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Bliss of India: Leh-Ladakh

Discussion in 'Travelogues & Experiences' started by miteshpunjani, Sep 23, 2014.

  1. miteshpunjani

    miteshpunjani Amatore

    Messages:
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    vadodara-gujarat
    I could see the surrounding mountains and their peaks covered with snow out of the aircraft’s tiny window. As the plane landed, the air hostess announced the outside temperature to be 5 deg.C. A feeling of excitement surged through me and I felt the tingling sensation that I was always felt whenever we discussed about this trip. It had been a long cherished dream and finally we were here. I was in Leh along with my friends Hiral, Girish and Mital on a 7 day long tour in late November 2011.

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    Snow Peaks from Sky

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    Facts


    Leh is the capital of the Ladakh region and lies in the fertile valley of the Indus. The town is still dominated by the now ruined Leh Palace, former mansion of the royal family of Ladakh, built in the same style and about the same time as the Potala Palace in Lhasa (capital of Tibet). Leh (altitude 11,562 ft) is connected via NH-1D to Srinagar and via Leh-Manali Highway to Manali.

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    First Experience


    We stepped out of the Aircraft and almost immediately, cold air pierced through my clothing, the air was so fresh. I liked the sensation and gulped in some fresh air. The route from the airport to the hotel was short though we had not booked any accommodation before we left for LEH. Because whenever we called up any guest house or Hotel they simply said no need to book as November is not a tourist season. When we reached there we found out that all good hotels were closed and only the Government Guest houses were open at that time of the year. Luckily we got an accommodation at one of the govt. approved guest houses (converted from a residence where owner also leaves in the same place). Once in LEH all around there was a neat and clean look.

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    The roads looked freshly tarred. On the way to the hotel the driver informed us of an on-going festival at Thikshey- A monastery nearby. It takes place only once a year around this time and it was the last day. We unpacked as fast as we could, got ready and stepped out of the hotel on our way to Thikshey. In all the travel advisories it is mentioned that one should rest in Leh on his/her first day as the air is thin and it makes breathing difficult (Acclimatization), but we couldn’t hold our excitement and there we were on the road to the festival and it was worth our effort. Whenever I stepped out of the hotel room all I could see were mountains around me, and each mountain was different - some were brown, some red, and some black and some covered with ice. The views were simply breathtaking.

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    Some Photos from Thikshey Festival

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    To Be Continued......
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2014
  2. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

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    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.3
    Great start @miteshpunjani.
    Leh-Ladakh travelogues are flowing on TFI.
  3. punto_emotion

    punto_emotion Esperto

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    Bangalore
    Grande Punto 1.3
    Snow peaked mountains from air are simply breath taking. Awesome! Keep the pics coming
  4. miteshpunjani

    miteshpunjani Amatore

    Messages:
    154
    vadodara-gujarat
    LEH

    The LEH town is divided into numbers of clusters with small mud brick buildings with flat roofs. The streets are too narrow for heavy vehicles. The newer town spreads out below the old town. Main Bazaar Road and the one running parallel to it to the east are wide and lined with a range of restaurants as well as small and big shops selling souvenirs, daily groceries, wine and other necessary items. There is a large fruit and vegetable market run by local traders where one would find fresh fruits, vegetables dried apricots, almonds etc. Vendors from surrounding areas were also selling dried apricots, fruits, almonds on the pavements.

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    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 25, 2014 ---
    The Monasteries

    The first thing you will notice while visiting various places in and around Leh are the prayer wheels dotting the roadsides. They add an ethnic beauty to the place and rotating the wheels – a religious tradition - gives such a pleasure. It has to be rotated in the clockwise direction. In fact,I didn’t miss a single opportunity to put my hands to it whenever I saw a wheel. Ladakh region is the abode of several monasteries. Shey Monastery, 15 km from Leh, has a 7.5 metre high copper statue of Buddha, plated with gold. It looked awesome. The Thiksey Monastery is 20 kms from Leh. We enjoyed the magnificent festival of dance at Thiksey known as ‘Thikshey Gustor’. Hemis Monastery, which is 40 kms from Leh, happens to be the wealthiest, best-known and one of the biggest gompa of Ladakh. Among others are Lamayuru Monastery and Chemday Monastery. There was also the Shanti Stupa -a spotless white structure - on the north-western skyline of Leh.

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    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 25, 2014 ---
    The Monastery Trails

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
  5. miteshpunjani

    miteshpunjani Amatore

    Messages:
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    The Trail Continues

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    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 25, 2014 ---
    Another fun place is the magnetic hill. It is around 30 km from Leh, where if you stop on an upslope and put your vehicle in neutral mode, it automatically gets attracted by the hill on the opposite side. Then we visited the confluence point of river Zanskar and the Indus. There the brownish water of Indus mixes with pure greenish water of Zanskar and the combined flow moves ahead. The confluence of two rivers surrounded by mountains was a very pleasing scene. We also visited places like the Moon Land, Pattharsahib Gurudwara, Mahakali Mandir, Stok palace, Shey palace and some small monasteries.

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    Last edited: Sep 25, 2014
    pv_krish and Ravi like this.
  6. miteshpunjani

    miteshpunjani Amatore

    Messages:
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    vadodara-gujarat
    I will let some Photos do the Talking

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    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 25, 2014 ---
    To Be Continued.....
  7. miteshpunjani

    miteshpunjani Amatore

    Messages:
    154
    vadodara-gujarat
    A lot of adventure sports take place during the peak tourist season from March to October. However, we had to give them a miss because first, we were in a non-tourist season and second, it was very cold. The normal temperatures in Leh in November range from +5 deg in day time to -5 deg in night. Majority of locals migrate to more comfortable temperature zones down South.
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    The Motorable Pass

    Khardung La is a high mountain pass located in the Ladakh region, at an altitude of 5359 m (17,582 ft). The pass lies in the north of Leh and is the gateway to Nubra valley. It was opened to motor vehicles in 1988 and has since seen many automobile, motorbike and mountain biking expeditions. In November, it was a challenge for us to visit Khardung La due to adverse weather conditions, but we decided anyhow. The entire road network in and around Leh is maintained by the Border Roads Organization. The pass is strategically important to India as it is used to carry supplies to the Siachen Glacier. It was freezing temperature minus 12 degree at top of the mountain, we hardly stayed out there for 15 to 20 minutes and rushed inside the café where we were treated with hot tea and noodles at the army canteen. It was a freezing and delicious experience on top of the Khardung La. Hats off to our Jawans who dare to live in such climates to protect our nation.

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    While returning from Khardungla we visited the White Drake Lotus School. This school was featured in movie 3 Idiots. But for me it was one of the very good Architectural projects done with low cost, environment friendly materials and on a very tight budget.

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    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 26, 2014, Original Post Date: Sep 26, 2014 ---
    The Blue Lake

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    Next destination for us was the Pangong Tso lake (4,350 m). This place became more famous after being shown in the climax of the movie ‘3 idiots’. We started our journey early in the morning. Though the distance is only 150 kms from Leh, but the journey time was around 4 hours because of the road conditions. The journey took us through some thrilling and interesting territories. We crossed through Chang La pass, which was as cold as Khardung La. The landscape changed from time to time as we descended the pass. We got the first glimpse of the lake through the gap between two high hills. The lake is 134 km long and extends from India to Tibet. 60% of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km wide at its broadest point.
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    During winter the lake freezes completely, despite being a saline water lake. The crystal clear salty water shines in many shades of blue depending upon its depth. It literally changes shades with sunlight, with a backdrop of mountains of various hues and colors. We were completely thrilled with the visit to Pangong Tso and collected memories of that pleasing place in our cameras.

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    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
  8. miteshpunjani

    miteshpunjani Amatore

    Messages:
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    The Wedding

    I had read somewhere in one of the travelogues that November is actually the wedding season in LEH. As the harvesting season gets over and tourists withdraw from Leh, the locals get time to arrange the weddings and November is the ideal month for them. From the time we entered the town my eyes were searching for such events. I enquired with our driver and locals about it but had to wait for the opportunity. Finally on day 6th while we were returning from Chemday Monastry in the afternoon we got a chance to attend a local wedding ceremony. The pandal had actually written as Cultural Event on it. We stopped the car and asked our driver to go and enquire about the same. It turned out to be a wedding ceremony. As we entered the Pandal I found that we were on the Bride Side and that the actual wedding ceremony will take place in the night. We were met by the girls relatives and they were more than happy to receive us. In fact we were seated at a special place and were invited to dance. We were also offered three kinds of tea and the liquor (army rum) was free flowing. This occasion provided us with an opportunity to understand and learn their culture and foods. It is very different from what we follow here.

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    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 26, 2014 ---
    After a week of mesmerizing sights, sceneries and stories, it was time to bid goodbye to Leh, with a heavy heart I boarded the flight back. As I looked out of the small window I now saw the familiar snow-capped ranges, places around Leh. We were all completely thrilled with this visit to Leh-Ladakh and decided to be back again to explore more.

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    Some Parting Shots

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    And Finally the Last One, WE yearning to come back AGAIN.......

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    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 26, 2014, Original Post Date: Sep 26, 2014 ---
    Some of the Photo Compilations to Cherish For





    --- Double Post Merged, Sep 26, 2014 ---
    Some of the Photo Compilations to Cherish For
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2014
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  9. miteshpunjani

    miteshpunjani Amatore

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  10. Ravi

    Ravi Staff Member Janitor

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    Prasad Gorse likes this.

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