Bumpity bumpity bump

Yesterday we went over Khardung La pass to the Nubra Valley. Khardungla is the highest motorable pass in the world, peaking at 18,380feet. I was surprised to find at least a portion of it was paved, but as we neared the top, the pavement ended and the road became dirt with rocks of varying sizes. Once again, our driver expertly managed hairpin turns and blind curves on a single lane road with minimal if any guard rails to stop a vehicle from plummeting into the abyss. Add lorries, cars and motorbikes whizzing in every direction, rockslides in various state of repairs, and the odd cow wandering about, and you’ll have a vague idea of what it was like. And don’t forget the dust. Picture being on an old roller coaster. For several hours. At one point our vehicle got stuck, and our driver had to get out and arrange rocks under the wheel to get us out. It was definitely a wild ride, but fun in a twisted, adventurous way.

I had to admire the motorcyclists crossing the pass. I can imagine it would be great fun, yet for me it would be a short ride into my next life, as I’ve only ridden on the back of a motorcycle as a kid. The folks that truly amazed be were the handful of bicyclists that were crossing the pass. I can’t even imagine the stamina needed to do it. Or the cojones.

As we got out on top of the pass, I could definitely feel the heady, dizzying sensation of being oxygen deprived, but the views were worth it.

We arrived at Diskit monastery where we had lunch and then climbed the stairs to a giant Buddha rupa (statue). The views over the Nubra valley where the monastery sits high on a hill were vast and breathtaking. I know I’ve been using that word a lot, but this is some incredibly beautiful country, and everywhere I go, I am just amazed.

I climbed the stairs of the monastery to the temple on my own, as there were a lot of them. Many of the buildings appeared to be rooms for the monks. Lots of up and down for them, but what views. The temple at the top was a peaceful place to watch the breath – or lack thereof.

In the evening we went out for a short camel ride on Bactrian (two humped) camels native to the region. When returning over the pass the next day, I was thankful we had not ridden for a longer period of time. Fifteen minutes was enough for the experience, and I’m sure the camels appreciated the shorter ride as well. There were baby camels there as well who were very curious, and as I put my face forward in a proper camelid greeting, I got a gentle nose bump from one of them.

We stayed last night in yurts to complete the experience, and I have to say these were much better insulated than ones I’ve been in before. Definitely not the cold, windy and noisy experience that I expected.

I’d like to give a shout out to our driver Rigzen from Omasila hotel in Leh. He’s been driving tours for 13 years, and he’s awesome. I would definitely recommend him and the hotel to anyone interested. And they’re not paying me to say it either!-)

The Internet at the hotel, however, leaves much to be desired. Sorry for the lack of photos on this post.

Tomorrow we may be off to Pangong lake, depending on road conditions. I’ll post again when I can get reliable internet, but it’s very unsure. Be well everyone!

Author: mettatsunami

In 2009 I was working full time in medicine, and living a life that was alienated from what I truly valued. While volunteering with a local hospice, I began to wonder: "What would I do differently if I had six months to live?". This began the impetus to change direction. While it has been a case of two steps forward, one step back in many ways, there has still been slow movement in the direction of a more authentic life. Since the pivotal decision to change direction, I have been a Buddhist nun, returned to lay life, changed Buddhist schools, returned to medicine part time, and then full time, quit again, traveled extensively, trained in yoga, spent time in several Buddhist monasteries, and am in the process of how to live according with Buddhist and yogic practice and values, and how to streamline this life into something worthwhile. In the Theravadan Buddhist practice, one of the daily reflections is "Has my practice born fruit with freedom or insight, so that at the end of my life, I need not feel ashamed when questioned by my spiritual companions?". That is my practice. My goal in this blog is to share the journey along the way.

6 thoughts on “Bumpity bumpity bump”

  1. In the midst all the memories, lovely scenery, and the shared verbal descriptions and photos, I imagine that the gentle nose bump from a baby camel will be a fond memory.


  2. Good to know you’re well! And I can only imagine how amazing it must have been to be up on that temple. Much love from Mark and I!


  3. I love seeing that you are having a great time and seeing some amazing “breathtaking” country. Syd and I have loved seeing where Flat Sydney is going. Haha! So awesome that you thought of that!
    Love and miss you!


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