We had to skip the challenging and delightful trekking to the beautiful and pristine Suraj tal lake as we haven’t started with much time in our hands. By now it was dark, we camped in for the day in the plains of Sarchu (14500 feet) - amidst a treasure trove of picture-perfect scenic majestic mountains.
Early next morning, we woke up to the noise of the winds and the gentle noise of the soft drizzles on the tent. We resumed the journey. Passing sarchu we arrived at a series of 21 hairpin bends looping down called Gata loops- a stunning region nestled in the Western Himalayas which then climbs up towards Nakeeela pass 15547ft. As we travelled along the hairpin bends and curves, we had this rush of wandering and wondering the crispiness of the thrill and adventure the terrain offers.
If you are lucky you may spot Bharal- Blue mountain sheep grazing. The climb up the Lachulung La is nothing spectacular but it opens up to a whole new world on the other side.
Lachulung La - Pang - Morey Plains - Tanglang La : Across the Zanskar Plateau, the Lachung la (16616ft) boasts of undulating views of the entire Ladakh plateau in some sweeping glance of your eyes.
After crossing Lachulung La, the landscape changes where the road meanders through a canyon snaking down to a tented settlement Pang where the highest army transit camp exists and is perfect for a resting break amidst beautiful surrounding scenery. Further the landscape opens up into the dramatic flat stretch of Morey plains where one may occasionally spot Tibetan wild asses-Kiang grazing the plains here and maybe even a red tailed fox or two. At the end of the Morey plains, the road climbs up towards the Tanglang La(17500ft)- highest mountain pass in the Ladakh region. Claimed to be the second highest motorable mountain pass in the world; this is where we had our heart in mouth! We were at level with the snow clad peaks surrounding us. Colorful prayer flags were strung around. With a spectacular 360 degree vision, we felt on top of the world! Tanglang La –Upshi – Karu - Leh From Tanglang La the road descends steeply towards the the heart of Ladakh. The highway meets the Indus valley at a picturesque village called Upshi. Towards the east of this region is an ancient trading route that is connected to Tibet. Crossing Karu, another paradisiacal village flanked by lofty mountain peaks, its a smooth ride along the Indus to Leh.
We finally rested ourselves on our arrival to Leh. The journey was an exquisite delight with sparkling streams, resplendent valleys and majestic mountains throughout. We could not just take our eyes off the road.
In this secluded bliss, the experience was so inexplicable and surreal that we were left charmed by the manifestations of nature to its very best.