When the dalai lama speaks...the people of ladakh listen. Photo credit: Jason [Creative Commons license]

When the dalai lama speaks…the people of ladakh listen. Photo credit: Jason [Creative Commons license]

If you are heading to Ladakh in July, be sure to make reservations in advance or bring a tent, as accommodations in and around Leh will be difficult to find. The reason for this is that the Dalai Lama will be in Ladakh to give the Kalachakra teaching, which involves a very special initiation for practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. This event, which will last from July 3-14, is expected to draw many thousands of people from all over the world. And, of course, most Ladakhis who can take the time will also participate. Incidentally, this definitely isn’t a tourist event. However, the Dalai Lama will probably give a public lecture while he’s in Ladakh.

Dalai Lama Photo credit: BJ Graf [Creative Commons license]

HH the Dalai Lama
Photo credit: BJ Graf [Creative Commons license]

Many renovations are taking place in the area to prepare for this. The road between Leh and Choglamsar, where the Dalai Lama stays, and where the teaching will be held, is being widened to a four-lane road. (In the meantime, there is an 8-9km detour.) The main market of Leh is getting major renovation, as well. For now, the roads are completely torn up, and new water, sewage and electrical/telecommunications conduits are being laid at a depth of 6’. When it’s finished, the main market will be a walking mall, with no vehicles allowed. This will be a huge improvement if they are really strict about it and don’t allow motorbikes in. The work is going fast, so it seems like they might actually make their deadline. Meanwhile, it’s exceptionally dusty and noisy, with all the heavy equipment. There’s much more to Leh than the main market, so don’t worry about it if you are planning to come at this time.

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