Spending our time untethering the mind, getting the fidgets out, exploring the in-between ideas, and learning kintsugi.

Kashmir – On walking across Leh

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Lamayuru Monastery from the Highway

Lamayuru Monastery from the Highway

A combination of lack of detailed maps, the locals’ flexible notion of distance and time, and the thin mountain air, made us drop our grand plans to wander across Leh on foot. But every day or two we did have to walk the distance from the nightly bivouac to the nearest bus stop, which usually turned out to be just beyond the next mountain (us) / hill (locals). After a couple of days of lugging my stupidly heavy backpack it dawned on me that there were usually two tracks leading across every mountain/hill – one around it and the other over it. The latter seemed as if someone had created straight-as-arrow paths on a flat piece of paper, and draped that paper on mountains and valleys.

Amused locals, on way to Likir

Amused locals, on way to Likir

Some astute observations on my part revealed that the paths around mountains – longer, shallower, easier – were meant for old folks and us, and the paths that went right over mountains – shorter, steeper, quicker – were meant for everyone else. It was a little annoying to see locals walk by us with a cheery hello and be over the mountain in the distance by the time it took us to trudge the next five feet. We removed the annoyance by the simple expedient of traveling by buses.

Traveling by bus merely meant that we went from being slightly annoyed at our own lack of fitness to being plenty scared at the lack of driving skills most bus drivers showed. But that is for the next story.

Written by Sachin

June 16, 2009 at 9:19 pm

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