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Stok and Spituk Gompa

It was good to have less to none Internet connection, with a result you have a habit of sleep and wake up early for an energetic day! I have a walk again to the same spot as yesterday, but much more earlier just for a random walk, but it result with some spectacular sunrise scenery over the Stok mountain range! Find a high spot in front of a Gompa, have a seat, and enjoy the amazing morning all by my own, good start to a beautiful day!

Three more companions, Andy, Soon, and CT reach Siala Guesthouse safely and we get to know each other more during the breakfast sessions in the morning. They just landed hence they need their rest as well for the high altitude adjustment, hence did not join us for our half day trip to Stok and Spituk Gompa. We did confirmed with the taxi driver, Tan Song on the plan yesterday and he was ready to pick us up timely from the guest house to start our day trip. Before we head over to Stok, he also stop us at Korzu Pond not too far away from our guest house in which teenagers were practicing ice hockey. Other than winter time, this lake was a just a normal ordinary lake, imagine the coldness required to maintain the ice!

Same spot, different perspective of view.

Superb misty view on Stok Range.

Prayers flag hanging on the small hill.

Me sitting in front of a small Gompa, enjoying this unbelievable beautiful scenery.

Seeing the light shine brighter on Stok Range was truly satisfying.

The Gompa that I spend most of the morning at.

That's what you get to be able to wake up early!

Korzu Pond, converted from normal lake into ice hockey field only during winter!

First step onto frozen lake.

Andrew and Fabian seem very interested to join the game.

Tan Song first bring us to Stok Gompa, with a huge 71 feet height Gautama Buddha statue facing the snow mountain range, as a tribute to World Peace to inspire Love and Compassion, and to promote Social Harmony. I personally love the quote mentioned here along with the statue:

[Enthused by great compassion,

You expounded the sublime truth

In order to eliminate all wrong views;

To you, the Gautama Buddha, I pay homage.]

We did not went in to the monastery because it was closed as all the monks are there in Spituk Gompa preparing for upcoming Gustor Festival on the next few days, too bad we no longer at Leh during that time to experience that! On the way back to our car, there was some mysterious energy lead me to climb a small mountain to the back of the Gautama Buddha statue, which I am able to catch a good clear view on how the statue was facing the snow mountain range. Beside, the color of the small hill here slightly looked like colorful Peru rainbow mountain as seen from Internet!

Stok Kangri peak can be seen clearly from the road.

A cute donkey wandering around Stok village.

The direction towards the hiking trail to Stok Kangri peak.

Majestic Gautama Buddha Statue in Stok Gompa.

Brief introduction to the statue.

The interior of the Stok Gompa.

The unreal view towards the doorstep of the Gompa.

Beautiful village of Stok.

Not sure why, but I just follow the donkey to hike up the small hill.

Gautama Buddha statue seem to be guardian overseeing the whole Stok village from high up.

Some color layer can be seen on the small hill here as well, might be similar to Peru famous Rainbow Mountain!

On the way back to Leh, Tan Song stop us at Spituk Gompa which going to host the Gustor Festival soon, located just next to the airport and military base. Snapping photo towards the military base area are prohibited here, so beware! On the other end of the Gompa, it was a beautiful winter valley with Indus river flow in between it, and even from far you can see piece and pieces of frozen ice flowing along the river water, that was just amazing.

I have a walk randomly inside the Gompa and came across a main hall where there are few young monks practicing dance there. There was a room just next to the main hall, in which we can hear some praying ceremony was held inside at that time. We can't resist but try to peek inside, and saw many senior monks were in there, and immediately invited all of us in to join the prayer, as well as serving us with a drink called butter tea. Butter tea is salted tea made by boiling tea with baking soda and salt in a tea urn; afterwards, a large lump of butter is added. The butter is specially churned in wooden apparatus, and the milk is usually yak's. Not just only the taste was unique, but this seem to be a remedy to counter the freeze weather here in Ladakh. It was a very special blessing experience.

We wave goodbye to Tan Song after he drop us back at the Main Bazaar. Great service and nice half day trip with only 2000 rupee.

Crystal blue Indus river water flowing by the Spituk village.

Mandy with prayer flags on Spituk Gompa.

Dogs resting comfortably on the rocks.

The scenery just amazingly beautiful!

Take a break while enjoying the view.

Heading back down towards the main hall.

Young monks practicing dance on the courtyard, probably getting ready for upcoming Gustor Festival.

The room leading to the main hall in which we join the senior monks for prayers.

We meet Soon here wandering alone in the bazaar hunting for food, and a local overheard our conversation and recommend us over to Rangkyit Restaurant not too far from the main street. It was very dark inside due to no electricity supply for the entire town at the time, but I really love the local environment feel down here, and to interact with the peoples as well. The sharing portion of Choemein (fried noddle), noodle soup, and local delicacy called Momo which was Himalayan name to dumplings, only cost us around 350 rupee, worth the try here!

Few of us decide to continue some walk north as I observe there was another Sankar Gompa not too far away from Siala Guesthouse, we did meet Lobzang and the team again on the Main Bazaar as they were busy preparing all necessary items for our expedition. When we walk our way, sadly we saw a suffering puppy which just got drowned in freezing water for quite some time, before a good guy grab it out from the water. Everyone try their best to keep the puppy warm but it seem to weak to recover itself, and the only thing we could do was to accompany it until he release its last breath. Life was just too fragile, so do not harm each other living life at any cost to make the world more beautiful. May you rest in peace, puppy, you will be remembered!

I start to feel dizzy during dinner and it was getting worsen, hence I have to get a medicine from Hybrid and went to sleep immediately. Hopefully nothing serious as we are getting closer to our major expedition!

Tea break via Rangkyit restaurant.

Stupa at the entrance to Sankar Gompa.

My only prayer here was on the dead puppy we met earlier, to rest in peace and happily in its afterlife..

A yak we met while on our way back to Siala Guesthouse.

Passing Korzu Pond again on the way back.

Stok and Spituk Gompa - India

January 2018

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