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Day 26 of The Candid Odyssey

Glad to share that we endured a cold night in Leh, one of the coldest cities in India. And even more, we took a cold shower too in the early morning, wow! Cold showers usually give confidence that our body is strong enough to survive anything. We will see :)

There is one interesting thing that can be seen across Leh, it's the Tibetan prayer flags. Mantras and prayers printed on colorful clothes strung along almost everywhere. It's so beautiful. Seeing those flags themselves every day will serve the actual intended purpose, that is to promote positivity across the region. Sometimes having a positive intention itself will create results, especially in mental and physical health. Maybe that's why Tibetan culture is much appreciated for a peaceful living. Anyway, we are going to explore more aspects of Tibetan culture. The first stop is the Leh market. As it's early morning, the market is almost empty, and the vendors are setting up their stores. We could see a lot of women setting up fruits and vegetables, clothes for knitting scarves, and many more items. We will see their progress when we come back in the evening. In between the market road, there is an entry gate to something hideous. As we enter those gates only we get to know that it's nothing but a Buddhist temple, the Gompa Soma. A very peaceful and spacious temple right beside the market. The golden-colored statues and decorations are a feast to our eyes, and the peace and positivity surrounding within are a feast to our minds. Buddha's love for meditation is reflected across the temple. It's a bit difficult to understand if people are coming here to meditate or pray. Or are they doing the same? Knowing ourselves deeply is the ultimate form of spirituality.

It's time to move on. Maybe go back to history. That's why we are visiting the Central Asian Museum. A well-maintained, small, but insightful museum showcasing the history of Central Asian trade. The displayed artifacts take us back to the age of the Silk route! What's more interesting is the view outside. A bird's eye view of the hundreds of buildings in the city, houses, shops, and even the Leh palace in the distance. With the mighty mountains in the background. We can keep sitting there looking at that view forever. But seeing those Leh palaces for a long time will motivate us to visit there. It's at a very high altitude, not sure if we will make it. As we walk towards the Leh palace and climb up the mountains, it's getting difficult, too difficult. Oh just so you know, I might be the only one staying out in that city without winter clothes. I am surviving on a raincoat! Now, I can't even breathe properly, my entire body is shivering, and my hands are almost frozen! The confidence we built up in the morning cold shower is now shattered. What's the use of confidence if safety measures are ignored? The same applies here, we should've brought a winter dress. Can't afford to carry that weight for the rest of the days. Remember the 10 kg rucksack backpack? Yes, it's still with us :)

After a disappointing attempt to visit the top of the Leh Palace, we are trying something similar next. Thiksey is half an hour's ride from Leh City. We have the share taxi options here, but even that also is not frequent. Anyway, we just went with the flow and finally reached the Thiksey Monastery after around an hour. There's no one around those roads, but we are going to walk up this time. It's very tiring though because of the steep climbs on the road and on the steps. But with proper breaks along the way, we made it to the top! Yes, we made it, congratulations :) The view from the top is so scenic. The barren land, the Indus river, and the mountains in the distance combine the beauty of Thiksey and Ladakh. Even though the Buddhist monastery houses small temples and accommodation for the monks, the peace that existed in the market temple doesn't exist here because of the tourists. A temple beside the market is more peaceful than an isolated monastery. Ironic, isn't it? Most of the time, what we are searching for is always within our reach, we just need to look carefully :)

It's getting late. We need to go back before we get stranded because of the transportation. Leh market in the evening is totally different from what we saw in the morning. It got very crowded with local vendors, buyers, and a lot more tourists. That woman who was preparing for knitting in the morning has now made a lot of scarves, good work. The vegetable seller's baskets haven't seen much progress, maybe because the number of vendors increased. As we walk around noticing the night market and how it has changed, two small girls reach out. Both of them are in their early childhood, and right now are engaged in making money for survival. I talked to them to understand more about their situation. They were so busy selling things like key chains, ornaments, etc. The elder one was well trained in this and we can realize that from the series of lies she told about her background. While the younger one was trying to speak the truth, the older one changed the subject and took her away. Aghh, the poverty trap! It's so sad and regretful. I am very worried about their future and that worry gives me hope that one day I will be working on resolving that. Okay, now I am worrying about my future. Get back to the present, let's wind up for today.

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