From @the_onemixtape ... One of my mornings in Leh saw me meandering with a camera in my hand, through the narrow lanes which lead one out of the city, a small hike up the road to Shanti Stupa perched on top of a hill.
The road, lined by mountain daisies on either side, greeted me along with the daily 4:30 am locals, who walked with either a water can in their hand or cloaked in red and prayer beads.
It was a pleasant morning.
I reached atop the hill, sweating slightly and a bit out of breath.
One can feel the peacefulness in the air.
Silent and still.
Shimmering due to the sunrays appearing from behind the mountains which leave the Leh Valley in shadow and paint the range an unearthly hue of bright gold.
The mountains of Stok range in the backdrop of the Stupa play muse to the passing clouds which create magic by light and shadow and myriad shades of earth.
This is the biggest stupa in the town, built by a group of Japanese Monks and provides for the best view of the town.
The best time to visit this stupa would be around sunrise or before sunset.
It is a blissful sight to hear the world quieten and see the light leave the valley.
Remembering that morning this morning.
A young fairly fit man in a wind proof jacket, sitting beside a local man in loose fitted clothes, Arjun was first clicking portraits of the local man, and as I crossed him, I spotted him taking a selfie with the man. I looked at him, smiled and offered to click a picture of them. Holding his canon 6D, I made small talk about photography and clicked a few portraits of both the men in one frame. I handed him back the camera and found myself a rock to sit upon. There was no one around except a countable bunch of us scattered around the beautiful crescent shaped ChandraTaal lake. He sat beside me staring into the clear the sky. He looked tired. His shoulders shrugged. He shut his eyes and breathed in sigh. He was tired but was happy. More so, content. With the place, with the people around him, with the quietness, with himself.
"Where have you been travelling from?"
"I have been traveling from the last three months. I come from Kerala. And I have been loving life so far."
"Don't you miss home? When do you plan to go back?"
"Not for next two or three months".
"So what's your story Arjun?"
"I want to learn something from travel. Travel has always been my passion. But my kinda travel is very different. I prefer home stays over hotels. So I stay with the locals. I am learning so much about different cultures. It is shaping my perspective toward life. I have travelled across cities in the last 90 days, lived with so many different people, eaten a variety of food. I haven't spent more than 60000 rs in the last three months, and I am happy about that."
I gazed across the crystal clear water reflecting the snow peaks and glaciers. I smiled at his answer.
Atleast someone understands the importance of this kind of travel.
I wish I could do it too.