8/14/2010 | India , Ladakh

Stakna to Matho

By the 14th of August the tourists in Leh had thinned out dramatically with most taking flights out town.  The roads to Manali and Srinagar were still closed but the roads to some nearby villages especially to the south had opened and bus services had begun again.  Having been stuck in Leh since the flood eight days earlier, we took the opportunity to head out and visit some of the monasteries in the Indus valley near Leh.  I chose a couple I had not managed to visit yet on my previous trips, Stakna, and Matho.  Stakna was founded by a Lama from Bhutan and therefore a bit different (at least in the icons and murals) than the typical Gelukpa sect (the Dalai Lama’s sect) Gompas in most of Ladakh.  The offering dishes were stuffed with Bhutanese money suggesting a least a few Bhutanese had made the cross India pilgrimage.  Matho is another atypical Ladakhi monastery as it belongs to the Sakyapa sect a school that predates the Gelukpa sect and takes its name from the Tibetan town of the Sakya that sits between Lhasa and the Nepali Border.   We walked between the two gompas, despite their proximity there did not seem to be a particularly good and direct path between them.  We made our way as directly as we could over the rocky terrain, a surprisingly tiring walk, tiring enough that we were in no mood to repeat the trek by walking back to the main road.  Fortunately we managed to hitch a ride in a pickup truck, avoiding a repeat of the cross country hike.

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