After the adventurous road trip, we reached Leh. For the next three days, Leh was our base station.
Day 1 was more of local site seeing. So we started with the Sangam of Zanskar and Sindhu rivers. And once we reached there, we realized that only we were there. It felt so peaceful and calm to be able to explore the place alone. So, we climbed on rocks, went into the water and did all the things possible 🙂 . I felt as if we were part of some hollywood action movie 😉
On the way back we visited the famous magnetic hill. Here, you can see your car or any vehicle “Climbing” uphill, even when the engine is turned off. It was believed that this happens because of strong magnetism of earth at that point. But now it is known that it is merely optical illusion. Though it is fun to watch it happen in front of your eyes!!!
We also visited few Gompas including the famous Thikse gompa. We saw little monks here. We exchanged “Zule” but couldn’t talk because of the language barrier!! Everywhere we went in Leh, we were always greeted by a happy Zule. We gathered that people in this region either work for government or work in tourism sector. Life here is very tough, especially in winters, with tourism open for only few months in a year. But still you see smiling faces here. I found the people very charming, helping, hardworking and accommodating.
On this day we took a walk to the market and bought the Leh road trip T-shirt, shawls and some knick-knacks 🙂 while coming back we lost our way back to the hotel and one lady dropped us to the lane of our hotel. I also tried the authentic momos for the first time.
The next day promised to be a really exciting one as we planned to visit Pangong lake on that day. That day we started early with a breakfast at hotel and a packed lunch to be taken at the Pangong.
On the way we saw frozen springs; I wonder how something like this happens. God is a great artist for sure!! To reach Pangong, we also passed through the 3rd highest motorable pass in the world – Chang la. On the way there were a few small villages & army settlements and after about three hours we reached Pangong.
The lake was breathtakingly beautiful & serene. I had never seen anything like this before. The water has so many shades of blue, that you can’t capture them in an earthly camera. This lake is so vast that you can’t see the other end. And it is situated at the height of 14000 Ft!!!!
We sat there for a while, there was no need to talk (& as a matter of fact we were not able to talk a lot, partly because of short breath due to high altitude & partly because of cold weather). After this we went a little further and explored the place and had the most memorable lunch of our lives on the banks of the Pangong lake. And it was time to go back.
On the way back, we gave lift to an interesting army jawan, who was full of information & anecdotes. He told us, how Chinese wander in our territory near Pangong lake and how tasty their rice wine is. He also told us that just 15 days back, Aamir Khan & Kareena Kapoor were shooting at Pangong lake (Later we saw that they indeed shot 3 Idiot’s climax at Pangong). After dropping him at army settlement, we went back and the day was over.
And finally the day came when we were to go to Khardung La, the highest motorable pass in the world!!! Hubby was determined to drive to the top. Although the driver came along, he arranged that once we were out of city and on the mountain, he would be taking over the driver’s seat (literally!). I was not very comfortable with the idea, but finally agreed. So we started with hubby on the driver seat, driver on seat next to him and me on the back seat, hanging on to the handle for her dear life. But he managed all right with the tips from our driver & we reached Khardung la safely. And then i too drove the car at Khardung la (Please ignore the fact that i drove the car for hardly 10 mtrs)!!!
Also the pleasant thing today was that we were fully acclimatized and there was no feeling of nausea, headache or short breath. One interesting thing about these high mountain passes is that, army jawans built temples there. And these temples are given the name of the pass i.e. the temple at khardung la is of khardang la Baba, who protects the commuters on this pass (India is a religious country!). Also army is doing good work of providing free beverages and maintaining the rest rooms at these places.
Finally the day of our return came, we couldn’t go further to see Nubra Valley and Kargil. So we will have to go back ;).
Next day we did board the flight to Delhi and from there to Hyderabad. Again we managed to be in 3 different cities in a same day, i.e. Leh, Delhi & Hyderabad. We were back to Hyderabad & I still feel as if it was just yesterday when we drove to Khardung la.