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गर फिरदौस रूहे ज़मीं अस्त

हमीनस्तो, हमीनस्तो

LADAKH

"The Heaven in India"

"If there is paradise on this earth somewhere, here it is, here it is"

[ Travel date : August 2016 ]

Ladakh, the land of high passes, will top the list of anyone who aspires to travel across India. Ladakh has so much to offer to a human eye and heart. One of the reasons this place is my personal favorite is because it was only being here - a place too beautiful to be real- that made me realize my passion for visiting new places. It was in Ladakh, I discovered the traveler in me and decided that I should travel more often to make myself feel better, happy, and free.​

Places to visit in Ladakh : 

  • Pangong Lake

  • Nubra Valley

  • Khardungla Pass

  • Changla Pass

  • Shanti Stupa

  • Leh Palace

  • Indus-Zanskar Sangam

  • Hall of fame

I got to visit Ladakh in August '2016. (The ideal time to visit Ladakh is between April to September). No matter the weather, the views and the vibrant color of mountains are always pleasant to look at. Considering its geographical location and weather, you must carry sunscreen, sunglasses, and a cap along with you when you visit Ladakh as you will be more exposed and close to the sunlight here, at such a high altitude. 


If you are planning or wish to visit Ladakh, you might find the itinerary of my trip useful. Here it goes:

 

day 1: Arriving Leh

My journey began from Delhi to Leh (the highest commercial airport in India) at 4 'O'clock in the morning. Our flight was scheduled for 6 AM. Due to the mountain winds that blow intensely in the afternoon, all the flights fly in the morning and since the airport is located between the Himalayas, Leh Airport has made its presence in the list of the world's most scenic airports. 

On our aerial journey to Leh, I experienced a beautiful and jaw-dropping view of the great Himalayan ranges. Clouds moving over from one mountain to another revealing the purest shade of blue in the background - a start to a trip cannot be better than this. It was so beautiful and promising and I was sure that the coming few days are going to be the best days of my life.

We landed at Leh Airport around 7:30 AM. You can see the picture just above, it speaks a lot about the beauty of the place. The rocky mountains seem to go as high as the sky and the clouds floating just above the tip of the mountains seem to fly like puffs of cotton.

 

After landing, we directly went to our hotel in Leh city and checked-in. We have our hotels booked already. We were welcomed by the local people in a very grateful manner.

The one thing I heard about for the first time there was: acclimatization !! Well, when you travel to Ladakh, you need at least one day to acclimatize so that you get accustomed to the oxygen level of Leh. We were given instructions not to do or involve ourselves in activities that require a lot of physical effort.

The Pangong Hotel, Leh

After a few hours of rest, we went to visit the local market.


Leh Market


What to buy from the Leh market?

We all love to collect/buy something from the places we visit to cherish them later. Some special and specific items that you will find here are :


1. Pashmina shawls

2. Stone jewelry

3. Dry fruits and oils (Apricot is very famous in Ladakh)

4. Kashmiri carpets


While roaming around the Leh market, I found out that some shopkeepers were not the locals and selling stuff at a much higher rate. Needless to say that one must be aware of such sellers or they can easily get fooled. This is pretty common in almost all the places in India which attract tourists from within and outside the country. But forget that, I loved almost everything that was being sold and I wanted to buy everything but alas the luggage weight limit and not to mention the limited funds :-P


The best souvenirs I could bring from Ladakh was the scenic views that are etched deep into my memory. 

Later in the evening, the hotel had organized a music and dance event for us. We got to witness the local people performing Ladakhi dance and singing folk songs.

 

The local people of Ladakh are very sweet and polite. Kindness is the one thing that is rare to find nowadays but not in the people of Ladakh. They have lived among the clouds and were still grounded.

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Day 2 :
Around the town

We woke up to a pleasant morning. Things were brighter than normal - perks of being at high altitude areas yet the weather was cold and windy. I remember sitting by the balcony and sipping a cup of warm tea, basking in the lukewarm sunlight, and enjoying the view of mountains hiding behind the tall Poplar trees found here in Leh.

On this day, we planned on visiting the nearby areas and sightseeing points. We covered the following places on the second day-

Indus-Zanskar Sangam

We started with Indus-Zanskar Sangam. As the name defines, it's a confluence of two rivers from the Himalayan and Zanskar ranges respectively. This place is known for the clearly visible difference between the shiny blue color stream of the Zanskar river and the slightly green color stream of the Indus river. At the Sangam, these two rivers kiss each other and the view is no less than a glimpse of heaven.

 

 

Magnetic Hill

What a magical place was the Magnetic Hill. On our way stood a yellow signboard stating "The Phenomenon That Defies Gravity". It's a downhill road. If we park our vehicle at the marked spot with the engine off, it's wheels start rolling uphill. People also call it "Mystery Hill" or "Gravity Hill". Well, there is a lot of explanation both mythical and scientific behind this mystical phenomenon. Please google about the reasons if you want to know more, I bet you will be amazed.

 

Later we left this place, and on our way, we paid a short visit to "Gurudwara Pathar Sahib".

Shanti Stupa

The Shanti Stupa in Leh is a white-domed Buddhist monument located on the hilltop. It is very popular amongst tourists as it offers a sweeping view of Leh and the nearby Changspa village. The sunlight sparkles at the white walls of the stupa.

 

I have heard that this place looks the most beautiful under the moonlight. My bad, I couldn't stay here at the night.