Ladakh - India @ Content Writer
Tour Of Ladakh
- Land Of Endless Discovery (
06.08.’08 --- 24.08.’08)
After many years of thinking and lots of planning, we started for
LADAKH – the land of endless discovery.
Our team was of 24 members, and we availed Kalka Mail from Howrah
at 07.40pm. Preliminary introduction over, we discussed about Ladakh
– our target now, where none of our team members had been
earlier, but the tour operator and his team had been, quite a few
08-08-’08 : We arrived Chandigarh
at 03.27am. We managed our morning duties at the waiting rooms.
Hired three cars – two Tata Sumos & one Chevrolet Tavera, for
the whole trip of Ladakh, and we started for Manali at 06.30am.
After having our breakfast at one of the roadside Dhabas, we visited
temple of Hanogimata, one of the
local deities, and then the temple of Baishno Devi
(not the one in Jammu & Kashmir). Also had lunch en route, and
reached Manali covering 317km, at a height Of 8220’, at 06.05pm.
09-08-’08 : We started from
Manali at 10.57am after breakfast, and crossed Jahang, Kothi,
Rohtang Pass, at 13,500’ locally
known as Rohtang-la (here nearby there is origin of River Bias),
Kotsar, Sissu, Gondla, Tandi and Stringri Kelong etc to reach Jespa
covering 148km, at 07.50pm, at 10,370’. Hotel-----dinner-----went
10-08-’08 : We started at
06 o’clock in the morning, passed through Darcha Village, Patsio,
Surojtal, Barlacha-la (pass) at 16,050’, and had our breakfast at
Bharatpur. Then we passed
Kilingsarai and reached Sarchu, and had our lunch there. Mostly
each one of us suffered from high altitude sickness, i.e., headache,
loss of appetite, nausea, breathlessness etc. Thereafter, we crossed
three passes – Langalacha-la,
altitude 16,600’, taglang-la,
alt. 17,469’, & Chang-la,
alt. 15,900’, 60km of a huge plateau known as Pung Ground. We further
crossed Rumtse, Upshi, Karu & Thiksey to reach Leh at 11.05pm,
alt. 12,200’, covering 325km. By the time we had our dinner and
went to bed, the date had switched over.
11-08-’08 : Today,
two cars were to be repaired, so we could not go for local sight-seeing,
and instead, we divided ourselves into small groups and went to
the nearby market, Gumpha etc.
12-08-’08 : We started at 06.35am
and went for Sindhu-Darshan
(a place besides the river Sindhu or Indus, where according to the
local custom, people have a visit prior to visiting other places).
This place is a picturesque valley with mountains surrounding the
area and a few structures to take rest. Next, we went to Karu, where
we had our breakfast.
took a left from here while the road on the right goes to
Upshi and then onward to Manali. We came across a green valley,
result of green revolution – known as Shakti. We went on to
Jingrel Checkpost, Darbuk, Tang-ste valley, Lukung etc and
after crossing 147km, reached Pangong Lake at
01.45pm. Situated at 14,000’ six to seven km wide and more
than 130km long, it is bisected by the India and China border.
Other than the reflections of the mountains and the deep blue
sky with white clouds of Autumn in the lake, there is continuous
change in blue and green colors with many shades of the lake’s
crystal clear water. Most of us were busy capturing the really
beautiful and wonderful scenery. We had our lunch there and
started at 03.10pm for Leh, and reached at 08.45pm. Dinner-----&------to
: After breakfast, one of our
team members was feeling uneasiness in the throat and since
it was on the increase, we took him to the State Govt. Hospital,
and he was admitted. Due to less oxygen in the atmosphere,
many tourists (from all over the world) feel a little sick,
hence there is a `Tourist Ward’.
The hospital is quite neat and clean and doctors, nurses and
other hospital staff are all very helpful. We started at 1
O’clock for Tsomo-riri Lake.
Our route was towards Manali, from Upshi we turned to left,
and after covering 217 km, we reached Karjok beside Tsomo-riri
Lake, at 09.40 pm Alt. is 15,200’. It was raining and due
to heavy cold, most of us were not only shivering but also
had other complications due to less oxygen. We finished our
dinner and went to bed, but the locally made rug was so heavy
that though we were protected from cold, no doubt, but it
was very difficult to turn the body.
14-08-’08 : In
the morning, though rain stopped, it was cloudy and also very cold.
The temperature slowly increased with the sun-shine. Many of us
went out with cameras to click snaps of the Monastery beside
the lake, the lake itself and of
the surrounding area.
Monastery Besides The Lake
left at 10.40 am, had lunch en route and returned to Leh at
07.15 pm. We also visited the hospital and came to know that
our friend’s blood pressure went up after bleeding from nose
and the doctors were taking the necessary action.
: Today is Independence Day,
but, here at Leh, nothing in particular could be noticed, except
a few National flags. A small group of us left for Hemis
Gumpha at 08.30am and returned
at 10.20am. Hemis Gumpha is one of the world’s largest gumphas.
It is 35km from Leh. Inside the Gumpha, there are many temples
with many deities - there is a 'Dukhang’ – where the spiritual
leader Rimpoche stays. There are many paintings on the walls
- on the first temple – Lakhung, there is an idol of Buddha
as Shakyomuni, surrounded by Chorten made of silver, and provided
with costly ornaments. Also, there is an idol of the Chief Lama
of Tibet, with thousand of hands and thousand faces - who is
said to be the Ruler of the world. There is a huge collection
of Scrolls, Thankas and original scriptures in the Hemis Library.
World’s biggest Thankas (drawing on cloth), made by Singe Namgiyal,
in the year 1630 AD, is also here. The same has been made visible
to public every 12 years and the last time it was shown was
in 2004. A fair known as Setchu is held for 2 days in the second
half of June every year 0n the birthday of Guru Padmasomvoba
or Loman Rimpoche.
in their national dresses arrive here from different countries,
as well as tourists from all over the world. The main attraction
is the colorful dances of the Lamas. It is said that, Jesus Christ
spent his childhood in this Hemis Gumpha. There are arrangements
for boarding and lodging for pilgrims within the Hemis. A large
number of child lamas are trained here.
started at 12.17pm, passed South Pullu – alt.15,300’, Khardung-la,
the highest motorable road in the world, alt. 18, 380’.
Here, we had snowfall and much cold. Though we had tea at
the military canteen but it’s warmth had no effect. We also
clicked quite a few photos. Then we passed through North Pullu
& reached Khardungla village, to have our lunch. Next,
we proceeded to Deskit where we purchased vegetables and chicken.
Leaving the cold desert on our right hand, we reached Hunder
– alt. 10,370’ after crossing 127 km. at 06.45pm. There were
many cottages like buildings in the hotel, where we stayed,
along with beautiful flower gardens,
and lots of trees of apples, apricots, potatoes and even capsicums.
It’s a valley surrounded by treeless mountains on all sides.
This valley is known as Nubra
Valley and if you look
all around you, it will seem like a view of a picture postcard.
We moved around, had tea etc………dinner………..to bed.
It was a bright sunny morning and most of us walked around to take
pictures for future remembrances. We started after breakfast at
10.30am, went to the cold desert and saw camels with two humps.
There are arrangements for riding on camels as well. En route we
had lunch at an open place, besides the Bias river. We were back
to Leh at 07.30pm. We also went to the Hospital to find our friend
in fine mood and we also came to know about his wonderful experience.
A Psychiatrist attended him and asked whether he is feeling sorry
for not being able to visit the places where he had plans to go
to. He replied, of course, there are reasons for that. He is 62,
spent quite a lump sum to come to Ladakh, and there is almost no
chance to come again - his being sick, he could not visit the places
about which he has heard so much. Later on, one doctor and one nurse
came to him and asked him to go. He enquired - where should I go?
They said – please come along, you will come to know They all went
to the helipad and boarded a helicopter, had a round trip over the
surrounding areas, and they even showed him – Pangong Lake, Tsomoriri
Lake and Hunder valley, and in addition, The Great Wall of China,
for 45 minutes. And this trip was a part of the treatment and totally
free, though we paid other hospital charges etc.
17-08-’08 : Two cars were to be attended
to so, we started at 04.05pm. We went to the Spituk Gumpha
- the main feature of this gumpha is that the chapel is dedicated
to Goddess Tara (another form of Goddess Kali of Hindu religion),
with twenty-three images of her various manifestations. Wall paintings
and Thankas are also noticeable. Next we saw the Hall of
Fame – where there are pictures,
short notes etc. on our brave soldiers who lost their lives during
the war with Pakistan, and confiscated weapons, note-books etc.
of the Pakistan Army. Momentarily we felt proud of our soldiers
who fought bravely and lost their lives to retain peace for the
whole country. We also visited an old clay fort – Jarowar Fort.
Our friend was released today from the hospital and he was back
18-08-’08 : Today, we are on our
way back home. Our return route was via Dras, Kargil, Srinagar and
Jammu, but as there were disturbances in those areas, we had to
change our route and return by the same route by which we came to
Leh. We had our reservation by train ex Jammu to Delhi, and Delhi
to Howrah and was changed to Chakkibank to Delhi, and Delhi to Howrah,
so that we could entrain the same train at Chakkibank. We started
at 7 O’clock in the morning, again to Sindhu-darshan, then to Upshi,
where we had our breakfast, then passing through Tanglang-la, Pung
ground, we had our lunch at Pung village. We also crossed Sarchu
and after 5km from Sarchu, our night halt was in tents in a valley,
alt.13,780’, 06.25pm. There were 10 tents in a row, two rows facing
each other, double-bed tents with attached bath and there are two
bigger tents for Kitchen and Dining. Though it was too cold, due
to cold winds, inside the tents with the flap doors fastened with
zippers, it wasn't so cold. We had dinner at the dining tent and
to cosy beds.
19-08-’08 : Morning was bright and
full of sunshine. After breakfast, we started at 10.14am and passed
Bharatpur, Surojtaal, Jingjing-bar, Darcha, Jespa and Kelong – where
we had our lunch. Finally after a journey of 222 km, we arrived
at Manali at 10.45pm and we bid farewell to our three drivers, companions
for the whole trip. As usual, dinner and to bed, but it was
20-08-’08 : We had saved two days
by not going towards Kashmir. We strolled here & there in small
groups and also shopped etc. In the evening, we, a small group went
to Vana-Vihar, a Forest department endeavour having Garden, childrens’
park, boating in a pool etc beside river Bias near the Manali market.
Dinner was on time and to bed and we had complete rest.
21-08-’08 : After breakfast, four
of us hired a car and started at 08.25 am to go to the Ashrama of
Bashishtho Muni, where there are hot-springs, temple of Rama. We
then went to the temple of Hirhimbaa and God Ghototkoch. We passed
through Kulu, where many of us purchased Kulu Shawls etc. Thereafter,
we reached Monikoron, a place on one bank of river Bias, where,
main temple is of Lord Shiva or Mahadev and Parvati. There is one
seven storied Gurudwara, where boarding and lodging is free, but,
anyone can donate any amount. There are many hot springs on both
sides of river Bias. We had our lunch at the Gurudwara. We, returned
to Manali at 05.10pm. Then…dinner & to bed.
We left Manali at 08.45am, and passing through Kulu, Bhuntar, Out
etc. we arrived at the Chakkibank Railway station at 07.25pm,
covering a distance of 306km. Our train for Delhi started at 08.05pm.
23-08-’08 : We reached Delhi at four
O’clock, got freshened up in the waiting rooms and left by Kalka
Mail at 07.05am. The entire day and night was spent in discussing
our experience of Ladakh.
24-08-’08 : We reached Howrah
at 09.15am, took leave from each other and to our respective Homes,
Footnote – Beauty of Nature at Ladakh
– I’m unable to describe, even then, just a trial --- we the residents
of plains describe the sky as sky blue, but in Ladakh, on a sunny
day the sky is deep blue, and now in Autumn, pure white clouds floating
hither thither, resembles photos on picture post cards. Mountains
are of various colors – Black, reddish, grayish, blueish and brownish
and sandy etc. Rock formations are also varied viz. solid, loose,
pieces as if cut by geometrical designs, stacked together etc. Red
colors on the stones were found near hot springs. The climate was
completely merciful to us, we had sunny days, rainy days, snowfalls
– both as powder and flakes, shivering colds, less cold days etc.
Once again, I would like to mention specially about the continuous
change of colors in Pangong and Tsomoriri lakes, which would be
a joy forever. Waiting for the next trip ----------- Good Bye.
About Contributing Traveller:
Mr. Debashis Bose is a 72 year old retired Railway employee
whose hobbies include travelling & tourism, photography and
amateur radio. He is a nature lover and prefers to visit little
known places as opposed to big cities with the aim of enjoying nature
in abundance. Before going on his regular tours with family and
friends, Debashis spends time in studying different places and collecting
information about them. On returning from the visit, he prepares
a travelogue, with sketch map & photos, so that he can inspire
others to visit these places and enjoy nature.
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