Dies ist der FriedensPilger-Blog
This is the peace pilgrimage blog

Plan Oktober 2017 to November 2018

● Mid to end of October 2017
Walking to Mandi
(Renewing the Visa in Nepal beginning of Nov)

● Nov 2017 until January 2018
3 month walking break. Visiting friends and interesting places in India. Making a Vipassana retreat.

(Renewing Visa end of January 2018)
● Febr-April 2018 Parkistan border to Amritsar, then DharamSalam (Dalai Lama), then towards Shimla
Maybe visit Haidakhan (Babaji ashram) in April

● May-june- beginning of July 2018
Shimla towards Spiti, then to Leh
(●End of July- fly to Nepal, new Visa India, back to Leh)
●August 2018 stay in Leh
●September, Oktober until begin of Nov 2018
Walk through Ladakh to Spiti and Shimla
● November 2018  walking towards direction Nepal
…….

Please know, this plan could change.
If you plan to walk with me, you have to check with me. Some parts of the walk are very extreme….. I can’t exept everyone for that.

fotos

You find Fotos in instagram at

schmockelthomasheinrich 

visions and insides

In Keylong I have first time after 3 weeks Internet. Keylong is not really small, very tourisic, but they developed a boring-is-ness. It feels like everyone in town is bored. The season is nearly gone… Ankush had the feeling, when he was here, too…..
Actually I planed to stay 2 full days, three nights, but after 2 nights the time was come leave.

Anyway, during my stay Xavier and Chamille, the French bycicle couple ask me, which way I continue….. Which way I continue?  They cycled instead of getting to Manali into Spiti Valley and then further down towards Shimla. And enjoyed. I was a bit interested to do so, but because I have to renew my visa in 3 weeks in Nepal, I dropped the idea. And just to far. I counted in my map, another 556 km. So it does not make sence to do it now.

While leaving Keylong I had a strong longing to just walk back to Leh. But this is also just not possible because the Visa issue and also the cold weather is coming. The street will partly also close at the end of October. ……. The mind had some explanations. …..

After turning around the next corner, after dusty Tandi…..  The scenery becomes so beautiful. Looking towards the south so many nice glaciers. The weather is still beautiful, sometimes little white clouds at the sky. At the beautiful village Gondhla I find a nice family to host me. Amorshand and his wife invite me. Sometimes in Buddhist houses it’s a bit a reserved atmosphere. It’s very friendly, but also little talking. Sometimes a feeling of unsureness is rising up, if you are really welcome, on the other side, there is nothing, what you are missing. Then suddenly, the dinner is served. Amorshands wife is sitting in front of all the pots to distribute the food. After, if it is 7 or 9pm you are asked, if you want to sleep now. I always agree, to have some resting time, even though I am not tired.
Happy to stay longer, ‚why not‘ Amorshad says…. ‚if I come another time, I maid come along…‘ Yes sure…..

I think back to the area close to Rumtse. To all the stupas there and that I was walking and chanting around them. Collecting stones and putting beautiful once on the stupas…… feeling totally happy with this….. These days I think often about my mother and my father. I don’t know, if I have to get there, to help them somehow, or to support….. in the other hand I have not completed all the walk and I should trust, that there is a time for everything and univers is perfect. This is a process of many days, where I came to the conclusion to be without regret and fully on the peace walk. However long it takes.
Regarding my own further future it is very much possible, that I also, when becoming ‚old‘, will develop a dementia, as my father has now, as my grandfather had, and all my father’s sisters and his brother has developed. Knowing how we deal with dementia, people are mostly in homes, less outside, I ask myself how I would feel, being bound to a home…..
I would love, if I can’t avoid this situation of experience dementia, to be outside. Like in a 2 by 2 km area, surrounded by a fence. Inside he fence nature, can even be desert, as close to Rumtse with some stupas in it, where I can surround the stupas and play with the stones. I could wear a foot fetter/hobble with a antenna, so I can be found at the evening. Riscs of dead or injuries I would take,  even signing a paper in advance, that no-one else is responsible for damage of my body by of being ‚free‘ in nature. So, I could be kind of happy….. In a building I would not be happy, I am pretty sure……
But why not totally wake up????
Would that avoid a dementia?
Are there enlightened dementia people?
(This are kind of serious thoughts, but I see also myself avoiding thinking of such a scenario)

Anyway. After Gondhla it comes very strong back, from my belly, from my heart, to go back to Leh. I am also again tempted to go to the Spiti Valley.
The whole day I am so busy, beside enjoying nature and the glaciers, to diguest and understand this idea and develope a solution for it.
I also don’t know, if this all is coming up, because I sing inwardly again the ‚om mani padme hum‘. In the ‚only nature‘ areas I a little bit forgot. Now, there are stupas again, ‚om mani padme hum‘ stones, buddhist flags….. little reminders and sometimes I have the feeling, if a ‚reminder‘ is close, my system starts automatically singing the mantra inwardly.
During the day I have the joy to witness the enfolding of a solution for this longing, the energy pulling me towards Leh and Spiti -Valley. And I am very happy with the solution. I will just go the way again. But this time from Shimla to Spiti and then to Leh and back. This is 1030km one way. And I will do it next year through the summer.

Even though there is a solution, I am still tempted to again think of Spiti Valley this year, but I promised to myself and to the All-It, that I will not do. I speak to the spirits and the elements, that they don’t need to send a big cloud, to make me understand, that I way to Spiti is blocked (by the weather and the snow) because until now, it was still open – 4550m pass.

In the evening I arrive in Koksar, the village before the Rothang pass towards Manali (and the village before the cross road towards Spiti). 2 nights rest before crossing Rothang pass (3.950m).
There is also a Stupa and some ‚mani‘ stones. I circle and sing inwardly the mantra. Everytime a stupa is on the way I circle and sing.

So many creations are arising, ideas. So I would love to even create a pilgrim’s way towards Leh with ‚reminders‘ of the way. Even a long long long ‚mani‘ stone way in the Plains……

….. and finally? Just the evening before I left towards….. a big dark cloud arised out the nowhere (from the direction Spiti)…… with some snow – just to make sure, that I go towards …..Manali…..

It is a joy to see the new snow as powder at the mountains, and also during the walk over Rothang pass next morning. And there is something I witnessed coming close to Rothang pass. Suddenly in my mind the mantra ‚om mani padme hum‘ is singing itself and I witnessed, when it started….. And I ask myself, why is that happening now? And I turn around a corner…. And there is a Stupa…..

Sarchu to Darcha

My way had some delays. So for example I stayed one more week in Leh. When I look at these nights to the sky I see the moon coming close to the full moon size. Is that an invitation to walk through the night?

Next morning I start walking without only knowing of one place, where some people are. In Kelang Serai is a station of workers from the Border Road Organisation (BRO). But this is not really a inviting place, I guess.  During the walk I become more and more confident to walk through the night. It is clear weather, but a bit windy. Coming along BRO I try not to get in communication with the people. My heart decision is done, but I do not want to discuss about it. Little after BRO,  The sun disappears behind the mountains, I see a short cut. It’s a old ancient road for humans and horses…. wow. So beautiful.

Coming up to the BaralachaLa pass on 4.915m it’s already dark. The wind is still blowing. On top is surprisingly a building, a Shiva temple. Oh, this is a good place to get some clothes on. I try to open the door, difficult and I get a little shock. Someone is inside, he is opening the door from inside. Mohammed Izhaar has very long curly hair. After calming down we have a lot to talk. He is also walking, but from south to north. He just arrived two minutes before, we nearly met in the entrance area…… Izhaar wants to sleep in the temple. I just want to dress more, incl. my mohair top underwear and my wind/rain jacket. All together 8 layers on the upper body, 3 thin trouses. Record on this walk. Izhaar has also a thin sleeping bag, not enough for this elevation and is anoid by carrying so much weight with the tent utilities. He thinks of giving it away, and walk always until it gets dark. Then taking a lift to the earlier or upcoming village. Next day getting back by lift to the place he walked before to continue. That’s a good strategy, which I also thought about before.
I mention that I wish, that the wind would calm down. Izhaar: ‚Its always windy in the mountain. Every night the wind is blowing.‘ I tell him about my 3 nights in the tent. Every night the wind was calming down. Once, when I was singing the ‚Om mani padme hum‘ mantra. The other times, because I needed that. The elements just helped me. So for tonight I also wish it. And I know, that the elements can help me.
The moon came over the mountain, (it was just 8pm or a bit later, but it felt like 2am or so…..) we both enjoyed the rise, and I continued walking – interesting meeting……
And the wind calmed down……
I took a lot of short cuts (not following all the zig zak of the road) and reached at around 0.30am Zing Zing Bar. I thought Zing Zing Bar would be a camp, what is also already closed. But Izhaar told me, it’s open…. So arriving I was surprised, it’s not a camp, it’s another BRO place. They were several buildings and the first, as Izhaar told me, to get in, was oily stinking. A kind of gas station for all the trucks. I walked around several buildings, kind of not finding a entrance. At the second building there was a big huge empty pot of rice in front. A big metal door leaned again the wall from inside, this I can’t touch….. At the other side a door which I can open. 6 man were sleeping inside. No-one realized I was there. Everythink oily and stinky. Too beds were rolled, waiting for a tired person….. I enrolled one and went to sleep. A very fullfilling walk layed behind me. Thanks for the bed.
Next morning here and there a little surprise about a guest ….. they maked some heat with some smelly kerosin, but it maked it warm, but nearly no communication why, where, what….. So I left without a breakfast offer. So many men, about 30 or 40, staying there the whole saison, but don’t take any effort to make it a bit cosy???…..

77 km in the road, with all the short cuts I guess ‚only 70km‘. 2 days and a half night walk to Darcha.
The climate has changed after the pass. It’s more green then before. Desert lays behind me. First little trees again. Water flows again out of the mountains. The river flows south instead of north. The weather is still so good. Even not a cloud.
In Darcha it’s a bit warmer, 1000m lower.
Coming down two Darcha, from above, there is clearly a earlier mountain slide to witness. My host, a former monk, Rashi Depp, 30, explains, that no-one really knows when that happend. The mountain slided down like a wave into the big river bed, but because it is not water the material did not swob back. It is guessed, that the mountain burried a village. Now no-one is here longer then 60 years. Rashi Depp is a happy guy, making fresh nudles now and having this simple accommodation and restaurant, says, looking back, he was even more happy, having a monks life. When he was 12 he decided to become a monk, while 26 he dropped it. A lot of his friend monks were leaving before, so he felt alone and had to take care of more young monks, no time for studying anymore. So he left. Having a relationship after that he is never allowed to come back. If the vows are broken once, there is no way back.
Also in Darcha a lot of workers. Mainly they live in tents and that have no toilet or washing place. So everyone just does it, whereever that is….

Pang to Sarchu

With Sahip from the oil company I come to a longer conversation at the evening before continuing walking. I see always the trucks bringing oil and gas and…. for the whole region on the street with ‚Indian Oil‘ as a logo. And from the beginning I ask myself, if India has own oil or is importing from where – …Iran? Now I learn from Sahib, that India is able to cover his oil needs from own resourses for 60 %. And his company is searching for more. I am really surprised and did not know. And India is able to cover 100% of the own needs for gas. Wow. A nation of 1.2 billion people have so many gas and oil resources. Why I have never heard of this? Further I learn, that India resently found another huge gas field east of Bangladesh. This gas field is so huge, that it’s dimensions is covering all the area under Bangladesh, too. So this means, without searching,  suddenly poor Bangladesh has rich resources. This is again a evidence ‚that everything is everywhere‘ and often we don’t know. He tells a story of elephants bathing in east India in oil, before even someone new, that it even was oil. Scientist found out later.  And we talk also about Ladakh…. that people here have lived a poor life, in the sence, that there where little varieties of vegetables and fruits and suddenly scientist find out, that nearly everything can grow even on a elevation of 3500m (Leh) and up to around 4.000m+. And Sahip adds even another interesting news, that he believes, that there is less oxygen in the higher altitudes, because of little, less or no trees. The last information I kind of push away in the first some days, but after moving it in my thoughts, I understand the truth behind it and I became thankful for opening my mind…..

Walking with a tent, it brought extra weight on my shoulders. From the last two days walking I learned, it’s not enough to carry just 2 liters of water. In this high altitude rivers are often in deep valleys, not everywhere to reach. And there are no other  sources around, no houses, exept stopping a car in a emergency. So I carry 4 liters of water. Plus the tent, sleeping bag, mat, and much more food than normal, my light and easy to carry bag of 8 to 9kg is grown to a ‚heavy‘ backpack 16 to 17kg. I am so surprised, that it all fits even in and around the backpack.

I have to cross two passes. One Lachulung La Pass is 5.070m and NakeeLa Pass is 4.739m. From Pang to Sarchu, 77km, is no house. A camp at Wiskey Nala (after 27km) is closed since today. The scenery is just so beautiful and partly spectacular.

All is taking a lot of energy, I kind of realize. The high attitude, less oxygen in the air, the temperature (I real have the best non cloudy weather, at daytime it’s comfortable ‚warm‘), but at night and in the morning….. puh so cold. One morning, when waiting for the sun to come up over the mountains, I thought I could already lose some ribbon at the tent, ohhhh my fingers could not stand to touch anything from the material. It was at least -10 degrees…. And walking with much more weight, building up a tent, staying in movement (after a day walking) in the evening and morning, to collect wood or making a stone circle around the tent…. all that is taking so much energy.
But at daytime, I always enjoyed some really nice resting time in the warm sun. Sometimes even sleeping a bit….
One night I came to a place, little area, with some dunes (the dunes itself where a kind of greeting from Amrum/Germany, maybe my favorite iland at all), and again some fire wood…. the dunes where close to a river, Tsarap Chu on only 4.200m. The river flows towards the Zansgar valley, into Zansgar river (Later into the Indus). The valley gives me a little feeling of ‚Zansgar’…. and I feel connected. The other entrance to Zansgar I saw/felt from the place, where Zansgar river flows into Indus ( close to Nimmu around a mounth before)

The next morning I feel so weak. After one km I come to a place with water. Even though I have enough water with me, I start to drink and drink, maybe two liters, maybe a bit more. My weakness came from to little drinking….. The Tsarap Chu is turquoise in the most beautiful colour.

Little later I see some workers. They are busy with laying cables, but now they have a break. One of them comes to me. To the same time a motorbike is also stopping. I really think, the guy on the motorbike is my friend Ankush, who nearly decided to walk this way with me. Do I pass the worker towards the bike, but it is another man. But I have a 10 min talk with him. The worker stands patiently at the side. Finally I turn to him, and he has a invitation for lunch for me. ‚But‘ they cooked with meat and the veggi variation is with onion (allergy), so I thank him but don’t take the invitation. Some 100m later I regret the way I left this invitation. This man was sent from God and was standing so patiently on the side until I ‚allowed‘ him to talk to me. Anyway, I sent him a blessing, even now, while writing the story.

The way to Sarchu is ‚long‘ this day. First straight, then along a riverside in another valley, to meet a bridge and walking back on the other side of the river….. to finally reach the place. Sarchu is done only from corrugated iron huts. Here and there some tibetan praying flags brings some colours. I end up in a shek ‚Shanti restaurant – beds avaible‘ with a lady from the region. At home she has 40 yaks and her area is reachable only by feet. One 1 year old kid is with her, the other two kids live at her sisters in Leh because of school. It takes days to find out this details, because she is a bit very shy.

At the second day in Sarchu I packed all the tent stuff together, directly after I met a taxi driver, 8 in the morning, who is on the way to Leh. He is so kind to take the things back to Leh, so Sumit can pick them up. I am so wonderful with this decision? Grateful to the help from Sumit for lenting me the tent, even though for the next 77 km to Darcha, there is also no accommodation. Only a workers place, or the army?… So happy again to be with less weight.

Sometimes I ask myself, especially when I don’t feel good: where do I like to be, do I like to be on another place. Looking deep, even though it’s a unplesent situation, I very very mostly, like to be at the place, where I am. Today I feel good. I like to be where I am. But…. I miss Leh….. do I want to be there?

What will happen after Manali? Do I want to be in crowded India, coming down from the mountains there?

Health update. The cut in the hill is healed. The place behind my teeth is not swollen anymore. Everthing calmed down. The lower lip has another issue again – sunburned, or another herpes? I have a little cold, but that’s maybe good as a smell protection – washing is not possible to often…. My spine is fine….

Tanglang La and Morey Plains

There was one more interesting topic I spoke with Konchok, the monk. About the whole population of Ladakh with a bit more than 117.000 people. Half and half by Moslems and Buddhist.  Because Moslem population is growing so quick, because they make so many babies and sometimes marrying Buddhist girls, who convert into Islam…  some of them already say: maybe it’s time, that the monks and nuns start to make baby’s, too. 😊😊😊

And one more thought I had about the different direction Buddhist and Moslems circle. A solution could be, to walk a laying 8, a infinity loup.

Anyway. I got up at 3.30am to make the 20km incl. short cuts and the 1200m elevation meters. Stars were shining bright and after some km 3 sheperds with three herds of sheep’s and goat’s appeard out of the dark along the way. The short cuts were very helpful, because the street loops are about 10km longer. But steep. With mouth protection against the cold, the ground was frozen, and a breakfast break at some wind shady place I was to my big surprise some minute after 10am already at the 5328m Tanglang La Pass. A Krishna Temple at the top was totally overcovered by buddhist Tibetan flags. Even the entrance was hard to find. In the temple somewhere at the side a Krishna drawing, but also in the middle the Buddhist did hang a Tangha, a buddhist image done from silk.
On the other side, in the valley, still lots of nomads with there tents. Later I learn, that some also stay in the cold winter up here at 4700m.

In the evening I arrive at Dehbring. After some search and asking around I find the simple shack/house/Dahba/restaurant of Lobsang. Here the tent is deposited since 2 weeks by Sumit and Madur. I am a bit surprised by the sice of extra volume, even though I packed the ‚delivery‘. But after 44km walk, I have to rest first. The shack/house is pretty simple, dormitories as in the alp mountains, but at the street from Leh to Manali. Some accommodations are from concrete builded, some in a nomad round tent style. In the very beginning a was not sooooo… pleased by the sleeping places impressions, it looked a bit dark, because of very little windows, but also the electricity was not on yet on, the generator for the 15 placed turns only on, when it’s really dark.
The mother cooker on different stoves. Some on a table, some on the ground. One of the gas stove was in the middle of the room, some long term guest cooked a special super hot meal for themself. The water cooks on this elevation at 50 degrees!!!! So high presure pots are very common here. After a night stay, I felt really good. Lobsang, 23, runs this place together with his mother, and said ‚yeah, this is really peace‘. In the middle of the nature, surrounded by mountains, desert, beauty and emptiness, a place of, refuge, rest and food…. My intention was, to stay for one rest day, but when I woke up, my inner guidance had other plans. I separated the tent in two parts, for both sides of my backpack. The sleeping bag had to come somewhere in the middle, beside my big food bag, (no I carry 2 liter of water instead of one) the mat I could also fix outside. It’s a surprise, that everything somehow fits. Really really sad to leave Lobsang behind so soon, but….

….and suddenly, when all was on my back, the weight for sure 6 to 7 kg more than at normal conditions (I was really not looking forward to it) a big wonderful feeling of joy and happiness arised in my, so surprisingly and unexpected, and so pure and beautiful. What the univers is always giving, it’s just wonderful. A new way a freedom, to sleep, whereever I want – I did not want to go the 45km to Pang for sure today. Just short distance. The weather , fabulous.  Only after 3 km another group of nomad tents, so cosy, I nearly stayed. One of the guys had some fruits to sell, about 10 apples. Because fruits are so rare here, I could only manage to allow myself to ask for 4 apples. Walking was fine, and I started to wonder if I start to like to have more weight on my back, a sporty aspect…?????

The wind came mainly from 2 directions, from the front and from the back, so I looked for a place for the night, where there could be somehow windshade and the early morning sun, because it’s cold at night. And first time building a unknown tent it’s also fine, to have some time.
The sun went behind the mountain already at 4.30pm. So the cooler and then cold period started. Little bit less then 2 more hours light. I started to collect white quartz, and made a big circle out of bigger and smaller stones around my tent. Surprisingly, there was also a source of little wood sticks at this place, so I collected from the llittle bushes, whith grew more or less only on the ground, lose sticks. Also I collected some dry cow shit to have a fire later on. This both kept me busy and warm until the night started.
When I choosed earlier the material for the outside nights, I took the lighter sleeping bag, I got told, that I could also have two, this light and on top a warmer sleeping bag. But I really did not know where to put the voluminous warmer on….. And I did not have a clue, that carrying all this stuff would give me happiness….. My strategy was, to wear everything what I have. Thats 6 to seven layers for the top of my body, incl. a mohair undershirt. 3 thin trousers and socks. And two to three hats and one to two shawls. I have also gloves, but for the night not needed. The sleeping bag is only for +11 degrees max, so …..
When I walk a lot, or to much, my lower back is somehow blocking the energy. If I have a chance, I sleep and rest early, as today, but at around midnight I can’t continue sleeping anymore. I am kind of awake, but still in the need of sleep. The lower back hurts and I move for a while from left to right, from the front to the back. But it does not help. I have to get up and sit, meditate.
I have to do it that long, until I get tired again. This can take 20min up to nearly an hour. The energy jam then releases and when successful I can enjoy sleeping again. If not, I turn again from left to right…. and so on…. then I have to continue meditation again.
This night is very cold. My feet are not really warm, so I empty the rest of my backpack, put the feet surrounded by the sleeping bag inside, success…. warm feet. Upper body and feet until knees warm, the but and upper legs could have another blanket….., but it kind of works.
In the morning all my breath is frozen inside of the tent. Also the kind of muesli rest from the afternoon before is ice. The fire I could not do in the evening because of to much wind, which totally stopped when I was meditating in the night. So I enjoyed some warms of the heat, before the sun came over the mountain……

I am in the Morey Plain. All day long I walk on the same elevation of 4700m. The wind comes from the front and is enourmous. The nature is so beautiful, the weather so clear. From time to time I have to remind myself to enjoy the super scenery. I have to walk 30km+ puh. … And it feels I am not coming from the spot……
Lobsang told me, I will find water on the way, so I took only two liters yesterday. But everything dry. But univers takes care in another way. People loose or through half full bottles of water away. And I just find them. Today I find 4 of them, serving me.
The plain meets another mountain. It looks from far away,  but also by coming closer, as if the mountain is kind of ending with a T-form the plain or at least I have to turn in a 90 degrees angle around the corner, but on my maps, the road nearly continues strait,  only a little to the left. Anyway I think I do a short cut, but in fact I walk nearly beside the street. Very strange….. a illusion…. And I have the joy to witness two wild horses. It is just – with the strong cold wind and the optic irritation – superfar. The scenery is so huge… And somehow it reminds me of famous Wadi Rum in Jordan, but no-one has developed some sightseeing tourism for this yet.
Coming to the end of the plain, the space opens 300 m down to the valley of Pang, a kind of beautiful canyon with erosions looking like cathedrals, a meandernd river snakes themselve along. The army has a part of the valley. The other part is used by simple service house and nomad style tents to serve the traffic people with food and beds. These services started in 1988, but no-one has the idea yet to use the area also as touristic attraction.

In my dormitory place the rest of a oil searching crew is still present. 10 guys of 150 (and another 100 where in Dehbring). They have drilled an blown up and now they have a lot of data and samples to analyse and take home. Winter is coming soon and after the last snow, they decided, it’s enough for this year…..

After 88 km in 3 days I have two days rest.

Meeting Konchok

In the meantime I have learned, from the distance signs, that from the last village Rumtse before the Taglung La Pass and the first village Dehbrink behind the 5.330m Pass its 55 km. Sumit said it’s maximum 45 km, what’s a very long walk for one day, incl. 1.160m climing up from 4.170m until 5.330m. In extrem cases I can do the 40 to 45 km, but 55 km…. puh.  And the lented tent is already in Dehbring. Playing through I plan to get up at 2am to hopefully manage to be at the top at noon (31km) and reaching Dehbrink (another 24km) before the dark. It’s nearly end of September, so it gets dark a little bit after 6pm.
Until here the weather was more than fabulous. Today on Friday some little clouds are coming. Maybe the forecast from Xavier and Chamille? Tomorrow colder?
Today I will reach Rumtse.
But I am so tired. I have to rest and rest again, I don’t know really why….. So …in Rumtse there is a day rest planed. Little bit after a government school in Sasoma I meet a men. He is one of the guys who is left with an open mouth, understanding that I continue the peace walk until Nepal and Birma, walking already since 5 years and five month. But he has a good news for me. There is a short cut for walkers, jeeps, and bycicles, so the way over the pass is ‚just‘ about 45 km. But steep. Aha. Great.

Little bit after, a monk is walking the street downwards. He just comes from Rumtse, trying to safe a dog. Someone put a wire around his neck when he was small. Because it’s a hairy and wild dog, no-one realised, that this wire was still there. No it is infected, the dog kind of stinks from this wound and maybe some worms already busy in that wound. They tried to catch him today with a lot of people, but the dog is so scared of humans….. it did not work. Konchok, the monk, thinks, the dog maid not make it.
Konchok is a smiling monk, teaching at this govornment high school, which I just passed. When he learned about my walk he forwarded his both hands to me to thank me. ‚We (monks) should also do like this‘. We sat down at the street side and talked. Then he invited me to his simple rented place, just a small room. The electricity does not work today.
Also we had to look for water at the spring. We both watched the old bridge, covered with metal plates. Every time, when a car passes, it sounds like something frightening happening. A new bridge is in construction.
When we came back from the spring, the army passed with lots of vehicles. How could this army men power be used, at least partly, for other purposes? !!!! I tell him about a ‚peace armee‘ which could be for the beginning just 5 % of the regular armee. That peace armee should be also payed by the government but not have any guns or other weapons. They have to be taught in peace technics, like meditation and deep listening and conflict solving tools, to send in areas, who are in trouble, but where still communication is possible, to go into schools, university’s and houses, to speak with the people. Slowly this peace army has to become 10% …. 15% and so on. So that we don’t need the armed ones one day…….

Reguarding the bridge noise, Konchok tells later the evening, about a cloud blast in 2010 in Leh. I heard about these cloud blast before from some people. It happens here and then, so people got so frightened, that just don’t want to come to Ladakh anymore. That night, Konchok was north of Leh, it was raining, when he woke up from a dream screeming ‚the water is coming‘. Everyone in the house calmed him down, but to that time in Leh, a house with 7 relatives of him, was washed away. They found just 3 bodies later…. he went there later and he could not say, where the house was standing before. That night, so many more died and the damage was enormous.
Then he reported also about a sunny day closed by. It did not rain at all, when black water came down a normally little creek. Wherefrom, no-one know. I said I saw this black water floods on videos after the Japan Tsunami….. And for this black water with lots of stones and whatever in it, I had also one idea:
sometimes in a glacier, it can happen that there is a lake inside. You can’t see it from outside. And some day, because of melting, the whole lake could flow out….. Yes, there is a glacier above….. he said.

Sasoma, where we are, I learn, is the oldest village in Ladakh. Earlier the king had his palace here. Some ruins are left.

Konchok, 42, is kind of a ‚free‘ monk. Since he was 9, he was given as a second child from his father to a monastery. He did not like it for a long while. But know he loves it. He had very strict and strong teachers. Later he left the monastery and became a teacher. He also recieves the same sallery then any other teacher. At the weekend, he drives with his car back to Leh, to his sister’s house. Teachers rotate after 2 years to other schools, so his time in Sasoma is finished with the 2 1/2 month winter holiday in two month. After he is sent to another school in Ladakh.
Even now he is studying for another exam.
Also now he translates a scripture about Buddha with 55 chapters from Hindi to Tibetan. 7 chapters are already done.

I enjoy our rich conversation. His room has no running water and it’s difficult to cook there with all the buckets …. without electricity today….. The ‚washing room‘ is actually just a dry toilet. Washing is outside. Maybe with some water you heat up on the gas before. But he hisself enjoys washing at the weekend at his sister’s….
So we did in the dark with a torch…..
I ask him about meditation and to my surprise he answers, that he does not meditate a lot. Also he says, that everyone is so surprised with this. But he has to be honest. He grew up by learning knowledge. So his teachers wanted, that he had good knowledge. So somehow he continued. Anyhow, he does some exercises now…. who are a kind of meditation. And the chantings followed by some silence…..

I tell him about my expiriences with the monasteries and the monks there. About my plans with ‚maybe proparbly‘ building a stupa or even a spiritual village. I learn, what is to put in a stupa, for example jewels, incenses, holy scriptures, prayers…… and so on. A stupa should have specific mesures…… to find also in the internet. We found out, that we both know the walkin stupa in hungary. The monks, who take care of the stupa in hungary are his friends and he visited them some years ago. There is now also a temple beside the stupa and a nun is taking care of the temple.
During our all evening conversation I get more and more confident, without and with being encouraged from his side, that I/we are able to initiate a stupa or something very semilar by ourselves. And for sure, I stay very much open to do that together with monks, his holiness…. or and other spiritual leaders from different religions/directions …..

We also spoke about healings and sound healings … we had a real good night and a next morning.

Rumtse is just 2km away from his home. But I thought there are some houses closer to the pass. But not.. . Anyway, I stay now in a ‚homestay‘ donated by Konchok, in Rumtse. I have two nights here. Resting, writing, leaving tomorrow at around 4am.

Konchok offered me different other options, like staying in his room, while he is in Leh at the weekend. Also coming with him to Leh, to see his sister’s family and his master coming this weekend….. I was also real interested in that. But I decided to follow my duty, to manage walking this way to Manali and focussing on it. Yesterday, there was some snow here, but now it seems to clear up again.

Today and yesterday I discovered some stupas here. Walls of stupas and 100s of meter long. I circled around of all of them. Sounding the ‚om mani padme hum‘. Some of them are built by people, to think of there sins or to transform there habbits.

And something is also special. I create so many positive ideas, what to do after the peace walk. The ideas rising up, as if I would be in a fast….

For example
-creating stone engraved with ‚love‘ or ‚peace‘ putting anywhere in nature…
-Offering other peacewalks……
……
…….

walking – chanting

The Buddhists turn around the Stupas clockwise. The Muslims always turn against the clock. Where does it come from? Knowing that the earth turns east it seems, that the Moslems have the right direction. But this is a way of looking on or into it. Facing the planet from outside, from the univers, with the face looking at our globe as we see it in the map, then the planet turns to the right – means against the clock. But knowing there is no up and down…. we could also look from the univers, looking at our planet with the south ‚up‘, then the planet turns clockwise – to the ‚left’……… I am a bit confused imagening as a human being, looking as a human towards different directions from the univers. Sometimes I look standing on the planet facing north or south, on the northern or southern hemisphere…. imagining the sun circling that confuses me even more…. also two different circles….. hihihi

Before reaching Hemis monastery another huge stupa appears on the horizon. You can also walk on it, with lot of corners, but different to others in that way, that there is a room below, a big hall, and a small room on top with a sand mandala in the center. All the building is a great ’sand‘ mandala, but not flat as a sand mandala, kind of blown up with space inside, nearly like a globe. (If  that globe would be the earth, a walker on top of the stupa would/could be the a circling planet or sun. Knowing that the earth is in fact circling the walker could be, while walking the still standing sun, while the earth beyond him is turning….. (I hope I don’t confuse you… hihihi)). Anyway, here was held last year (2016) the Kump Mela, a Buddhist gathering to honour ‚Naropa‘ millennium. From now on it will held again every 12 years.
200 elevation meters higher the famous and rich Hemis monastery. If you talk with people about Hemis, the very first or second comment is, uuuuhhh, they have a lot of money. After lunch at a restaurant below I asked at the monastery, if I could stay as a peace pilgrim for two night for free, by invitation….. Actually I ended up at the ticket office with two young monks. First of all, if I want to enter a monastery I think of seeing and feeling the energy of a place, where people pray. Also I am happy to exchange my energy in that place. So it’s receiving, what’s already there and giving, what I can contribute. For that holy act I expect a free entrance. So I came again in conflict with the both young men, who are actually kind of misused to be cashier’s. I also asked them to call someone responsible for the request I had for the guest house. But they just turned there head back again to somehow a important conversation having with each other….. I did come not to the idea to make a sitting strike, waiting for them to be ready to have a mindful conversation, or forcing them to call someone else, to adress my request…..
So after some try’s I turned around. Outside in the mountains they build a beautiful golden Buddha. He is sitting under the fresh air surrounded only by the elements. Even seeing him from down is already so beautiful. Walking up I turned again around a stupa and later around the Buddha. There is a feeling in my belly from this conversation or non-conversation and I have to diguest it before I continue. So I sit down at the Buddha to understand what that all means…. For sure I will not sleep here and stay the day after here to see another monastery 300m further up….. I also feed the donation box here….. The feeling kind of gets diguested. …. I see some more Stupas little further away, get there, circle with ‚om mani padme om‘ and find nearly no end…. I see a smaller golden ‚Tara‘ sitting also outside on a rock, get closer, beautiful…… and then finally leave the area….. down to Karu. …. on the way again so many stupas and mani-walls (where people brought there in stone hammered om mani padme hum mantra) hundreds of meter and km long walls.

The house in Karu, which I choose is under full renovation, but the whole village again is a army base, so I ask at this ‚only‘? privat place which I can find very close to a small power station at the Indus. But it’s no problem to stay here. Some more workers build a green house. One side a stone wall, the side towards the sun will be covered with plastic. All houses in Ladakh have the ‚magic‘ „Zampa“. Zampa is done from barley. It is a fine wheat now, and roasted. With nearly every tea Zampa is consumed with it. A half full spone Zampa directly in the mouth or mixed in the tea. The tea is done from black tea with milk and salt. Often also with butter in it. It can happen often, that the butter got a bit old, but that makes the tea for the Tibetans of Ladakhies even more tasty, it seems. A variation is the butter tea with milk and sugar. I don’t like the butter tea, because I don’t like black tea at all and also I don’t eat sugar. So I always ask for hot water. But Zampa is really my thing. Because in most houses ‚muesli‘, a kind of porrage is not known, Zampa is a good alternate in the morning, mixed with what ever is avaible. Gunsang, the 20year old daughter of the house has a kilo of Zampa next morning ready for me, good food for the mountain areas with no houses.
My sandals make me another proplem. The shoemaker put two layers of rubber into the sandals under my hills, because I walked that area down and a plastic close to my angles started to hurt. But the rubber is not really to big and the sides of the rubber are kind of sharp. Gunsang brings me a knife, which I sharpen at the stone stairs to round the edges. I little operation, but successful.

I am busy with the happenings in all the monasteries and the non-exchanges with the monks. To build a stupa I can’t work with monks, who don’t want to communicate with ‚usual‘ people. There is a kind a hierarchy in the Buddhist system, what I never really liked. The monks and the nuns, the lay men and lay women. In some traditions the hierarchy is monks, then lay men, nuns and lay women….. I believe that the monks and nuns have to integrate and transfer the complete knowedge to the people. If there is a ritual, the monks and nuns have to prepare a space within the lay people can have the same full spiritual experiences than the „educated non-lays“. The monks and nuns have more time to study, that I know, but they have the duty to transmit the essence fully, who wants to recieve….. and there are lay people who have the full capacity to understand the full teachings and reach also enlightenment. If especially monks thinks or behave in a way, that there only know everything better, and the way of giving and receiving is only from monks to lay people, I can’t agree and can’t work with them together.
So I start to think of alternates. I know that we did a very good job, about 10 or 12 years ago, to initiate or re-initiate the light temple in Angeln close to Flensburg/Hamburg in north Germany with and by toning prayers. And I kind of know, everything worked very fine. So, can we build a stupa by our own?!? Can we initiate a multispiritual stupa even?!? ………..
Can we powerfully initiate a place of worship for peace?!!!? By the work of harmonic singers, sound healers and toning and sound prayers?!!!! I guess we can?!!!!

I am here and there stopped by some people who search for an Italian guy. He is missed since 3 to 4 days. A hiking group of 5 had a afternoon tea in the mountains while one of them just wanted to walk a bit around. But this guy, maybe a little bit older, did not come back. The 4 searched and searched but could not find no 5. Finally they went to Leh. Now a team of 21 tries to find no 5. The hope is still there, the last night’s have not been to cold. Injured, lost or worst???

In Muri my attention comes to a house, some busy people around. Two monks leaving the house when I come closer. The grandfather of the house died 4 days before and is still in one of the rooms. But again, whatever happens, the Ladakhies are happy to invite a stranger without hesitation. The house is busy with visitors  and preparations. 12 monks will come the next day to celebrate again. 500 candles need to be done and prepared for example. From wool the 500 wicks has to be rolled. Food need to be cocked…… The monks come all from Hemis monastery. And 4 days later the grandfather will be burned on the property.
Like this house, even while having a quite big house, has no own wash room. There is a outside toilett and washing is somehow also outside in the creek.

leaving Leh

Last morning I went again to the Stupa. Sooo good. Packing and then we met with some friends for breakfast at Sumits and Tanri’s cafe. No-one could leave early from Leh, so also I can’t. Sumit gives last instructions where do bring or let bring the tent and camping gears After using, which I can pick up in the mountains after the first pass.
And I learn. Water cooks in Leh on 3500m at 73 Grad. Physics.
Through the markets I get accompanied by Elisabeth and Alok. Then the way leads down towards the Indus. And through annoiying areas with fences at both sides and military, military, military. I wanted to rest somewhere, to reflect, but just not possible.
I stayed so long in Leh and I can’t believe that I have already three proplems rising up through the day. My little left toe makes a blister. He kind of does not feel free and moves always under the toe beside him. The cut at my left hill hurts more than I expected. And behind my right last teeth, 1 cm behind or so, there is something hurting. What is that? A inflamation?

Ladakh’ies are great. ‚How many nights do you want to stay‘ is the first question before I even enter. After a little while I get introduced to the prayer room. I learn that nearly every house has a prayer room. In this one a whole cupboard full of statures and other praver utility’s. There is a seat reserves for a monk, with a big drum. He comes every month for half an hour.
And I am happy to do here some meditation. The small kids are sitting before the room and try also the same postures. Sonam is not allowed to enter the prayer room anymore, because she is now married and belongs to another household. Her husband serves at the army in Pang (on my way to Manali). One month working, one week free.

Next morning I climp up to the monastery. The first obstacle is the ticket table. I just don’t accept any entrance fee to a prayer place. ‚If you want a fee from me, I just go again‘ and in the move to turn towards the stairs the ‚money man‘ says to me, I can see the temple for free….. I enter. Prayer places have to be free, but, if I feel, I am so happy to give a donation. A 7m golden Buddha surprises me. The lower level is closed so I enter at the highst of the chest. Impressiv, beautiful and powerful. I circle clockwise around the statue and start to sing inwardly the mantra ‚om mani padme hum‘. The mantra helps to develop love and compassion. I am so surprised, that I love to continue for maybe an hour.
During the day I continue to sing inwardly the mantra. I circle around every stupa. I wittnes some women, who circle around a complex with 7 big stupas. Also activating the prayer wheels. One of the lady’s seems to be a 20 year old daughter, who is just joining, enjoying not really, the body shows only protest – but it seems, that she has to be there.

After a little nap I think of leaving the main street. Silently I say, if you want to meet me, that’s the time now, and I mean Xavier und Chamille. They are a French cycle couple, which I met in Leh. Together with another bicycling couple Lukas and Katharina, there were happy to bring me fruits or water to the areas, where there are no houses on the way to Manali. But now, there will be in front of me. 200m more and I will turn right. A family from the other side of the road calls me, little conversation….. but in fact, they were just an instrument of the univers to slow me down. And then…. Xavier and Chamille appeared. As everyone, also they started late, leaving from Leh. Happy meeting at the road. We talk about the weather. Since 2 days it’s amazing. Not a single cloud at the sky and the air is so clear.

But… they report…. from Saturday on, in 4 days, the weather will cool down, but not rain or snow anymore….. The univers and the elements can help to change the cold….. I get 2 bananas….hihihi. I tell them about my issues…. little toe got a ordenary tape, better…. maybe the couse was also a new sock who is a little bit to teight in the toe area, I wear another one now…. the hill got a ‚compeed‘ high tec tape, to hold the cut together, helps a bit…… And the place behind my teeth, I still don’t know, but since I slowed down, since I sing the mantra, it seems to get better?!….. 

The both are a little amused, that I turn around all the stupas and sing ‚om mani padme hum‘. I did once a 3 weeks chanting continuously, and I was very successful with it. After a while singing the mantra ‚om namah shivaya‘, also during the night, it just continued while sleeping… And then one night a Yogi in his light body was sitting beside my bed… …. but anyway…..  I did not a lot of km. ‚Maybe I continue singing  this time ‚om mani padme hum‘ all the way…. until Manali.‘ It seems that my body wants to show me, to slow down. I just have to follow. ‚I passed also at the Tiksey monastery. But closed. I still climed the stairs up. The monks had a little celebration, making arrows…. and from time to time, they blew horns and drummed. Really nice…..‘ I report. And then I met a girl, she was so shocked, that I walk along the street. She could not understand, that I don’t take the hiking trails. ‚If we would walk as 2 people, I would be the one, who would force us, to walk away from the street, but for this time, alone, it’s already enough adventure, to go on the road, with the high 5000m passes, not knowing about the weather and with all the areas, without any houses ……
Anyway, we said 7-10 times goodbye….. Finally they started cycling. Uuuuhhhh…. I love cycling also so much….. a short moment of good cycling happenings arises in me…. And then I see the perfect image for a foto, I am not quick enough for a foto….. they stopped in the shade and turned around to photograph me….. final good bye….

I turn towards Stakna Gompa (monastery). Only through a third person a monk was communicating with me about my intention to offer them the host role …. I invented a while, that I would appeciate a direct communication. …. no way…. I went somewhere else.

one week more in Leh/Lahdakh

Dear friends,

I am still in Leh. Surprise, also for me. After organising everything for the next 475km, after meeting new friends, after writing all the articles in the blog, I felt, that I have also to rest. Just resting. And I did. So good. So tomorrow I continue walking and from tomorrow, I am not reachable for 3 to 4 weeks, because there is no Internet.

I am and I was so surrounded by beautiful people. This place is blessed by the people and there spiritual praxis. As I wrote earlier, lots of things came together here. I stayed at Zaltak guest house and I was heartly welcome here. And I can highly recommend this place for you, if you plan to come to Leh. 2 weeks I stayed here and I had to pay only a very little fee for my stay here, so nice and welcoming. The lady who owns the place has a beautiful skill to gather the right people together.

I met also some more ‚Stupa Lover’s‘. My ‚Is-ness‘ feels so much supported by the ‚Is-ness‘ of the Stupa, just beautiful.

A week ago I got blessed with a ‚donation‘ by the bank. I looked for money at a bank mashine, when I suddenly got money without putting my PIN code in there. I went 2 days later to the bank office to report about the issue. The assistant manager surged for the mistake, but could not find it. So, what to do? I asked him at the end of the procedure….. he lifted the shoulder up and I kept the money. After a while I accepted the money and try to handle it as a ’normal‘ donation.

Leh is a wonderful example also for the environment. In all the shops you never get a plastic bag. This is a praxis here sice decades, as I understand. There is also a refill station for drinking water at one of the shops. They counted to have saved more than 700.000 plastic bottles by this praxis.

Also very nice to see, how houses are build here. The sand at the properties is suitable to be used with cement to make briks or concrete. Poplars are growing here too and there are used for all kind of construction help or building the roof. If there are stones needed, the mountains offer a lot. Only transport and labor has to be payed to get them.

Leh is on the way to get more and more tourists, in the moment there is an increase of 25 percent every year!!!!!

I sent a lot of love around the world

Thomas