It was that time of the year again when we had to escape the ordinary and we zeroed down to Leh. Their is one thing that's always constant and that's change. Its apt for LEH as every view is different from another, every moment is worth capturing and every landscape will make you skip a beat.
Day 1 : Flight from Delhi to Leh
As soon as we stepped out of the flight, it was a breath taking sight and from that moment we knew our camera's and phones are gonna be falling short of memory. Suggestion, if possible do carry #GOPRO.
We checked in at our hotel- LHA RI SA, a property worth staying with the most hospitable staff. We had kept first day to relax and acclimitaize to the weather. Its was indeed a wise decision as the entire trip was quite comfortable after that.
Day 2 - Hall of Fame, Stok Village, Stok Palace, Shanti Stupa,
After having a very homely breakfast at Lha Ri Sa, we begin our day by visiting :
1) Hall of Fame -Its a glorious museum about Indian army, defense personalities, weapons used during Kargil war, Siachen and its heroes and lifestyle of Ladakhi people.
As we entered the Hall Fame - there was a frame which said -"When you go home,tell them of us and say... for your tomorrow, we gave our today" These lines gave us the goosebums and slaute the soldiers who are away from their families for our safe tomorrow.#Salute#Respect
2) Shanti Stupa - Our next stop, Shanti Stupa- a maginificent white Stupa on hilltop in Changspa overlooking the city of Leh, with a beautiful panoramic views of the city
3) Stok Village & Stok Palace - The route from Leh to Stok Village is just breathtaking and worth every second of drive.The village is home to the 14th century Stok Monastery, with 71 feet high Gautama Buddha statue.
Stok Palace has a museum which contains the shrine, crown, ceremonial dress and jewellery of the Ladakhi king. Within the palace their is cafe overlooking the mountains, a perfect place to end the day with a gorgeous sunset for eyes, maggie+coffee to beat the hunger and soulful moment to capture.
Day 3 – Leh to Nubra Valley
We started our day at 8:00 in the morning and completed our journey from Leh to Nubra around 2:00 in the noon. Leh is all about mysteriously beautiful landscape. The route from Leh to Nubra begins with a hilly green terrain, glacier's water flowing through the mountain, Saichen Base Camp, reaching Khardungla Pass - as they say World’s Highest Motorable Road. The highlights were finding snow in the month of August and the view of mountains from there would start playing with your imaginations to finally entering the desert admist the mountains at Hunder Sand Dunes at Nubra Valley. Every turn brought a new view.
After checking in at Organic Retreat, We were headed straight to Hunder Sand Dunes.Located at an altitude of 4,000 meters, Desert is in the middle of two crazily different mountains with hue of greenery. With such stunning landscapes the Hunder Sand Dune looks nothing less than a fairy world. Beyond its beauty, there were double humped camels for the ride into the vastness of desert. After the camel ride we sat by the gentle stream flowing to be lost in the glorious desert, unbelievabily blue sky turning into saffron and a sunset with a promise for even more beautiful next day in Leh.
Traveling to Ladakh is all about filling your diaries with chapters that are full of experiences. Beyond the leisure and monastic side of Ladakh, there are stunning silver sand dunes of Hunder in the Nubra Valley region
Day 4 - Diskit Monastery
After checking out, we visited the Diskit Monastery, its the oldest and second largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh.It is situated on the hill, just above the flood plains of the Shyok River. It has a gigantic statue of Maitreya Buddha which is absolutely stunning. To climb few steps to reach the monastery is absolutely tiring due to height and lack of oxygen but once you reach, it would give an absolute sense of spirituality and peace of mind. The monastery also provides breath taking panaromic view of splashes of greenery,sand dunes,mountains and Shyok River.
After spending some time at the monastery we left for Leh, on the way back we again took a stop at Khardungla to enjoy the moment of being at the highest peak with a wild imaginations of unknown kingdoms being run in the mountains, enjoying the snow before we a bid an adieu. After reaching Leh, we visited Leh Bazaar in the eveing and ended the day with bags full of beautifully handcrafted local ladhaki stuff.
Day 5 & 6- Leh to Pangong Tso & Return
Finally it was time to visit the most awaited part of the Trip. The mesmerizing Pangong Tso lake. So we embarked on this fantastic and magical journey through the Himalayas, passing the Changla Pass-second highest pass, meeting the freindly beavers to the shores of Pangong Tso in Ladakh-India's largest high altitude lake.
Just before we got to Pangong Lake, our driver suddenly pointed to an opening between two mountains with a view of crystal clear blue water. We stared at it before being told that its the first glimpse of the lake. All the pain and tiredness of the journey was gone in the blink of that moment. The lake is spread over an area of more than 100 Kms with one-third in India and the remaining two-third in China.
When we finally reached the lake, we were just overwhelmed by the view of Lake. We had booked the Nomad Camp and the location of the camp was just perfect with the breathtaking view of Pangong Tso. The sunsrise at the lake is worth giving up that sleep for expereincing the tranquility, crystal clear water and picturesque landscape. After checking out we had spent an hour at the lake. The beauty of the lake is heavenly and displayed in multiple hues ranging from shades of blue,green and turqouise at the different time of the day. The sunrise, daytime and sunset would just give you different hues to cherish for lifetime. On the opposite side of the lake, the Himalayas provides for a breathtaking view and the place is definitely a photographer’s delight.
After spending the day at Pangong, i can say that i have never seen such a beautiful stretch of water in my life. With memories and the pictruesque view, we have left with a happy and content heart. While our journey back we visited Thiksey Monastery. It is one of the largest and most impressive Gompas. There are several temples in this Gompa containing images, stupas and exquisite wall paintings. It also houses a two - storied statue of Buddha which has the main prayer hall around its shoulder. It offers excellent view of the Indus valley and the whole setting is so calm and peaceful that it puts you in a silent trance.
Day 7 - Lamayuru, Magnetic Hill, Shey Palace, Alchi, Confulence of Indus and Zanskar River, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib
We were at the last leg of our trip and the the journey to Lamayuru was a pure bliss after the taking the tiring terrains to Nubra and Pangong. The way to Lamayuru is NH1 and its extremely smooth road. We started it at 9:00 in the morning with the following stops:
1) Alchi Monastery: Before one can enter the monastery, their is small lane with shops with really pretty handcrafted items which can leave you splurging on the kettles, the lamas, jwellery and lot more. At Alchi Village on the banks of the Indus River, Alchi Gompa monastery was built around 11th century. The main complex has three temples- gTsug-lag-Khang (main temple), 'Jam-dpal lHa-Khang (Manjushri temple) and Dukhang (assembly hall). The walls of the site are adorned with paintings depicting the details of Hinu kings as well as the teaching of Buddhism.
2) Lamayuru, the moonland of Ladakh
Lamayuru is a small village in Ladakh with Moonlike landscapes carved into the Greater Himalayas. The view will make you feel in literal senses that you have just landed on moon.
Lamayuru Monastery has series of beautiful prayer wheels on the entrance and the temple of Avlokiteshwara Buddha. The view from the monastery is just spectcular and the route while driving would give you infinte points to capture it forever.
3) Indus Zanskar Confluence:While most of the route from Leh to Lamayuru is by the Indus river and once experience it all through the journey. At the Indus Zanskar Sangam, we can see both the rivers meeting but still having its distinguished color which makes the view worth it. Although August isnt the right month as the rivers had turned brown so it wouldnt be as beautiful as part of the year.
4) Gurudwara Pathar Sahib : On the way back we had visited the Gurudwara, its maintained by Indian Army and has beautifully history and belief behind it. Its extremely calm and peaceful to spend some time there.
5) Druk White Lotus School : The famous Rancho's School
6) Magnetic Hill and Shey Palace : They were the last stop of our journey and every place mentioned above is worth visiting and experencing.
Leh can only be felt and can never be well expressed in words. A trip thats always gonna stay young in our heart and yes while visiting Leh you would notice across the sign boards with some amazing life lesson quotes by Border Road Organisation. Keep reading, embibing and be mesmerized with the beauty of Leh.