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Phugtal Monastery, in Zanskar, was founded in the 12th century. I visited there in 1983 during a trek over the Shingo Lal and down into Padum from where our team rafted the Zanskar and on down the Indus River.

I only shot this image and one other before we headed inside the cliffside along narrow dark tunnels, past the large cavernous community kitchen, and up into the library, which is in the cave you can see above the buildings. In there, an old monk showed us some of the hundreds of ancient religious scrolls they keep, and read aloud from one of them. The view down into the valley from up there was sensational. The guy in the lower left foreground of this image is Rick, then a fireman in Glebe, now who knows. He wasn’t well after the trek up the river. I still remember most of that day.

The photograph was taken with my Olympus OM-1 SLR using Kodak Ektachrome Colour slide film with an ASA of 100, using a Sigma 35-135mm f3.5-4.5 Telephoto Zoom Lens, probably at 35mm. (This is the uncropped original image.) No other EXIF remains, however back in those days I wasn’t using filters. Along with several hundred other slides taken in the Himalayas during several trips, this slide was recently hand-cleaned then scanned at 4000 dpi, and saved as a 22 megabyte jpg. I then cleaned up the image itself a bit with Silver Efex Pro 2.

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