14th Jul 2019


Yes, like you even I waited years for this dream trip. But, the wait was coming to an end. On some nights you wish you never wake up; On some nights you just wish not to fall asleep. This was the night of the later part. I was engrossed with Excitement, Eagerness and Euphoria for possibly the best experience ever !

Day 1

As we get down our Go Air Flight and start taking Picturesque Photos, Army Official in Camouflage comes and prohibits us from taking Photos. He then politely requests us to delete the existing photos, of the beautiful sunrise amidst the Ice filled Glaciers that cover the part of the airport, explaining that Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport alongwith the Leh airport is also one of the Important Base Camps of the Indian Army and the Indian Airforce. We somehow accept his request and then proceed through possibly the smallest airports I have experienced.

Proceeding through our hotel, Driver- starts the conversation by telling us the airport is named (Kushok Bakula Rimpochee) after the Famous Buddhist Lama (Leader) who served in the Parliament of India, and was deeply engaged with welfare, education and rights of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes of India. Amidst our conversation we arrive at the hotel as the traditional breakfast awaits for us. Post Breakfast we are advised to rest as they explain us the importance of acclimatizing with the high altitude climate. Little do we hear from him and re-start taking pictures.

The Turning wheel of Dharma visible in the lower part of the Frame - As you Sow ; so shall you reap.

Photo of Shanti Stupa, Shanti Stupa Road, Leh by Ronak Vora

Shanti Stupa- The Monument of Peace .

Photo of Shanti Stupa, Shanti Stupa Road, Leh by Ronak Vora

Having travelled overnight we decide to take some rest. Then we decided to move to local market for Lunch. Leh is a paradise for people who love Traditional Chinese, Jewish and Ladakhi Food. Post Lunch, we went ahead with our first destination: Shanti Stupa.

The stupa has become a tourist attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscapeThe Ladakh Shanti Stupa was conceived by Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura of Japan in 1980, and the foundation was laid by Dalai Lama. It Symbolizes and Represents the rich Buddhist culture of Silence, Peace and Prosperity.

Feeling Tired we come to our Hotel and discuss the entire itinerary of the trip with our Co-ordinator Over the Dinner. Promising to start the next day early, we end the day.

Day 2

Promises broken, we leave late post breakfast and start towards Nubra Valley.As we start the Road trip I realise every Mountain and every road has a story of its own. Some completely snow clad, some reflecting the Golden Sun rays, some mesmerized with pure Indian Mitti . Khardung La (Khardung Pass, la means pass in Tibetan) is a mountain pass in the Ladakh region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The local pronunciation is "Khardong La" or "Khardzong La" but, as with most names in Ladakh, the romanised spelling varies.

Rare blend of Ice meeting Sky !

Photo of Nubra Valley by Ronak Vora

This pass on the Ladakh Range is in the north of Leh and is the gateway to the Shyok and Nubra valleys. The Siachen Glacier lies part way up the latter valley. Built in 1976, it was opened to public motor vehicles in 1988. Maintained by the Border Roads Organisation, the pass is strategically important to India as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier.

An Evening with the Hide and Seek of the setting sun rays !

Photo of Khardungla Pass, Khardung La Road, Leh by Ronak Vora

The elevation of Khardung La is 5,359 m (17,582 ft).[1] Local summit signs and dozens of stores selling shirts in Leh incorrectly claim that its elevation is in the vicinity of 5,602 m (18,379 ft) and that it is claimed as the world's highest motorable pass. On the way we also enjoy the ATV (all-terrain vehicle)Ride. It is at the same place where a part of the Movie Bhaag Milkha Bhaag is Filmed.

We then reach Diskit Monastery.


Photo of Diskit Gompa, Diskit by Ronak Vora

The monastery has statue of Cho Rinpoche (Crowned Buddha) in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several images of fierce guardian deities. An elevated cupola of the moanstery depicts a fresco of the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet.

A popular festival known as Dosmoche or the "Festival of the Scapegoat" is held in the precincts of the monastery in February during the winter season, which is largely attended by people from villages of the Nubra Valley since the other regions in Leh are inaccessible during this period due to heavy snow fall.

Second half belonged to the Camel rides at the Hunder Sand Dunes. This desert has rare Double Hemp Camels. You can just relax or play games at the desert; click some photographs in the Local Ladakhi Couture or Seat in the Restaurant with a cup of coffee and the enjoy the mesmerizing sunset. Infact even at 8 pm it was visible daylight, such long are the days over summer in Ladakh.

Day 3

This time we were up early and left to the Iconic Pangong Tso Lake, although a rough and dramatic ride it was worth the experience.During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water. The lake is in the process of being identified under the Ramsar Convention as a wetland of international importance. This will be the first trans-boundary wetland in South Asia under the convention. Numerous Movies from different industries have been filmed here, including the climax scene of the 2009, record breaking movie 3 Idiots. Mountain shades falling into Crystal Clear Water and Shining sun rays, we would not have asked for more.

Photo of Pangong Tso by Ronak Vora
Photo of Pangong Tso by Ronak Vora
Day 4

Leaving Pangong Lake we reach the azure blue waters of Tsomoriri Lake amidst empty roads and shining moonlight. It is almost midnight and post some light dinner we call it a day, promising to wake up early to witness the Sunrise.

Promises broken again, heading back to leh we stop at the Tanglang la(acclaimed as the second highest Pass of the world)for some snow games.

Photo of Tso Moriri by Ronak Vora

We then head to the Hemis Monastery where tourist from all over the world visit the famous Festival every year.The Hemis Festival is dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) venerated as the Dance Performance at Hemis Monastery representative reincarnate of Buddha. He is believed to have been born on the 10th day of the fifth month of the Monkey year as predicted by the Buddha Shakyamuni. It is also believed that his life mission is was, and remains, to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings. Along with the Monastery, the Museum that is located there, also has a story of its own.

The Spinning Prayer Wheel- Om Mani Padme Hum !

Photo of Hemis Monastery Museum, Hemis by Ronak Vora

We were back to our Base, Leh. Starting afresh after a Amazing Breakfast(Please don't expect the quality of the Breakfast to be that good when you are not in Leh) we headed for some local getaways.We visited the Shey Palace which is now more of a monastery. Then we Headed to Thiksey Monastery we were fortnunate to witness their religious ritual.

Day 5

According to legend, Sherab Zangpo and Palden Zangpo were performing some sacred rituals near the Yellow Temple. The torma offerings were then taken to a rock outcrop to be thrown down to the valley. As they were about to throw the torma into the valley, two crows appeared suddenly from somewhere and carried away the ceremonial plate with the offering of torma. They then placed the torma at a location on the other side of the hill. When Palden Zangpo and his disciples began looking for the torma, they reached Thiksey, where they found that the crow had placed the tormaon a stone in perfect order and in an undisturbed condition. Palden took this finding as a divine directive to build the monastery here.

Monks performing their Dialy Rituals

Photo of Thiksey Monastery Leh Ladakh, Leh Manali Highway, Thiksey by Ronak Vora

Then our Guide surprised us by a special visit to Rancho School. It is originally known as The Druk White Lotus School is located in Shey, Ladakh, in northern India, and is known locally as the Druk Padma Karpo School. Karpo means White and Padma means Lotus in the local language Bodhi. The real character of Rancho studied from this school. Till then it was early evening and we were to visit the Hall of Fame, which is a monument of epitome dedicated to the Real Heroes of Indian Army. Getting to know the real heroes who have sacrificed there today for our tomorrow was a experience beyond words.It all ended with a lively flag retrieving Parade, where everyone of us there had goosebumps.

Day 6

The Last day was perhaps saved for the best experience as we headed to SECMOL, The Students’ Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh (SECMOL) was founded in 1988 by a group of young Ladakhis with the aim to reform the educational system of Ladakh. SECMOL Alternative School which is our eco-friendly campus near Leh. It was everything except the typical textbook learning module. Every child there is like a god's gift to the Universe. Students there have created some of the finest innovations without machinery. It has to be a must visit place for people going to Ladakh.

Photo of SECMOL Campus by Ronak Vora

It was then late afternoon and we headed to Pathar Sahib Gurdwara. During his lifetime Guru Nanak travelled to many distant places and one such place was Tibet. I would request you to visit the Temple to understand the significance of the Gurdwara which is serviced and maintained by the Indian Army. We even had the opportunity to have the Langar in form of Lunch over there. It was late afternoon and we were at the fad end of our trip. We also pit stop at the Magnetic Hill (which is not magnetic anymore) and then the rest of the evening was spent in the local markets shopping where everyone was seen looking for weigh machines and re-balancing the luggage as per the flight norms.

Photo of Gurudwara Shri Pathar Sahib, NH 1D, Phey by Ronak Vora
Day 7

Unfortunately, words have dried up and it was time to Bid adieu to the Land of Happiness. Aapne ladakh nahi dekha toh Janab aapne Kuch Nahi Dekha. As they say, for all the beautiful things; Yes, they have to end one day.

Photo of Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, India, Leh by Ronak Vora

Julley !