Gar firdaus ae baruhe zamine ast,
Hamin astu hamin astu Hamin astu
“If there is heaven on Earth, it is here, it is here it is here”
There have been numerous blogs, articles, television adverts proclaiming the rugged beauty of Ladakh. But no verbose article can sum up the overwhelming feeling that you get while standing on the NH 1 in the middle of nowhere. Ladakh has been a constant in every foreign traveler’s diary since time immemorial and there is good reason for thatJ. There are2 routes to Ladakh, one via Srinagar and other via Manali. The one via Srinagar passes through the picturesque Sonamarg, the dangerous Zozilla Pass and Kargil.
Kargil holds a special place in every Indians heart because of the historic war. It is indeed a sight to behold with the war memorial and the huge Indian flag.
After Kargil, comes the “second coldest inhabited” region in the world, Drass. Drass had also suffered huge losses during the war. It serves as a good tea point after the emotionally charged environment at Kargil.
En route you also pass through, Fotu la top, which is the second highest point on the Leh- Srinagar highway. It is passes like this which give Ladakh its name “Land of High Passes”
The roads are wide and you pass through some rugged terrain. The place is barren and cold and the weather remains constant, with the mercury starting to dip in the evening.
Leh is the second largest district in India after Kutch. It’s was the erstwhile capital of the Kingdom of Ladakh. Leh attracts a lot of tourists because of the history attached to it. It’s a beautiful place still trying to cope up with modernization. Because of the influx of foreign tourists you have a lot of German bakeries and Israeli cafes.
Places to visit in Leh:
· Leh Palace: perched on top of a hill, the palace served as the official residence of the Royal family of Ladakh. The palace is 9 floors high and provides a bird’s eye view of the adjoining areas.
· Shanti Stupa: The Shanti Stupa is built in such a way that it is visible from all of over Leh. You can either drive down or take the 500 odd stairs. The stupa is a white dome embossed with images of the Buddha.
· The war memorial: the war memorial is an important landmark and is a must visit for everyone. It has a lot of historical artefacts that were used in the war, along with a memorial to honor the brave.
· The market street: You get wonderful kebabs and food that will tempt every calorie counter. The sights and the sounds are just magical.
· Khardungla Pass: It is publicized as the highest motor able road in the world, whereas it is not. It is the gateway to the Nubra Valley, which has the double humped camel. Khardungla is strategically important to India since, it is used to transport supplies to Siachen glacier.
To be continued...