Day 1 – The Trip Starts
Leh’s scenic beauty starts even before we land. It continues half an hour before we land that you start seeing mountains, snow, lakes.. It’s mind-blowing to say the least. (Pics were taken on camera and not phone :D)
Then it was time to take collect our stuff and move to the hotel. Prepaid taxi stand just as we were getting out of the airport helped us. Drivers are talkative and a friendly lot, will try to sell various packages.. But won’t press too hard.
After check in we got our ride a Bullet 350 cc and drove to Nimu/Nimoo(small village). En-route we crossed magnetic hill.
10 minutes short of Nimu / Nimoo is the place where Zanskar River and Indus meet. Generally all river rafting activities start from around this area.
We ate at a small restaurant which serves food like thupka, soup, momos, noodles. Also at that altitude, the food tastes yum.
After crossing Nimoo, comes Ney Village which is just a drive through place.
It has an 80 foot high Buddha statue. The drive through this village is one of the most amazing drives since it the roads are going through a valley with hills on both sides.. On one side the mountain was covered with sun’s rays and the other side was completely in the shadows.
Never have I seen the sky so blue as we did during the time that we were in Leh.
Day 2 –
Went to Likir Monastery, which is the last point of Leh since the road finishes here.
It has a huge Buddha Statue with the backdrop of mountains. FYI – Ladies have to be out of the monastery before 6 pm.
Some pictures from inside the monastery-
The picture below depicts Shiv and Parvati. I think Shiv has a very pivotal role to play in Tibetan stories and scriptures because his pictures were almost everywhere.
The only difference between the Shiv pictures of Leh and normal pictures of Shiv is that Ganga doesn’t flow out above his head. Rest the half moon, blue skin and snake along with Nandi his cow chariot remains the same.
The whole of monastery has scrolls going back to thousands of years. One monk told us that everyone depicts Buddha’s teachings as they think it to be and the youngsters have to write it down. No idea is dismissed, but rather they teach the pupils various variations which has been depicted since time immemorial.
The below pictures are of the Buddha Statue of Likir Monastery
View from inside the Monastery
Just outside the monastery is a small canteen which will serve you hot omelet with bread and tea which is the only available food.
Day 3 : Trip To Khardungla
We didn’t try this on Day 2 since the weather was packed off and it had started snowing. Also, it’s best to give yourself 2 days to acclimatize (apart from eating Diamox a week prior to your travel for easy acclimatization).
We changed our bike to an Enfield 500 cc since the drive was going to get more daunting now.
Drive was pretty scenic but approx. 15-20 kms before reaching the top, the road was very bad due to landslides and lots of snow melting. Army keeps clearing the area as and when the landslides keep occurring so that the traffic is not impacted.
Weather packing off at the top when we were at the base of Khardungla. Road was snowed in.
Made it to the top!
Enjoy the intense cold with hot black tea served by the Fauji Canteen and Maggi (which is the lifeline at that altitude).
Continue straight through Khardungla and you’ll be on your way to the Nubra Valley.
Day 4 : On the way to Pangong Tso Lake
Requires an Inner Line Permit. It’s a form which is easily available at every hotel.
We left in the morning around 9 and reached at about 5 pm.. After having an accident
We crossed Changla Pass around 12 30 pm where you will find loads of people flocking to the one and only Fauji canteen serving hot Maggi which goes cold in max 5 minutes, black tea, biscuits, toilet rolls.
20 kms before Pangong is an Army area where we have to submit the Inner Line Permit form to the Army.
While going through the Hemis National Park we saw a couple of wild horses and Marmots (largest Rodents in the world).
It was while crossing this area that we fell in a long bank of water as the embankment on the sides had collapsed due to which our bike skidded. Luckily, we were saved because of the helmets and the extremely thick jackets. Even the camera was safe and only my dear old kindle died. The bike got damaged with a broken headlight and water in some bike part of it.
We picked ourselves up wet, shivering and started our drive back again on our Bullet which started on the 2nd try and drive at 15,000 feet with ice cold winds hitting us to reach Pangong.
Seeing an Army camp there our spirits lifted since my right hip was throbbing with pain. We went to see a doctor who gave us volini and a couple of painkillers and advised us to get out of wet clothes else we’d just die of hypothermia.
And This Was the First View of the Pangong Lake – which kind of made up for our accident as well
We stayed right at the beginning of Pangong Lake at a place called Pangong Tso Hotel since I couldn’t take any more pain. Rooms only have light in the evening and not during the day and the water is ice cold with no heaters. So, be warned!
Snowstorm with rain
We brought our broken bike, which wouldn’t start now, in a pick-up truck- Tied the bike behind and began our journey back to Leh with a family who had a 3 month old baby, a son who must be 3 years old and were living in a tent at Pangong.
Chang La Pass while coming back from Pangong the next day-
Day 5 & 6 -
The last two days went recuperating from our accident along with flight delays (suggestion – don’t travel Air India).
But overall, go visit the place and experience it to know what people mean when they talk about Leh.
It is such a unique place : see it, feel it, experience it and believe it!