Journey of a Lifetime – Ladakh
After years of anticipation I finally made it through to my dream destination – Ladakh Valley. Whenever the name ‘Ladakh’ was spoken around me, it flashed the never-ending roads with mesmerizing beauty. Ladakh or ‘the Land of High Passes’ is a beautiful yet harsh destination that one should experience atleast once in a life time. I took a directly flight from Bangalore to Delhi and from Delhi to Leh to maximize my time I spent there. To explore this gorgeous valley, a Royal Enfield was my best companion for almost a week.
Day 1: 10th June, 2018
For the first day you arrive here make sure you do not do any substantial travelling. Please keep a day or two for acclimatization. As you climb up the air gets thinner and thinner and therefore I decided to just lay in bed for that entire day in Leh. It is very important that you pack special items needed for Ladakh Trip as the climate keeps changing every few minutes. Check out my Ultimate Ladakh List to find more. Mobile network can only be found at a few places in Leh especially if you have a BSNL or Airtel connection. Make sure you tell your family that you won’t be reachable. Most of the places in the valley doesn’t have any mobile or internet connectivity yet (or keeps on fluctuating)!
Day 2: 11th June, 2018
On the second day I decided to explore the gems around Leh. I took my bike to explore popular attractions like Magnetic Hill, Confluence of Zanskar and Indus River, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and Shanti Stupa. Didn’t find anything interesting at Magnetic Hill, therefore it could be avoided. But you can enjoy the barren roads and blue sky. Words cannot describe how beautiful these landscapes are, you have to be there to experience it. The Confluence of the Zanskar and Indus river is a popular destination and you can see the two color mingling together to become one. There is even a side road to go down the valley just close to the confluence.
Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is a peaceful Gurudwara maintained by the Indian Army. If you are looking for peace make sure to meditate here for few minutes and enjoy the Tea or the Langar depending on the time of the day. Next, the Shanti Stupa is another emblem for peace. You can have a bird’s eye view of the entire Leh city. Do take a walk on the Mall Road in Leh for some interesting souvenirs, food and have a glance at people as there would be few, henceforth. If you want to stake on something important this is the right place to search for.
Day 3: 12th June, 2018
Next day we had a hearty breakfast at our hotel and left for Nubra Valley. Our journey took as to Khardung-La or the highest motorable road in the WORLD at 18380 feets above sea level! Couldn’t believe I was on the top of the world (literally). Finally enjoyed snowfall here after many years. The road from South Pullu to North Pulla was really bad, therefore make sure you drive carefully. Food options are very few as well. The next stop was Deskit Monastry, located on top of a hill. You get a bird’s eye view of the Nubra Valley from here. We even witnessed a dust storm rising from the valley below (check the picture below). While travelling towards Hunder we found sand dunes around the roads which blows at you at tremendous speed in this cold dessert.
Hunder is also the destination if you want to ride the Bactrian Double-humped Camels used from the time of the Silk Route. The place has got touristy over the years and there was a lot of waiting. Therefore, we decided to sit on a Nubra River stream close by and enjoy the view of the mountains from there. The hotel we stayed in Hunder was beautiful and had apple orchard and boasted of organic food as they grew their own vegetables. Great way to de-toxify oneself from the hustle and bustle of a city.
Day 4: 13th June, 2018
After an organic scrumptious breakfast, we left to visit Turtuk from Hunder. Turtuk is one of the last villages along the border. At Turtuk you can witness how the locals live and still enjoy in the lapse of nature. There are many café’s in Turtuk and you can choose the one which has great views. Don’t forget to dip your ached feets in the cold water of the Shyok River which passes through this village. Sit back and relax!
Later that night we enjoy our dinner over a bonfire. Gaze the clear skies and start counting the stars!
Day 5: 14th June, 2018
We left our hotel around 10am after the breakfast from the ultimate destination – Pangong Lake. The view from Hunder to Pangong Lake is stunning. You will also find few marshy land with green grass or ice. Pangong is a different ecosystem of its own! The temperatures here can drop to minus during nights. It was very windy and freezing throughout the day. We stayed the night in a tent as there are no permanent establishments and the lake is open for only half the year. At Pangong you can witness different shades of blue depending on the sunlight. Pangong gets many migratory birds from across the world. Don’t forget to walk around the lake as you get amazing views.
Day 6: 15th June, 2018
Woke up early to behold the beauty of the Pangong once again just around sunrise. After breakfast we left our tents to go back to Leh. Witness some flat straight roads that go on for kilometers without any turns or humans. On the way, we reached Chang-La, the second highest motorable road at 17688feets above sea level. The road between Durbuk to Karu is one of the worst that we witness. We had lunch in Karu late afternoon. From Karu to Leh lies some of the windiest patch of road. The winds were so intense that it was difficult to control even the Royal Enfield.
Upon freshening up at our Leh Hotel, I went straight for shopping some local stuff from the mall road. Don’t forget to negotiate the prices. You get plenty of souvenirs, jewelry, cloths or local food like Apricot Jam and so on. Here is a glimpse of some of the food we tried in our journey.
Day 7: 16th June, 2018
It was time to conclude our journeys. The mountains had an everlasting impression on me. The journey turned out to be an experience of a lifetime. Reached Leh Airport to catch my flight to Bangalore enroute Delhi for a few hours. Here is the map to the entire journey of close to 1000kms.
I was already missing Ladakh!
Read the most comprehensive Ladakh Checklist on the things that you should carry: http://www.rohitdassani.com/2018/06/ladakh-checklist.html
A short video on my Ladakh Trip:
I just want to take the opportunity to thank the Indian Army for guarding our beautiful country (You guys are just awesome!) and the BRO – Border Roads Organization for making this harsh ecosystem accessible for everyone. Some of the roads in Ladakh are just so beautiful that you want to just go on and on; and never stop!
#IndianArmy #IncredibleIndia @indianarmy.adgpi @adgpi @NorthernComd_IA @BROIndia