Sunday, March 2, 2008

Stok,Ladakh,India: 22July2008

Lost in Switzerland??

Angela and me decided to walk around on our own. Early in the morning, we bought cookies and Ladakhi bread as breakfast and took the public minibus to Stok.
Stok is a small village around 40 minutes bus ride from Leh. Obviously the people here grow a kind of yellow flowers. So the town was surrounded by the beautiful flowers.
We climbed up to the hill to get to the gompa on the mountain. A few kids following us and we ended up shared fruits with each other. They plucked fresh apricots from the tree and gave us some while i had a few apples with me. Compare with the commercialism in Leh, Stok is just a laid back village surrounded by dried looking mountain.
We visited to Stok Palace too. It was quite a modest building but impressive in a way with its 1000 years old gompa. We wanted to do meditation at the quiet and serene shrine hall, but the guard didn't allow us to. They only open the locked shrine hall when visitors come.
We couldn't find a public transport to go back to Leh from Stok and in the end, we just hitch-hiked some body's motorbike. Like usual, the Indian young man is rather irresistible to two young foreign women. :) Well, he insisted to give us his phone number and wanted us to call him when we got back to Leh. Why does he think that we would call a stranger man we met on the road? Even though he had showed us kindness. Further more, he showed too much interest in Japanese women (i told him that i am not and i am married!)and Angela teased me for that.
By the rest of the afternoon, we got back to Leh and went to Leh Palace. We kind of lost our way to the palace and ended up did "rock climbing" by the cliff (it was a REAL cliff and i was terrified!), trying to find a way to the palace! Why they just couldn't post a proper sign? The gompa by the mountain was far too steep for my sandal or slipper to climb up to. So i just gave it a pass.
We then had a delicious tibetan meal and after that a good chat with tea under the star at the garden of our guesthouse.

The small town is surrounded by the flowers.

Beautiful flower farm. Feel like in Switzerland rather than in India.

The kids in Stok. They don't really look 'Indian' as in our perception. :)

Stok Palace built in 1825 and there are more than 80 rooms, but only 5 opens to the public.
The museum displays rare royal ornaments, thangkas, traditional clothing and jewellery.

The way to Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, from the Leh Palace.
It is so steep that you do really need a proper trekking shoes to walk all the way up.

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