No one was more happy then us “Ghumakkad’s” after hearing that Ladakh is now an Union Territory. Many of us have a dream of taking a trip to Ladakh, I can gladly say I did that.
Being an Army brat, I have seen a lot of new places and met lot of people. But I can honestly say Ladakhi people have been one of the best. My father was posted out to Ladakh at an undisclosed location in 2016. Since then I was planning to visit him at his station. I finally got my chance in April 2018.
I booked my flight tickets instantly. Yes I know what you are thinking why not a bike? Well buddy, the roads were not open. So, I started preparing and bought my essentials from decathlon. I got my itinerary made from a trekker friend and boarded the flight. I had 7 days with me to explore the mountains of La-dvags.
My father picked me up on Day 1 from the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in the Capital Leh. We went to the Zorawar fort for Lunch. It’s named after Zorahar Singh Kahluria, a general of the Sikh Empire under the Dogra ruler Gulab Singh. Its impressive structure is made from clay, sun-dried bricks, stones and wooden frames. A remarkable allegory depicting military exploits. Post Lunch we headed for our place of stay at a military site near Leh. We passed many beautiful streams, hills on the two sides.
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One thing we all need to know and follow is acclimatization on High altitudes. In Leh- Ladakh we need to rest for at least 2 days before we could move and roam around. There will be no networks if you don’t have a postpaid or local sim. I was bored in my quarters, viewing the beauty from afar and having a fauji 5 meal diet. Thank the gods I had the company of local dogs to cheer me up. The first two days were spent in the shelter, eating and watching TV.
Now came the time to go out. It was Day 3. We had a early breakfast and left to see the Sangam at Nimmu. The confluence of river Zanskar and Indus. Indus being the longest river in North India and the lifeline of Indus valley civilization. Zanskar River is formed when Doda River and Lungnak River meet at Zanskar’s central valley. Zanskar offers two different Adventures in different seasons. In the Summers, when the Zanskar is all water flowing thorough the Zanskar gorge, Black water river rafting, typically from Chiling to Nimmu takes place.
Chiling is a small village with a school and lots of happy ladakis. In the Winters, when Zanskar is frozen, the dream of Chadar Trek is fulfilled. Chadar trek is the only means of connectivity to Padum Village in Zanskar Valley in winters when high mountain passes like Pensi La are closed due to heavy snow. After visiting both Chiling and Sangam, we visited the Famous magnetic Hill. We witnessed the legend of metallic attraction. We went back to our Quarters and retired after a hearty Dinner followed by banana custard.
On day 4, we went to a small Village called Ney. Located in a valley near Nimmu. Ney is farming village with a small population. We visited the Giant Sakyamuni Buddha Statue at Ney, Sham Valley. Taking a stroll in the Village we managed to make a couple of friends. Stanzin and Tshering are local kids who recite the National anthem very well. They are well verse with Hindi also. Do meet them if you happen to visit there. Find their photo below. Upon our return we played Volleyball with Stationed troops there which was amazing. Our troops are very energetic and motivated.
Day 5 was going to be very hectic, we needed to travel a lot to a very beautiful place in kargil district. We retired early that evening upon getting our vitals checked.
Today’s plan was to visit Moonland in Lamayuru. Lamayuru is a small village in Ladakh, midway between Kargil and Leh on the Srinagar-Leh highway. Moonlike landscapes carved into the hills make it a worth landscape. It is approximately 100 kms from the Capital. The roads are good and stays there are cheap. The sight there makes it a must visit. One can also visit the local markets here.
We were lucky to witness the greatness of Himalayan Bharal or Blue sheep. We saw a flock of these majestic creatures.
Now it was time to visit the highest motorable road – Khardungla pass.
Khardung La is a mountain pass on the Ladakh Range in north of Leh and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. With an elevation of 5400 metres it is a joy to behold. We started from Leh and started the climb ride. On the way we passed the Police check point or TCP at South Pullu. Here unfortunately the road was blocked due to excessive snow and we had to halt for the day. We were lucky we met producers of Lok Sabha television and got featured in the विशेष: पहाड़ के फरिश्ते. Do Watch the video.
On our way back we stopped at a cafe infront of Military Hospital to have Lunch. Post lunch we went to Thikse monastery. It is situated on a hill slope 19 kms east of Leh. The largest and one of the best known monasteries in Central Ladakh. It is famed for its resemblance to Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa Sect (the Yellow Hat sect) of Tibetan Buddhism, built in the mid 15th century by Palden Sangpo. There are lot things to see and to buy in the monastery.
Driving back we stopped at the Hall of Fame. It is a museum constructed by the Indian Army along the Leh-Kargil highway 4 kms from Leh. Built in the memory of the brave Indian soldiers who laid down their lives defending the motherland in the Indo-Pak wars. It stands as a reminder of the great sacrifices made by our soldiers to ensure the safety and security of our country. This war memorial houses weapons, history exhibits & a souvenir shop.
Now like every beautiful story in the world, our journey came to an end. On day 7 we boarded our flights back to New Delhi, leaving behind the cold desert. But as they say मुसाफ़िर तो मिलेंगे कहीं चलते चलते.
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