Monday, July 2, 2007
Leh Ladakh Trip
Few years back, i got chance to watch a documentry on Ladakh and was fascinated by its beauty of Brown barren mountains , Topped with creamy White layer of snow and clear Blue sky. I read that its very different and can't see these type of beauty in anywhere in world. So i decided to plan a trip to Leh. After browsing the internet, I got my package booked through Overland Escape. I would really appreciate Mr Tundup in arranging best accomodation, best food, good driver to guide us and also meeting with each and every guest.
Initially most of my friends were telling the Leh is very isolated place and very different place. So i was suggested to be careful also. My flight to leh was at 5:20 am from delhi. I was expecting some ATR kind of small aircraft, but it was Airbus , almost filled. Lots of forigners travelled with us. It was really nice to see the snow capped mountains from the Flight. Then we landed in the Leh Airport known as Kushok Bakula Rimpoche airport , It was highest commercial airport in the world(at about 3000 metres altitude). It very tiny airport, covered by mountains on all sides and very secured. I could see the bright sunshine in the morning 6:30 am.
After reaching the hotel, We were asked to take rest the whole day that we need to get acclimatised to the high alititude. Less oxygen content in the high alititude can cause Mountain Sickness and i was suggested to take Diamox tablets. But i didnt feel anything rather than feeling sleepy as i woke at 4 am in the morning. From our hotel, we could see the view of Leh Palace and temple in the mountain top. our hotel manager was telling that i am his first guest to carry my 6 months baby to Leh. anyway i got know from some forums that baby's can easily adjust to climatic conditions. so it was not a problem.
After lunch, we got introduced with our cab driver and guide who greeted with "Juley" in ladakhi langauge meaning "Hello". I like the way he speaks hindi always telling "Bilkul" and "HaanJanab"(like Haanji). we went to Shanti Stupa, it was stupa in top of a hill where we could see the whole Leh town. Then we went to Leh palace, which is a minituare of Potala palace in Lhasa, Tibet. But it was not well maintained and some renovation were going on. we also went Monastery in Sankar. we went to market in Leh, we could find lots of tibetean items. Leh is famous for Turquoise stones. we can see lots of unpolished Turquoise stones there. We went to Ladakhi hotel to have Momos, Tupka and Gudgud chai (like Soup). There people drink only pressurised bolied water. since the water is rich in minerals they need boil it in pressure.
Next day, we planned to visit the Monasteries trip. we started towards the Hemis monastery. we went in the Leh-Manali highway, Manali is aroun 430 kms from Leh. The Road seems to be very flat and like in plains. we can see the barren grounds on both sides of road. This was like natural play ground. we were going along the Indus river. Then we reach the Hemis monastry, it was one of oldest monasteries. we could see the mountains with slate rocks over there. Then we visited the Thiksey monastery, it was bigger than Hemis and in the top of a cliff. From there we can see breathtaking view of valley along indus. As i was intrested to see the Bactrian Camel, Camel with two humps and lives in Gobi desert in mongolia. I had read that few of them are found in the Ladakh also. so we went to a farm near by, where we saw the Bactrian camels and its calves, its been breeded here, its with long furs. Then we visited the Stok Palace museum. i could ladakh royal families dresses, weapons and few antiques. we gotta chance to see the preserved Snow leopard and Aibex.
Next day, we started in the morning for Khardung La, It was highest motorable road around 18000 feet (6000 meters app) above the sea level. Though it was around 35 kms from Leh, it took around 2 hours to reach there. Since the road was very narrow and uphill, its really difficult to drive in that road. Also it was covered with thick fog and drizzling was there. This is the road to Nubra Valley (valley of flowers) which is near the PAK border. we could see lots of army vehicles going towards Nubra valley. we can see snow covered peaks over there and beatiful scenic views. we received snow fall over there. we were taking some pics over there, but army guys advised us to go down as we were having baby. but Disha was always kool and enjoying the weather. All the roads were maintained by BRO (Border Road Organisation), Thumbs Up to them as their service is incredible. Then we went to see the Pather sahib gurudwara in Leh-Srinagar highway. Then we went to see the confluence of two rivers Indus and Zanskar, it was amazing to see the different colours of water getting mixed up. Next we stopped at Magnetic Hill, it was place on the road, where we stopped the our car in neutral, it was pulled uphill. it was really gr8 to see it. I feel like it should be like "Bermuda triangle" ;-) . even locals said the fully loaded army truck could be also pulled. but no reason to explain the same.
Next day morning, we started early morning to Pangong lake, it was 160 km from leh via chang La. it was really hectic journey, but its worth to travel, to see it. we travelled uphill until changla and down hill towards Tangste. we could see the yaks grazing on the lushy grass lands. we could see nice view of the snow peaks. then we reached the Tangste, from there Pangong lake is around 35 km. we can see the roads going in between two mountains. we can see the ladakhi wetlands where its marsh lands with grass and mud. we can see lots of horses, ponnies and cows grazing there. then after we minutes of travelling, we could see the sand dunes and very fine sand grey in colour (like the beach sand). we can also see the layers of it. I think dats the way its called as Cold desert. Then we reached the Pangong lake, its 120 km long. 40 km inside india and 80 kms in china. It was like ocean, bluish in color, so big. Its a salt water lake, where there is no aquatic life. water is so crystal clear that we could see the bottom. we can see the stones in the lake which is having minerals deposited. It was place that we should not miss to see it. It was very cold and windy with bright sunshine. then we had our lunch in resort in tangste and started to leh. we reached changla and had a break over there. It was very cold and i felt head ache after going out. Its coz oxygen is very less in that alititude, so we started down hill to reach the leh.
then next day, i left to delhi.
Few things i wished to convey:
- Leh is magnificent place which is makes us to feel like that we were in europe, with lots of naturalistic beauty and very clean. It excellant place for Trekking, Mountain climbing, Rafting, Kayaking, Biking and Cycling across mountains.
- My salute to Army people, who were working in high altitude where normally we can't spend even few minutes there. I heard that winter will be very bitterly chill in leh where temperature go below -20'C.
- I would really appreciate Border road Organisation, for providing excellant roads.
- Many thanks to Mr Tundup and Mr Phunchok (our diver).
"From Kashmir to Kaniyakumari, our Bharath is Ek"