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Letzte Änderung: 26.09.2009

Prayer flags remind me: Tibet is close

Running im Himalaya

August 2009



 (Pictures: Erwin Lionheart Bittel)

View from a monastery towards the 8.000m high peaks

---> German version here

At 4.000m: no breath - At 2.000m: only rain


While back home in Germany they have a super-sunny-sommer, I wanted to see, how is it like in Himalaya-India?
The highland Ladakh you only can reach during a few weeks in the year: July-September.
La-Dakh means "Land of the passes". I look around and see many magic 8.000ers.
And a lot of Buddhism, monasteries, monks.

In my vacations I dont run much
. And my few run-thoughts disappear right after landig in the capital Leh::
The air simply is too thin for whatever activities. So, first thing ist to catch breath.
After 4 days it is fairly fine. I can walk and see the town and castle. Breathing is better day by day.
And a good ocasion to watch my breath again.
And to be greatful for it.

After 5 days I go running: "veeery slow and only downhill", is my plan.
It is alright, even if my heart has to beat faster than normal, still.
Okay, you all know, who goes down must go up.
I had forgotten it. Oof!

Pictures from 4.000m high

4.500m: Tibetan prayer flags on the peaks over Leh (behind: 8.000ers)

Market ladies selling grocery on the sidewalk. It grows a lot of it here.

I am running out of breath: Please carry me!

Like river Nile: The small green Indus-valley near Leh.

Typical monastery: Tikseh...

...with a 10m high buddha statue inside

It is getting evening

I run alone in the highland

On teh only road: 7km out of town I turn around.

Some single clouds and a lot of mountains

The wild himalayan dunkey (ass) stays...

...but the holy cows move away.

Slowly I run: The full moon appears behind the peaks.
Not only the air is thin, but also extremly dry..
Like in the Sahara desert..

Day temperatures are perfect: 25°C, no wind.
At night they go down to mild 15°C.

Ladakh is "half Tibet, half India,
that means, you have salty tibetan butter tea and tasty Masala Chai .

Many people here go for days long trough the dry mountains: Trekking.
Others go rafting in the near Indus.
Its worth to see the monasteries. And rest a while.

Back in normal breath, my next stop is 2.000m lower, still at 2.000m altitude.
I take the Leh-Manali-Highway for 2 days in an "adventure" bus.
Here I breathe fine, but now it rains and rains, whole day long: It is monsoon-period..
Okay, this is not the perfect time for running.
Nevertheless I go for a run in a dry hour, to explore the surroundings.
Okay, you all know: I will get wet.
I had forgotten it. Splish-splash!

Pictures from 2.000m high

2.000m: Manali, always in the clouds, always close to rain

Clouds are climbing up the valley

Over the rapid river there are only a few bridges...

...but you can hang-climb over it too.

Over there the guest houses...

...on this unknown side the local houses

I forget teh world and cruise up the valley, slowly...

...crossing a hang bridge and noisy waters from the peaks

Here grow Indias apples: Tasting, but German apples are better yet!

Every day life of a farmer lady

Quick over the wet bridge: The rain has caught me, it is cool...

...I find shelter in a simple hut of a young family with a friend.

In only a few minutes the river is swollen significantly......

...lets go on, soaking wet, my shoes are making funny noises...

...downhill into my dry room.

In the clouds.

Manali is a famous place. Here all the long-time travellers of India come from 40°C hot south, as soon as the winter here has gone.
Manali in august knows no long-time travellers. You find only French, Spanish, Italian or Israelis, hiding from the hot european summer.
Temperaturen tagsüber 18°C, nachts 13°C. Kein wirklicher August-Sommer.
Time to explore the restaurants and hot springs.
Time for many masala-chais...

You Indian, Lionheart

Infos about Ladakh: geography and culture

More India-run-reports: Puna and Varkala/Kerala and Bombay marathon and run across India




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