106 feet Maitreya

Day 9: 17 August 2013: Part 2: Turtuk to Deskit

So after having the tour of Turtuk Village and settling the bill, we started from Turtuk around 1200 hrs. Since the plan today is to visit Hunder and then spend the evening and night at Deskit, we’re not in a hurry.

So we start…

There are two areas between Hunder and Turtuk which are marked as “Shooting Stone” areas. Now, you don’t shoot the stones here, rather they shoot on you and the board clearly advises to zip-zap-zoom past the area. So we pick speed and just then I notice a bunker
shooting stones

And then some more..

The weather is all cloudy, but then it has been so from past couple of days.
more bunkers

We come across a couple fetching dried wood. They have a long way to go back to Turtuk..
quest for wood

I’ve just finished clearing the sand from the road and resting now. Do not disturb!
removing sand

Miles to go…

A bridge to transport materials on Shyok
river transport

Enormous mountains.. can you notice a truck?

Bunker in the river bed
yet another bunker

This is how caves are formed naturally

The green steam merging in muddy Shyok, once again
green with muddy

Clouds ain’t getting any better

Have fields on the other side of Shyok? No problem!

By 1240 hrs, we approached the Bogdang village. Couple of shots

Village elderly
bogdang elderly

A fellow buying something.. it was only later that I learnt that he was our Din Malekar
Din Malekar

bye bye

Buddhist markings. Who would have climbed up here?
buddhist markings

Brown, blue, black and white…

…and some green added
more clouds

various shades..

clouds still there

Some loops

Riot of colours

Glacial waters
glacial waters

The clouds are getting darker
hovering clouds

is it raining?

While Shyok is jumping to embrace the clouds
meeting the coulds

Other than the river, water everywhere is green
green water

Reached halfway to Deskit

Oasis in the desert
oasis in desert

Shyok is running along
road along shyok

While the mountains are mighty

Clouds are aggregating
gathering clouds

Rarely the blue sky is visible
some sky

Clouds today want to cover the entire sky
cloud blanket

While BRO is still working…
a JCB?
Can you see the JCB?

The peaks are getting covered with a dark blanket
ice behind clouds

The fight between the clouds and sky is continuing
weather not looking good

While the prayer flags are still fluttering
flags fluttering

The clouds seem to be winning
more and more clouds

They together give entire new colours to the vistas
different colours

And as we appear Hunder, the clouds win and it starts raining

raining in Hunder

Notice the downpour?

Since it was raining in Nubra, there was no point going to explore the dunes. We decided that we’ll go visit the Deskit Gompa, have lunch and then come back if the rains stop.

So we drive ahead, and see this…
Fortunately it was relatively plain and the dip was just 4-5 feet, otherwise don’t know what would have been the situation!

Deskit petrol pump was closed
deskit petrol bunk

Approaching Deskit Gompa
approaching deskit

The gate of Deskit Gompa
Deskit Gompa entrance

We look back and it is still raining at Hunder
still raining in Hunder

Approaching the Maitreya
approaching the maitreya

Chorten all along the way to Diskit Monastry.

Diskit Monastry, not a good shot, but this is all I have
Deskit monastry

So we reached the Gompa parking by 1500.

Colourful chortens
colourful chortens

View towards the parking side (Behind the Maitreya statue)
view towards parking

Diskit Monastry dates back to 14th century. However, the new building with 106 feet statue of Maitreya is relatively new. The building started in 2006 and completed by 2010 to be inaugrated by Dalai Lama. The entire complex is said to be made of contributions from local people with 8Kgs of Gold being used for the decoration of the statue. The statue faces Shyok river towards Pakistan.

106 feet Maitreya

Closer shot
Close up of Maitreya

A monk pouring oil in the lamps
Lama lighting lamps

While we were at the gompa for about 25-30 minutes, it continued raining heavily towards Hunder.

Trying to gauge the situation
No respite from rains in hunder

Getting no reprive from the rains, we discussed and agreed that Hunder couldn’t be done in the rains and Deskit had nothing more to offer. We could spend the night at Deskit, but still going to Hunder the next day would mean at least half a day. With so much time already lost on the plan, we can’t afford the luxury. And so we decided to do something unthinkable… to proceed towards Karu crossing over Wari La during the evening.

Will we be able to reach Karu today going through a road less traversed and known to be difficult, driving through the unwanted part of the day? Stay tuned…


Total Distance covered during the day: Approx 91.2 kms

Driving Directions from Turtuk to Deskit Gompa/Monastry: Exit from Turtuk Holiday and take left to get on the main road. Drive following the road along with Shyok river on your left and pass by Chalunka. Cross the river through the bridge so that Shyok river is now on your right and drive ahead to reach Bogdang army settlement and checkpost. Pass by Chulungkha and turn right to cross the Shyok river at Changmar so that Shyok is now on your left again. Pass by Yagulung, Skuru, Thoise, Pratappur/Pratapur and Hunder villages. Upon reaching Deskit, the road to village area goes on your left and further ahead, the road bifurcates with the right fork going upwards towards Deskit Gompa/Monastry. The left fork goes towards Khalsar.