Ladakh – The Land of Passes

Written By – Lekshmi VG (Lux – The Globetrotter).

It is every traveler’s dream to go on a trip to Ladakh. And I was able to achieve my dream last August with the team “High Mountains” who arrange group tours to Ladakh.

I have been planning for Ladakh since last 3 years and had booked twice and had to cancel the last minute owing to unfortunate situations. And I had huge anxiety booking the 3rd time wondering if I could make it atleast this time.

Finally, the day has come. Day 1: Packed the stuffs and flew from Trivandrum to Delhi. Reached Delhi around 4 PM. The meeting point was at Majnu Ka Tila. Took metro from Delhi airport and got down at Vidhan Sabha from where I took Tuktuk to Majnu Ka Tila where the whole group were waiting.

The bus from Manali was @ 6 PM and it was total fun in the bus getting to know each other who joined from different parts of the country with the same dream – explore and experience the mesmerizing Ladakh.

Day 2: We reached Manali around 10 AM where our cabs were waiting to take us to the hotel. The stay was arranged @ Mountrain Trails, Manali on 3 sharing basis. After breakfast, we went for a day hike to Jogni waterfalls. A welcome party was also arranged by the team the same night.

Day 3: After breakfast, we started our journey to Jispa. The mode of transport was SUV. Our first halt was at Marhi, a barren landscape offering extensive views of the valley and the mountains. We then proceeded towards Rohtang pass which is approximately 3790 km above sea level. Being one of the highest road point and gateway to Lahaul and Spiti valley, pass remains closed during winter due to heavy snow from November end till June end. Reached Jispa by night and checked into our camps where we had sumptuous dinner.

Day 4: After breakfast, we checked out from camps and continued driving towards Sarchu, Pang and crossed Morai plains and arrived at Tanglangla pass and enter in Leh Valley. The travel was really tiresome that day and we reached the hotel in Leh at around 10 PM.

Day 5: The most awaited days started then – bike trip for the next 7 days through the curvy and bumpy roads in Ladakh. For the package cost of 32k, the default one was Royal Enfield, but we had the option to upgrade it to Himalaya or Duke or Harley paying extra amount.

We visited Shanti stupa, Spituk monastery, Hall of fame, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, the majestic Magnetic Hill, and Indus-Zanskar confluence “Sangam” where we had the most adventurous river rafting done. Also, at Hall of Fame, we will literally feel proud of being an Indian, had goosebumps witnessing the flag parade in the evening.

A statue of a serene-appearing Lord Buddha stands in front of the Hall of Fame with a message that reads, “It is better to conquer yourself than to win a thousand battles. Then the victory is yours. It cannot be taken from you, not by angels or by demons, heaven or hell.” The message conveys one of the most important lessons for mankind.

Day 6: We checked out from the hotel in Leh and proceeded to one of the most beautiful and scenic, salt water Pangong Lake at Spangmix via Changla pass. One third of the lake is controlled by India and rest of the two third lies under China province. The lake freezes completely to its depth in winters. The stay and dinner was arranged at “100 sky camps.”

Day 7: We woke up to the enchanting beauty of Pangong lake, experienced a beautiful sunrise, and got some pictures clicked. Then, we started our ride to Nubra valley through the least travelled route over the bed of river “shyok” without again crossing Changla pass. We had the lunch at “Durbuk”. We had experienced sandstorm and landsliding on the way to Nubra.

We reached there pretty late than planned, so we had to push the activities to next day. Our stay in Nubra was arranged at “Apple cottage”. That is again a beautiful camp with lot of trees, and we could pluck fresh fruits. That night, after dinner we had gone for a walk at 1 am for star gazing and experienced the most beautiful sky I have ever seen till date.

Day 8: After breakfast, we had started to Hunder to witness the sand dunes and enjoyed the ride on a double humped bacterial camel which is found only in this region. We then proceeded to Dikshit monastery, the oldest and biggest monastery in Nubra. After that, we had experienced the ATV offroading in the desert.

Our organiser had also arranged cricket match in the desert, and it was fun. We then continued riding towards Khardungla pass via north pulli and Khardung village. We then stopped for lunch at North Pullu and reached khardungla pass at around 7 pm. It was chilling cold out there, yet we managed to click few pics. We reached Leh at night and had a good night sleep with lot of good memories to treasure for a life time.

Day 9: We had spent the day at Leh, did some shopping, and had visited Leh Palace. We had the farewell party that night. Saying goodbye to all was the most difficult part for all of us, everyone got emotional that night, but we did promise that we will catch up at some point in life.

Day 10: Return flight to Delhi, and from there to Tvm.

Overall package cost was around 42k Rs which included stay, flights, transportation, food, campfire/DJ every night, and lifetime memories.