Phyang is a small village 14 kilometres away from Leh on the Srinagar-Leh highway. The temperature here in winter drops down to -30 to -50 degrees. In such extreme weather conditions, the water transported from the Indus river freezes and is utilised later during late summer when there is an acute shortage of water in Ladakh.The glacier had first been created near the Phyang Monastery, and rose to be 27 feet tall, which is the highest height of the stupa recorded till date. It was constructed without any shade from the sun and is the most successful prototype since 2014. The effort was encouraged by many known figures in Ladakh such as His Holiness Drikung Skyabgon Chetsang Rinpochey, who is the head of the Drikung Kargyud lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
Only 14 km away from Leh lays the sleepy little village called Phyang. With homes deserted across the dry fields, there is hardly any vegetation in the area apart from personal kitchen gardens. Phyang is known for its ancient monastery that belongs to the same Buddhist sect as the Thiksey monastery. Just a little away from Leh one can easily go to Leh to experience the life of a small yet growing town. Phyang has an absolutely magnificent view of Khardung La. Perfect for a sleepy holiday.
Living in Phyang for a month, there had been many instances where I would just pick up my camera and head for the Phyang village. Late afternoon is a good time to be out as the sun is at its highest and even though the sunlight burns, the wind-speed is at its lowest. Around 4 pm, there's a gust of chilly wind that engulfs open grounds and makes it awful to be outside, lest you be blown away with it. Foolishly, I was not back by 4 pm but I was also not alone. Children from the village were playing football outside after school and did not seem to have any problem with the wind at all! They gladly posed for me, and probably had a good laugh too because with watery eyes and a running nose, the wind had clearly gotten to me making me look like Rudolph the red nose reindeer!
Meet Sangrup Lama, who is well-known in Leh for being a highly well read monk in the Indian Army. Lamaji as I fondly call him, was my dearest friend in Phyang who taught me about Buddhism, life and every essential thing a person must know to live peacefully. I have spent countless hours in the day with him learning about the noble path of Buddhism and getting to know his experiences. Despite repeated and rather stupid questions I asked him, he would always be keen on answering them. Lamaji has many times conducted prayer meetings at the Drass War Memorial on Kargil Vijay Diwas and is known for his impeccable command over Sanskrit, Bhoti and Pali language. I did teach him something too, how to use the word 'mast' ! Now, for everything awesome Lamaji says 'mast' ! Even monks know how to have fun!