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Early risers, Hee Dong and Jieun are up and out of the room before 6am with the bright sunshine again highlighting a spectacular scene out our window. The crisp air is accompanied once again by a chilly breeze that encourages me to stay under my blanket and write in my journal, ha!

Trip back was uneventful tho we tried to get the driver to stop at several monasteries along the way. He did stop at Thak Thok monastery and Shey palace but otherwise, was decidedly uncooperative. We bid a sad farewell to our fellow travellers, Hee Dong, Jieun, Marco, and Paula...it was a most pleasant trip with these folks, made the trip that much more worthwhile. I was very tired and slept until we met Kristyna and Lucas from 8-ยน0pm. They are quite a kick and delightful to spend time with. No electricity but it did come on just long enough to bath and wash some clothes.

Wiki Info Shey palace

Info Thak Thok Monastery

The following is taken from enotes.com:

Tak Thok Gompa Ladakh

Tak Thok gompa is situated some 10 km further up from Chemre gompa in the Chemre Valley. The name Tak Thok in Lladakhi means "Rock Rood" and refers to the cave chapel found in this unusual gompa. The Rimpoche of Tak Thok is from Tibet and is highly respected by Ladakhis. The gompa houses about 55 lamas of the Nying-ma-pa sect of Buddhism, also known as the "Old Order". Members of this sect are followers of Padme Sambhava's teachings and Tak Thok is the only gompa in Ladakkh that follows this order. Entering the main courtyard, one is immediately struck by the rock outcroppings that surround the gompa. Indeed, the wooden front of the chapel is only a front for the cave behind it and most of the gompa consists of rooms hollowed out of the stone cliff by nature or man. The cave chapel is to the left as one enters the central courtyard. A small anteroom to the cave chapel has been recently painted with the Guardian Divinities of the Four Directions. In the front of the cave chapel are images of Padme Sambhava and Avalokitesvara. Behind this image is a small locked door leading to the small cave where Padme Sambhava is supposed to have lived and meditated for three years. This cave is not open to the public. The low roof of the chapel is the stone of the cliff. Leaving the cave ahapel, go up a flight of stairs and on the right will be the Kandshur Lhakhang. The Kandshur is the 108 volumes of Buddha's teachings and a complete set of this important religious work is found in this temple. There are also statues of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha) with his two chief disciples by his side. The walls are decorated with murals of guardian divinities. Opposite the Kandshur Lhakhang and to the left is a small chapel containing religious books and four Buddha statues.

Returning to the central courtyard, the Dukhang or main assembly hall will be on the right (the same side as the courtyard entrance). The verandah entrance to the Dukhang has beautiful new murals of guardian divinities. These murals are covered by cloth all year, except during the gompa's festival, in order to preserve their color but just lift the cloth up to admire the workmanship. In the Dukhang are several rows of low seats for the lamas. Opposite the entrance is a throne seat reserved solely for the Dalai Lama. To the left of this throne seat is a wall painting of Padme Shambhava and on the right is a painting of Sakyamuni. On the right wall towards the front is a glass-fronted case of small, colorful sculptures made of butter mixed with barley flour. To the right of this case are three large statues of Maitreya (the Future Buddha or Buddha of Compassion). Padme Sambhava and Dorje Takposal (a manifestation of Padme Sambhava). The other walls are newly painted with depictions of guardian divinities done by the same Ladakhi artist who painted the topmost temple in Chemre. Across the central courtyard of the Dukhang are behind a low wall is the gompa's kitchen, interesting mainly for its location under the overhanging rock-face.


Day Trip To Thiksey and New Palace/Museum

Wiki Info Thikse

To Thiksey after meeting K & L for breakfast and introducing them to David, a fellow Moravian. Due to some traffic jam up the mini bus had to go by back roads which was great. Good visit and great panoramic views of the whole valley from on top of the monastery. Caught a local bus to Choglamsar where we hired a taxi up to the palace. When we got there the fellow who eventually led us around (no one there at the time we arrived) told our driver there would be no public bus back today so luckily the driver waited for us and after our tour of the museum (really interesting - monarchy goes back to 975 ad), drove us back to Choglamsar where lots of minibuses available back to Leh.

Unfortunately, my camera battery gave out and I forgot my spare so no photos of today's adventures.


Day trip with Martin & Marget to Alchi and gompas...we headed towards the bus station but on the way...even as Martin and I talked of health issues and how lucky we are now, Bonnie stumbled and fell hard on the roadway/metal grating severely wrenching her right arm/shoulder in trying to catch herself - unsuccessfully! She insisted we continue being more concerned about perhaps having ripped her shirt and getting her clean pants and shirt all muddy! We continued onto the minibus which luckily still had seats and departed on time at 8am. It was a 3 hour ride during which time an ibuprofen had some affect as well as a danish roll Bon had purchased. Still a bit 'shocky' by what I saw she still was game and we walked around Alchi & saw ot's very different/old monastery/temples. By the time we'd finished our walk about ( Marget was off doing her own walk - a bit more strenuous than 3 of us), we were ready for tea. Had a great chat with Martin who'd been through this area 19 years before trekking and camping. He was a wealth of info which put many things in perspective for me. An 'old' soul type, I enjoyed listening to his stories a lot. Marget is some years younger and a bit less talkative but still good company as well.

While sitting waiting for the minibus to return, Marget just happened to mention that this was one time when she wished she had more $$$ and could hire a taxi back. Well, someone was listening and he approached us first with a 150 pp offer but finally agreeing to take the 4 of us back to Leh for 100 rupees each ( bus is 80 rupees)! A wonderful ride and discussion during our return caused the time to fly and we found ourselves back in Leh by 5. Martin suggested Bon ,ight want to get an X-ray which she agreed to...they knew right where to go which facilitated the decision greatly. X-rays showed perhaps a thin line fracture and the doctor recommended 4 weeks in a sling although the tech guy said he thought just not lifting anything and keeping it down would be sufficient. Bon is exhausted and so we drop our plans to do some shopping to just eat and go back to GH to get ready for leaving at 4am tomorrow. She still had to wash clothes majorly muddied by her fall. She has a huge bruise on her arm as well as a sore shoulder so I think being on a bus for 2 days to Manali will be good!

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