Southeast Of Leh, Ladakh Region, J&K
Main Attractions: Stok Palace & Museum, Stok Gompa
Built nearly 1580 by great scholar saint chosje Jamyang Palkar during the
reign of king Jamyang Namgyal. The Stakna monastery is 45 Km south of Leh,
founded on a hill shaped Stakna (Tiger nose). Easily accessible from Leh
Stok gompa twenty
minutesí walk up the valley, boasts a collection of dance- drama masks, and
some lurid modern murals painted by lamas from Lingshet gompa in
Zanskar, the artists responsible for the Maitreya statue in Tiske.
At the top of a huge moraine of pebbles swept down from the mountains, the
elegant four-storey Stok Palace stands under the shadow of the
tower, above barley terraces studded with threshing circles and white washed
farmhouses. Built early in the 19th century by the last ruler of independent
Ladakh , it has been the official residence of the Ladakhi royal family
since they were ousted from Leh and Shey two hundred years ago.
The present Gyalmo or "queen", Deskit Angmo, a former member of parliament,
still lives here during the summer, but has converted one wing of her
77-roomed palace into a small museum. The fascinating collection comprises
some of the royal family's most precious heirlooms, including antique ritual
objects, ceremonial tea paraphernalia, and exquisite 16th century 'Thangkas'
illuminated with paint made from crushed rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
The pieces de resistance, however, are the Gyalmo's Peraks. Still worn on
important occasions, the ancient headdresses, thought to have originated in
Tibet, are encrusted with slabs of flawless turquoise, polished coral, lapis
lazuli and nuggets of pure gold. Also of interest are a couple of swords
whose blades were allegedly tied in knows as a demonstration of strength by
king Tashi Namgyal, and several sacred Dzi Stones - "pearls of pure
happiness", said to have fallen from heaven, and worn to ward off evil
Oracles Of Stok
Another attraction of Stok is the July Archery Contest. As in Matho one can
see the small water mills in which the roasted grain is ground into meal.
There are two lay oracles in Stok and they give their 'performance' at the
Lchagrang festival on the 9th and 10th days of the third month of the
HOW TO GET THERE
Road: Buses leave Leh for Stok at 7.30 am, 2.00 pm and 4.30pm. A day in Stok
is more than enough to do the museum and the Gompa justice, and to explore
the beautiful side valley bedding the village - trailhead for the Markha
Places of Interest (Visit
Leh is nested in a side valley just to the north of the Indus Valley.
Until 1947 it had close trading relations with Central Asia yak trains would
set off from the Leh Bazaar to complete the stages over the Kaakoam Pass to
Yarkand and Kashgar.
Administering the Valleys of Suru , Drass, Wakha and Bodkarbu, Kargil
lies midway between the alpine valleys of Kashmir and the fertile reaches of
the Indus Valley and ladakh
Thak Thok gompa
shelters a cave in which the apostle Padmasambhava is said to have meditated
during his epic eight-century journey to Tibet.
Dhahanu is situated to the south west of Leh,
around 163 Kms. passing through the beautiful villages of Kaltsey, Domkhar,
Padum is 240 km to the south of Kargil, comes as a bit of an anticlimax
Rangdum is an elliptical expanded plateau surrounded by colourful hills on
the one side and glacier encrusted rocky mountains on the other.
Walled in by the Great Himalayan Divide, Zanskar, literally " Land of
White Copper" has for decades exrted the allure of Shangri La on visitours
Zangla is the nodal point on the popular Padum Strongdey Zangla Karsha
Padum round trip, which covers most of the cultural sites of Zanskar.
The Suru Valley
Diving two of the world's most formidable mountain ranges, the Suru
Valley winds south from Kargil to the desolate Pensi La the main entry point
the Nubra valley - nubra means green used to be on the trading route
connection Tibet with Turkistan, Also Now as the Valley of Flowers
Drass (3230 m), 60 km west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar, is a small township lying in the centre of the valley of the same name
The Shyok River receives the waters of the Nubra and Changchenmo rivers. It rises from the Khumdang glacier, which can be approached from
Pangong Tso, 15km to the southeast of Leh, is one of the largest
saltwater lakes in Asia, a long narrow strip of water stretching from Ladakh
east into Tibet.
Tso Moriri or "Mountain Lake" is Famous for the large herds of
king, or wild ass, which graze on its shores, the lake of Tso Moriri.