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Ladakh - must go before you die
Travelling keeps one fresh and takes one away to an entire new setting. One which is very different from the daily mundane work. Travelling, most definitely introduces one to new places and to new situations. But, sometimes you come across places which make a permanent space in you heart. Ladakh is one such place to me. Among the places I have been to in Asia, Europe and US, this one place is by far the most awesome place I have seen. The beauty of the place is extremely difficult to describe and it is best that each person absorbs it with own eyes. In my 6 day trip to Ladakh there were innumerable times when I felt – Hey, this is not possible, how can a place be so beautiful. I thought it was all fake, the government has created certain mountains, rivers, flowers, clouds to attract tourists. But for hundreds and hundreds of Kms this is obviously impossible. I felt so small in front of the beauty of the place and the people of Ladakh. Without doubt I can say that, Ladakh is one place which every person must visit before she/he dies!
Once you are in Ladakh everything around you is so beautiful that it is extremely difficult to list down a few must do things. However, considering that not everybody has a lot of time at disposal, I will talk about a few critical places that you should visit to make your stay in Leh/ Ladakh truly memorable.
Must go places
Pangong tso lake
How to reach Ladakh ?
I have one week – If you have somehow managed to take out a week and need to get back to work, it is indeed a short time to travel by road, as all the places in Ladakh are very far away from one another. The preferred mode of transport in this case is direct flight to Leh from Delhi. It is a one hour flight.
I have more than a week – If you have around 10-15 days at your disposal, I sincerely suggest that you should travel by road via the Manali-Leh road. The view from the road is breathtaking.
Where to book your onward travel from?
You can hire motorbikes from Leh itself once you reach there. But if you are travelling with family and want to travel together you should book cab previously before coming to Ladakh. Why booking a cab is necessary is that the travel company will also help you obtain license/permit to various places that you would be going. Ladakh is under army supervision hence, you will need permits to cross the army barricade and visit these places.
Day1: Rest for 4-6 hours is advised, as you need time to get acclimatized. It is important to walk around a bit slowly for an entire day to allow your body to adjust to the less oxygen. This is a good time to visit places such as Elements.
Elements:- Elements is a wonderful dining place in the Leh market. It has a very narrow road leading to it, hence it is extremely easy to not find it. You will have to look out for blackboards kept on the road to see the entrance gate or ask people. We were plain lucky to have found the place. A narrow road leads to a breathtaking sight when you reach elements. This place is built on the edge of the cliff. The place faces the snow capped Himalayas. This restaurant serves excellent non-veg food and they screen movies on a big screen as well.
Leh market:- Leh market is great for shopping especially hats, scarfs and tibetian goods.
Army museum:-The army museum displays the achievements and the equipment of gallant army men fighting in extremely difficult weather conditions of the Himalayas. If you are an Indian this will surely fill your heart with pride.
Shanti Stupa:- This is a beautiful Buddhist stupa. I would describe it as peace and architectural beauty at it’s best.
Leh castle-Spooky yet very beautiful.
Magnetic Hill- Legend says this hill has magnetic properties and if you park you car in the box marked on the road, the magnetic powers of the hill will pull your car uphill. It did not happen to our car. But neway the drive is worth it.
Changla pass – At a height of 17,500 feet, this will be a high point in your trip. Don’t miss out on the delicious maggi and soup served right at the top of Changla.
Pangong tso Lake –If there is any heaven it lies here. The drive to this place is 6 hours from Leh and the place closes early . So, one needs to start early for the lake. Don’t even think about sleeping all the way because the journey is mind boggling. So much of beauty surrounds you in the journey that you will find yourself clicking more than 2000 photos in 6 hours, if you are a photography enthusiast. Just when you thought that you have seen it all the gorgeous Pangong Tso emerges from between the mountains. The water is a 100% reflection of the sky. The lake is as clear as it can get. It is a blue heaven .Check out the pictures.
Nubra Valley- A stay in Nubra valley will complete the awesomeness of your trip. Nubra valley is picture postcard beautiful. In one place you will find a sandy dessert, icy cold river, forest cover, snow capped mountains, green grass and so much more. This place is magic. Stay overnight in Nubra. Several tents are available for rent. They also provide home grown food.