Ladakh - Unparalleled serenity

12th May 2017
Photo of Ladakh - Unparalleled serenity by Swaroop Atnoorkar
Photo of Leh by Swaroop Atnoorkar
Day 1
Photo of Leh City Centre, Leh by Swaroop Atnoorkar

We landed in Leh on the morning of May 12, 2017. The tiny bustling town greeted us with a majestic view of mountains on all sides. We spent the first day exploring the city. It is imperative to spend at least half a day to get acclimatized to the high altitude atmosphere.

Photo of Leh by Swaroop Atnoorkar

We lodged at Hotel New Antelope, just behind the main market, but away from the hustle and bustle. The people in general and the tourism industry in particular give an entirely new meaning to the word hospitality, making your stay memorable.

Photo of Leh by Swaroop Atnoorkar

The view of Leh Palace from Hotel New Antelope.

Photo of Leh by Swaroop Atnoorkar

There is serenity and harmony everywhere. All religions are accepted. This picture is not a masterpiece, but its my favorite. It perfectly depicts the tolerant culture of this region, which values humanity and compassion above everything else.

Day 2
Photo of Nimmoo by Swaroop Atnoorkar

River rafting in the Zanskaar river, near the Zanskaar-Indus sangam is a once in a lifetime experience. It offers you ethereal views from the raft, but only if you don't fall in the gushing river :p. Sorry folks, cameras cannot be carried in the raft. So this is all I've got. The rafting point is just 45 minutes away from Leh. After rafting we returned to the town for the night.

Day 3
Photo of Khardung La Pass by Swaroop Atnoorkar

On the third day, we started our journey to Nubra valley. En route was Khardung La Pass. Although at more than 17,500 feet it is incorrectly regarded as the highest motorable road in the world, the Border Roads Organisation has done a commendable job indeed!

Photo of Khardung La Pass by Swaroop Atnoorkar

Its all about the journey, not the destination! The road to Nubra valley offers views of sand dunes and this sandy rivers as far as the eyes can see! There is no particular spot to visit. However the cultural show and camel rides near Hunder village where we stayed are definitely worth your while. You can also try out the Ladakhi costume.

Photo of Nubra Valley by Swaroop Atnoorkar

We stayed in tents at K2 Luxury camp in Hunder valley Nubra. The resort has excellent dining facilities and at the same time, gives the experience of staying in a tent.

Day 4
Photo of Pangong Tso by Swaroop Atnoorkar

We started our journey toward the famous Pangong lake early in the morning. Army and BRO camps along the way have good and reasonable cafeterias. This is the first glimpse of the Pangong Tso as we neared it.

Photo of Pangong Tso by Swaroop Atnoorkar

The Pangong Tso, an alkaline lake is a disputed territory between India and China. Only one third is under Indian control. From different angles, the water of the lake morphs, sometimes showing many shades of blue and sometimes becoming crystal clear to reflect the mountains surrounding it.

Day 5
Photo of Thikse Monastery, Thiksey by Swaroop Atnoorkar

The day comprised of seeing the Shey palace, Sindhu Ghat and the Thikse monastery en route to Leh from Pangong Tso. The road passed through Chang La, the third highest pass where the Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has built the highest terrestrial research center in the world. Maggi and Lemon ginger tea is a must have at the Cafeteria atop the Chang La pass!

Day 6
Photo of Kargil by Swaroop Atnoorkar

The Kargil war memorial had the highest priority on our checklist. Located in Dras, Kargil, it tells the story of the successful yet tragic war fought by India in the second coldest region of the earth.. The memorial is built right in the shadow of the treacherous peaks where the brave-hearts of the Indian army fought and most of the battle points are visible from here. The route from Leh to Kargil is scenic and runs parallel to the Suru river for most of the way. It will take up the entire day and you will need to plan the visit to the memorial according to the opening time of the road if you plan to end your trip via Srinagar.

Lodging: Hotel Siachen in Kargil is one of the best and is located right in the Kargil city.

Note: The expenditure is given per person inclusive of hotel stays, complimentary lunches and breakfasts and a SUV shared by 5, river rafting and tourist permit.

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