Posts Tagged ‘Leh – Ladakh’

Epic Ending Of My Leh Trip

Posted: March 20, 2020 in I Got Leh'd
Tags: ,

It was almost 15 days and I was little home sick, I was missing Bangalore already. That’s the speciality of the Bangalore, when you are around you hate it, when you are far away you miss it. “Around 1:00PM in Delhi, around 8:00 PM max in Bangalore, can order Meghana’s Chicken Biryani and next day boring office….”my thoughts were back to reality, working like machine, planning, well in advance for the upcoming journey.

Around 9.00AM Mika came to pick me up at my hostel , for a change I was glad I wasnt travelling alone “You all set?”, she was full of life and warm like always.

“Yeah”I said in a low voice. 

“You can always come back, you know that right.”

“Yeah true, may be I will.” There is something special about Leh, you cant get enough of it.

We were too early and managed to get window seat again:),(lucky me)separate though.

The weighing scale shot up when Mika put her bag.

“Looks like that stone is the culprit”

Mika had picked a big, beautiful stone, which she picked up when we had stopped the vehicle for a quick photo break,on the way to Nubra. She didnt open her bag and throw the stone when the ground staff raised his eye brows rather she opened her wallet and paid the money “It’s Leh souvenir, it has to come with me”. There were so many things I admired about her, simplicity, down to earth nature more than that she admired each and every tiny little thing”.

As Leh have only one airport ,we stumbled upon most of the people we met earlier, the Korean guys too and I had smiled at them”

How you know them” Mika asked me

“There were staying in the same home-stay where I stayed in Pangong. Never thought I will see them again”

“World is too small”

As the plane took over the run away I felt sad, my epic journey was coming to an end. The warm-hearted people, culture, the beautiful mountains,  the trek, fun loving trek mates, the cold crazy weather, the wind, the hostel, intolerable power cuts …I was going to miss dearly. “I will be back, may be I can do that Stok Kangri trek next year or explore Leh little bit more.” I was lost in my thoughts seeing the beauty of the valley and mountains .

We had crossed a great amount of distance when our flight faced turbulence. It was not pleasant one. It was like auto rickshaw ride, on a road filled with pot holes, always in air and never on the seat.

“God let me not die in the plane crash. My dad might beat the shit out my already dead body” scared of my dad, I was praying.

Meanwhile I stuck a conversation with a army guy  sitting on aisle seat, adjacent seat was vacant. His name was something like Urug, he was from Darjeeling, was on his way back home home,for a vacation. It looked like he was all excited, he told me few things about difficult army life, the problems they face in Leh, the food they eat. “Never go with the looks, there is always a catch”, some good gyan from the army guy. We were talking when the heavy downpour caught my attention.

“It’s raining”

“Hopefully will be able to land safely, I have connecting flight” he was all worried now.

To worsen the things there was thunder storm and first time I experienced super crazy turbulence.

We covered some more distance and entered Delhi, could see the tiny metro station, the roads.

“We are reaching on time. Good that I dont have to collect my crazy bag-pack in Delhi, hopefully the trekking pole is still there” my mind was a crazy horse wondering in all possible directions.

We were close, we could see the run way when it started to pour again. Our flight took left and then right, flew straight for almost 10 minutes while my eyes were glued on the wing trying to predict whether its going to take left or right, it was a fun game to kill the time and control the jittery nerves.

It was like constipated situation, you want to poop but you cant ,no matter how hard you try. Run way was few few inches below while Pilot announced that it is difficult to land as the weather is bad

“Give your best short dude and land the plane, like how Virat Kohli delivers a six when we need 5 runs to win with 2 balls. Give your best shot, I cant take another day off” I was grumbling.

Our flight flew, took some more turns, left, right, flew some more

“This will be the second attempt , if we cant land we will be re-directing the flight to nearest airport” Pilot’s announcement didnt calm my nerves.

“Nearest airport can be Bangalore?” I was impossible, logically and mentally both.

Uru was already going bonkers about his leaves and connecting flight

I dont know why I felt the pilot didnt tried hard enough to land the flight in the second attempt. We just flew like a bird which doesnt want to land .

“Regret to say…..we will be landing in Lucknow…”the pilot went on announcing while passengers started bombarding the air hostess with questions.

“We request you to remain calm….”

“Calm my as*”

I called my Google and Google assured me that airways have to take care of its passengers in situation like this. “They will provide the food, make necessary arrangement for your stay if you are stranded”. she was good that’s the reason I always call Mrs N as Google. I was sucking in the all information when I got some more web links, articles on whats app. She is smart and quick.

“When we can travel to Delhi?”, “what about our connecting flight?”, “how long we have to wait?”…….

The air hostess tried their best to calm the passengers but it was vain.  It looked like they had faced this issue n number of time unlike the passengers.

People were shouting, calling home, kids were crying, AC wasnt working properly, ……it was chaotic. After a great deal of 2 hours wait we were asked to get down from the flight. We were served with snacks before that.

Lucknow was nice, we weren’t allowed to go out , we were asked to stay inside the airport and self fill ticket. 

I had seen the South Koreans guys around, being a Korean drama freak I was drawn to them. There is no logical description for my mental state to be honest. They were alright on their own but I just checked on them and made sure they are doing alright. Blame it on my current role in office, I have this craziness to make sure all are comfortable and not facing any problem

Mika and I were chit chatting when the South Korean guys came and gave me a chocolate. I was pretty touched.  That’s me, half burnt mackerel in Leh’s sun with them. Their other friend opted to stay back in Leh for some more days. I dont know much about South Korean men (except from the dramas) but it looked like they are very good gentlemen.

I was lucky Mika was around else I would have gone crazy with boredom. We spoke for hours, roamed around, she admired Indian ladies dressed in all colors. We could relate the things. I was, still am glad that I met her on my trip.

Time was passing and we were going insane , sitting on the edge of the seat and waiting for the announcement. We were served refreshment around 9 and finally we left Lucknow at 11:30 in the night. By the time we reached Delhi airport it was 1. 

“You ever visit South Africa, always remember you have a friend there, you can come and stay with me” Mika said giving me a tight hug. Its hard to meet good people but when you meet them its difficult to part ways.

I was given a decent accommodation non-sharing(it was heavenly after the stay in hostel, in tent in the mountains) in one of Delhi’s hotel. It was almost 2:30 AM when I hit the bed. Worried, tired and exhausted I drifted to sleep in no time.

Next day when I boarded the jam packed flight to Bangalore around 11:00AM I was happy, didnt had any regrets. First time on my own, I explored a beautiful new place, stay with strangers, made some new friends, explored a trail, experienced a different culture, weather, food, hospitality, visited Lucknow too(short but sweet) with no expectations but with a open mind and my gigantic backpack like a hippie(that’s what I was called at the moment). It’s a total different feeling when you do things on your own term, it makes you feel like there is nothing you can’t achieve. At that moment I was the top the world and I didn’t feel like down.

Finally The End

Perfect morning; getting up to see Pangong flow majestically surrounded by mountains. Its was heavenly feeling.

My dear friend Karmaji. Darn we look like brothers!!

Guess the faceless ghost!

If you go further in the right you will reach Chinese border.

How I envied the lucky bas** duck, mocking us and swimming in the morning. It was tempting to take a dip seeing the duck but water was too cold.

Some strangers from South Korea, we departed as friends. Story to be continued :), no we didnt share the number if that’s what you are wondering. 

Owner of the Padma home stay. She was very humble, down to earth. Previous night when I walked into kitchen to kill the time she took me to her room and her me watch her pray. It was really sweet of her I thought.

This is where I stayed.

More home stays.

Post card picture.

Some photography by Karmaji

She just adore animals.

They all say I am nice photographer.

Expert in photo bombing perfect pictures.

Yak Ride

Some more Yak’s

Marmot

They are so adorable.

“Be Gentle….”

Cutie pie!

The Shaggy Dog

“The note for educated people because most of the time they act like monkeys”

Chang La baba temple

All they have to say is “Jullay”

You got it!

Holidays;quality time with family.

Blink of my eyes, my extended trip came to an end. As we all were travelling back the next day we knew it we will bump into again. Mika , her guide and I were in the same flight so I was bit relived. Saying bye to Karmaji was bit hard. He was tough guy but he always around giving me advise like second day “they might ask you to sit back” on second day, “Dont stay up late, go to bed, lock your door” when the Israelite’s were playing music loudly. He was old school guy but a good one. You should definitely hire him(I have his number, buzz me off).

As I stepped into the hostel I met many people whom I was acquainted in Pan gong, Nubra Valley. There was one last place I had to visit. I called the taxi and I was on my way to Shanti Stupa. 

It is really beautiful, peaceful except for annoying tourist.

One last night in Leh Market.

To Be Continued

Hostel was too perfect to complain , perfect place to meet fun loving strangers

Karmaji showed finger far across and said “that is silk road, Chinese used to use that road in olden days for trading”

Petrol Pump

Bingo!!!Traffic Jam

Stuck in traffic was wondering how to kill time when my eyes fell on her and I fell in love with her in no time.

Little Rock star. When the van came from other side, I helped her get in bidding my farewell. Dont know why my eyes were misty, she was just too perfect.

When its super sunny ,the ice melts down and water flows down to the road. Making difficult to drive.

“Alert Today Alive Tomorrow”

“East or West safe driving is the Best”

“Check your nerves on my curves”

Pangong

Thanks to “3 Idiots” bollywood movie, Pangong is famous. Most of the tourist want to sit on this yellow scooty and reminisce ending scene from the movie. Its painful to watch though!!

The famous 3 butts

We dropped others near by homestay, “come back if the place not that great” Mika said saying good night, she was very kind. Karmaji stopped the Xylo near Padmas guest house, our destination. The owner was very friendly and warm. Sharmaji, the cook, gave a lock and key in my hand “lock whenever you go out, all rooms are occupied”.I got to know few Israelite were staying in one room and Koreans in other.I bumped into them on couple of occasions but we never spoke. Tired I hit the bed around 10, Israelite were playing their drums , singing some song which was anything but soothing.

Far away from home, away from my comfort zone I was finally enjoying the so called “Travelling”, how I wish I could this for living. Staying in not so fancy places, meeting strangers, talking to few once in a while, meeting the localities, understanding their culture, language, respecting their sentiments yes, I was enjoying it, every bit of it. “Open mind” that’s what I had with no expectations.

To Be Continued

A crazy mule was crying whole night like it has possessed with some mountain daemon, keeping us awake most of the night. It was almost dawn when the tired mule shut its mouth and let our eyelids close for a brisk hour or so. Otherwise it was like paradise, quiet and beautiful most of all peaceful in midst of nowhere surrounded by mountains ,streams and humble people.

As our ritual, we clicked group pick before starting our trek to Sara, after having ravishing breakfast with multiple serves. Kitchen stuff was so good and humble, they were always looking after us.

We kick started our trek, Sara called me aside and said “lets pray”. So it begun, Sara’s and mine ritual, Sara would say few things about how the trek has been so far  followed by watch over us, protect us, our father and three Hail Mary’s. I was glad I had someone with whom I could pray. Yes, we continued this till the last day without fail.

Ladaki women are so pretty and down to earth.

Pawan said she isnt keeping well so she had to cut down her trek, we didnt ask her, its painful when you have drop the trail ahead of you and come back.

Looks like they are already bored of us.

Pawan have completed Stok Kangri so many times, still he leads trek groups on regular basis. One of the best TTH, trek leader. On other hand Rigzen is mountain man, fearless, strong.  He have climbed almost all near by mountains Kang Yatse, Stok Kangri and many more. He organized Chadar trek as well in winter. He is your man if you are looking for a fun loving mountain man in Leh.

While Rigzen was leading the group Pawan always followed us at the end, making sure all are doing ok.

Bunch of old but crazy folks. It was one heck of a trek with them. If not for them it wouldn’t have been the same.

Alibaba and 40 chor is all I could think about it.

The Shaggy dog followed us and was very happy to see us.

If you want to destroy the evil you need to fight and defeat it.

Then pray for more power to almighty so that you can be a superhero.

Sri was total fun, I found a great millennial friend who is learning machine language in his free time.

Mou Lee followed us with his own speed, Pawan was always with them making sure he is doing ok.

Apparently this place is cafe run by women only, it wasnt open for the season yet.

The four best friends for life. They all had a different but unique bond. We couldnt believe Raju was leading with Subhash, looked like he was back in his form. When Tiffin and Kishore lagged behind Subhash stayed back and encouraged them. I loved his jokes and laughed like crazy all the time.

Our boiled-potato break spot. 

Mules carrying kitchen items and our bags. They always started after us and reached before us

No it doesnt look like the mountains is farting the white gas,rather it looked like mountains were smoking Maui-wowie early in the morning.

The crazy lad wanted do push-ups on the rock,nonetheless  we captured the epic moment while his dad just watched, how cool is that.

Sara smilingly said “Sara welcomes you all to Sara “

🙂

Camp site

After having hot lunch, bless the kitchen staff, we were sun-bathing with Fench Babe as Sri called himself at the moment.

Acclimatization was always fun.

Pic talks itself, PC: RS

Toilet tents few feet away from out tents. I used the open nature to wee whenever I could, hiding behind the bushes and disappearing behind the trees. It was my second day without pooping, I was restless like many others. After having the dinner when I walked towards the toilet, so one was singing so I called out. Sri was in may be constipated like me.

“Hey Sri, you gonna take long time”.

“hmmm”

“May be I will wait here “

“hmmm”

“We had such a lovely day today “

“hmmm”. it  sounded like he was in pain

“Hey Sri, you ok .”

“Dude, let me concentrate and finish my business”.

“My bad Sri, see you later”

It was cold that night but peaceful so could catch up my beauty sleep right away.

 

To Be Continued 

 

 

Some catching up in the morning

We had hired a taxi for the day or plan was to cover as many monasteries as possible. With our ass up by 8 and lots of talking, giggling over stupid jokes it was almost 11 when we, 6 of us squeezed into Tani’s Omni. As one of the guy in the gang 4 chaddi-buddies wasnt keeping well, best-bees decided to stay back and take care of their unwell friend. I was pretty surprised by their close bonding.

First one was Hemis Monastery

It’s just mind blowing

Dont fall for the look we were just fooling around. Best part was even though we were of different age group when it came to having fun and living in the moment we were all 9 years old.One behind the camera, one yelling change the pose and rest posing, smiling and making sure they look pretty in the picture.

There is so much to talk about Sri and his intelligent IIT dad. It was a dream a meet a IIT guy because I always wondered what their look like. Chandhar sir proved me wrong, first of all he was way too much normal than us plus his coolness was un-measurable. The things the duo discussed started from badminton auction, next trek, learning machine language, sending Head mistress of their house to the trek with their work-out freak other brainy who at the age of 17 have ripped up body. They never stopped they went on talking and whenever I could I eavesdropped not because I was interested in their conversation but because I was taken aback seeing the closeness, there werent any barriers .When Sri told me that his dad have completed his Ph.D my eyes were almost popped out of my socket. So down to earth, caring father and most of all a great human being.

The ladies need no introduction, chilled out , humble, go-getters I met. They were the energy booster to the whole farting(stories for later) group

She is a awesome photographer!. I had reached Leh a day earlier. What she did was gave me a call(which I missed) and then dropped me a message asking if I need anything. Dumbstruck, yes I was and was touched deeply.

After spending couple of hours in Hemis monastery we had our lunch on the way to Thiksey monastery

Thiksey monastery

I found a small little tigress posing

If I am around you can bag some cool pics for your Insta about which you can brag from morning till evening  except the photographer (that’s me 😦 ) .

I found Sri to super cool like his dad. He was the only one I believe who used to laugh at my stupid jokes as he says. He was little evil(little brat) as I used to say but I found a great friend in him. He was a great listener like me may be that’s why we just hit it off. He is really smart because he picked same kinda earring to his mom and girl friend, not giving any of them option to choose.

Then I found a little Bunny Rabbit with his parents trying to please them, posing as they instructed him

You need lot of time to take in all of the surrounding especially the gigantic beautiful Buddha statue. The annoying Indian tourist will be in queue to click ‘n’ number of pics (like us) and other tourist who will be busy admiring the art, smiling and clicking random pictures.

Thats Moulee. He is a sweet guy who can get lost without your supervision. No he didnt utter a word when I gave him a gyan on being punctual and being attentive. He simply smiled and said “ok”. Sadly second day of the trek his oxygen level went pretty down and he was instructed to go back. His was having his breakfast on the third day while his hands shivered. All I was manage to tell was “Take care Moulee”.

Later we got to know from Pawan that his oxygen level dropped very low and he was given oxygen. Somehow he was able to reach back Leh. This focuses around one more important thing, treks cant be planned at the last minute like how he did, without prior preparation and trekking gear.

More pictures and more poses.

One more thing which I liked about our group was even though we spent lot of time clicking pictures, no one utter a word. If they were bored they just sat and waited without complaining!

And finally when were done clicking our crazy picture we were on our way to Shey Palace

I was able to capture them from top of the Palace and I am sure they were deep down in some intellectual conversation .

I told the shy couple to sit and pose. I helped them to capture a memory and I made them a sweet orange-full memory.

That’s us, crazy us.

And then checking like 9 years old

So true

When we reached back we were tired. Leh was almost getting ready for bed. Sun seemed careless about his bedtime even though it was 7 in the evening

Ladakhi’s are hard workers, they dont even care the time. Its was 7:30PM and I found this couple working side by side without fighting 🙂

More to Go…

Hit The Road

Posted: August 20, 2019 in I Got Leh'd, Motion Picture
Tags: ,

Lonely Roads

Posted: July 22, 2019 in I Got Leh'd, Motion Picture
Tags: ,

Quick tea with onion Pakoda

We were lucky when we were in Nubra Valley because we could be part of their Desert Festival