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Books > Art and Architecture > History > Ladakh- Land of Magical Monasteries
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Ladakh- Land of Magical Monasteries
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Ladakh- Land of Magical Monasteries
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Preface

When Ladakh first opened to tourism in the mid 1970s, no one could have predicted the amount of interest that its unique landscapes and culture would attract. In the early years of tourism to Ladakh, the lucky visitors were able to begin their sojourn from the enchanting Kashmir valley. After a short (or long) stay on the famous houseboats of Dal Lake in Srinagar, the traveller would head with some trepidation into the mountains. The only route to Leh was over the infamous, avalanche-prone Zoji La pass, following in the footsteps of famous explorers, missionaries and daredevil adventurers.

In the early 1980s, buses plied the tortuous road, taking two bone-shaking, at time heart-stopping days to reach Leh. On the way two very high passes would bar the way, the Namika La and the Fatu La, but the journey offered a myriad of landscapes. This was a rarely possible journey across the main Himalayan watershed. The lush, green forests of Kashmir gave way to the high altitude deserts of the barren, stark, near lifeless land and mountains of Ladakh. After the mid 1980s, Kashmir was engulfed in security issues and a new route opened from Himalchal Pradesh into the hidden kingdom.

Today one can even visit in winter, and it is not altogether without charms at this time of year. Gone are the crowds, the people are more forthcoming, the monasteries are empty (even the monk with the key may not always be around!) That said, the snowy vistas and often luminescent clear blue skies offer a certain masochistic charm. At anything down to minus 35°C, cold it certainly can be, food is limited and, as for washing, your bucket of water may well turn to ice before you get your clothes off! Roads are usually open in the Indus valley, but excursions over to the Nubra valley or Pangong lake may not be possible.

Whenever one travels to the high plateaux of western Tibet and Ladakh, the experience is sure to be one of visual overload. And as for tourism, today upwards of fifty thousand visitors descend on the mountain stronghold during the Hemis festival. Yet despite its growing popularity, Ladakh is a still a wonderland of cultural interest, of stark, captivating mountains, of fairytale, magical monasteries whose chapels are full of unworldly imagery.

About the Author

We apologise for any factual errors within the text. Many of the monasteries move their idols around from temple to temple, sometimes during renovations or for other unknown reasons.

Some of the temples have been renamed over the past few years, some no longer exist and others are completely new. With regard to the strange and unpronounceable names of some of the idols, sometimes even the monks are not sure of the correct name, let alone transliteration.

It would appear that statues, images and idols are periodically moved around within a chapel, or even to a different chapel, so this may also cause confusion. It is a source of some regret that we have been unable to produce an exhaustive and complete guide to the many and varied monasteries of Ladakh, because of inclement weather and the unfortunate fact that on occasions the monk with the keys to some of the chapels have been 'in Leh' or otherwise engaged with pujas, death rites for the near-by deceased etc.

What we have achieved is to list and describe the most accessible and convenient monasteries to Leh. In other words, those monasteries that are most frequently visited. These have detailed maps and diagrams to aid in identification of the numerous deities. By way of background we have also included details about many other monasteries of interest in Ladakh and Zanskar.

Some of these we have visited in the past and some recently; some however we have not. Having first visited Ladakh in 1977, we have seen many changes. Our most recent visit was in February 2006. We have done our best to be as accurate as possible under the circumstances. Please do let us know if you discover any more hidden gems which we should include in future editions.

Introduction

Welcome to Pilgrims' new guide to the monasteries of Ladakh.

Ladakh is a land of magical mystery, where magnificent peaks reach up to the heavens, and the depth of religious fervour in its mystical monasteries is unfathomable.

Ladakh is a harsh land; its bleak mountains offer few physical comforts to the traveller. In winter all is white; on a grey day the earth melts into the sky above, but on a sunny day the dazzling quality of the pristine snow standing dramatically against the deep blue sky is unforgettable. In summer the trees burst into life and greenery abounds, but the mountains are still majestic in their power and spirituality.

The Indus Valley around Leh in Ladakh has perhaps one of the greatest concentrations of monasteries anywhere in the world. This book will take you through these valleys, exploring the monasteries and hopefully adding further interest to your trip, whether as a trekker, sightseer or devoted pilgrim.

Come with us to this high-altitude fairyland; discover the fabulous architecture, the exquisite paintings, the astonishing idols, the overwhelming colours, the sometimes whimsical images and the enlightening vistas.

**Sample Pages**














Ladakh- Land of Magical Monasteries

Item Code:
NAY213
Cover:
PAPERBACK
Edition:
2006
ISBN:
9798177694887
Language:
English
Size:
8.00 X 5.00 inch
Pages:
240 (Throughout Color Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 0.24 Kg
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Preface

When Ladakh first opened to tourism in the mid 1970s, no one could have predicted the amount of interest that its unique landscapes and culture would attract. In the early years of tourism to Ladakh, the lucky visitors were able to begin their sojourn from the enchanting Kashmir valley. After a short (or long) stay on the famous houseboats of Dal Lake in Srinagar, the traveller would head with some trepidation into the mountains. The only route to Leh was over the infamous, avalanche-prone Zoji La pass, following in the footsteps of famous explorers, missionaries and daredevil adventurers.

In the early 1980s, buses plied the tortuous road, taking two bone-shaking, at time heart-stopping days to reach Leh. On the way two very high passes would bar the way, the Namika La and the Fatu La, but the journey offered a myriad of landscapes. This was a rarely possible journey across the main Himalayan watershed. The lush, green forests of Kashmir gave way to the high altitude deserts of the barren, stark, near lifeless land and mountains of Ladakh. After the mid 1980s, Kashmir was engulfed in security issues and a new route opened from Himalchal Pradesh into the hidden kingdom.

Today one can even visit in winter, and it is not altogether without charms at this time of year. Gone are the crowds, the people are more forthcoming, the monasteries are empty (even the monk with the key may not always be around!) That said, the snowy vistas and often luminescent clear blue skies offer a certain masochistic charm. At anything down to minus 35°C, cold it certainly can be, food is limited and, as for washing, your bucket of water may well turn to ice before you get your clothes off! Roads are usually open in the Indus valley, but excursions over to the Nubra valley or Pangong lake may not be possible.

Whenever one travels to the high plateaux of western Tibet and Ladakh, the experience is sure to be one of visual overload. And as for tourism, today upwards of fifty thousand visitors descend on the mountain stronghold during the Hemis festival. Yet despite its growing popularity, Ladakh is a still a wonderland of cultural interest, of stark, captivating mountains, of fairytale, magical monasteries whose chapels are full of unworldly imagery.

About the Author

We apologise for any factual errors within the text. Many of the monasteries move their idols around from temple to temple, sometimes during renovations or for other unknown reasons.

Some of the temples have been renamed over the past few years, some no longer exist and others are completely new. With regard to the strange and unpronounceable names of some of the idols, sometimes even the monks are not sure of the correct name, let alone transliteration.

It would appear that statues, images and idols are periodically moved around within a chapel, or even to a different chapel, so this may also cause confusion. It is a source of some regret that we have been unable to produce an exhaustive and complete guide to the many and varied monasteries of Ladakh, because of inclement weather and the unfortunate fact that on occasions the monk with the keys to some of the chapels have been 'in Leh' or otherwise engaged with pujas, death rites for the near-by deceased etc.

What we have achieved is to list and describe the most accessible and convenient monasteries to Leh. In other words, those monasteries that are most frequently visited. These have detailed maps and diagrams to aid in identification of the numerous deities. By way of background we have also included details about many other monasteries of interest in Ladakh and Zanskar.

Some of these we have visited in the past and some recently; some however we have not. Having first visited Ladakh in 1977, we have seen many changes. Our most recent visit was in February 2006. We have done our best to be as accurate as possible under the circumstances. Please do let us know if you discover any more hidden gems which we should include in future editions.

Introduction

Welcome to Pilgrims' new guide to the monasteries of Ladakh.

Ladakh is a land of magical mystery, where magnificent peaks reach up to the heavens, and the depth of religious fervour in its mystical monasteries is unfathomable.

Ladakh is a harsh land; its bleak mountains offer few physical comforts to the traveller. In winter all is white; on a grey day the earth melts into the sky above, but on a sunny day the dazzling quality of the pristine snow standing dramatically against the deep blue sky is unforgettable. In summer the trees burst into life and greenery abounds, but the mountains are still majestic in their power and spirituality.

The Indus Valley around Leh in Ladakh has perhaps one of the greatest concentrations of monasteries anywhere in the world. This book will take you through these valleys, exploring the monasteries and hopefully adding further interest to your trip, whether as a trekker, sightseer or devoted pilgrim.

Come with us to this high-altitude fairyland; discover the fabulous architecture, the exquisite paintings, the astonishing idols, the overwhelming colours, the sometimes whimsical images and the enlightening vistas.

**Sample Pages**














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