Thursday, 28 July 2011

Most Memorable from Ladhak

Though the whole trip is unforgettable, these will continue to be the some of the most memorable events.

Ever Changing Landscapes

Right from the beginning of the trip the landscapes keep changing. Every 20 Kms or so, there is something new to look out for. Be it the shape of the mountains, the sudden change in colours, snow-capped mountains, the plains, cultivation between barren mountains, view of rivers, sand dunes. It’s hard to put down the camera. This is one of the reasons that the drive doesn’t get boring. My personal favourites drives are the Pangong to Hanley, Darchu to Sarachu, Leh to Nubra Valley



The Feel of Snow

For the first time in my life I experienced snow at Kardungla. Trying to get flakes on my hand and feel snow was fun. The Black tea served by the Army helped warm me up in that cold hour. It was also interesting to see the design formed by ice on the older snow piles

Tsokar Lake

The mountains surrounding it, the color of water, salt on the shore, gentle waves created by the wind, almost no people around, all this make it truly awesome. The other reason that I like this lake is due to the number of bird calls I heard. Though the final decision was against over night stay, after seeing the place I wished I had stayed. There are other lakes around Leh but this one has very few places to stay at and therefore the crowd is lesser.


People

When I travelled to Ladhak, I was not sure what to expect from the people here. Would this place be like the other tourist places where people are out to make money or will I have experiences that will truly touch my heart

I had a share of both, more of the latter. 4 people who really made a difference are

Mr Akbar (nabilay@yahoo.com), he was someone who helped us get permits and organized our trip in Leh. He ensure that we go a good place to stay at and our trip was memorable. The rates for taxi and hotels were lots cheaper than what others had offered us. While most people hadn’t heard of places like Warli and Hanley. He ensured we got permits to go there.

Our driver during the journey around Ladhak. He was someone who knew the place well, never complained when asked to stop zillion times to take pictures and was giving us advice that helped us avoid being hungry and thirsty during our long drives. I missed him during our trip to Srinagar as that driver was cranky and painful.

My hosts at Rainbow Guest House. This is a family run guest house, with clean and reasonable rooms. Fresh, home-cooked vegetarian food is served based on order. What makes this special is the ladies who run the place. They are always smiling and welcoming. Even though there were restaurants close by at the end of the day I would be back here for my meals.

Mr. Shaban, owner of Shera Palace Houseboat in Srinagar. Though I initially met him to stay in his boathouse, on request he ensure my whole trip in Srinagar was taken care off. When I didn’t find an auto on the first day, he was willing to come and pick me up. Very rarely I have come across people willing to go that extent.

War Memorials

Since the region borders with 2 other nations and our relations with them aren’t the best, there are many war memorials around (Chushul War Memorial, Rezang La War Memorial, Zozila War Memorial and Kargil War Memorial). Each tell a story of bravery and sacrifice by our soldiers, the extreme conditions in which the war was fought. While each one is worth a visit to pay respect to the brave men,

Kargil War Memorial gives one details of the war, how the battle was won, weapons used, names of the soldiers and extract from their dairies. I found this to be a humbling experience. Nothing I have done so far come close to the sacrifice these men did.

Shera Palace Houseboat

This is boat house on Dal Lake (Sulehman Ghat, Nehru Park) in Srinagar. This was the first time on a houseboat for me. Riding the Shikar for the first time was scary as it wobbled. I was sure my luggage and I would be in the lake before I got to the houseboat (I was convinced otherwise after a demo by the boat man). Coming back to the boat house, It truly looked like a palace. Carpeted all the way, chandeliers hanging in most rooms and antique looking furniture it was beautiful. The old caretaker (Chacha I called him) added to the charm. He made some awesome Kashmiri Gustaba and Kawa. I could spend days sitting at the deck and watching the shikara going by.


Srinagar Airport

When I was trying to identify travel agents to help plan my Leh trip, one of them suggested that I reach the airport 2 hours early. I thought he was joking, but then everybody else gave me the same suggestion. It was only when I got there I realized why. Since Kashmir is a sensitive region the security check are 4 folds. The baggage goes through 3 rounds of checking. Since it’s a small airport and all flights take off around the same time it gets very crowded. With all the security checks and people breaking the lines it gets disorganized. I stood in queue for 45 mins just to get into the airport and another queue for 15 mins just to get a seal on my camera bag. Thanks to all the advice received I didn’t miss my flight


More Pics in the link below
https://picasaweb.google.com/belliappaaishwarya/LehAndSrinagar#

https://picasaweb.google.com/belliappaaishwarya/AnimalsBirdsAndFloraAtJK#

10 comments:

  1. Good round up. Got goosees just reading abt the war memorial! Keep traveling and writing...

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  2. Wow !! A wonderful virtual trip & neat narration.. Thanks for sharing.. Photographs are really awesome.

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  3. Thank you for the lovely e-trip! I'll be pestering you for more detials when I start planning my own journey there.

    Lovely photos and words...

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  4. This is an incentive to travel to Ladakh. I have been in Kashmir many years ago. Got stranded at Banihal due to heavy snowfall. Thanks a lot for the lovely photographs.

    Kite Karunakar JTP -1 June 2011

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  5. @Wasim Thanks a ton
    @Saandip Thanks a ton...
    @MolarBear: Thanks... sure any time
    @Gaurav: Thank U

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  6. शुभकामनाएँ आपको भी ऐसी यादगार यात्रा करने के लिये

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  7. Hey how did you get to kashmir/ladakh from bangalore? did you fly? Then which airways? And to which airport?

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    1. Hi Anu

      I went to Delhi and from there took a bus to Manali (HP Tourism). We then took HP Tourism Van to Leh. Its 2 day drive. From Leh, we drove down to Srinagar and took Indigo Flight from there to Delhi and Evening flight from Delhi to Bangalore

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