Today was a big celebration. The Rinpoche (high lama) came to Leh. Many people put on their finery and gathered along the road to greet him. New prayer flags were strung everywhere.

Local women in traditional dress lined the road, with prayer scarves wrapped around their hats, and armloads of flowers.

The Rimpoche arriving, sheltered under a ceremonial umbrella.

After the Rimpoche arrived, there was an open-air reception followed by traditional dancing. He’s only here for a couple of days, though. Usually, he stays at Rizong Gompa, the monastery of which he is the head. He is the next highest lama of his order after the Dalai Lama, so it’s always a big deal when he comes, especially for the monks of the area.

Ladakhi ladies in all their finery. The turquoise headdresses, called perak, are a married woman’s wealth. Studded with Himalayan turquoise and coral, they are held on with silver ornaments and ‘wings’ made of some sort of hair. Other ladies are wearing a traditional Ladakhi top hat. On such occasions, the ladies get out their best brocades and most traditional clothes.

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