The day’s touring was almost done.
We had visited two monasteries, passed through alien landscapes and taken lunch in an exotic Ladakhi home.
But still we had no idea where the night would be spent.
As our car drove away from the last monastery, it seemed we might be retracing our path.
After an hour or so, I began to make sense of our itinerary.
We were returning to the house where we had lunched.
Suddenly I understood why the owner had first shown us a bedroom – though the explanation for its remarkable, bordering on louche, décor was maybe a matter best left unresolved.
The sun sets late in the Himalayas:
great altitude gives longer hours of daylight.
With the evening still bright, we began to explore the village in which we would stay.
Music could be heard drifting up the hill and, wondering if it might signify a local wedding, we followed the Tibetan melodies until reaching a roadside field, to find instead an archery competition was underway.
A very beautiful young woman smiled sweetly, offering us hot tea and savoury snacks as we watched the men taking turns to shoot a bullseye.
When an interval was reached, the competitors retrieved their arrows, then the entire company moved into a tent where local barley-beer and rum were served.
We happily accepted several glasses of the beer, but unsure of the strength of their liquor, we declined it.
A second round of archery followed, in which we were also invited to try our hand with bow and arrow.
Once more, but this time with the well-being of the local population foremost in our minds, we politely declined!
It had been an amazing and beautiful day.
But the surprises were not yet finished:
a fascinating evening meal still awaited us…
Pictures taken in Tingmosgang, Ladakh.