Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Ladhak & Kashmir 2010 - Day 7 - Westwards - Likir


6th July 2010

We were done with the East. It was now time to head west. Some monasteries on the way and then to Kargil, Zanskar, and then Srinagar.

Srinagar. That brings me to the endless contemplation we, nay, my dad made regarding our impending visit to Srinagar.
To go or not to go.

When we had made our plan (which means the return tickets from Srinagar), the valley was in peace.
A day or two before we started our tour, they was an explosion, curfew, and the media making the most of it.
Did you see, said father. And he kept saying it every day.

He kept making alternate plans. Head to Manali from Leh, via road, take a bus to Delhi, and flying to Bangalore.
He was making these all to himself, because I was not interested and did not bother to be discreet about it. Come rain, storm, bomb, police, fire or curfew, I would not return without going to Srinagar.

People kept assuring us. There were tourists going to Srinagar at that time. All was well. The media always exaggerated. Nobody ever did anything to tourists.

But dad, a big NO man had a counter.
May be they didn’t intentionally hurt the tourists, but when there was police firing, the bullet would not stop for some tourist who came in the way.

At last we were heading west.

Spitok was the first gompa we sighted soon after leaving Leh, Spitok being only 8 kms from Leh. We passed it by and continued.

We stopped at the magnetic hill, where gravity was defied in a particular spot.
We had to move our vehicle at a spot indicated by white paint and the vehicle would move on its own, though the road was slightly uphill.

The next attraction was the confluence of the Indus and the Zanskar rivers, calm clear green and aggressive muddy brown respectively.

Green fields with yellow flowers. The chief compensation for cloudy skies that turned all the scenery beneath into black and white.

Hills covered in reddish-brown-clumpy-earth were a sign we were approaching the Basgo fort. A few pictures from a distance and move on...

We stopped at Likir where the open air Maitreya was. There was a cafe close to the entrance of the monastery. My parents rested there while I went in.