Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Very Definition Of Remote


When I think about remote places, I usually focus on those little corners of the world that are tucked away, hidden from view, and a huge pain in the ass to get to. After all, those are what makes a place 'remote'.

Ladakh in the northernmost Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, definitely qualifies as remote. It's a land of high altitude desert valleys, sand dunes, green oases, and narrow, terrifying roads, all fringed by 25,000+ foot peaks. Getting there is no picnic, but it's well worth the effort once you get up there and starting drinking in the otherworldly landscapes, as well as the deep hypnotic blue of a sky that sits above the pollution and haze.

There are hundreds of Buddhist temples in Ladakh, maybe even thousands if you count historical ones that are now little more than ruins. Some of these temples are perched in the most precarious of places, like the one in this photo, which sits atop a foothill of a gigantic mountain. You can't help but think that this must have been planned out so that those who studied there would have no external distractions.

And you know what? That strategy has probably worked out pretty well for several hundred years - even Starbucks has yet to open up shop here.

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