Ladakh – ‘Land of High Passes’

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Toh Chalein Ladakh..!!

‘Leh Ladakh’ whenever I hear someone say it, it just reminds me of the time I spent. This place really has something in it that touches everyone’s heart. Don’t you feel the same? How many of you agree with me?

If you haven’t got a chance to see this place, it would be hard to understand. I do wish everyone gets an opportunity to visit. ‘It is heaven on earth‘ or ‘Jannat’ as I describe it.

We planned this tour during August, as it was a good time to visit. Guess what, when I say “we”, we were a group of 13, everyone new to each other except for my best friend and a couple of his friends that I knew, meeting for the very first time at the airport directly. Yes, we flew from Mumbai to Leh by Go Airways…!! Now I am kinda promoting Go Air here..!! :). It was indeed a great flight. It was approximately a 2hrs flight and what a breathtaking view from the sky..!! I couldn’t wait to take my phone out and start clicking some pictures. Yes, we all do that, it’s like a trend and I am just following it. :P. Just a video clip below for you all to see it..!!

We landed at the airport and were all very excited to start our journey and the week-long trip. But before I begin talking about the trip, the most important information I  would like to share is try not to indulge yourself with any activity or any sightseeing on Day 1 of your tour at Leh. Acclimatization is one of the important things to prepare for while planning a trip to Ladakh. Leh and most of the places in Ladakh are located above the altitude of 10,000 feet. Thus, visitors may suffer from dizziness, headaches or even acute mountain sickness (AMS). We felt the pressure too, not joking. Breathing becomes difficult, but not scaring you guys there are solutions to all the problems, just listing the few below.

  1. Avoid tobacco, alcohol and other depressant drugs
  2. Eat a high calorie diet while at altitude
  3. Diamox: This is the most tried and tested drug for altitude sickness prevention and treatment. Consult your doctor how to use this drug, I took this pill a night before trip and it worked wonders..!!
  4. Drink lots of fluids (this does not include alcohol :P), and keep yourself hydrated.

And you are Good to Go..!! We finally started our journey and on the way we took sim cards to be connected. Make sure you have a BSNL/Airtel network as other networks may not work here. Pour Moi, I didn’t have any of the above mentioned network and trust me it was peaceful not to have any work calls (the most relieving), personal calls, no social media to upload pictures.

Why do we travel? To understand the culture, language, lifestyle, etc. We were lucky enough to experience this. Our driver was kind enough to invite us to his home and offer some local snacks and home-made tea. It was a Chai pe Charcha moment… The chai was made out of Yak’s milk (not everyone has a taste for it.) Ladakhi chai or better known as Gur Gur or Butter tea. Main ingredients –  Yak milk and Yak butter. It is a pinkish, slightly salty tea.

Helloo Fraands Chai Pee Lo…!!!

I loved what I saw. Every place we covered was like a picturesque painting. The landscapes reminded me of my PC wallpapers. If given a chance, I would love to settle there. Couldn’t help gazing at the beautiful scenery. The Ladakhi roads are best for off roading and bike rides. Just like everybody, we too hopped on our Royal Enfields and off we went. The places we covered in Ladakh were Leh, Nubra, Hunder, Pangong, Turtuk and the highest motorable road Khardungla pass. Each of these had various things to offer. 

The below is clicked @Chang La Pass- Second highest motorable road (5360 m or 17,590 ft)

The magnetic hill in Leh is a fascinating sight. According to the legend, the hill emits a great amount of magnetic energy, thereby pulling vehicles that are within its range towards it. Nearby, you can try your hands on quad biking. It was a fun ride. 

One can visit sand dunes in Hunder and also do a camel ride.. It’s scary but fun..!! 

Loved the small village we visited called Turtuk. I guess Pangong doesn’t need any introduction, the movie 3 Idiots has already done it.. Thanks to Phunsuk Wangdu..!! Living in the tents near the lake is something to experience. The cool winds, the open sky, the twinkling stars. Imagine spending a night under the starry sky with a campfire. Doesn’t it sound thrilling..!! And when you finally see the Pangong Tso Lake.. Aah it’s a sight to behold – looks like 50 Shades of Blue..!!

Picture taken @ famous Pangong Tso Lake.

What makes Ladakh more beautiful? One would say it’s the gushing streams, rugged valleys and mountains, The iconic Magnetic Hill, the turquoise coloured Pangong Lake, the confluence of two mystical rivers (Indus & Zanskar) but I would say it’s the journey that makes Ladakh even more beautiful.

Add this to your travel bucket list and explore this truly incredible place. Until then, signing off..!!

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