Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Trip to Leh – Ladakh – Chapter 2
I assume most of you, who are reading this must have read Chapter One also and if you havent i would recommend to read that 1st
before you begin with this.
So as we were done at the cafe @ Manali we picked our stuffs and got ready to go to our hotel – shimlog. As i was in a real good mood now(the good Manali stuff 🙂 ) i truely was enjoying every moment there – the chill, the heavy rain,the breeze and the fun.
We ran down and outside the cafe to get an auto, stuffed together all at the back seat as the rain was too heavy. The rickshaw wala covered the sides immediately. Only sprinkles of water touched me…and i was loving it.
We reached the hotel and after getting freshen up we spoke to the manager there to arrange for our trip to Leh. He had some options – private cab/ sharing cab and tt(tempo traveler). Private cab was pretty expensive and sharing a cab didnt make much sense. we finalized tt, as it was under budget and we thought would be better than sharing a cab for the long journey ahead.
Along with us there were 5 more guys who were suppose to travel from there.We packed and left from manali early morning by 5am. Early morning we stopped just outside the hotel to have tea, till few who were late joined us.
Sipping the tea, we were watching the snow covered peak among pine trees and were enjoying the beauty of surrounding mountians. Lovable view was it.Knowing little at that moment that soon we would be crossing those peaks.
Soon we all were done and we left for the amazing road trip to Leh Ladhak. As we move away and in the valleys towards leh, the green and the scenic beauty became just amazing .It was worth the admiration of the place.
It became colder and we started getting chills inside the tt now.we all were enjoying every sec of our life, seeing, feeling and loving every beauty out there. In a while all in the tt started behaving less of strangers and we started some dialogues. 2 guys were from Mumbai, 1 was a chef and he was travelling from Goa, 2 army men and a driver and his conductor apart from 4 of us. The chef was pretty interesting. He used to travel back from Goa every year at this time as the shacks close down in coming months, he then works in leh or somewhere in north part of India for 6 months and then again goes back to Goa. He had been doing this since almost 6 years now and he enjoyed it. The 2 army men had base at Leh. The driver and the conductor were from Manali.
One thing i missed earlier, while we were discussing and finding ways to go to leh from manali – every other carriers told us that it would take minimum 24hrs to reach Leh.
But the gentleman who was driving us had told he would make us reach in 13hrs…we weren’t much surprised until later. As we moved ahead the greenery around started fading and we could see more valleys and mountains – becoming larger along the way.
On way the driver started smoking – weed…i was like what u doing ? he told that it was normal and does this everytime. We didn’t bother much and continued, laughing, chatting and enjoying every beauty out there. If ever you want go to leh do take the route from manali via road, you would miss a lot if you fly.
There were few amazing places that we halted for sometime, small break. Waterfalls could be seen coming from the peaks above that were covered in clouds.
The green was just too refreshing and the breeze was now pricking on our skin. It was cold. We had started seeing ice here and there, some hidden between moutain clevage and some just lying there, still and cold. We took a small halt at Rotang Pass, ice everywhere and we were among the clouds that we saw from the lower plains.
We reached Sarchu by evening. In all my research and suggestions from friends, i was told that we should halt at Sarchu for the night
and then next day early morning should leave for Leh. This was mainly to adapt to the higher altitudes. But our driver as promised told he would drive whole night and there wont be much problem.
Ours was the first trip and had less idea of the altitude issues. We ate hot mutton and rice there and we all began again.
By now dark started falling and we could see only ranges now. Humungous mountains panited in various shades of brown and black. As we moved higher Suraj started complaining of slight headache and one more guy started having a similar problem.
We then realized what many had told us before our trip, that there would be pressure change and this might happen. And now we came to understand that why Sarchu was a point of night stay and why all other carriers had told that it would take 24hrs minimum.
It was too cold and dark had engulfed everything outside by now. The road had steep valley on the sides and now the beauty looked pretty dangerous to us.
We were in the midst of higher ranges and could see few trucks struggling to move up in the far off hills. Suddenly one of the army men jumped in front and shouted to the driver – “bhai shahab gaadi rokiye”, we all turned to the driver and to our shock he was dizzy, and as shocked as he came out of the dizziness…we all requested him to take break as it wasnt a good idea to drive in the black – one people inside started with lil headaches, second the road seemed dangerous and third the driver was on a high and now we couldn’t risk it.
After a bit of argument he agreed to stop at Pang. Though pang itself was much higher 15001 Ft above sea level, we didnt have any option now. Ideally its Sarchu at 14000 ft were one should take a halt or before that. There were tented accomodation there and we could feel the vast strectch of giant moutains surrounding us. Though the weather was damn cold and Suraj,Bhagya and Manmeet were all in bad state, i somehow enjoyed the vastness of the place, the ranges, the cold …all. We took a tent there and were provided with number of blankets to help us from cold. Suraj was in bad headache,and Bhagya and Manmeet started vomiting. These were normal reactions though, to the change in altitude.
One thing to note here – whenever planning for Leh, u need to be fit and should be doing some workouts before the trip.
For me, my yoga and mediation helped a lot here. I really felt the difference there, no sign of headache or any type of health issue. I had to handle all of them that night.
Due to the headache and vomiting no body was able to sleep properly, but atleast could rest for some hours.
Early morning we left from Pang. Suraj was still with the headache and Manmeet and Bhagya too, were not much good. we stuffed inside the tt and started with lil excitement towards leh. We were in sleepy mood and just tucked inside.
The morning shone brighly on us in those mountain ranges.After not so good night for most, we felt we were blessed with the beauty again.
This time the beauty was just too different, like one that we had never seen before, never….we were high on the ranges, very very high.
So the journey from here would be understood better with the photos which explains it all.
—- Leh here we are : The 1st thing was to go see a doc as Surajs headache was continuous. When we went to the hospital, we saw n number of travelers with some problem.The reason for all was same – oxygen level decrease due to low air pressure and the solution for all was same, to get more oxygen from the oxygen cylinder for half an hour.Once done all problems were solved, at least better.
From here i would share the pics of places we visited – the journey was adventurous and pleasant at all places. We drove on top of the highest motorable road
in the world – Khardungla, drove through the most dangerous and adventorous roads, walked on ice and saw people from around the world who rode through the ups and downs.Visited the famous Pangong Lake, stayed at the most peaceful camp in Jispa, visited best monasteries, stood before 32 metre statue of Maitreya Buddha near Diskit Monastery.
We had got the best driver with us and made sure we had our best time there.
Taking care of all our needs and comfort. And we learned one word “Juley”. Leh people are soft spoken and calm(mostly) and whereever you go they greet with Juley.
Before leaving leh i had to through away the stuff i had got from Manali, didnt wanted any risk at the airport.
We flew from Leh to Delhi and had an amazing time there. As we had no booze or anything else in Leh-Ladakh, we came back and had a blast party at Haus Khas
with some khass friends. Pankaj shir,Amarjit,Bhabhi,Saurabh,Varun and we four. Loved the place Haus Khas and we hopped couple of pubs finally landing at Social where we danced our hearts out.
One of the best trip was soon ending with lots of adventure,fun, amazing site seeing and loads of memories for a lifetime.We flew from Delhi to Pune the next day.
Back to the parties, work and more and getting readied for our next trip………………….
LIFE IS A JOURNEY AND WE ALL …TRAVELERS !!