Sadly we bid farewell to our hosts in Srinagar and departed to the airport. Our first security was when our vehicle passed through the gates, all were asked to step out of the car and pass through X-ray, our vehicle was thoroughly checked inside, backside and underside. We  crossed the border into Kashmir and arrived at Jammu airport to take our flight to Srinagar. The security at the airport was insane, four times we had our hand luggage checked and a body search, but we all agreed that even though it dies take time it is a necessary precaution, so we did not mind. We arrived in Leh and relaxed took it slowly to acclimitize. Later in the afternoon we drove to a viewpoint which gave us stunning views over Leh. The next day we woke to a stunning day blue sky with the backdrop of the rugged mountains some already blanketed with the first season snow. The drive to the Leki Monastery is on a very good sealed road and is the main highway to Srinagar, it is very different to when I was last here 9 years ago. The road then was one lane and unsealed bumpy road when I travelled the 2 days to Srinagar on a local bus. The landscape is moon like, high rocky mountains and deep craters, it was a relief to see the flowing turquoise Yalung River between the deep arid gorges, one wonders how anything could grow here let alone live. One hour later we arrive at our first destination the Liker Monastery originally built in the 11th century, but recently had an addition of a magnificent gold Buddha standing at least 15 mtrs. Our guide Rigzin explained in detail the wheel of life. Continuing on a further 45 minutes we arrived to the pretty village of Alchi where we visited several small old and fairly damaged monasteries. Later we enjoyed a delicious picnic lunch at a stunning location overlooking the river. We returned to Leh on the same highway stopping at the local market plaza, where the girls managed to find gifts to purchase, thanks to Gayle for spotting a coffee shop that actually had a cappuccino machine. Returning to the hotel we all collapsed in our rooms to revive ourselves before  dinner. Another great day in Leh.

Filed under: Jewels of India