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  • Brian D. Hinson

Leh, an Indian Town at 11,500 feet


Leh, in Ladakh, India, is nestled among the peaks of the Himalaya. I used it as a staging point for two treks: The Markha Valley route and the ascent of Stok Kangri (20,000 ft). So before, between, and after, I was hanging out in Leh. Temples and gompas are in town, and I did short trips to monasteries…there’s a lot to keep the trekker occupied during the acclimatization and the rest periods.


Buddhism is the biggest religion in the region, unlike the rest of India where you encounter a lot more Hindus. Some of the shopkeepers were Muslim. One that I purchased a bronze Buddha from lived in Pakistan but runs his shop in Leh for the trekking season.


Like most towns in poorer countries, there’s plenty of stray dogs about. But most people don’t shoo them away. They give them scraps. That bit of kindness I saw quite often.

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