What comes to your mind when you think of a bike ride? High speed and the wind in your hair? Well in Leh it turns out to be a bit different. There will be no zooming around because of two reasons. First the roads if not serpentine are often in a bad state. Second the wind factor is so high that at every turn you feel your bike being buffeted hard. So, while in Leh, take it real slow and easy.
Secondly there is going to be no wind in your hair. You have to be completely covererd with gloves, mufflers, caps and goggles. The wind is cold, dry and biting. Any exposed area will suffer very badly.
But a bike ride is a must or how else will you be able to experience the beauty around you. This is one place where before taking pictures you do not have to look for angles and lighting. Even a blind man with a camera can take awesome pictures. You just have to point and click. This landscape is a painting made by the Creator. This canvas does not have lots of colors but each and every area seems to be the master stroke of a famous painter.
We went on a bike ride to Alchi. The whole group was excited not because of the destination but because of the journey. The road, thankfully, was good. So here we were covered from head to toe on a nice sunny Sunday morning.
The confluence of Zanskar and Indus is a view that never ceases to amaze. The blue waters of the Zanskar and the darker water of the Indus come and meet at the confluence.
Then you follow the road running parallel to the river towards Alchi. The two main attractions there are the Hudroelectric dam and the Alchi monastery. As you climb the mountain you can see little hamlets in the valley.
The road bifurcates and moves towards the dam.
The Alchi monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. However it is in a bad state. The beautiful 11th and 12th century wall paintings are slowly peeling away. The mud structure of the monastery is starting to crumble.
In this little known, almost forgotten corner of the country such priceless heritage is slowly crumbling to dust. I hope the ASI takes over the restoration process and is able to preserve these treasures. Meanwhile only the poplar trees stand tall braving the elements.