Hanle, (pronounced as 'an-lay') on the southeast of Ladakh is a surreal place, straight out an artist's canvas. The Indian Astronomical Observatory at 14, 764 ft, right above the village houses the second highest optical infrared telescope in the world (the highest is at the Atacama desert in Chile at 5640 feet). The telescope is monitored by the Indian Institute of Astrophysics in Bangalore and is equipped to function even in the sub-zero temperatures of the cold and harsh winter of the Changthang plateau.
The landscape is straight out of the 2015 Hollywood mega hit Mad Max. The high altitude trans-himalayan desert has is at its enigmatic best. The rolling hills of the Digpa-ratsa range kiss the azure of the blue sky, the clear streams that flow off the river Indus and the Hanle river make the landscape visually stunning. It is one of the most stunning landscapes that you would ever come across. High altitude, trans-himalayan desert of the Tibetan plateau at its best.
The 400 year old Gonpa, sits like a crown jewel on the entire canvas of this fascinating landscape. The human settlement appear as a series of dots from the towering height of the Gonpa, that has a three side open view from the top encircling the entire flat land around it.