Tag Archives: ladakh

Lingshed Monastery, Ladakh

Lingshed Monastery

Lingshed Monastery or Kumbum, meaning ‘A Hundred Thousand Images’ was founded in the 1440s

In the winter of 2007 I did the famous Chadar trek till the village of Lingshed. We spent a ‘rest day’ in the village and climbed the nearby peaks to get spectacular views of the surrounding countryside.

Lingshed Village is in the Trans-Sengge-La region between Ladakh and Zanskar and has been inhabited for nearly a thousand years. Lingshed Monastery or Kumbum, meaning ‘A Hundred Thousand Images’ was founded in the 1440s by Changsems Sherabs Zangpo. Lingshed is located on the trekking route from Zanskar to Lamayuru.

I shot this on my Nikon FM, 24mm and slide film. Have a look at more photos from this trek.

 

 

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Tso Moriri (4200m), Ladakh

Tso Moriri, Ladakh

The mountains in the distance are over 6000m high

The tranquil waters of Tso Moriri on the Changtang plateau in Ladakh. Tso Moriri, or Lake Moriri is a saltwater lake and the largest high altitude lake in India. Back in 2007 I tried to mountain bike around the lake and failed miserably. We were able to cycle along one bank to the end of the lake and then back again. The altitude, soft sand and hot sun defeated us. On the way we surprised some nomads on horses who stared at us as we struggled past. They shook their heads and rode off in a cloud of dust. Obviously horses were a much better idea.

I would love to return to the beautiful spot and spend some time shooting the lake in its many moods.

Encounter with the High Altitude Taxi Mafia

We had a strange incident while visiting the lake. We were camped by the shore some distance from the village of Korzok. We had pitched our tents and settled down to a cup of tea when we saw a couple of jeeps approaching our camp at high speed. They braked hard at the edge of the camp in a cloud of dust and the occupants rolled down their windows and started shouting incoherently at us. Not the kind of hello you would expect in an isolated spot at over 4000m in the Himalayas. Bemused I put my cup down and approached the vehicle along with my companions, Scott and Ross; both well over six foot and Scott is an ex-soldier from the Australian Army.

The jeeps were filled with local goons from the taxi mafia who demanded to know why we weren’t using their vehicles and camped in their camp grounds near Korzok. I just smiled and shook their hands with a cheery Jhuley! This disarmed them immediately and they calmed down. I said we hadn’t travelled hundreds of kilometres to get into a fight. We could have got into one right at our door step if we wanted one! Their tone changed and they now said they had come to inform us that we had camped on the lands of the Tsomoriri Wetland Conservation Reserve. All this while none of the pint-sized goons, packed like sardines, stepped out of the jeep. When they realised that there wasn’t going to be a scrap and left in a cloud of dust.

We had diffused the situation but the tension remained. I didn’t want them to return at night once they had had a few drinks in them. I thought it best to drive into town speak with their boss and clear things up. We located the goons in the village. They were playing snooker in a large parachute tent. They were very sheepish and wouldn’t even make eye contact when they spoke to us. When asked where their boss was, we were given a name and told to go to the monastery.

At the monastery we soon realised that the head Lama was the local mafia boss. I wondered if his motto was Om Money Padme Hum. After much running around we were told that the shadowy Himalayan Godfather was out of town, or maybe he just didn’t want to see us.  We returned to camp and left early next morning.

Then we had a run in with the cops at the toll barrier who though we were running an illegal taxi, then we had a run in with the local tour company who stuffed up our permits and wouldn’t refund our money, the next encounter…… anyway…….I’d like to remember my visit to the lake with this serene photograph.

Om Mani Padme Hum!

 

 

 

 

 

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Frozen boots on the Chadar trek, Ladakh Himalaya

Frozen boots on the Chadar trek, Ladakh Himalaya

Frozen boots on the Chadar trek

The Chadar trek is the coldest trek I have done in the Himalayas or anywhere for that matter. My boots were frozen solid and I had to keep moving in order to keep my toes warm. The locals wore cheap gumboots and managed in the -25c degree temperatures.

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Tso Moriri 4200m, Ladakh Himalaya

Tso Moriri 4200m, Ladakh Himalaya

Tso Moriri 4200m, Ladakh Himalaya

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Tso Moriri (4200m), Ladakh

Tso Moriri (4200m), Ladakh

Tso Moriri (4200m), Ladakh

The waters of the amazing Tso Moriri, a high altitude lake in the Indian Himalaya. The surrounding peaks are well in excess of 6000m.

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Winter in the Himalayas, Ladakh

Winter in the Himalayas

Winter in the Himalayas, Ladakh

Trekking in Ladakh in winter at around -25c. Do you know what is feels like to stand in a place like this? I do. And that is why I return again and again and again; despite the cold, despite the suffering; despite the terrain; despite everything.

Taken on a Nikon FM, 24mm, using slide film

 

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Winter trekking in the Himalayas, India

Winter trekking in the Himalayas

Winter trekking in the Himalayas, India

Early morning in the Zanskar gorge in Ladakh Himalaya. Tempratures were well below -25c as we trekked on the surface of the frozen Zanskar River. Because of the extreme cold I shot these photographs on my manual Nikon FM and slide film. I was not sure if batteries would survive these conditions. It was the right desision and I am very pleased with the results.

Taken on my fully mechanical Nikon FM and 24mm using slide film

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Ladakh Himalayas, India

Ladakh Himalaya, India

Ladakh Himalaya, India

Ladakh Himalayas, India
Breathless at nearly 5000m in the Himalayas. Every step is hard work let alone taking photographs. I was praying that my film didn’t crack in the -25c temperatures.

Shot back in 2007 during the Chadar Trek on my fully mechanical Nikon FM and 24mm. Scanned from slide

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