Camel tales

One of the highlights of the visit to Nubra valley in Ladakh was the trip to Hunder valley to see the Bactrian camels.

HUNDER VILLAGE

HUNDER VILLAGE

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.

 BACTRIAN CAMEL

BACTRIAN CAMEL

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

A TENDER MOMENT

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Marmots of Ladakh-furry delights

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.P8150415P8150408P8150407

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.

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Wish I could get inside his cosy burrow and  meet the rest of the colony members.

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Ladakh-Living spaces

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

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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.P8160453

This is a relatively new house.

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The hotel we stayed in also has the characteristic colours.P8130312

The mystic river-Pangong Tso

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?

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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.

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Left the place with a last look at the shimmering lake and the cairns.

Juley Juley Ladakh-Visit to Thiksey monastery

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.

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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.

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I was enchanted by the serene and spiritual aura all around and left the place feeling blessed and content.

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Going Kutch-Meet the Bella Donnas

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.

BELLADONNAS

BELLADONNAS

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