Julley…! Scenic, mesmerizing, beautiful and many more. Travelbugs have fell short of superlatives to describe this hidden gem at far most North of India. Bollywood and social media did it’s best to make it one of the hottest tourist attractions in India which was previously being explored, mostly by foreign tourists. I am talking about a high-altitude place where Mother Nature has defied its own rules and is extremely different to other gorgeous places in Himalayan ranges. Hailed as Bike rider’s paradise, this place is rightly called as The Land of High Passes – Ladakh.
If you take an early morning flight to Leh, you would get to experience a beautiful sunrise from the plane. Witnessing the mesmerizing scene of sunrays falling on snow-clad peaks from the above surely leaves an unforgettable impression on your mind.
Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Magnetic Hill, Confluence of Indus-Zanskar rivers and Hall of Fame Military Museum are some of the main attractions in Leh. Monasteries like Thiksey, Spituk, Shey do invite travellers for a peaceful experience too. Confluence of Indus-Zanskar Rivers is an amazing place to be at and clicking this, where two different rivers meet and their colours blend to form a magical one has to be part of your bucket list. This place also became popular for adventure sports, thanks to the amazing river rafting experience. This ride in fast rapids and ice cold water promises to give you the adrenaline rush you need. It turned out to be a more thrilling experience for us than the others as our instructor allowed us to swim in the bone chilling water after entering slow rapids.
If you want to see amazing sunset in Leh, Shanti Stupa is the place to be! Built on a hill just outside a city, this place offers a great panoramic view of Leh city and mountains around. It is a treat to the eyes when sun rays fall on the pretty white Dom of the Stupa. Even the golden statues of Buddha add to its beauty. Experiencing the colourful sunset in the evening was a spectacular sight to watch out for. Seeing the photographs, weapons & learning stories of our martyr soldiers at Hall of Fame Military Museum gives you goose bumps! We held our heads high with pride while saluting the tricolored flag standing tall in front of the canvas of mountains and the blue sky.
Now our journey started towards Nubra Valley, famously know as A Snow Desert. It is a thrilling journey where you pass through Khardung La, which is the highest motorable pass in the world. Rocky mountain ranges, curvy dangerous roads, barren lands is the kind of desert beauty which accompanied us during this adventurous drive. The vastness of the geological structures around made us realize how tiny we are in this world. You may get to experience a snowfall at Khardungla photo stop.
We had a mind blowing experience while entering the Nubra Valley! Out of nowhere there was a storm and it started raining a bit. In the valley, the sand around Nubra River went up in the air so high that it was almost kissing the sky. First of all, what an abstract concept it is to see a river flowing in a desert. It was like nature was giving an exception while proving its own rules. After absorbing this never seen phenomenon we reached sand dunes where we did a double humped camel safari. These sand dunes are situated near village of Hunder. Diskit Monastery and 106 feet tall Maitreyi Buddha statue are the main attractions over here. There are hot water springs in Panamic area where you can enjoy a warm bath in hot natural springs in the cold weather. You can also visit the last village on Indo – Pak border named Turtuk.
Our road journey continued for most memorable part our trip. Like an Oasis in a Desert, a feast to your eyes sits the mighty Pangong Tso. This journey is all about different shades of nature around. Small and brownish yellow hills, snow clad peaks, fast & furious rivers, lush green grasslands, and all the Yaks, horses and kettle enjoying their lunch. Suddenly you see small patch of pristine blue water lurking from the mountains. It’s pretty impossible to describe that feeling but I finally experienced the concept of Love at first sight. This canvas of breathtakingly humongous lake, blue and turquoise coloured glowing water with background of brownish hills & white clouds is a heavenly sight. Also, a sunset by the lake side is not to be missed.
After Pangong, we also visited a lesser known and explored lake, Tso Moriri. You will also get to see extremely pretty lakes like Tso Kar on the way. Tso Moriri is also very large and a sweet water lake where you get to see a beautiful background of snow clad mountains and lush green hills. Just when we were admiring this mesmerising scene, suddenly a patch of rainbow colours appeared out of nowhere. A golden opportunity for a photography enthusiast like me and a moment to cherish for lifetime. There are no hotels around these two lakes making it a dream destination for campers, here you can also enjoy luxury tents.
Just like how beautiful it is, Ladakh is also very tough on your body. Here, taking appropriate care is essential. Being a high altitude place, oxygen level in your body goes down. Hence, taking complete rest on first day in Leh is necessary to get acclimatized. To avoid extreme effects, you can start your journey from Srinagar. It is a beautiful road when you travel via Sonmarg to Kargil and ultimately to Leh. People who have more number of days, can go to Himachal Pradesh from Tso Moriri or Leh. While traveling to Manali via Rohtang pass you can stay at Jispa which is no different to some pretty village in Swiss Alps. Changing of geographical features around is the highlight of this journey. It is an ultimate experience when you enter gorgeous valleys of Himalayas from barren, rocky desert.
It’s good to have beautiful places in foreign lands on your travel bucket list, but before that definitely visit this extremely unique place in our own country. Full of natural diversity and groomed in peaceful Buddhist atmosphere, ‘Ladakh’, promises to give you memories of a lifetime.
And then you will also say, “Julley Ladakh”!