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Report 1932: Ladakh Takes Your Breath Away

By Eleanor from UK, Spring 2011

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Page 16 of 25: A Day Around the Nubra and Shyok Valleys - Diskit

photo by Michael

Statue of Maitreya Buddha at Diskit

Diskit is built above the flood plain of the Shyok river and is dominated by a huge statue of Buddha and the Gompa.

Maitreya Buddha Statue

There is a road to the big Maitreya Buddha Statue, high above the village. The 32m statue was begun in 2006 and the finished statue was consecrated by the Dalhai Lama in 2010. The statue is painted gold and gleams in the sunlight. Buddha is seated on a brightly coloured base.

There is a small temple next to the statue. Inside are sacred books and beautiful butter carvings. These are used to gather evil spirits and at the end of the year they are thrown away, either into a stream or left on top of a mountain. New ones are made. As this is a new temple, there was one very large butter sculpture (Storma) as well as smaller chodpa.

There are marvelous views from the statue across the Shyok and Nubra valleys with their flat sandy flood planes and multicoloured mountains, as well as up to Diskit Gompa, built above the gorge on the opposite hillside. There are white chortens everywhere. There is a rough road to the base of the Gompa and then 125 steps to climb. It was a very hot afternoon so we decided to admire from a distance.


Looking down from the statue, there are views of Diskit. Upper Diskit is the older settlement consisting of farms and guest houses. It is separated from Lower Diskit by farmland. There are no stone walls marking the different land holdings. Boundaries are marked on the land and owners have deeds for their land. Lower Diskit is the newer settlement and the main service centre for the area with shops, bank and administration offices. Each village is split into four different districts for irrigation and administration purposes and a group of villagers form a committee controlling the district.

We parked at the top of Main Street in Lower Diskit and walked down past the shops. Many shop keepers come from Kashmir and rent shop units from Ladakhis. They stay for the summer months and return to Kashmir for the winter. Rooms above shops may also be rented out as accommodation with the owner living in a separate house.

On the way back to Nubra Organic Resort we went to look at the camels. They were sitting in the sun beside a small river. There were a lot of people out enjoying the sun and having picnics, but few takers for the rides. These are operated as a communal exercise with the takings split at the end of the day.

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