Ladakh – A Peaceful Treat to the Soul!!!!
So the journey begins……………….
The fascinating Leh, Ladhak trip was undoubtedly was on the cards sooner or later. I had heard a lot about the beauty of this place and was fortunate enough to visit this place. The beauty of Leh Ladakh made me spellbound. The moment I stepped foot into the place I was completely enthralled by the magnificence of this exotic location. The final call had to be taken. An initiative from my husband (Nikhil Naik) set things in place and yes we booked flight to Ladakh in the early July 2015.
The view from the plane was as beautiful as you can imagine. While planning my journey to Ladakh, the first question everyone asked us was whether we are going by road or air. We were told the scenic beauty of the place could be best enjoyed while travelling by road. But for me, the experience was equally enjoyable as we flew down. With a blanket of snow on the mountain range, my entry to Leh-Ladakh was truly promising. Having returned from Leh, many inhibitions have changed for me. Inhibitions in terms of challenge this place has by way of living, breathing, surviving at a such high altitude.
Getting around in Leh – Leh town itself is hilly and dusty. If you are flying in to Leh, you may experience altitude sickness. We were asked to rest for a day, letting the body to adjust to the climate and environment, and not to venture into any physically straining activities. On reaching early morning to Leh, nice breakfast was on our platter along with refreshing coffee after which we took some rest and later in the evening started exploring the place.
An evening at Shanti Stupa and a stroll at the local market left me drained out with the remaining energy. What caught my eye, were these white structures through out the town of Leh. These structures are called ‘Stupas’ or ‘Chortens’ and could be seen everywhere in the town. These structures were actually graves of the deceased. Monasteries always fascinate me for their vibrant colors and their quaint atmosphere. Monasteries are ancient and world-renowned. They are visited by both local and international followers of Buddhism in large number every year. Ladakh known for its mountain beauty and eminent Buddhism and Tibetan culture is often called as “Little Tibet” as the place is in high dominance and influence of Tibetan culture.
Next Day we set out to explore Leh…………………
Gurdwara Pathar Sahib – Gurudwara Pathar Sahib stands at the place where Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji is believed to have vanquished a demon. Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the founder of Sikh religion and the first guru, is well respected by Tibetans, who consider him a saint. Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is also worshiped and venerated by Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhists venerate Guru Nanak as Guru Gompka Maharaj and as Nanak Lama. The gurudwara is maintained today by the Indian Army. It is a tradition for all vehicles to stop and pay obeisance at the temple. Unfortunately we had missed the langar, as it is held between 1 pm to 2 pm daily.
A Miracle! called Magnetic strip – Like I said, green is not the predominant color of Leh. One of the few tourist spots in Leh, the Magnetic strip attracts people for its unique ability to defy the laws of gravity. It has been noticed that when a vehicle is parked on neutral gear on this metallic road the vehicle slides up & further .Scientists have failed to deduce the reason behind this and yes it is miraculously true!
Hall Of Fame – The Hall of Fame is one place that will make every Indian feel patriotic . A museum, dedicated to soldiers who lost their lives in the war between Indian and Pakistan. The Indian army maintains this museum. Also known as ‘Museum of Ladakh Culture and Military Heritage’ and houses of war memorial .Situated next to Leh Airfiled. Plaques with inspiring quotes gives visitors a feel of what it is to be part of the brave hearted group that protects the country. One touching quote reads, “If I die in battle zone, put me in a box and send me home, pin my medals, tell my MOM I did my best”. A visit to the museum will leave one with a much deeper appreciation and respect for the army and every solider who risks his/ her life for the safety of all other Indians. A documentary about Operation Vijay(Kargil War) is worth watching. Visiting this place is certainly a thrilling and proud experience.
Khardungla Pass – Khardung La – here I come! Atop arguably the world’s highest motorable road at 18,380 feet ! As we ascended towards Khardung La, I could observe whole of Leh town and the homes built in the old Leh town too. The view was astonishing! Khardung la is one challenge for every driver. An early start would ensure that one reaches Khardung La without encountering lot of traffic. Its a half-a-day trip from Leh. Khardung La is one of few “passes” on the way from Leh to Nubra valley. There is some charm in riding atop what is claimed to be the highest motorable road of the world! The weather at Khardung La can be really tricky Also, once here, do follow the basics – do not stay for long and don’t exert too much in excitement. It can be fatal.
Nubra Valley(Leh To Nubra Valley – 125 Kms / aprx. 06 hrs)
After an early breakfast we drive to NUBRA VALLEY which approach was through Khardungla pass. Nubra Valley is popularly known as Ldorma or the valley of flowers. Nubra is part of the legendary old “Silk Road”. This is where you can see double-humped camels here! Visit SAND DUNES to enjoy a camel safari. It is situated to the North of Ladakh between the Karakoram and Ladakh ranges of the Himalayas. Afternoon visit to Hunder Monastery, Hunder is one of the remote villages in the Ladakh district of India’s northernmost State of Jammu and Kashmir. Lying close to the border between India and Pakistan in the north-western part of Ladakh, the village of Hunder comprises settlers that include Ladakhis and Tibetans. Overnight stay at Nubra. Nubra Valley was supposed to be a dessert after a sumptuous meal. Nubra Valley Dessert after a meal or a real dessert as it was, Nubra valley turned out to be the best outing. In fact, as a tourist, you can also enjoy a ride upon them, of course at an interesting price. Our stay was booked at a campsite called Hunder Sarai, a campsite that housed a flowing stream of water.
Pangong Lake (My Favourite spot ……….though it’s a filmy one)
After an early breakfast we left for Pangong Lake through Changla pass 5380 Mtrs. Pangong Lake, situated at 14,000 feet.This was probably my favourite spot in the entire trip — The Pangong Lake. Pretty apt for romantic setting. A must visit in ladakh. Serene blue waters on the backdrop of mountains are treat to watch. The place gained popularity post the shooting of Aamir Khan’s 3 Idiots climax. However, that is not only the best part about the place. The lake’s surface brimming with pristine water reflected three distinct shades of water from blue-purple-green during the sunlight and reflection of magnificent mountains in to the lake water. Pangong lake is a huge lake extending further to china. 70 percent of the Pangong Lake stretches in China and the remaining 30 percent in India. A close encounter with crystal clear waters of Pangong Lake …….Awesome is no word for it.
Though Pangong Lake, being last on the itinerary but there were more places to explore…..and we were short of leaves and also the climatic conditions were not suitable for long stay we thought of coming back again in future. In the end I would say that do plan a trip to Ladakh. It is fantastic experience which you will always remember. If you planning India travel , do include Leh and Ladakh in your bucket list.
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