Splendid enough is the name Ladakh to make any tough heart smile. Truly the land of passes, lofty Himalayan mountains and undying remnants of the royal kingdom prevailed here, the white ramparts of the Buddhist monasteries, the prolonged epitomes of paradise kept calling me for a while. A month long research about the trip I would like to make helped me reach out to the most significant characteristics of Ladakh, as a tourist destination as well as an experience one must go through.
When I decided to be a part of the clan of Ladakh conquerors, I hardly had an idea of how it would influence me in the future. But to my surprise, everything persisting in Ladakh has a leverage on me. A going back to see the wonderful journey of the princely state to become the top most tourist destination would be garish. Not even a percentage of the glitter the nature possessing here specifically has been diminished I guess. Basically, this trip remains in my heart in congruence with everything else though I have more partiality towards Ladakh trip.
A 11 day trip was not enough but I prepared to have the maximum of Ladakh within those eventful days of my life. Started the journey from Manali, the hub of Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh tourists with a group of some enthusiastic travellers from different parts of the world. The guides were from Himachal Pradesh and I got to know that they have triumphantly done around 200-300 trips in the past five or six years.
Since the time I went was extending a medium climatic condition, that is, not too cold, the journey was comparatively better than what I have heard from those who have gone to do trekking in winter. Yet, the cold wind was not keeping away from us leading us to have covered always, basically to prevent falling sick. A backpack full of clothes, sweaters, gloves, socks, ready to eat snacks, some medicines to escape from fever etc was the only possession I carried during the tour. I was never drained as I kept myself hydrated on a regular basis.
From Manali, we were travelling by a jeep where another 6 people were there and I realized that we were heading to Leh. The rotating Buddhist prayer wheels moving in the clockwise direction was the first thing caught in my eyes, I found it pretty, tried rotating it once which believed to be the way to give your prayers to Buddha. Leh at first glance, seems to be dull, a desert with rugged and curvy trails, stark scree in the background but I was wrong when I witnessed the not so glamorous but huge Leh Palace which shared the cultural transition of Leh Ladakh for a long time. The grey coloured walls had some of the glorious stories of the past to be retold which are unheard, due to many unknown reasons.
From the Leh Palace, my vision was taken to the rocky structures throughout headed by the Tibetan styled roofs and gompas, all were with a drooping face expression, found like thinking about something. But at night, the views of Leh have just reversed. The rugged mountain trails were spotlighted and thus they looked more impervious. Immersed in the cold winds blown, I slept for a picture perfect visuals of the yet to be explored regions.
The next morning, I woke up hearing a glad news that we were starting early to Nubra Valley; rather, I was extremely excited not about reaching Nubra Valley but about the shimmering views of the Himalayas throughout the journey. But one thing awaited our arrival was the most spoken about attraction, the Khardung La Pass that was dedicated to extend a feeling like we are on top of the world. Yes, it is not just a random appreciation word that is the most challenging pass in the world, but truly crossing Khardung La can be termed as a laborious task.
The continued journey took me to yet another scintillating valley, the Nubra, not so distinct from Leh but appeared more silent. What attracted me was the double humped camels floating on the deserted valley of Hunder, wanted to try a ride on one of them after watching the proud faces of many people taking the royal ride. It was a heavenly experience I should say, through the beautiful valley, the camel took me as if it was taking its owner with great happiness.
The food I got at Nubra Valley was something really appreciable. I can still feel the authentic local taste on my tongue.
From Nubra Valley, then we headed to Pangong Tso, a protected area especially welcoming the migratory birds to breed, is one of the high altitude lakes in India. Due to the palpable amount of salinity, the lake lacks micro vegetation but the major reason why the lake adheres to the beholder’s eyes fast is the particular phenomenon it holds to change the colour four to five times a day. The reflecting Himalayan peaks gave more charm to the lake while I was watching it.
Then, our destination was Sarchu, a camping centre with numerous tents arrayed in a proper manner, expecting the new guests arriving. A cold night looking at the stars thousand kilometers above had its space in my heart, even after the trip.
But throughout the journey, I was particularly keeping my eyes on the unlimited monasteries perched on the hill tops, small ones as well large ones. All of them had significance in making the cultural scenario of Ladakh and the nearby regions vibrant and distinct. The enlarged stupas were standing high at a clear visibility and they were letting the visitors know that they are on the land of theirs, have a good time over there.
I was keen about sharing my travel experience with my beloved ones but to be true sharing what I saw is just a description but the experience I had there is beyond my limits to express in words. Even though, that was the reason, I wanted to note down how important a Ladakh visit in one’s life. The magical land has everything to surprise any type of traveller, be it in the form of hard snow-clad peaks, unaligned roads and narrow trails criss crossing, the shanti stupas standing silently across the famed hills and moreover, the green desert like valleys.
Guest Post submitted by Laxman