We told Tashi to dropped us off at the town centre of Leh where we mailed out a pile of postcards to families and friends. Then we decided to spend the last bit of our last day in Ladakh at a high point. We took a taxi up to Shanti Stupa, one of the most popular lookout over Leh. Built by Japanese Buddhists as part of the Peace Pagoda Mission in 1991 and enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama, Shanti Stupa remains an important monument to promote world peace. Atop a mountain over Leh, Shanti Stupa is also a great spot to enjoy the nearby scenery, and is particularly popular around the time of sunrise or sunset.
We looped around the monument once. Then we stopped by the railing, took out our tripod and did a time-lapse video of Leh under the changing afternoon light. The stupa was popular among local visitors, offering us plenty of people watching while we patiently waited for the camera for over an hour. Standing under the perfectly blue sky over Leh, we witnessed the shadow of the mountain slowly blanketed over the city, green poplar trees row by row disappeared in the darkness, and distant mountains turned from golden to earth brown and then to blueish grey. We silently say goodbye to the ancient town of Leh, to the mighty Stok Kangri Mountain at the horizon, to the monastic spirit of Ladakh, and to the boundless arid mountains of Northern India. An early morning flight the next day would take us back to the bustling Indian capital Delhi, where we would have another day of exploration before flying home.
The Shanti Stupa under the warm afternoon sun. Most visitors preferred to stay in the shade.
The Stok Mountain Range at a distance.
The view of Leh was dominated by the poplar trees.
The shadow of the mountain gradually expanded over the town.
The back of Leh Palace was fully swamped in the afternoon sun.
The arid landscape around Leh looked drier than ever under the afternoon sun.
The steps leading down from Shanti Stupa to Changspa Road into the town centre.
The sun almost disappeared behind the mountain and Shanti Stupa.
Visitors were still enjoying the late afternoon scenery of the Indus Valley and Stok Mountains despite evening was gradually creeping in.
Locals enjoying the view of Leh, with the white washed walls of Namgyal Tsemo Gompa stood out at the background.
Shanti Stupa was completely in shade by the time we were done with the time-lapse photography.
We circled the stupa for a second time before we left.
By the time we left, much of Leh was blanketed in mountain’s shadow.
We slowly walked down the steps to the town below.
At the end of the stepped path, Changspa Road would lead us back to the centre of Leh, where we would have our last meal of Tibetan cuisine for the trip.
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Other posts on 2016 Ladkadh & Delhi:
Introduction – LADAKH – The Land of High Passes, India
Day 1.1 – ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh
Day 1.2 – WALK TO MAIN BAZAAR, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.3 – LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.4 – HOTEL LADAKH GREENS, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.1 – NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.2 – LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.3 – SPITUK GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 3.1 – MONASTERIES OF THE INDUS VALLEY DAY ONE, Ladakh (with map)
Day 3.2 – THIKSEY GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.3 – CHEMREY & TAKTHOK GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.4 – HEMIS & STAKNA GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.5 – MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.1 – ON THE ROAD WEST OF LEH, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.2 – LAMAYURU GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.3 – ALCHI & LIKIR GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.4 – FORT ROAD IN THE EVENING, Leh, Ladakh
Day 5.1 – SHORT HIKE NEAR PHYANG, Ladakh
Day 5.2 – PHYANG VILLAGE, Ladakh
Day 5.3 – NOMADIC WOOLLEN MILLS & BON APPETIT, Leh, Ladakh
Day 6.1 – ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh
Day 6.2 – SHANTI STUPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 7.1 – LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.2 – RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.3 – JAMA MASJID, Delhi
Day 7.4 – FAREWELL OLD DELHI, Delhi
Day 7.5 – UNITED COFFEE HOUSE, New Delhi