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A Buddhist paradise -- now also popular with tourists

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Buddhist monks play Tibetan trumpets prior to morning prayers at the Thikse Monastery on October 5, near Leh in Ladakh, India.

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The Thikse Monastery on October 5, near Leh in Ladakh, India. The Thikse monastery is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect, located on top of a hill, approximately 12 miles east of Leh. It is noted for its semblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet and is the largest monastery in central Ladakh.

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A Tibetan Buddhist monk during morning prayers at the Thikse Monastery on October 5, near Leh in Ladakh, India.

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A Buddhist shrine is seen at the Chang La pass, with an altitude of 17,585 feet (5360m) on October 5, near Leh in Ladakh, India.

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The forecourt of the Likir monastery on October 4, near to Leh in Ladakh, India.

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The Basgo Monastery, a world Heritage site on October 4, near Leh in Ladakh, India.

Ladakh, nestled between the Kunlun mountain range in the north and the main Great Himalayas to the south, was once an ancient Buddhist Kingdom and for over half a century, a strategic military outpost for India. Ladakh, sharing borders with both China and Pakistan, has seen an increase in tourism over the last few years, an alternative to Nepali Himalayan treks.