When I was on the himalayan roads, I thought I could write a whole blog on each turn of every road that we took. Ladakh is a masterpiece of nature. It is a dream come true. During childhood, I remember watching a cartoon called Heidi, Girl of the Alps in which a little girl is staying amidst green pastures in the heart of the Alps. Our generation grew up watching Heidi and the Jungle Book and picturesque and nature-filled locations became our dream destinations. Ladakh is such a dream location which I pictured while day-dreaming as a little girl. I never knew such a place existed. And that too in our own country ! This feeling made me love the place even more. Now the trip hangover is such high that each moment I regret coming back to reality. I thought writing about it might ease my excitement and make me come back to routine sooner. So here comes the first blog form the Ladakh series.
There is s myriad of things to fall in love with when you visit this “Land of Endless Discovery”
It also depends on your own liking. I thought 10 would be a decent number to share initially or my blog would never end.
10 Things to Fall in Love with in Ladakh. Pack your bags !
1. Snow Clad Mountains
You look anywhere you like and a view of snow-clad mountains greets you. The white snow on the brown sturdy mountains on the backdrop of clean blue sky with an artwork by snow-white clouds is an pill to any negativity. The best glimpse that this landscape gives you is when the sun shines on the snow and mountains glow in glee. It is hard to stop appreciating it. You have to put the verb ‘appreciate’ in the present continuous gear.
2. The Zig Zag Winding Roads
Ladakh is a paradise for road-lovers. The increasing trend of bike and car trips to Ladakh is the evidence. A road-trip to Ladakh is a requisite for every die-hard traveller . The roads are winding and take you up and down in a jiffy. The turns might be a problem for those who become car sick, but for roller-coaster lovers, it is nirvana ! The Borders Road Organisation (BRO) is doing a herculean task of building roads in such a high terrain. BRO is doing a mind-blowing job and you will find roads better than your cities in Ladakh in-spite of the difficult terrain.
3. Khardung La Pass
Ladakh is a land of passes and Khardung La is one of most exciting one being the World’s highest motorable road. The concept itself is so astonishing that seeing it with your own eyes makes you feel proud of yourself for no reason. Khardung La Pass is at 18380 feet above sea level and has a sign-board warning tourists to not halt for more than 15-20 mins as lack of oxygen can be harmful for health. The Army Post and the small souvenir shop is must visit when you go that up high. The feeling that this gem is in our country is special beyond comparison.
4. Nubra Valley
The only valley in the world that has mountains, a cold desert, double humped camels and fresh water streams all together. The sight is mesmerizing. The road from Leh to Nubra Valley is so picturesque that you can just hold the camera in the air and click anywhere to get a stunning picture as an output.
A ride on the double humped camel is a star attraction here. Walking on the fine white sand or in the fresh water stream is an equally serene experience at Nubra Valley.
5. Pangong Lake
Pangong Tso or Pangong Lake is beyond words. It is almost impossible to describe it in words. It is an experience. The shades of blue and the serenity around is a tonic. It is a positivity-grinding machine which removes every negative thought around you the moment you see it. There is a sign board on the road to Pangong lake saying -‘First Look of the world famous Pangong Lake’. From far away you see a small bright blue line amidst the brown mighty mountains. From that point onwards till the time you leave the lake premises, you are in a different world. Is this real? Is this really real? – is what you will find yourself saying throughout. ‘3 Idiots’ has taken the lake to a new level of popularity. Tourists did visit the lake even before the film, but now the numbers are multifold. Pangong is not a location, it is an experience and photographs cannot do justice to it.
6. Dras War Memorial
A location that brings goosebumps to the patriotic hearts. Standing in from of the 100 ft tricolour and the “Amar Jyot”, an army man gives a briefing of the Kargil War which was held just a few feet away from where you stand. Each word increases your respect and love towards the Indian Army. We owe them our night’s peaceful sleep. The documentary shown also shows live excerpts form the war. The press notes, photographs, letters written by army men to their families don’t fail to bring those tears out.
7. Leh Market
A jolly and vibrant street full of local cafes and handicraft items. The sellers and shopkeepers are so decent and quiet that you won’t find people rushing behind you and urging you to buy their stuff. A walk in the market is a refreshing experience. For shoppers, the handicrafts and Tibetan artwork is a paradise.
8. Prayer Flags
We see the colourful cloth-made prayer flags in every Leh-returned person’s vehicle. The concept behind those flags is so awesome. The flags have the prayer “Om mane padme hum” written on it. It signifies peace and the concept lies that the prayer reaches God when the flag moves with air. Silence and serenity forms the basis for prayers in Ladakhi culture. Shanti ! It feels extremely peaceful.
Ladakh is a land full of monasteries and gompas. They are an architectural and cultural delight. Ladakh’s history dates back to various rulers and Ladakhi culture showcases a melange of different dynasties. Most of these monasteries are pretty ancient and world-renowned. How these monasteries were build so high up in the mountains which seem impossible to reach even today is a curious mystery and indeed a marvel.
This might look as a silly point to some but this signifies some important life’s truths for me.
- Nature is God