Once an arid cold desert, the terrain of Ladakh is now interspersed with patches of green thanks to an agroforestry programme run jointly by locals and the Indian armed forces. A three-hour drive from Leh’s Grand Dragon Hotel to the Lamayuru Monastery is sensationally picturesque with green willows and ochre-coloured mountains surrounding quaint villages. Photo by: Kounteya Sinha

In Photos | Walking on the Moon in Ladakh

The site of Ladakh's Lamayuru Monastery is the closest one can get to a lunar landscape on Earth

Perched on a terrain said to resemble that on the moon, the 11th-century Lamayuru monastery is one of Ladakh’s oldest and least visited monasteries. A repository of ancient Tibetan heritage, its bright ornamented interiors are a stark contrast to the bland palette of it surrounding landscape, shaped over 45 million years ago. The geological features and terrain of this arid region has earned it the tag of being India’s moonscape. Lamayuru literally means eternal and is home to 150 monks who greet you with their warm smile and the universal Ladakhi greeting, “Juley.”

  • Kounteya Sinha is a mountaineer, explorer and an urban nomad with a compulsive knack of running away from home since the age of five. After being a journalist for 16 years, his latest medium of storytelling is through images that he says nourishes his soul.

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