Journey To The Fabled Land Of Ladakh – A Photostory Part 1

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Sunlight was never that clear before Air was never that thin before Water was never that clean before Snow was never that white before People was never that cordial before They call it Utopia, but I know it is Ladakh

High in the northern plateau in the rain shadow of the Himalaya, Ladakh (meaning ‘land of the passes’) located in the far northwestern India between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Chinese – Occupied Tibet has sat quietly for centuries behind a shield of impenetrable mountains. In literal sense, it is at such a high altitude that it pretty much unites with the heaven and in terms of beauty it is so scintillating that its comparisons with the heavens is certainly no lie ! Famous among travelers for its high – altitude trekking and traditional Buddhist culture, Ladakh is incredibly open and accepting to the open minded traveler. As one reaches Manali, the green valleys of Kullu welcomes one with splendid views and a lovely weather. Manali is the starting point of this journey.

The Green Valley of Kullu as we start the journey from Manali  Photo Courtesy : Rahul Tripathi

The Green Valley of Kullu as we start the journey from Manali
Photo Courtesy : Rahul Tripathi  

Leaving Manali early morning to escape from the traffic on the road to Rohtang, this road winds up the hills with spectacular views of the Pir Panjal Mountain Ranges. As we leave behind the green areas of Manali and reach Rohtang covered in snow. Rohtang connects Lahaul and Spiti to the Kullu Valley.

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Crossing the Rohtang is an experience of a lifetime. As we leave the green valleys of Kullu and enter the Chandra Valley
Photo Courtesy Rishabh

Lahaul and the Chandra Valleys are dotted with glaciers on all the sides. Lovely views of Glaciers, watersfalls, snowcapped mountains and green fields. Nature is at its best here.

Lahaul Valley is famous for glaciers as it is surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides.  Photo Courtesy: Bayaer

Lahaul Valley is famous for glaciers as it is surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides. Waterfalls such as the Sissu Fall can be seen all around the valley 
Photo Courtesy: Bayaer

Signboards on this road are not to be overlooked but they can scare on and make them fall in love too. As in this case the signboard on the back says “Next Filling Station 365 KM Ahead

The Last Petrol Pump on the highway before Leh. Better get your tanks full and take some extra fuel

The Last Petrol Pump on the highway before Leh. Better get your tanks full and take some extra fuel

Tandi is a small town but has a major importance, as its the place where the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers meet to form the Chandrabhaga or the so called Chenab River.

The confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers at Tandi as they form the Chandrabhaga or Chenab River  Photo Courtesy: mitali_kalita2002

The confluence of the Chandra and the Bhaga rivers at Tandi as they form the Chandrabhaga or Chenab River
Photo Courtesy: mitali_kalita2002

Road to Keylong is a bumpy ride but its worth the pain, the road takes sharp turns but beautiful views of the Lahaul Valley can be seen. The road is dotted with many monasteries and chortens. Kardang Monastery is one of them

Keylong in the Lahaul valley  Photo Courtesy: Jassi Oberai

Keylong in the Lahaul valley
Photo Courtesy: Jassi Oberai

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Jispa a small village located besides the Bhaga River, and great views of the Himalayas. The small town has hotels, mountaineers hut, folk museum.

Jispa a small picturesque town located in the Lahaul valley is a great place to rest for a day.  Photo Courtesy: Milan Bhattacharya

Jispa a small picturesque town located in the Lahaul valley is a great place to rest for a day.
Photo Courtesy: Milan Bhattacharya

A small lake just off the highway know as deepak taal can be nice place to have lunch or just walk around.

The Deepak Taal at Patseo is a small yet beautiful lake in the Lahaul Valley  Photo Courtesy: Satwik Majunder

The Deepak Taal at Patseo is a small yet beautiful lake in the Lahaul Valley
Photo Courtesy: Satwik Majunder

Baralacha La is an high altitude pass that lies on this road. The pass s generally covered with snow on both the sides and its a picture perfect location to drive between the snow walls.

Crossing Baralacha La is always fun to cross, summit with cross. The top of the pass is where roads from Spiti, Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahaul meet.

Crossing Baralacha La is always fun to cross, summit with cross. The top of the pass is where roads from Spiti, Ladakh, Zanskar and Lahaul meet.

An emerald blue lake often catches ones eyes just below the Baralacha La, The Suraj Taal the source of Bhaga river. Suraj Taal is the 3rd highest lake in India and the 21st in the world.

A lovely lake sits just below Baralacha La.  Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

A lovely lake sits just below Baralacha La.
Photo Courtesy: Wikipedia

Sarchu is a major halt point on the Manali Leh highway lying just below the Lachulung La. River Tsarap Chu flows through the region and has some of the most unique landscapes. Sarchu is used by serious trekkers as a starting point for Zanskar region.

Sarchu is a major halt point on the Manali Leh Highway. Sarchu also offers great sights of landscape  Photo Courtesy: René Timmermans

Sarchu is a major halt point on the Manali Leh Highway. Sarchu also offers great sights of landscape
Photo Courtesy: René Timmermans

The Gata Loops are 21 hairpin bends changing the altitude drastically but the sight from the top of the loops is worth the headache caused by the altitude.

The Gata Loops are 21 hairpin bends. These bends make one reach Tanglang La  Photo Courtesy: Jassi Oberai

The Gata Loops are 21 hairpin bends. These bends make one reach Tanglang La
Photo Courtesy: Jassi Oberai

Nakeela is a small pass just after the Gata Loops in the Ladakh region  Photo Courtesy: Milan Bhattacharya

Nakeela is a small pass just after the Gata Loops in the Ladakh region
Photo Courtesy: Milan Bhattacharya

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Just as we coss Nakeela Lungalacha La needs to be crossed. Its an easy pass and lower than the others on the way.  Photo Courtesy: Thomas T Thomas

Just as we coss Nakeela Lungalacha La needs to be crossed. Its an easy pass and lower than the others on the way.
Photo Courtesy: Thomas T Thomas

Everything in Ladakh is a world record. At least when it comes to altitudes. And the Army does not want to be left behind on this. Pang has the world’s highest transit camp at 15,640 feet above sea level located between Sarchu and Leh.

Everything in Ladakh is a world record. At least when it comes to altitudes. And the Army does not want to be left behind on this. They claim to have the world’s highest transit camp at Pang – at 15,640 feet above sea level. Photo Courtesy:  Nitin Prabhudesai

Everything in Ladakh is a world record. At least when it comes to altitudes. And the Army does not want to be left behind on this. They claim to have the world’s highest transit camp at Pang – at 15,640 feet above sea level.
Photo Courtesy: Nitin Prabhudesai

Plains as the name says More Plains, are larger than life and way larger than anything one would have read in the Geography books. An endless 50 km of flat land at 15,000 ft above sea level. They are flat for miles and miles until they merge in the surrounding mountains. Camp here if one wants to witness the most dramatic yet beautiful pictures of sunset even a mobile camera can click, wonder what a SLR in the hands of an expert can do. More Plains are a major attraction for Bikers.

A 40 Km of flat land flanked by beautiful mountains on both sides, this area is a major attraction to the Bikers heading towards Leh from Manali.  Photo Courtesy: Goutham Vel

A 40 Km of flat land flanked by beautiful mountains on both sides, this area is a major attraction to the Bikers heading towards Leh from Manali.
Photo Courtesy: Goutham Vel

Gosh, are we really here ! are the words that come out of ones mind when we reach Tanglang La, the world’s second highest motorable pass.

The second highest motorable pass in the word Tanglang La, is a sight but can be a problem to some as well Photo Courtesy: Ben Mitchell

The second highest motorable pass in the word Tanglang La, is a sight but can be a problem to some as well
Photo Courtesy: Ben Mitchell

Driving down from Tanglang La, we reach Upshi just 50 Km out of Leh. Upshi has been an important junction on the ancient trade route as it connects Tibet to Ladakh in the east.

Just 50 Km's outside Leh, it was an important trade point as it connects Tibet on the east Photo Courtesy: Jassi Oberai

Just 50 Km’s outside Leh, it was an important trade point as it connects Tibet on the east
Photo Courtesy: Jassi Oberai

Entering the Indus Valley as you see the ladakh range in the far horizon and some greed patches down in the valley. Yes that’s the Juley Land.

Indus Valley welcomes you with great views of the Ladakh range Photo Courtesy: Petr Louzensky

Indus Valley welcomes you with great views of the Ladakh range
Photo Courtesy: Petr Louzensky

The City of Leh is dotted with houses overlooking the Tsemo Gompa perched on the hilltop. The most beautiful sight ever one can come across is the sun playing hide and seek with the clouds over the city of Leh.

Shades of brown cast shadows on the city as sun plays hide and seek over the city of Leh Photo Courtesy: Kuntal Joisher

Shades of brown cast shadows on the city as sun plays hide and seek over the city of Leh
Photo Courtesy: Kuntal Joisher

“One day If I go to heaven I’ll look around and say it ain’t bad, but it ain’t LADAKH”

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