Friday, May 25, 2012

Leh Liya Mera Dil! :)

After discussing and planning this trip for years now, my family and I finally embarked on this pending Leh trip. The trip was scheduled to last only 6 days, with about 2 days going in travel alone. Our connecting flight to Leh was from Delhi, the duration of which lasted for only about an hour. Please, do not fall asleep or keep yourself occupied during this flight journey as it the sights are not to be missed.



 You can find a very picturesque view of Leh from the flight, while the stewards would be describing the hills you see (this happened in GoAir, not sure about about other airlines).

The moment we landed and stepped out of the aircraft, a cold breeze hit our faces. Yes, Leh was freezing at 8 degrees. Especially for a Bangalorean who was used to 28 degrees ka weather.

Snow-kissed Leh Mountains
The view from our room
A walk through the jewellery market

Adorable little things at the market!
Nowshera Old Market where you could find bags, jewellery, etc. But you'd have to do a LOT of bargaining if you're not a local.

Pity we didn't visit this.

Plenty of nuts and dried fruits to choose from.


The last of the sun's rays for the day. Twilight illuminates this place beautifully.


Chang La pass at 17,586 ft. You will pass this on your way to Lake Pang Gong Tso.

The journey to Lake Pang Gong Tso is very tiring. Ensure you have a light dinner the previous night and leave early, around 6 am, so that you could get back early as well. Wear at least 3 layers of clothes, 2 socks, and cover your ears and neck at all times.

Those who are not comfortable with hilly drives, eat just a fruit and some biscuits for breakfast. Also, pop in a pill if you can - it helped me tremendously; I didn't feel nauseous at all.

The drive is about 5 hours or more with a distance of 165 km to cover and it's very hilly that would make your stomach churn at some point. Eat light and maybe sleep for most of the journey to get rid of that motion sickness. That aside, the view of the lake is so breathtaking that all of that tiring journey is absolutely worth it! :)

A scene from 3 Idiots was shot here. What you're seeing is 'Kareena Point' :)

Leh, you beauty!

Tranquility.

Family Photu!

Looks photoshopped, doesn't it? I haven't touched this picture.

Looks like a painting because of the beautiful stillness.


One is not allowed to get into the water as they might dirty it, and rightly so.

Wishing at the monastery.

Hemis Monastery

Momos from Tibetan Corner, a restaurant you HAVE to visit in Leh. Only open for lunch though.

The Hall of Fame showcasing brave acts and valour of the Indian Army during war time. A must visit to enrich yourself with history.


The Magnetic Hill that can pull your vehicle *shivers*

The car was moving, even though the engine was off, due to the magnetic pull by the hill.

The centre box has the maximum pull. Sadly, I'm not metallic and didn't get pulled.


Sangam

Zaskar - Indus confluence, also known as Sangam. Worth a visit.

More where that snow came from.

I always thought of ice cream when I saw this.
Khardungla Pass - the highest motorable pass in the world, at 18,380 ft

And the breathtaking view from the pass.


Sunshine and Snow


Down the Indus River


Nubra Valley, a major tourist attraction at Leh.
Nubra Valley is a must-visit when you go to Leh. Its distance from Leh is 135 km, and the drive is much better than that of Lake Pang Gong Tso. Most tourist packages would require you stay a night at Nubra Valley, see the sand dunes, go for a camel ride, see the hot spring and two other monasteries. Take it from me, do not spend the night at Nubra Valley, it's a simple camp out with a very basic meal, and comes up with a lot of cost frills.

Leave early in the morning if you can - around 5 30 am, it's about a two and a half hour drive to Khardungla Pass, and another roughly 3 hours from there to Nubra Valley. You could take a look at the sand dunes, go for a camel ride (for 10 minutes, the cost is Rs. 150) and see the gold plated Maitreya Buddha near the Diskit monastery (again, if you've already visited the Thiksey/Hemis monastery, then you can skip this). You could give the hot spring and other monastery a miss. Leave by 2 or 3pm and your should reach Leh by 8ish.
The two-humped Bactrian camel, unique to Leh.




Maitreya Buddha


Compulsory family photo in front of the Buddha.

I think I had a screensaver similar to this.

More snow. Yay!

Stalactite like structures (the actual ones grow only in limestone caves)

Trying to venture into the snow, before slipping and falling down miserably.

What's the story, morning glory?

Supposed to be my Ice Wand first, but Ice Saber seemed more appropriate.
Rinchen Cafe :)


Did you know the Maggi story?

Hot and delicious Maggi at the highest cafe in the world!

Our (my) faces say it all.


The Siachen story.


View from Khardungla Pass.


And that's all, folks! If you may be looking for some food-specific pics of Leh, do go here.

Do let me know your thoughts on this post. And any other queries on travelling to Leh that I will be happy to answer :)