Never did I think this would turn out to be the ‘one’ trip I wouldn’t ever forget....
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15 km south of Leh in the upper Indus valley, on a course hillock, stood the historic Shey Palace. Shey used to be the summer capital of Ladakh in its heyday. Built in 1655 by Deldan Namgyal, the king of Ladakh, the palace was used as a summer retreat by the royalty. When the Namgyals were attacked by the Dogras of Jammu in 1842, they fled to Stok, where the new palace is situated. The gompa at Shey houses a giant statue of Buddha made from copper and gold. The interiors of the temple feature elaborate wall paintings depicting scenes from Buddhist mythology. Outside the palace, we bought a carved, antique teapot made of brass from a street vendor. We also got a couple of prayer flags - strings of colorful rectangular cloth with Buddhist mantras printed on them. They are hung up in windy areas so that the blessings would blow with the wind into the surrounding space, spreading peace, compassion and wisdom to all. The prayer flag comes in five colors arranged from left to right in the following order - blue (sky), white (air), red (fire), green (water) and yellow (earth). The balance of these elements is believed to bring health and harmony.
Druk White Lotus School
As we approached Leh, our stomachs were growling & Nawang ji took us to Rancho’s Cafe for lunch. The Druk White Lotus School, now popularly known as Rancho’s school runs on donations where kids needn’t pay fees, the canteen being named Rancho’s Café after 3 Idiots was shot here.
The old capital of Ladakh, Shey is located in the upper Indus valley in Jammu and Kashmir. It lies on the route between Leh and Hemis Monastery, around 15 km from Leh. Shey Palace, the royal residence of the Ladakh monarchs, is the centre of Buddhism and houses the Shey Monastery. The statue of Lord Buddha erected in the monastery is the second largest statue in Ladakh and covers almost three floors of the monastery – a truly worthwhile sight. The very popular Hindi movie, 3 Idiots, was shot in Shey School and has thus been renamed to Rancho's School. The Sindhu Darshan Festival in Shey is celebrated at a large scale. Celebrated annually on Guru Purnima, this festival aims at projecting the Sindhu River as a symbol of multi-dimensional cultural identity, communal harmony and peaceful co-existence in India.
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