There are few things in life which cannot be expressed in words. Music, dance and love are few of them and then there is Ladakh – heaven on earth. A natural paradise, which is not only for taking amazing photographs but there is an experience whether you are looking for outdoor adventure or inner peace. It is a perfect blend of different experiences which broad the horizon of your view.
Here, I will try my best to share the love story, I lived in the lap of majestic Himalayas.
It all started in a bus from Kerala to Bangalore, we were 3 friends returning from Kerala trip, talking about our long awaited trip to Ladakh. After years of committed cancelling, I said “let’s decide number of days we can take off and book flight tickets in advance”. The idea was, it will be hard to cancel after booking flights. Simply, we planned how to prevent cancelling before making the plan 🙂
So after considering a rough plan for 9 days, we (8 friends), booked flight tickets in December for our Ladakh trip in June. As we were coming from different parts of India (Bangalore, Delhi and Mumbai) we decided to fly to Srinagar and start our road trip from Srinagar and return via flight from Leh to respective cities.
Bumpy start of our Titanic
Out of 8, 2 friends had to cancel because of personal issues. Jet airways cancelled the flight but then they moved as to Air India with connecting flights as well. And finally, just 20 days before the trip I was down with Typhoid fever which takes time to cure and leave you very weak. So even before start, our Titanic hit an iceberg.
As expected, my father said “Cancel your trip now, you are not going there”. However my mom came to the rescue and said those magical words “Ja Simran Ja, Jee le apni zindagi!” (A popular dialogue from an Indian movie). With good care and diet I was able to recover enough to live a dream trip.
“You’re off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So…get on your way!”
– Dr. Seuss
Day 1: Delhi to Srinagar
We all met in my hometown Delhi and took our flights to Srinagar.
The first view after coming out of Srinagar airport is of Indian Armed Force, which was expected, but need of deploying army personal at every 100 meter tells you about the sad history of this area. How human mind of some people can be so violent even after staying so close to nature.
Anyway the beautiful Dal lake, snow capped mountains and houseboats brings you back to the vacation mood. We took a taxi and then a boat to reach our stay in a houseboat and spent the day doing local sightseeing, market and famous Shikara boat ride. Interesting to see how the major market is built on the lake and you can do shopping while in a boat itself. Vendors on boats with groceries, food, clothes and local jewellery also come to houseboats.
Our evening was a perfect setup with beautiful songs, dance, having hot Kahwa (Kashmiri green tea) and knowing more about Kashmir’s culture and stories from houseboat owner.
Day 2: Srinagar to Kargil
We started very early morning from Srinagar in a private tempo traveller. Me on DJ seat playing melodies songs with beautiful sunrise, was indeed a start of unforgettable journey. We crossed beautiful view of Sonmarg and enjoyed snow activities at Zojila pass. The war museum in Kargil was so magnificent that it gives you goosebumps and you feel on top of patriotism.
Me and Sumit, were able to spend some time with a medical shop owner listening to the stories of Kargil war and how they survived those dark days. He also explained how even after being a local and from medical background, he had badly suffered high altitude sickness after ignoring preventive measures.
The very same night one of our friends got bleeding from nose and that became final alarm for us to take high altitude seriously.
Day 3 & 4: Kargil to Leh and Leh sightseeing
Kargil to Leh is a dream trip for any biker with beautiful roads, amazing views of nature. Driving alongside river Zanskar adds to charm and on every turn you feel to stop the bike/car and just admire this beautiful heaven. Different colors and view of nature, indeed changes your perspective towards ever changing aspects life as well.
We visited Zanskar sangam (confluence of the Indus and Zanskar river), Magnetic hills, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib just before Leh. For day 4, we rented bikes and did local sightseeing and some rest for the next big day.
Day 5 – 7: Leh to Nubra Valley to Pangong Tso
These were also the most adventurous days of our trip. There were multiple spots which will force you to tell yourself the famous line “Darr ke aage jeet hai!” from an Indian TV Ad. Narrow roads, purple mountains, unexpected rain, water crossing and cool breeze will make every cell of your body alive.
Leh to Khardung la pass was a bumpy ride however after khardung la to Nubra is buttery smooth. Nubra is home of a special breed of two humped camels and 100ft golden Buddha. Nubra to Pangong Tso bike trip, along with Shyok river, is so amazing that you will want to relive every moment spent there. Once you reach magnificent, high-altitude Pangong lake you heartily agree with the famous quote “You can shake the sand from your shoes but it never leaves your soul!“
I don’t think words can do any justice to the excitement or the beauty of mother nature we lived in. So, I will let the pictures talk but I must say that different colors and view of this paradise changes your perspective towards ever changing life as well. From mighty Khardung la pass to desert of Nubra and mesmerizing Pangong Tso, this pure beauty suddenly stops your thoughts. It’s like, nature creates a connection with our deep self and stops the clock to make you admire our true existence.