|Karsha Gompa (Monastery) in Zanskar, Ladadkh|
The village of Karsha lies 14 kilometers from Padum (which was supposed to the be starting point of our Padum-Lamayuru trek). However, we were unable to find any horseman in Padum, willing to take his horses on the difficult route we had selected. Some locals suggested that we might get lucky in Karsha. There is a motorable road from Padum to Karsha and the local jeeps charge a steep amount of Rs. 1,500/- for the return journey. Since we were already in the mood for trekking, we decided to pack our daybag with some water and snacks, and trek all the way to Karsha.
|Trekking from Padum to Karsha.|
It was on this morning that we first encountered this strange phenomenon that seems to be applicable only in Ladakh. I am assuming it would be same in any high-altitude region, where there is almost no haze. Things that are very far, seem like they are just a stone throw away, but as you keep walking towards it, it never seems to get any nearer. I started calling this the "distance illusion" and I would keep encountering this throughout our journey from Padum to Lamayuru. Let me explain:
|The distance illusion.|
It took us 3 hours.
|Walking towards Karsha Gompa|
|Karsha Gompa at the base of the mountain.|
|People climbing to the top of the Gompa.|
|View of Padum valley, with the imposing mountains as the backdrop.|
|Festival at the Karsha Gompa.|
|The Karsha Gompa Festival.|
|A monk lighting the candles to start the festivities.|
|Parade of people and animals.|
My brother wanted to walk all the way back to our hotel, which would take us another 3 hours but I thought it would be too risky to walk in such hot sun, and I did not want to risk getting sun stroke. We hired a jeep and returned back to the hotel.
Oh...and regarding the horses, we did find one horseman (perhaps the only horseman) who was willing to take his horses to Lamayuru. We immediately paid him a down-payment and agreed to meet him the next morning in Pishu (a liitle further from Karsha) to commence our trek.