Posts Tagged ‘Leh’

Epic Ending Of My Leh Trip

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

When I was up next morning most of my trek mates had left, except for Sara. A feeling of void was creeping in after so many days of fun. Sara and I were having breakfast, the remaining food instead of throwing she packed it and gave one pack for and another she carried for her journey. I was pretty impressed. She is such a darling, she gave me some of her fancy stuff and said “here you go darling will be handy for you”. She even gave me one of her favorite special dark chocolate which I ate after coming back to Bangalore. I had kept it in mt fridge for her remembrance. 

“Staying back?Travelling alone?” my trek mates weren’t impressed when I had told them that I wont be flying back immediately. I dont know what had got into me but yes I wanted to explore on my own like a hippie carrying my bag just before I get little old”.

Saying bye to Sara was hardest thing, she had always looked out for me, a total stranger not that I wanted any care taking but still.

Rigzen drop me back to hostel which was filled with new strangers. As I was planning to visit Nubra Valley and Pangong , very popular places cramped with tourist I was on my way to get the permit.  Once I got my permit, I explored the Leh Market some more.

As this time I had taken women dormitory, met few strangers but no one like Ladina who had explored world and had story to tell.

As I waited for my shared ride, a Xylo showed up with a short man in the driving seat. He was all serious and not smiling at all. “You can sit front today but may be tomorrow you have to sit back”. I was lucky as I was the first pick up. Later we picked up a married couple and a South African exploring Leh with her guide, my companions for 3 days. 

There is always a queue if you want to click any pictures and if you want it without human in it you have to be just lucky.

I waited patiently counting every second when they all disappear. Kindly avoid tourist season if you are visiting Leh, its super annoying.

This dude mistook it to “My adventure is my daily routine”. How I prayed that he falls down with a “thud” like a ripped open jack fruit. 

You can find many hundreds of stupid Indian tourist. I was and am still a exception 🙂 

As I said you can find them everywhere.

BIKERS, you can find them everywhere. Road, the dust, the weather, the curves are meant for bikers.

View from the toilet window 🙂 

This is where we had our lunch

Leh roads have super cool road signs.

Water falls.

Photo bombing the perfect picture

Way to Diskit Monastery, Nubra

Beautiful Buddha was glancing at us from far away.

Closer Look

The gigantic, magnificent Buddha.

Nubra Valley

As I said many hundreds of tourist.

Finally, I could click one decent pick without tourist spoiling it.

Bikers, they are everywhere

Picture Perfect

Roads, they always call you

Nubra Valley, desert festival

https://snlworld.com/2019/07/21/desert-festival-nubra-valley/

https://snlworld.com/2019/07/21/mok-mok-in-making/

Isn’t he a cutie

Anything for my blog

Quick nap before the ride

I am a free bird, I am your democratic candidate.

Bruce:”Hows your ride?”

Russel:”Sucked, basta***** kept on rubbing his feet on my stomach”

John:”Nothing can be worst than me,the guy kept on farting, worst than Zora”

Zora:”Did someone mentioned my name?!” and the round table conference of camel went on and on 

“Oh yeah, little further, yes, there, right there scratch it baby”

My moma says I need to chew my food,I make sure I chew my food very well, once right

And once left

“Pumpkin, where are you”

“Here I come mother”

“Where were you?”

“I was just looking around and trying to understand these funny creatures called humans with two legs. Can we ever get a chance to ride them like how they ride us?”

“Now listen pumpkin, there is nothing to know about them, they are stupidest idiotic creatures ever born on this earth. And about riding, we better off without riding them”.

Hey yo, have you seen my spikes?

Desert festival was winding up when we left. After dropping my other companions, at near by fancy home stay, Karma sir and I went in search of “Himalayan Bunkers”,a hostel, our stay for the night.

It’s a fantastic place to stay, pocket friendly, cozy and lovely. When I stepped in the tent of 6 beds, my tent mates were all missing. I quickly freshened up, charged my phone(electricity is not available all the time),Its then my tent mates, all bikers walked in with their dirty clothes and stinking socks. They were all nice and talky. They went on talking about their Leh bike trip.

Its was 8:30PM and surrounding was warming up, there was a bonfire where all the bikers were shaking their hip to loud music, cracking some jokes and just chilling.

“Wow, why I didnt do this trip earlier?” Its total different when you are on your own, exploring new things in your crazy way. That’s when it hit me why people love travelling. I was just getting a hang of it little by little.

When I went back to my tent little later, one of my tent mate reading a book and other was sleeping. We stroked a conversation, talking about books, travel… Strangers as we meet, friends as we depart.

Days tiredness was wearing me off, slowly I drifted to sleep, listening to the music one side and water stream from other.

To Be Continued

Beautiful view in the morning, never realized sky is so blue. I was happy too, finally I could poop, it was so relaxing I never felt I could feel that way. Some of them still couldnt poop “Still no luck, I am worried now. I eat so much wonder where it is piled up”. 🙂 I didnt dare to laugh. Meanwhile no one cared about the night fart sound. I giggled whenever I heard them but never dared to fart in public. 

Our darling kitchen boy. Water was icy cold wondered how he manged to wash all those vessels.

Fresh and energetic, yep that’s how we looked at the beginning of the day.

MouLee’s oxygen was very low and he was shivering mildly. Previous evening when Pawanji check his oxygen level after the soup, it was below 70. 

“Do you want to continue or go back?”

Moulee just looked, he didnt answer. He didnt had the proper trekking gear, no stamina and no previous trekking experience not sure why he opted the trekking in first place. He looked very much unprepared but group always encouraged him, motivated him.  “He can make it:,”No he should go back”, everyone had their own opinion, MouLee had to decide because it was his call.

Most of the time due to drop in Oxygen level , trek guide send the trekker back and its painful site to watch . They would have dreamt  the summit, would have exercised and spent a lot of money to be there. 

When Pawanji checked Mou Lee’s oxygen level after the breakfast, that day it was very low, so to avoid the future complications Pawanji decided to send him back. “Take this bar, take care of yourself ” I said my good bye so did everyone in their own different ways. As he was occupied he couldn’t join us for the group pic one last time. We started our trek without saying formal bye to him, Rigzen was leading and Pawanji stayed back to look after the arrangement to send MouLee back

It was almost 11 when we could see Pawanji catching up with us “I sent him, my god, his oxygen level was very low, had to give him emergency oxygen. Hopefully he will reach back safely ” He explained us everything in one breath. 

Mountains, mountains and more mountains.

You can find all sorts of colors, pink, purple, white, yellow, blue…

DO EPIC SHIT, stranger from the trail.

Sri never sat he always leaned to one or other thing with his monster bag. As Stupa is holy he was requested to move from there, Sri apologized and found another place to lean on. When you are visitor be like and visitor and respect the culture, peoples sentiments.

Ever cool Chandhar sir.

Kitchen staff and mules always started after us and reached before us 🙂

Ever energetic kitchen staff.

We were told we have cross couple of streams in upcoming days and have to keep slippers handy, when we saw the stream we were like “wow”

When mules go wild in wild.

Eating Musk melon on the trail, it was totally a different feeling. Thanks to Rigzen and the kitchen staff.

The cute little munchkins from the mountains. 

“Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Math 6:29

One of my favorite my-click.

Once left

Once right

And then Straight up.

There was a old school adjacent to our camp side in Markha. When we reached the camp side, all curious kids came to see us and Rigzen chased them around. 

I asked his name and he said something which I couldnt get it so to keep it short and sweet I started calling him “Chingu”.

Renu had got some nice, yummy bar chocolates which were not very sweet, Chingu picked one, took a bite, made a weird face and throw it to the ground and jumped on it while Renu watched with horror. She had taken lot of pain to carry those chocolates, in no time Chingu just kicked the chocolates butt showing its no big deal.

Markha School

You are always “WELL COME”

Dining tent. There is one craziest chair, no matter whoever sits on it they topple and we laugh our lungs out.

Its acclimatization time.

Markha Village view from the top.

Shomonata Monastery

Pawanji posing with his friends.

The curious mules

“Look, the mountain goats” Pawanji shouted, all could see them bearing the same color that of mountain except for me. I have to put finger inside my eyes rub and ask “Where?I cant see them”.

Killing mountain goats is prohibited, government have installed cameras and if any body gets caught are prosecuted as per Leh’s law .

Most of them could spot right away,  “Where?” I was still searching “There, see, right front of you”. When I almost gave up I spotted them, happy ending for my 4 eyes.

Our kitchen tent, the food was always delicious and yum, we could serve n number of times only on one precondition “no wasting”.

Some mule riding in the evening.

As soon as we were back from acclimatization all started playing cricket which ended with Tiffin’s “Bumro Bumro with heavy steps. I never felt I am away from home even for single second.

Soup, oxygen level check, dinner, camp fire and then bed, it was a long day

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.