Leh'd in Style! - Julley!!! Was the word of the week which was extensively practised in front of mirror with the biggest smile possible before getting on the plane on 31st August 2013. The abundant lucid dreaming and the prayers to the Travel Gods had paid off! I was about to checklist out Leh from my places to travel and I was on the 9th cloud.
So there I was stepping down from the plane coordinating 20 other ladies with me onto the heaven on earth (and a heaven on quite a height too). I was very much aware of the challenge about leading these ladies but the excitement of ‘the dream coming true’ stole the thunder of the show.
Being truly blunt, this blog is not about how the ladies made the trip eventful and its definitely not about encouraging the readers to visit Leh, because if you don’t have it on your list – then either you are not an avid traveller or have no clue about how incredible India is. This is a mere Show Off about visiting the most unique place on earth, driving on the highest motor able road, dipping feet in the freezing cold water of Pangong Tso at 12,500 ft , riding on the double hump camel in Nubra Valley and rafting in the freezing cold water of Zanskar river.
Every trip has a touristic and a traveller’s version to it; mine has too. My touristic version is sticking to the hectic illustrated itinerary which covered almost all corners of Leh within a week. Nothing was left unmapped, from the beautiful Shanti Stupa, Leh market and the ruggedly exotic Leh Palace to the vast salient Pangong Tso; back to Leh and then all the way up to Nubra Valley via Khargung La.
My traveller’s version goes like this. The very first glimpse of Leh- flying high above the majestic mountains was a whole another experience altogether. There is truly nothing like it. What makes Leh special for me are its people who are humble and welcome you with their cute little smile and their big warm hearts. They have a story- a fascinating one infact for every street and corner of Leh and still are in love with this land of monks and monasteries.
We had a never before visit to a Ladakhi house for dinner on the second day of the trip to experience their unique culture and food. The food was delicious- the butter tea, the special momos with some crazy cutney and the amazing barley wine. Strolling under the glittering skyline made it a perfect night! One name which cannot be escaped while you are in Leh are the Lamas. They make Leh what it is. The beautiful life philosophies sprayed up on the street markets of the city, the morning chants in the monasteries which attracts crowd from all over the world and makes your mornings special like never before, their cute smiles and their innocent curiosity for the answers after probing you even though they are completely aware of all the answers- is what makes your mind spin and stuck with that place.
The most pleasurable was the Pangong Tso visit. Being a photographer, I let myself loose and crazy with my camera. It was not before I mellowed down after hundreds of clicks that I sat on the banks of the vast lake and with every breath; I took in the serenity of the place. After a while, I just sat and viewed the changing colours of the lake. Yes yes, my lucid dreaming and my restless mind was right there. There was a deep pondering over all the issues that could pop up in a wandering mind. There was no stopping without an adventurous breakout! Camping in the white sands was the nextstop- we were in the middle of Nubra Valley. The thrilling ride on the double humped camels and thereafter passing through the KhardungLa pass- the freaking highest motorable road made my week.
My visit to Leh added a new word in my dictionary; compassion and a philosophy which states no matter what is going on, never give up. Develop the heart. Too much energy is spent developing the mind instead of heart.