Coaxing and convincing parents of 3 young, single, beautiful girls was an uphill task to get permission to travel to Leh & Ladakh in the summer of 2015. Amongst unending discussion of people fainting, panting for oxygen, bleeding noses and eventually dying in Leh, three of us finally convinced our parents that we are taking an all-girls trip to the toughest terrain in the country. Fortunately, we were all from the army background and our fathers found some contact for us in the Leh Cantonment for our accommodation and internal travel.
I took an overnight Volvo to Kangra where I was to meet my friends Anu and Akansha. Anu stayed in Kangra with her father, who is a surgeon and Akanksha was then studying medicine in Nepal. We had medical help tooJ. After a heavy breakfast, we headed in a jeep to Jammu from where we had an early morning flight the next day to Leh. We reached Jammu, stayed over at an army mess, met some local friends there as I had done my schooling in Jammu many years back. Next morning, we had an army jeep to pick us up to take us to the Jammu airport; the shabbiest and the most inefficient airports that I have ever seen till date.
Nonetheless with all our luggage (as if we were going and settling there) we final took off in our Air India plane. We had to pop a Diamox before we landed to counter high altitude sickness. Did I mention we also carried oxygen cylinders with us? The pilot seemed adventurous; he kept on tilting the plane to show us the tourist attractions of Jammu – Mata Vaishno Devi and the glaciar.
We landed in Leh and Ladakh.
The first step on the terrain, I felt nauseautic or maybe I was hallucinating. There was a sudden change in the temperature so we quickly tucked ourselves in our wind cheaters. There was a vehicle waiting to pick us up and we had to be taken to Kharu , which was 71 kms from the airport. On the way we chit chatted with the driver and the co-driver about the weather and the places to see. We saw some monasteries on the way, took a nap in between and finally reached our accommodation in the army mess.
Day 1- Acclimatization -We were strictly told that day one was only meant for acclimatization – which essentially means getting accustomed to the weather due to the change in the altitude. So after having a heavy lunch we all dozed off and then in the evening we went to take a stroll within the campus (we were actually getting bored). Then, Akanksha played some music and we felt better. We played cards and were honestly dying for the day to end so that we could start our most awaited trip!