People

Ladakh lies in a neighborhood where folks seem to bicker a lot, usually with guns. Its location, just east of Kashmir, bordering both Pakistan and China, makes it a military hotspot for India. Closed to foreigners altogether for many years, it was only in the 1970s that the travel ban was lifted and the first tourists arrived in Leh. They found a self-sufficient people, mostly Buddhist but with a small Muslim population, living together in agricultural villages.

When I arrived in Leh, I was struck by the humanity of the Ladakhi people: their down-to-earth sincerity, open heartedness, and genuine hospitality. As I traveled further, I found the same to hold true for the people in the Himalayas of Nepal. Their joy of life, and uncanny common sense kept me smiling.

It got me wondering? Does living at a higher altitude in a symbiotic relationship with the land allow more of the best of humanity to shine through?

Professor Norbu and Master Lim at Tak Tok Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Professor Norbu and Master Lim at Tak Tok Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Professor Norbu chanting during ceremony at Tak Tok Gompa

Ladakh, India

Oracle and monks at Tak Tok Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Monks at Tak Tok Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Group portrait at Tak Tok Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Dharma talk at Lamayuru Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Ladakhi women at Dharma talk in Leh.

Ladakh, India

Ladakhi woman at Dharma talk in Leh.

Ladakh, India

Ladakhi women at Dharma talk in Leh looking at photos of themselves.

Ladakh, India

Ladakhi woman in Shingo tending her sheep.

Ladakh, India

Ladakhi woman in Shingo.

Ladakh, India

Dha Hanu woman at ceremony outside of Leh

Ladakh, India

Ceremony meeting outside of Leh.

Ladakh, India

Ceremony outside of Leh.

Ladakh, India

Ceremony outside of Leh.

Ladakh, India

Woman in fields outside of her village of Hanu.

Hanu, India

Making Ladakhi bread in Leh.

Ladakh, India

Stove, Ladakhi and cat in Yurutse.

Ladakh, India

Locals dressing up in Yuturse.

Ladakh, India

Sonam and friend at prayer wheel, Lamayuru Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Monks at ceremony at Lamayuru Gompa.

Ladakh, India

Monks at ceremony at Lamayuru Gompa carrying Dharma scrolls.

Ladakh, India

Ladakhi Muslim children in Leh.

Ladakh, India

Ladakhi Muslim mother and son in Leh.

Ladakh, India

Buddha's birthday ceremony, Nubra Valley.

Ladakh, India

Buddha's birthday ceremony, Nubra Valley.

Ladakh, India

Buddha's birthday ceremony, Nubra Valley.

Ladakh, India

Buddha's birthday ceremony, Nubra Valley.

Ladakh, India

3 generations.

Tadopani, Nepal

Nunnery.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Mother and Daughter.

Singati, Nepal

Women in Bhaktapur.

Kathmandu, Nepal

Mother and Daughter.

Simagon, Nepal

Little girl at the Village of Jhong.

Mustang, Nepal

Dahkey and Nawang.

Lundgren, Nepal

Dahkey.

Lunac, Nepal

Nawang.

Nangpala Pass

Nawang and lay lama.

Lamabagar, Nepal

Schoolgirl at the Gompa.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Schoolgirl at the Gompa.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Arranging for a picture.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Pre picture fun.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Shy for the picture.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Pre picture fun.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Serious for the picture.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Lay lamas wife.

Lamabagar, Nepal

Villagers at stupa ceremony.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Villagers at stupa ceremony.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Villagers at stupa ceremony.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Palm reading and fortune telling on ceremony day

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Palm reading and fortune telling on ceremony day

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Girls at stupa ceremony day.

Bigu Gompa, Nepal

Building a stupa on the road to Zanskar.

Zanskar, India

Shared jeep to Zanskar.

Zanskar, India

Monk at Phuktahl Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Novice at Stongday Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Zanskari girls at Stongsday Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Novice at Stongday Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Zanskari boy.

Zanskar, India

Monk at Stongsday Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Thanka Ceremony, Stongsday Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Villagers from Stongday at the Thanka Ceremony.

Zanskar, India

Villagers from Stongday at the Thanka Ceremony.

Zanskar, India

Villagers from Stongday at the Thanka Ceremony.

Zanskar, India

Monks performing the Thanka Ceremony.

Zanskar, India

Monks performing the Thanka Ceremony.

Zanskar, India

Zanskari children at Stongday Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Rolling up the Thanka for another year.

Zanskar, India

Monk at Stongday Gompa.

Zanskar, India

Stanzin and company near Singay La Pass.

Zanskar, India

Luangpor Wichai and Thai monks at Buddhas bithplace.

Lumbini, Nepal

Luangpor Wichai at the Red Fort in Agra.

Agra, India

Monks where Buddha was buried.

Kusinara, India

Traveling with Thai monks across the Ganges to Varanasi.

Varanasi, India

Tibetians near Bodgaya.

Bodgaya, India

Tibetian monks at Bodgaya.

Bodgaya, India

Tibetian novice monks at Bodgaya.

Bodgaya, India

Phra Thana at Buddhas place of enlightenment.

Bodgaya, India

Luangpor Wichai on board a train to Ajanta.

Ajanta, India

Wedding in Agra.

Agra, India

Buddhist devotee in Laos.

Luang Pra Bang, Laos

Phra Ek in Laos. Check out the flowe pot.

Luang Pra Bang, Laos

Abbot of Wat Lichia.

Grangovia, Thailand

Buddhist ceremony near the border of Burma.

Grangovia, Thailand

Village children near Chang Rai in the mountains of northern Thailand.

Chang Rai, Thailand

Village children near Chang Rai in the mountains of northern Thailand.

Chang Rai, Thailand

Monks and monasteries.

Sukhothai, Thailand

Monks and monasteries.

Grangovia, Thailand

Monks and monasteries.

Sukhothai, Thailand

Monks catching up on world events.

Sukhothai, Thailand

Luangpor Jamnian.

Wat, Sunnataram, San Diego