We drive out of Leh to a nearby village and walk up the road past the fields, the school and the scattered homes topped with thick flat thatched roofs.
Eventually we reach a small roadside temple. Here there is a revolving drum. The idea is that one spins the drum so that the prayers written inside it can take flight. On the outside of the drum is an inscription:
Perfect good deeds,
Purify your mind
This is the essence of the teachings of the Buddha.
As we walk through the village we hear the old men and women chanting as they spin their hand-held prayer wheels. The refrain of the prayer is a follows:
O (pronounced with a long O….hmmm.) Om Man Ne Hum, Um Man Ne Hum
They repeat this refrain over and over again, but I cannot catch the rest of the prayer.
Later in the day I go to the market and buy myself a small prayer wheel, a little Buddha and some prayer flags. You are expected to haggle, but being the world’s worst shopper I happily settle for the asking price.