Monday, July 3, 2017

Hemis Festival. The End.

The dance performance of The Five Tshog Len and The Ten Great Ging was the last of the day.  It was an incredible set of performances though the festival day was not yet quite over. There's a closing ceremony, if you will

Against the backdrop of the final chants by the monks, the large thanka painting was rolled back up but not before local people walked by and said their prayers

Even as the thanka was being rolled up, festival attendees were already slowly making their way out of the courtyard.  I made my way back to my assigned seat, the one that I pestered Stanzin to buy but never sat in 😁 Ayşe was still sitting in her seat.  I think she was still feeling like she had just spent the last 6 hours on another planet.  I think she had long reached Hemis spirit dance overload hours ago and had she had the choice, she would have left at lunch.  Indeed, I had reached my overload at day's end and had already decided that we would not be returning tomorrow as originally planned.  There was no objection from Chantale 😁.  I will deliver the news to Tashi and Stanzin later today that we would not be returning tomorrow.  We'll just hang around Leh tomorrow.  Most certainly, there are still places we've not the palace.  Not to mention that after all these days of being on the go, I don't mind just having a down day.

The Hemis Festival is actually a 3 day affair.  The first day is rehearsal which I think you can attend for free.  I don't know if the performers are dressed in costume or not.  The second day, which is today's event is the main day.  Tomorrow is a shorter event with different performances.

The three of us gathered up our belongings and reunited with Dorje and his family.  I had them pose for a family photo before we left.  They are such a lovely family.  I really wished we could have communicated with each other so I could get to know them better.

We followed Dorje out of the monastery grounds but did not backtrack our way to where he had dropped us off.  Instead, he headed that way and we followed Dorje's mom on a different route - down a path that wound its way along the mountainside.  There was a small stream running downhill.  It almost felt like I was going on a hike with a group of people.

The path then skirted what looked like a small village - maybe it was Hemis village?

Somewhere along the way, Chantale spotted a vendor selling ice cream.  She couldn't resist so she treated us all to kulfi.  Thank you Chantale!  She hadn't eaten anything for lunch so I am sure she was in need of a sugar buzz. 

Dorje's nephew wanted an ice cream bar instead so that's what he got - much easier for him to hold and eat.  We had to wait until we got to the car to indulge in our treats. 

On the way back to Leh, we dropped off Dorje's mom first and then his sister and nephew.   Back at the Hotel Kidar, we dumped off our stuff.  Chantale headed off to meet up with the Bangladeshi group that we had crossed paths with at Pangong Tso.  She was going to meet with them at Shanti Stupa to take sunset photos.  In the meantime, Ayşe accompanied me to Ju-Leh Adventure's offices where we told Tashi and Stanzin that we were bailing on the second day of the Hemis Festival.  They didn't look surprised and told us they would pass the word onto Dorje.  I have a feeling he's happy to not return as well.  We also had to confirm that they would be sending a driver by the hotel bright and early tomorrow morning to take Ayşe to the airport as she is leaving India and us tomorrow to return to Turkey before she returns to the US.  It will sad to see her go though I know we'll reconnect once we're both back home - we only live a 20 minute drive from each other.

We grabbed a quick dinner at the Ladakh Cafe before heading back to the hotel.  Chantale eventually returned....excited for having met up with her new found friends and having taken her shots of the sun setting.  Tomorrow is our last day in Leh.  I shall not think about that any more at the moment.  Time to make sure that Ayşe packs up everything she brought with her, take a shower and go to bed.

Goodnight from Leh!