Travelling always fascinated me, as it not only refreshes our mind, but also makes us aware of the beautiful nature around us.
India has so many beautiful places to visit that there is no need to travel outside the country. We get to see everything here. Himalayas, deserts, sea, mountains, plains everything!
I stayed in Delhi for many years so naturally I was more connected to the mountains. My husband and I both love travelling to the mountains. We would just reach there and spend hours gazing at the snow-clad mountain ranges. We would fall in love with them every time we saw them.
One place which we both wanted to visit was Leh. I had heard a lot of stories about this place and it only added to my anxiety.
Finally, we decided to go to Leh, and planned everything. The moment we landed at Leh airport we could feel the change in the air due to the altitude. We were certainly on a different terrain!
Mr Norbo had come to pick us up from the airport. He was going to be with us till the end of the trip. He was our driver cum guide. Being a local he knew everything about the place. His first suggestion was to do nothing for the first 24-30 hrs. “Just take rest,” he said. This was to help the body to acclimatize to the new altitude.
To start with, we visited some local sightseeing places in Leh city which included the Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, etc. This place has the most beautiful monasteries.
The main attraction of the trip was the Khardung La Pass which is around 40 km from Leh and is at an altitude of 18379 ft. It is the highest motorable road in the whole world. It was the most difficult road travelled, but certainly had the best scenery. One needs to take care of the altitude sickness as the oxygen level is really low here.
Passing Khardung La, we came to the Nubra Valley which is also called the ‘cold desert’. From Gompas to Sand Dunes, there is no dearth of tourist places here. The double-humped camels and beautiful mountains are the key attractions.
We also visited the Turtuk Village which is on the border of India and Pakistan. It was under the control of Pakistan till 1971, after that the Indian Army captured it. This place is quite famous for its apricots.
We were still patiently waiting for the beautiful Pangong Lake. The movie ‘3 Idiots’ had already raised the expectations. To reach the lake we had to pass through Ladakh and drive over the world’s third-highest motorable mountain pass called the Chang La. The first glance of this alluring lake and its blue waters was enough to leave a lasting impression on our minds.
We returned to Leh and then back home. But the trip had an everlasting memory with its beautiful scenery and most difficult roads which seemed scary at times. It was a different terrain which could not be compared with other places.
All this certainly gives Leh a top place on your bucket list!
Sheetal Pradhan Deshpande