It was a day to relax, enjoy some sightseeing & arrange the permits.
Strangely we all developed Cracked lips and it was really painful. Mine was to such a extent that it started bleeding from a couple of places. Dry & cold weather was the main cause for this condition.
Had to visit a medical store to get some medicine and a lip balm.
While discussing about the permits with the GH owner, he offered to arrange for us at some extra cost.
Rs. 480 per person were the charges to get permits for all regions + 120 extra pp were paid to GH owner to get the permits done. Total Rs 600 per person.
With the permit tension taken care of it was time to enjoy Leh local. We had already selected a couple of things. First will be the Shanti Stupa followed by Shey monastery with some purchasing in the local market.
First up was Shanti Stupa
View of the Leh City
Another view from the Stupa. You can see the road going towards Khardungla Pass
Next we visited the Shey Monastery as it was on RakeshG wish list.
As there is a steep climb to reach the Monastery we decided to stay at the road and try our hand at some shots while RakeshG
hiked it in no time as it was just regular work for him.
We reached Back Leh around 3.00 PM. After a light lunch and tea it was time for a local market tour.
We all were interested in buying local Spices form the Leh market. Evening time is the best time to visit there.
You can really get some amazing deals in you have the negotiating skill. Unfortunately I am not good at it. I was specially interested in purchasing some Yak Cheese.
Spent about 2 hours in the market and got some good stuff, all thanks to RakeshG as he had knowledge of these ancient known spices.
With all the purchasing done we were back in the GH to do our packing as we had plans to move early towards Khardungla.
In the mean while the GH owner gave us our permits. Surprisingly there were 3 different permits for different regions. Although the format of all 3 permits was same, but different regions were highlighted in every permit.
I am sharing the copy of all the three permits for more clarification.
Permit 1. - Highlights Upshi, Tso Moriri, Chumathang, Spangmik, Man, Merak, Mahe Loma & Nyoma area with Permission to Hanle stamped on it separately and the signature says Chushul via Loma Bend
Permit 2 - The second permit also had almost the same places highlighted as in permit 1 but the signature says Pangong via Tsaga la
Permit 3 - This had permission for the remaining part. mainly K - Top and Nubra Valley
Nevertheless with the permit issue solved we went out for a light dinner and got to bed with the excitement of crossing the highest possible pass in our lives. Although new higher passes are still in my wish list.
Before I move ahead, would like to update that my friend and fellow BCMTian Mr. Gaurav Tomar had just reached Manali a day before in his Vaayu. He had done the same itinerary as mine, so after discussion with him regarding accommodation we opted for the places where he stayed both in Hunder & Merak. We managed to book Hunder GH on a phone call but could not get through to the Merak GH as network coverage is very poor in that area.
Nevertheless we dropped a whatsapp to the owner of Merak GH and prayed he will receive it before we reach there as we too will be without proper network for the next approx. 2 – 3 days.
Here I would like to thanks Mr. Karma for his hospitality during our stay in Leh. We were treated to some mouth watering delicacies and that too without any charges.
Morning came with a little bad news for us. RakeshG was was feeling light fever and an upset stomach. As he is a regular trekker and a guide he has his own set of medicines.
We had a cup of hot tea and checked out by 7.00 AM. We wanted to reach Khardungla early as this will be the first test of Herbie in the high passes. So wanted to keep some extra time on our hands if required. It was a pleasant day with clear sky. We packed the stuff and after some medication for Rakesh G we started our trip for mighty Khardungla.
Lets start the journey with some morning shots on the way to K – Top.
Very famous Khardungla frog. Looks like medication has its effect as RakeshG is out to click the frog
We were followed closely by an Army convey. So decided to speedup.
The road turns in to a dirt track after we cross South Pullu, where you need to submit the copy of the permits.
The temperature outside can be imagined from the below pic
Let's have a closer look.......
Nice proverb written on a stone just before K - Top
The last couple of Kms before the top is really bad and we had a tough time driving to avoid any underbelly hits.
Finally around 10 AM we reached the Khardungla Top. There were still traces of fresh snow as it has snowed a couple of days earlier.
The journey from here on has a spell binding effect. Its mother nature at its best. The view changes at every turn.
The rugged terrain of the mountains provide a picturesque view of the landscape that can truly be considered an abode of serenity.
Herbie looks calm and composed while posing at the top with other Big SUV's
The first view of the road we follow on the way to Nubra Valley