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Ladakh: Land of Magical Monasteries
By: Bob Gibbons & Sian Pritchard Jones

Ladakh: Land of Magical Monasteries, Bob Gibbons & Sian Pritchard Jones


 
Our Price: $15.00
Members Price: $13.50
Author: Bob Gibbons & Sian Pritchard Jones
Format: Paperback
ISBN: 9798177694887
Publication Date: 2006


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Description About the author
 
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.

Ladakh: Land of Magical Monasteries, Bob Gibbons & Sian Pritchard Jones, Pilgrim's Publishing, Hardcover, 240 pages, $15.00

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