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Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Lamayuru: Of rock mountains, scenic peace and home to Ladakh’s largest gompa

People perceive the Himalayas as snow covered mountains, blue skies and desolate beauty. But, within this Himalayan world, different places present a variety of panoramas and vistas. And the specialty is that these sights change quite rapidly. Sometimes, they change at the end of a curve or when you move from one hill to another.

Lamayuru in monochrome
Such a unique set of views is presented at Lamayuru, a scenic high altitude Himalayan town that is located between Leh and Kargil. The specialty of this town is its rock mountains and the buildings that perch themselves on it.

Lamayuru Monastery - one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh
This town gets its bearings from the Lamayuru monastery that was built in the 11th century. This Tibetan Buddhist gompa, that today exists as the largest and one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh, gives the Lamayuru town its character.

Entering the Lamayuru Monastery
It is this Lamayuru monastery and the surrounding buildings that give the Lamayuru town its iconic look. This look includes the mighty Himalayas in the background and the monastery buildings located on the edge of the rock mountains in the foreground.

Ladakhi women - old and young
The nearby high altitude mountain pass of Fotu La that is located about 12 kms from Lamayuru also ensures that this Himalayan town gets its share of cold winds. A lot of people who visit Lamayuru also try to make it to the nearby Fotu La to soak in its snow capped views and enjoy its bitter cold.

Lamayuru town from on top of the Lamayuru Monastery
One of the best things to do in Lamayuru is to amble by its many lanes that surround the monastery, pick a nice comfortable spot and enjoy its serene beauty by staring into the Himalayan oblivion. Such a spot would be ideal for meditation too. If it gets too cold, one can continue their meditation from inside the monastery.

Colourful Murals inside the Lamayuru Monastery
The monastery is also a great place in itself. While its open corridors ensure you get fantastic Himalayan vistas to see, its interiors awe you with its spirituality and rich wall paintings.

A pathway inside Lamayuru Monastery
With all these ingredients, Lamayuru makes for a great spiritual/nature holiday. At 127 kms or about a 3 hour drive from Leh, Lamayuru can either become your full-fledged holiday destination or can be a day trip from Leh. Such a day trip would include stops at Sangam (confluence of Indus and Zanskar rivers), Magnetic Hill, Lamayuru and Fotu La giving a lot of variety in a single day.

Lamayuru town and Lamyuru Monastery
A longer stay is always recommended as that would give you the chance to go on some nice treks nearby and explore Lamayuru and its surroundings at length. Some other key attractions nearby include Wanla Gompa, Namik La and Hannupatta.



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