Lakadkh Gompas

The land here is very dry; the altitude over near meters. The hills of Kashmir attract all the snow and very little rain makes it to Ladakh. The sky is crystal blue, with rarely a sight of clouds. Over 2 weeks ago, a storm blew in and dumped enough snow to close up many passes. Mandi Road seems closed as well as many of the treks that are available.

A short jaunt up the ridge leads me to the mysterious third gompa above the town of Leh. Admidst the mud, stone, and rock, the wind tufts through the prayer flags. All the while I sit, soaking in the view of Leh, vaguely glowing in the distant sunset.

As per the norm, I head for the steeper rock side and casually begin the climb up. Enduring the slight embarrassment of my wet feet, thanks to a notorious Ladakhi terrace bog, I scan the ascent, avoiding steep rock. Screech, and another foot hold crumbles to its destiny, leaving me more careful where I go.

The gompas and prayer flags fill the ridge and soon I am there. Greeted by the silence of the quiet walls and stone.  As the wind lightly lufts, I wonder about the permanence of these old buildings. A strong rain storm would melt and erode all these monasteries, houses, and walls. Because of the chills these thoughts give me, I move up, up to the top of the ridge, and once again sit, absorbing the evening sky and listening to the prayer flags rustle gently.