Lamayuru: The Moonland Of Ladakh

"I love you to the moon and back!"- Isn't this line quite famous? While this sounds quite dramatic and unreal, little do we know that this is possible. What if there's a moon right on the land where we live? What if India has its moonland where confessing your love might not sound as dramatic? Lamayuru, also known as the moonland of Ladakh, is such a fascinating land where one can experience being on the moon while not exactly sitting in a rocket and travelling for days together to confess your love.
Lamayuru: The Moonland of India; Image Source: Wandering Minds- Youtube

Lamayuru: The Moonland of India; Image Source: Wandering Minds- Youtube

"How can I reach the moon?" "Look no further. It's right here in India." This may be a common chat in Lamayuru, Ladakh's moonland. Fascinating, isn't it?

Moon has a profound cultural connection with India. Since childhood, we have been taught to see the moon as our very own Chandamama. Be it Karwa Chauth or Savitri Vrat, the moon seems to be our constant friend at almost every festival. The moon has long captivated people with its beauty and charisma. It's said that a deep lunar connection binds human beings with the moon. This enchanting, white object hanging in the sky impacts us more than we can ever think of. This very fascination for the moon has brought me to the moonland of India. Let's explore the replica of the moon that exists on the earth's surface, telling us some boundless tales of beauty and time.

Millions of articles on the internet inform us about Ladakh's infinite beauty and beautiful spots. Deemed to be one of the favourite destinations on everyone's bucket list, you might hear of people planning their trips to Ladakh every year. Travellers frequently see this location as a paradise for daring individuals. But have you ever heard of the moonland that hides in these mountains, waiting for the travellers to explore its one of a kind land?

Yet another famous temple named Seng-ge-sgang, located at the southern end of the Lamayuru rock, was built by Rinchen Zangpo in the 11th century. The king of Ladakh had ordered him to make 108 gompas. Many of the gompas in Ladakh, and Spiti Valley, including Seng-ge-sgang, were built by Rinchen during the 11th century.

Lamayuru is considered to be one of the oldest gompas in Ladakh. If one wants to see the moonscape of Lamayuru and get the best scenic photographs, one should climb up to what is known as a meditation hill.

Monks from the Lamayuru gompa stay on this meditation hill, and they have also set up a medical laboratory wherein they derive medicines from the local herbs. While climbing on the meditation hill, one can witness some well-decorated stupas.

There were stones scattered everywhere on the meditation hill. But these are not just any ordinary stones. These are said to be prayer rocks and are also considered an essential part of the Buddhist culture. Most of these stones have Tibetan carvings on them, and the varying colours of each rock give us a glimpse of the coloured mountains of Ladakh. The white houses built perfectly atop these landforms show the marvellous architecture of the olden days.

With its emerald lakes, hiking paths, and valleys, Ladakh is a backpacker's paradise. There is a lot to see and do in this region of monasteries and monks, charming communities nestled away in stunning scenery. And Lamayuru is an addition to the treasure trove of Ladakh.

Lamayuru, a tiny settlement in Ladakh, is located on the Srinagar-Leh route halfway between Kargil and Leh. Lamayuru is located around 100 kilometres before Leh, immediately after Fotu la, the highest pass on the Srinagar-Leh route. The landscape of Lamayuru is indeed fascinating. With no vegetation, no civilisation and no pressure, this land aptly fits the description of being the moonland. It is said that around 40,000-45,000 years ago, a river flowed in Lamayuru. However, the river dried up with time, and all that was left behind was mud and dried land. Over the years, several cracks and crevices formed on the parched ground, and these features ultimately transformed into a lunar landscape.

According to Drikung history, it is believed that a scholar named Mahasiddhacharya Naropa dried up the lake in the 11th century and built a monastery in its place. The Lamayuru monastery or Eternal Monastery is considered one of the most famous monasteries of Ladakh, and it is perhaps one of the main attractions in Lamayuru.

Lamayuru is also famous for its fun and frolic festivals, apart from religious significance. Yuru Kab Gyat and Hemis Tse Chu are the two most important festivals. Yuru Kab Gyat is a two-day celebration held in the second month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, during which monks conduct holy rites and dances. Hemis Tse Chu is honoured in the 5th month of the Tibetan lunar calendar and is a two-day long festival.

Though the lake is no more present in Lamayuru, its remaining sediments are constantly in the process of weathering and eroding. As a result, the features formed on the land remind us of the surface of Mars and Moon, which is why Lamayuru is said to be a lunar topography. Numerous researchers and scientists come here to study the landscapes of the moon and Mars.

We have found evidence of water catastrophic flooding on Mars through the rovers and satellites sent there. Scientists need to study and research more about lands like Lamayuru to interpret and validate these facts.

Rocks with Tibetan inscriptions; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

Rocks with Tibetan inscriptions; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

The unique houses of Lamayuru; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

The unique houses of Lamayuru; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

The Moonscape of Ladakh; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

The Moonscape of Ladakh; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

A kitchen in Lamayuru; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

A kitchen in Lamayuru; Image Source: Sandeepachetan’s Travel Blog

Lamayuru Monastery: A piece of marvel filled with delight; Image Source: Tour My IndiaLamayuru Monastery: A piece of marvel filled with delight; Image Source: Tour My India

Lamayuru Monastery: A piece of marvel filled with delight; Image Source: Tour My India

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