One of the highlights of the visit to Nubra valley in Ladakh was the trip to Hunder valley to see the Bactrian camels.
Other than the distinct anatomic feature I did not know much about them.So it was interesting to learn later that they belong to the critically endangered species.The humps are used to store fat which can be converted to energy and when the fat is used up they become floppy.
As it was the peak tourist season there was a long queue for the mandatory rides.I chose not to do that and was happy just being there and observing these gentle animals.
A TENDER MOMENT
Spotted this charming fellow on the way back to Leh from Nubra valley. In no time he had attracted a lot of people who were documenting his every move and also offering him biscuits and bananas.He must be used to people gaping at him and seemed impervious to the onlookers.After sometime he got bored and went back to his burrow.
There are about 14 species of marmots in the world and In Ladakh one can find two -the long tailed and the Himalayan marmots. They live in colonies and their burrows are exceptionally deep ranging from 2 to 35 m.They hibernate for 6-8 months starting from late september and live on roots,shoots and berries.
Wish I could get inside his cosy burrow and meet the rest of the colony members.
The houses are built to suit the harsh climatic conditions in this cold desert. They are made of sun dried mud bricks,stones and timber and are well ventilated with mud and straw.Most are two storied with flat roofs as there is hardly any rainfall.There are
also storage areas for firewood and fodder.
Many houses have an adjoining pen.Found this charming sheep pen on the way and the lady of the house was gracious and invited us inside.
This is a relatively new house.
The hotel we stayed in also has the characteristic colours.
One of the highlights of the Ladakh trip was the day and night spent on the Pangong Tso .It was an enchanting experience.Where does one see such riot of colours and reflections?Where can one find such tranquility and joy?
This is one of the largest brackish lakes in Asia and two thirds of the lake is in Tibet.The lake is completely frozen during the winter season.I met a local family there.The living conditions are harsh but they seem to be content.
Left the place with a last look at the shimmering lake and the cairns.
Whenever I think of Ladakh the first image that comes to mind is the magnificent Thiksey monastery. This is the largest monastery and is about 18 km from Leh.It is also known as Mini Potala as it closely resembles the Potala Palace at Lhasa,Tibet.This is a sprawling 12 storey complex in dazzling shades of yellow,ochre and maroon.
The most striking feature in this place is the massive 15 metre statue of Maitreya or future Buddha.It occupies two storeys and is made by the local artists.
I was enchanted by the serene and spiritual aura all around and left the place feeling blessed and content.
Kavita is 12 years old and Uma is 10 years .These two cousins would come to our village stay early in the morning with a huge sack and spread out the wares like experts.They won over us with their charming ways.We chatted with them and came to know that they are staying in a joint family and the stuff they have displayed is made by the family members.These girls have never been to school.They are learning embroidery at home.I found them very cheerful and smart.They are quite used to tourists and have even picked up a few english words.One of them told me that she had been featured in a “foreign” magazine.The harsh living conditions have not dampened their spirits and it was heartening to see these impish duo conducting their sale like veterans.All of us bought something from them.
I wish I could do something more.I wish they get a chance to have some form of formal education and relish all the joys of childhood.