It is interesting that I rarely see a reaction from travelers when they get to know we are going to be part of something that is from 11th or 12 th century. Is it difficult to figure out the number of years or do we choose to ignore the number. What if somebody shared the fact that the piece of history is 2000 to 3000 years old. Would the reaction be different or indifferent. I am not sure. I guess it is difficult for some to appreciate that our history and everything associated, is generations old.
On the second day, I was going to pay my respects to monasteries founded in 11th and 12th century and I didn't know what to expect. But there was a hurdle to cross before going back in time. Well, not so much of a hurdle as my skepticism to magnetic hill. The Innova moved about 100 meters or maybe less on its own. There could be any number of reasons for that to happen and not necessarily magnetic force. But it did make a grounded stopover before we continued our journey.
The looming form of Maitreya led us to Likir Monastery. The steep risers through the welcoming doorway brought us into the complex. The superficial tourist in me took over and instead of appreciating the history, culture, religion associated with the place. I spent my time engrossed in the surrounding valley and capturing it. I didn't pay the deserved attention to the wall paintings, the amazing colorful structures, the scared deity. Is this travel or tourism?
The 12th century Alchi monastery introduced me to few more words. Manjushri, bodhisattvas, avalokitershwara , sumtseg, chortens. Yes, they were mere words to me. Why don't we connect with spiritualism on such visits. Is it the crowd? Is it the unfamiliar terrain? Or is it our unwillingness to be open to culture and spiritualism other than the one we grew up with.
We wound up our day in the comforts of a typical Ladakhi home in company of a lovely couple at Stok. They called themselves Gyab Thago Heritage Home. The locally brewed barley fermented drink ( chhang kholak), butter tea ( gur gur cha / shrusma cha), momos ( mok mok) , ladakhi pasta and sugared apricots got us closer to the region. Pardon my ignorance if I have the names incorrect. I was too busy enjoying scrumptious meal that I forgot to make a note of the names. Here is a link to more information on the local cuisine
Location: Likir, Alchi, Stok , Ladakh, India
Date of travel: June 2013
Tip: Take a moment to appreciate the local culture.
Must do: Local cuisine
First: Butter tea and Barley beer
The travel connection: Scumptious food