Saturday, December 26, 2015
We started the next morning and continued westwards to stop at the village of Mulbek at 10,600 feet.
The only highlight of this otherwise ordinary place is a monumental bas relief, a 30 feet high sculpture of Maitreya, the future Buddha, carved on a cliff. The standing figure with 4 arms and a small stupa on its head was probably carved in the 8th century when Buddhist missionaries from Kashmir were heading eastward to spread the religion to Ladakh.
Unfortunately, a gompa, built in 1975, bang in front of the giant Buddha, hinders a clear view of the lower part of the sculpture.
There are several roadside restaurants opposite the rock carvings gathering crowds and their noise taking away from the monument the solemn air that should have been about it.
What should have been a protected monument surrounded by clear manicured lands on all sides with an entrance and a pathway leading to it, is a half visible roadside statue suffering daily neglect from petty shop owners full of their wares and the chai sipping customers...
It was in one of these restaurants/tea stalls that we had our breakfast before moving on...