National Geographic : 1951 May
608 Jonn Aei, camera LI1X What Purpose Can Idle Wall Serve in Empty Desert near Leh? It Prays for Passers-by, Ladakhis Believe Treeless, grassless, lifeless, the landscape seems unreal. Man has made it more fantastic still with a massive maniwall. Eerie chortens, resembling book ends, enclose the half-mile structure, which guards nothing, shuts out nothing. Centuries ago, pious lamas, honoring a Tibetan king,carved each outer mani stone with thewords, Om mani padme hum, perhaps the world's most widely repeated prayer (page 622). To keep the sacred wall on their right, travelers proceed totheleft. Obliging two-way traffic, the wall divides the trail just as a grassy island splits a superhighway.