June 16, 2017
The monasteries silent;
The Lamas humming ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’;
The surroundings pristine!
The snow clad peaks of the mighty Himalayas!
The sound of the prayer wheels spinning;
Welcome to the land of the lamas. Ladakh.
They say, beauty lies in the eye of the beholder. Not true for Ladakh. Beauty here lies on every snow studded peak and sun scorched grain of sand. It is here that divinity transcends human cognition.
It’s easy to let Ladakh get onto your nerves. That’s unpreventable. What’s important is to thoroughly acclimatise yourself the moment you step in into the Ladakhi high mountain air. Do not rush in for a hot water bath. Relax. Unwind. Just be the one with Ladakh as it slowly grips you in. Ladakh is the only place on earth where you could have a heatstroke and a frostbite at the same time. Grab your Woollens. Grab your umbrella.
You are now ready to step out!
Exploring Ladakh is an adventure that never ends. The mystic Nubra valley with its double-humped Bactrian camels, the highest motorable mountain passes on the planet, the goodness of the Gud Gud Chai with dollops of butter, the confluence of the majestic silver rivers at Zanskar. Witness Ladakh, first-hand, as you have never seen it before.
Off roading at the Khardung La, across the World’s highest motorable roads is an experience. The spine-chilling drive through the Chang-La and a visit to the shrine of the Maitreya Buddha completes you. The lesser known trails to the Aryan villages takes you back in time, eons, bound to leave you speechless.
Chilling mountain air pulling the life out of you. Nerve Tickling freezing waters. You’re at Pangong Tso, one of the region’s most breathtakingly beautiful lakes that has the potential to freeze one to death. Stunning though they are, don’t even think about getting into those waters. Khardung La flaunts a board by the military that reads, ‘Staying at this place beyond 45 minutes is fatal’. No, they’re not joking. You could be the unsuspecting victim of AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness) that quickly gets into the head at 19,380 feet. Beware! Move beyond Adrenaline Rush. This is Ladakh.
The Lamas believe each Stupa is a world in itself; the storehouse of divinity. Blessed with ancient chants and relics, the Stupa symbolises the blessings of the Buddha Himself. The land of the lamas has several thousand Stupas and ancient monasteries all around that have preserved the bygone era within their dark, mystic chambers. Hemis, Shey, Thiksey, Nyerma, and Alchhi are but a few ancient wonders of a glorious past that beckon visitors with open arms. Come, explore.
There’s no waiting. No excuse. No substitute. Ladakh defies belief.
A land so sacred it manifests its colours in a thousand different forms all melting into the golden yellow of the evening summer sun setting across the winter hues. The fluttering prayer flags whisper:
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