How do you visualise paradise when you close your eyes? Blue skies with fluffy white clouds, rolling meadows of green grass, gentle streams burbling through day and night?
Does that photograph come close?
I shot this photograph in a village called Hemis Shupkachan when I was trekking in Ladakh in early September. Apparently ‘Shupka’ in the local language means ‘Juniper’ and the village has a grove of Juniper trees giving its name. As in any small town in Ladakh, Hemis Shupkachan in late summer was quiet and peaceful. There were people working in the farm, flowers were blooming in the garden and the Himalayas stretched around you in every conceivable direction.
We reached Hemis Shupkachan on the second day of our trek after starting out that morning from another small village called Ang. The last 30 minute walk towards Hemis Shupkachan was probably one of the easiest walking stretches in the entire hike with a gently sloping well marked trail so obviously the town got onto my favourite list very quickly.
On arrival at our host’s house we were even treated to a fizzy drink which was just amazing. All the Ladakhi kitchens looked very pretty with their arrays of cooking pots and pans.
The kitchen is of course also the place where everybody sits around and chats. In the evening we went out for a small walk up to the new shrine that has been built for Buddha.
I then spent the rest of the evening the garden looking at the mighty mountains. I had never imagined that gardens in Ladakh would be so fertile. There were cosmos flowers everywhere.
I’d love to pack a crate full of books and head back to Hemis Shupkachan for a month or two. However, I’d probably go in the summer as winter temperatures can be below freezing.
Have you been anywhere rustic and idyllic where you’ve wanted to stay forever?