookery but did manage to get some by
quizzing him. Nimoo Village House.
Similar room to Stok, good views to mountains and also intriguing views
into village street. Very easy to walk from here into fields. Great
staff and good food.