First Trip to Magical Ladakh
Think breathtaking vistas, picturesque roads and glorious views at every turn. Yes I am talking about every bikers dream destination, the land of high passes – Ladakh. Even though I am not a bike person a trip to Ladakh was always a part of my bucket list and last summer I was able to finally fulfill my dream. I took a flight from New Delhi to Leh, the capital city of Ladakh region and embarked on the trip of a lifetime. Located in Jammu & Kashmir and bound by great mountain ranges Ladakh is truly a magical place. Spectacular arid mountains, some of the world’s highest roads, rivers and lakes, enchanting cold desert and the fluttering flags of monasteries, the place has it all. A trip to Leh Ladakh is a trip like none other.
It has been some time I came back but I decided to write about some of the memorable moments to relive the magic. Click here to see a couple of awesome trip itineraries for Leh-Ladakh.
The first impression: Leh
Spectacularly jagged barren mountains against a dramatic backdrop unfolded before my eyes as the flight approached Leh and for a moment I thought I was in another world. Never has a plane journey been so breathtakingly beautiful. If you arrive in Leh by air a day is required to get acclimatized to the high altitude conditions and that’s what I did spending the entire forenoon resting and soaking in the views from the hotel. However, as the sun began to set we set out for the gorgeous Shanti Stupa located about 15 minutes away from the main town. The initial climb of 400 or so steps wasn’t the easiest but set the tone for coming days. The pristine white stupa stood out stark in contrast to the brown arid background of typical Ladakhi terrain. All the hard-work of climbing up was forgotten once I reached the top and was rewarded with mesmerizing views of Leh city and further areas. The golden glow of setting sun on the horizon made for a perfect end for Day 1 and I was more than excited about rest of the trip. Excited to go on the Ladakh trip? Call: 011-49058399 or, Click to get a Callback.
Mesmerizing views from Shanti Stupa
Top of the world: Khardungla Pass
Day 2 was to give me an experience I had been long waiting for. Driving on the highest motorable road in the world, crossing treacherous mountain roads and various hairpin loops to Khardungla Pass was literally and figuratively the highest point of my trip even though my heart was in my mouth on various occasions. 10-15 minutes that I could spend there without succumbing to high altitude sickness were thrilling and more than enough to click the mandatory pictures for Facebook and Instagram accounts and making my friends jealous! My respect for army and the border roads organization has increased manifold since then after seeing the tough working conditions of these guys.
Cold desert: Nubra Valley
When we say desert we think about scorching sun, sand, and camels, right? Ladakh doesn’t fail to surprise here as well. There is sun and sand and camels but the temperatures easily reach sub-zero. A long tiring but exciting ride passing through Khardungla Pass almost 150km north of the town of Leh brought me to the enchanting cold desert of Nubra Valley. I spent the afternoon and evening just relaxing on sand dunes and riding the back of double-humped Bactrian camels. These are a critically endangered species and only one of a kind in India, the ancestors of which were probably abandoned here centuries ago by caravans from central Asia when Nubra valley formed a part of the ancient silk route. Need to plan or book for Ladakh Trip in advance? Click here to see a couple of awesome trip itineraries for Leh-Ladakh.
Bactrian camels at Nubra desert
My heart leaped in delight on seeing the cute little tents that were to be our campsite. A beautiful campfire was set up under the starlit sky before I retired for the night. However, the day’s thrill was far from over. The loud whistling and howling sounds of the wind blowing through the desert all through the night made my little tent stir and sway with every gush of wind. Even though I woke up to a glorious sunny morning, the night at the tent was thrilling, to say the least.
Morning at the desert camp
The Magic of Pangong Tso
Probably one of the most recognized and iconic sites of Ladakh is the great lake of Pangong Tso. Aamir, Kareena, Anushka and countless others have been left spell-bound by the beauty of Lake Pangong. It is easily one of the most stunning lakes present all over the world and divine views greet you at every step of the way. Spending the night in one of the lakeside tents is highly recommended since lake changes its color to most exquisite shades of turquoise, blue and green at different times of the day. While I was there a German tourist expressed his concern over how Pangong has become excessively crowded and dirty over the years due to increasing number of tourists. I sincerely hope people behave responsibly and completely avoid any sort of litter in this piece of heaven on earth. I found a quiet corner for myself and spend few moments sitting by the bank watching waves and ripples form at the surface of water just listening to the silence and appreciating the marvels of Mother Nature. Want to discuss Ladakh tour packages? Call: 011-49058399 or, Click to get a Callback.
Mesmerizing views at Pangong Tso
Cruisin’ down the Leh highway
Chaotic traffic of metros or modern expressways, everything pales in comparison to the epic roads of Ladakh. Bluest of blue sky and out of the world views, a road trip through Ladakh is surely a trip to remember.
Rafting in the great rivers: Indus & Zanskar
It’s fascinating to watch the merging of blue Zanskar and greenish Indus, two mighty rivers near the town of Nimmu. This is the site of the famous ‘chadar trek’ which happens in winters. Since I was there in summer-time, the rivers were not frozen and I could grab the rafting opportunity. Four people from my group agreed to come along. I thoroughly enjoyed tackling the turgid rapids of Zanskar moving between deep gorges and towering mountain peaks.
Confluence of Indus and Zanskar
Closer to God: Diskit Monastery
Picture perfect gompas, white-washed stupas and colorful fluttering flags are scattered throughout the entire landscape of Ladakh. There is some kind of serenity and peace that can be experienced exclusively in these monasteries. The soothing hymns and chimes of bells have the power to calm even the most chaotic mind chatter. We have destination specialists to help you plan your Ladakh Trip. Call: 011-49058399 or, Click to get a Callback.
Photographer’s paradise: Ladakh #IncredibleIndia
Get that DSLR or any good camera because Ladakh provides more than ample photo-ops at every nook and turn. Your memory card will fill long before your heart says enough.
Just another gorgeous view
You need not be a biker or driving enthusiast to plan a trip to Leh Ladakh. It is definitely one of the most impressive places in our country and will leave you with a camera full of photographs and a truck load of memories.
‘Travel because the life is short and world is huge’
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