With a population of around 1,500 people, Stok is a typical Ladakhi village of large, traditional farmsteads and chortens (stupas) scattered across a patchwork of barley fields and fruit orchards at the mouth of the Stok Chu River, opposite side of the Indus from Leh. From a low outcrop overlooking the riverbank here rises an imposing 14th-century monastery with multi-storey whitewashed walls and windows picked out in burgundy – the colour denoting holiness in Tibetan tradition. Aside from a splendid 19th century palace (part of which serves as a heritage hotel), the village’s only other monument of note is a giant golden Buddha, inaugurated in 2016 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

With its gorgeous farmhouses and jaw-dropping backdrop of Himalayan peaks, Stok makes a perfect introduction to Ladakh.

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