We left Leh behind and finally started our way towards Zanskar. To get there, we had to cover over 450 kilometres. We have decided to take our time and go really slowly – visiting small villages on the way and enjoying the road.Mountain desert

Smooth asphalt

Cycling Ladakh

Most of the road from Leh to Kargil goes along the mighty Indus river. One can take part in rafting adventure on the rivers flowing into the Indus. Here is the Zanskar river near Chilling village:

Rafting in Ladakh

One day, just before entering the village of Alchi we spotted something very rare. Not further than one kilometre from the main Leh-Srinagar highway, right next to a large paddle of murky water we found snow leopards footprints! Many of them, really fresh, probably left in the early morning the same day.

Snow leopard foodprints

Click on the picture to see the deatails!

Snow leopard footprint

We followed the snow leopard’s track for almost 300 hundred meters, after it disappeared into the wilderness.

Footprints of snow leopards

Ladakh mountains

In Alchi we visited definitely the finest of all Buddhist monasteries we had seen so far. The best of it was painted on the walls of the temple, thousands of miniature Buddhas and Bodhisattvas one next to the other. No photographs allowed inside, we respect that so if you want to see what we mean please check http://www.smithsonianmag.com/multimedia/photos/?c=y&articleID=87149052

In another village, Likir, we could enjoy a full spectrum of Buddhist deities, here is a protector almost in union with his partner:

Protector

Monks meditation covers

Right in front of the monastery we were amazed by a gigantic Buddha statue:

Big Buddha - Likir

Temple trumpets

View on Likir

Prayer wheels

Small prayer wheels

What was special about travelling towards Zanskar, were the local people. Most of them, especially the woman follow the tradition and dress in Ladakhi clothes.

Ladakhi woman

Village celebration

Dressed up Ladakhi women

No, this is not Bolivia. This is India, ladies and gentleman!

Ladakhi shopping

Ladakhi shephard

Likir

Instead of travelling the main highway, we took the small, local roads as much as we could.

Pass

On the way to Kragil, almost in the middle, lies Lamayuru with its famous monastery, where an important master called Naropa meditated.

Big prayer wheel

Mat under the stupa

Lamayuru

The place is a hot destination for many Buddhist pilgrims.

Pilgrim - Lamayuru

Old pilgrims

A stone-throw from the main temple we found a secret “Lion temple” with murals similar to what we have seen in Alchi.

Secret Gompa Lamayuru

Wall paintings Lamayuru

The local people of Lamayuru were truly friendly. We stayed at the guesthouse of a local lady and we could experience a glimpse of the life of the Ladakhi people.

Lamayuru ladies

Ladakhi woman in her kitchen

A nice and smooth road took us further towards Kashmir, with more and more adventures awaiting our arrival.

Ladakh landscape

Resting

Ladakhi road