PART I -Heaven of India: Delhi TO Leh & NUBRA Valley
Guys, no quiz, no contest, its none other than Leh, The paradise of India !
I had always dreamt to have a biking trip on the world’s motorable road ,but fulfilment of this wish is yet awaited .Due to lack of holidays ,we planned our expedition to Ladhak ,but via plane & since God ensure thrill at every moment in life & in my Kundli;) , we kicked off our adventure hovering over the clouds in Leh! Boarded early morning flight from Delhi to leh ,which takes around 2 hours ,but since the climate of Leh is highly unpredictable ,just as a smile came across on looking @ Huge snowy mountains ,ping ping & here came the pilot’s voice – “Ladies & Gentleman ,We are expecting a lot of turbulence & difficulty in landing at Leh ,so we will be waiting for another 10-15 min & give another try to land if weather permits to.. Oh ! That’s bad …all passengers buzzing the probability & we hovering over the clouds for next 10 min..But as fate would have it, another ping…Ladies & Gentleman ,Sorry to say ,but the condition is worsening for landing & we will have to return back to Delhi..Oh No!! I swung back to my seat ,hiding my face under the pillow , with hands joined paying that we return back by another flight during daytime.. How innocent my prayers were !! As soon we landed @Delhi & questioned our Trip managers & airport authorities ,we got to know that this is a military airport & planes carrying civilians are allowed only till noon & that we could go back not before the next day! Huh!
Ahhh..felt as if my dreams were shattered ,as if what will happen if similar conditions prevailed the next day as well?(& yes predictions did worsen it up ,by saying “yes” to more cloud & rains). Well, amidst some serious speculation, we reached @the hotel arranged by the trip manager & spent a full luxurious day out!
Intense & sombre discussions wearying out all since the next day breakfast, till boarding the plane..Same time, same altitude, felt same place, my ears did not wish to hear any announcement & yes.. We did not, & in next few minutes, we were pleased to know that we were landing, the weather was clear. My happiness knew no bounds as I grounded & emerged from the Airport .What an amazing first look this place gave us ,What a scene, slight clouds ,little sunlight peeping from the clouds(saying Hi to us;)) ,cool breeze flowing ,huge mountains ,some with snow & some as barren as roads…WOW! I exclaimed with immense delight.
Our cab was ready to drive us to our hotel ,& since we landed on 11000 ft altitude, it is strongly recommend to take complete rest on the first day (not engage in any strenuous activity –No fighting with hubby pl;)) ,so that one can acclimatize to the high altitude of Ladakh.(people do feel low oxygen pressures ,resulting in giddiness ,headaches ,so even a medicine is prescribed as a prevention).So ,it was another day at luxury ,watching the beautiful scenes unfolding in the skies ,(sometimes bright sunlight ,sometimes cloudy ,drizzling ,all in a day) ,sitting besides the hotel grown vegetation land ,studying the local lifestyle of people ,how warm & balanced with nature they were ,having hot home style lunch sitting in the sun & just ordering! This itself seemed so pleasant & unsullied, that the thought of excursion to Nubra ,Pangong ,Sangam ,just threw me out of my gear!
For NUBRA :
Afresh & whole heartedly welcoming our voyage to Nubra ,via Khardungla pass ,which is world’s Highest Motorable Road ,the travel time of this is approx. 5 hours from the city of Leh. Well, every bit of the journey has a sense of refreshness in itself..Huge Karakoram ranges, some completely dry & huge ones tip covered with snow ..hiding sun on the top & dark misty cloudy look on those huge ranges ..One side covered with tress & the other completely barren..Such a twist of nature at every moment..
The curvy bumpy ride (although the road is maintained by the BRO –Border Road Organization & is on frequent maintenance the moment landslide or similar happens) ,made us feel a little dizzy but soon cool breeze chilled us apart ,reason being ::Khardungla was approaching ,an elevation of 5359Mts or some 18k Ft high. Chill chill..Nerve wrecking cold breeze, all pullovers tightly pulled in..We stooped for more than an hour at Khardung La pass..It was so cold, that the water on the road has frozen & we could try & break the recently formed ice out of them😉 ,yes this little stretch was rocky ,snowy but it was an ideal location to feel the chilly winds , sipping special black tea & hot Maggie out there .Bothe sides covered by huge mountains ,near ones covered with snow perfect to trek & play all Ice ball games on one another. Stop of over an hour & we again started our journey for Nubra via North Pullu.
A lovely valley formed by meeting of Shyok & Siachen River separating ladhak & Karakoram ranges ,which will for sure give you a great sight ,an altogether different sight from Leh/Khardung-La. At about 10k Ft high, this valley was actually “Valley of Flowers”, so pristine, so clear, and famous for Bactarian Camels of Hunder.
Never thought of Sand dunes at such an altitude & cold place? Well, yes, the first thing we did post reaching Nubra Valley was jumping at Hunder for astounding Bactrian (Double Humped) camel ride along the dunes. Ride on the cold desert was a first time experience. One side enormous mountains & Grasslands seen on the other end.. I was ecstatic to see nature unfold with so much of beauty.
Every moment was a bliss in itself.. From the ride, we came to our Camp “Apple Cottage” which was again a calm, serene camp amidst nature, seemed as in nature welcomed us with folding hands. Exploring camp for some time, we decided to walk through the roads leading to nowhere, exploring the place all by ourselves while chatting with the locals there. As guided by locals, a walk of some 3-4kms, led us to grassland crossing which a stream of river Shyok was flowing across. Removing our shoes we just sat across t feel the tranquillity within, observing the fisherman on the other side catching fishes in the stream for his survival…1/2/3 in front of us he gathered some 7-8 fishes & even we tried our hands at the same (although had no success in it) ,listening to his way of life ,their source of earning..& we could just conclude that work…eat..Enjoy…was their only funda of life, way apart from out life at the Metro!
Night had begun to set in, when we decided to finally return to our camp, since there was no local then & the complete path became lonely, it was very difficult to trace up the path correctly & it took some 30-40 min to reach back safely.. Tired & happy, we grinned, had dinner, called it a day & had a peaceful cozy sleep in our tents.
You would love to read of “My precious Pangong” ,click on –https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/living-on-the-edge-pangong-leh-part-iv/
Let’s also have brief on Leh City ,read on at- https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/city-roamer-leh-part-iii/
Curious about Diskit ,Samstanling Monasteries ?Read on at https://jhilmilbhansali.wordpress.com/2015/06/21/meeting-with-serenity-nubra-leh-part-ii/