8 on 8, a journey in Ladakh

Arpit Jain

Dada your log is like Mirzya movie...everything is there in the music :supz:(your photos) and one has to hardly listen the conversation between the actors (go to the text to understand it) :cool:!! (But I am the one who go thru each and every line of ur log! =D>)

Most of them have already been shared on FB so waiting for more to come!! :finga:

Yogesh Sarkar

23rd September 2016, Sham Valley

Getting up early in the morning proved to be a tougher task than I had anticipated, however somehow I managed to get up by around 5:30am.

Today the plan was to go to Spituk Monastery for sunrise, then drive to Nimmu for breakfast and thereafter check out a couple of monasteries Otsal had told me about last night.

Called Neha and woke her up, and after getting ready, called the driver and asked him to pick us up. Came downstairs and found out Neha had a light headache and KP was still sleeping. After we finally woke him up, he complained of a severe headache.

We asked him to have a couple of shots of oxygen, from the disposable oxygen cylinder we had purchased. Eventually, we decided to skip Spituk and asked KP to rest a while and asked the driver to come back a couple of hours later.

Around 8:30am we eventually left the hotel, after KP started feeling better. First stop of the day was Wonderland Café, where we had delicious breakfast of aloo parathas. In fact, these turned out to be the most delicious aloo parathas we had during the course of entire Ladakh trip.

After having our fill, we headed towards Leh – Srinagar Highway. Yesterday's drive on the Leh – Manali Highway had left Neha and KP mesmerized and I knew, today’s drive was going to be even better. However, before that, it was time to pay a visit to Hall of Fame. To learn about the history and culture of Ladakh, along with details of the battles Ladakh had seen till date.



Neha was still having a headache and feeling unwell. However, she was ok with the idea of continuing the journey, so we hopped back into our taxi and headed towards our next destination.

As we left the diversion for Phey behind and started climbing altitude, views got so much better, that we had to stop for a photograph.


Another small photography break at Indus and Zanskar Confluence viewpoint and we continued our journey towards Nimmu. Only stopping once we reached the outskirts of Nimmu at my favorite prayer wheel.


At Nimmu main market we decided to take a somewhat longish break. Neha’s headache and back pain had increased, however, she refused to take any medicine. Sitting for a while in sun did her good, and after half an hour long break, we were back on the Srinagar – Leh Highway, with beautiful views keeping all of us thoroughly engrossed.


As we continued on the highway, Neha was beginning to feel irritated at the amount of distance we were covering. After all, this was supposed to be a day, when were covering places around Leh. Yet, we had been on the road for past 3 hours and had covered over 70kms. My reply, “this is a short distance”, didn’t really amuse her :D.

Our driver didn’t really know the route of the monastery we were supposed to visit, hence he drove through Uley and continued going further. Eventually, he called someone on the phone, to confirm where the cut for Rizong Monastery was and took a u-turn back to Uley. Turns out the diversion for Rizong Monastery is in the middle of Uley and we took that narrow route towards a destination, that I hadn’t yet visited.

En route I spotted an antelope, not sure which species it was, but it looked more like an antelope than sheep. Sadly I barely got a good look at them and my action cam, which was shooting a hyper lapse, captured an even smaller view of it.


We managed to reach Rizong Monastery around 1:30pm. It was absolutely stunning, tucked away in the mountains, on a trail which ended there. A beauty and serenity, unparalleled. It isn’t possible to describe through words or images, what I experienced there. However, Rizong immediately climbed into my list of best monasteries in Ladakh.


By now Neha had taken a disprin and was feeling slightly better, but not a whole lot better. KP too had fallen asleep en route and looked lazy. For a moment I thought about heading back. However, our driver found a route to almost take us till the monastery. And Neha and KP too decided to explore the monastery.



We saw an elderly lama climbing stairs, completely out of breath, pausing ever so often, yet climbing. Turns out, he was climbing those steep stairs to open the temple for us. He had traveled across the length and breadth of India, and even though he had a bit of difficulty talking to us in English or Hindi. Still, he tried to strike a conversation and talked for a while.

Sadly, photography wasn’t allowed inside the temple. And after viewing the beautiful and ancient temple, we came out and headed back to our taxi.

The food was on our mind now, and our growling stomachs got delicious food at Uley. A thali of rice, rajma, subzi and egg curry was just the thing we needed to raise our spirits for the next part of the journey.

I wanted to travel to Hemis Shukpachan and from there, head to Likir Monastery. While Neha had, had enough of monasteries and didn’t wish to visit any more of them, she agreed on this plan, after I told her, that route was beautiful.

However, I forgot the diversion for Hemis Shukpachan and our driver didn’t know the route. Then Neha spotted a Safari, and it was none other than Rahul, Mini, and Prashant. However, Rahul was driving fast and it was impossible to catch up with him. When we eventually got network and called Rahul, we found out, he was trying hard to reach Leh on time to get inner line permit. So while he continued to Leh, we took a diversion to Indus and Zanskar Confluence.

Sun was about to go down behind the mountains, and it was time to bring out the camera and do some photography.



We spent an hour at the confluence, something both Neha, and KP loved a lot. After this, we headed for another monastery, much to Neha’s disappointment :D.

Sun was shining its last rays of light on Phyang Monastery when we reached there.


Here we had a little conference of sorts and decided we would spend another day in Leh, tomorrow. And the day after tomorrow, we would head to Nubra and Pangong.

After this, KP and I went to the monastery, while Neha decided to rest in the car.

Sadly, the temple was closed.


And KP and I decided to head back to our taxi, after doing a photography outside the monastery.

While on the way back, I decided to stop the car at my favorite reflection point along the Srinagar – Leh Highway. Even though the fence was high and the light was extremely low, 20 sec exposure did the trick and I got the photograph I was looking for.


And a bonus one as well.


After this, we headed back to Leh and decided to get down from the taxi in front of G Kitchen. We were supposed to meet Rahul, Mini, and Prashant at KC Garden Café, which wasn’t far from here. And since Neha was feeling cold, we decided to wait for them here.

While the trio was busy exploring the Leh Main Market, I had a delicious cinnamon tea at G Kitchen. Once the trio arrived, we headed to KC Garden Café.

Once there, we started sharing stories and our experiences. Rahul, Mini, and Prashant had visited Suru and Zanskar Valleys, and the stories they told us of it, brought back memories of almost a decade ago when I had visited Suru and Zanskar Valley alone on a motorcycle.

Half an hour later we were joined by Vishal bhai, Jagjot, and Luv. And we had a great time chatting, and enjoying the warmth of bonfire with cold September winds of Ladakh.

Around 11:30 we walked back to our hotel, en route Rahul, Mini, Prashant and I decided to head to Shanti Stupa, while Neha and KP decided to hit the bed.

After picking up Rahul’s Safari Strome, we headed for Shanti Stupa. Once there, we decided to head to Namgyal Tsemo Gompa instead for photography. Since Shanti Stupa closes at 9pm, and we didn’t want to trespass.

Once at Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, Prashant and I started taking photographs, while Rahul tried to fix an issue with Strome’s rear door.

My goal was to shoot a time-lapse and star-trail of the beautiful monastery. Something I had been planning to do for a while.


After about 45minutes, the moon had risen enough and it was getting late, hence I decided to take a final photograph of Leh City.


Once we were done, Rahul dropped me back at my hotel around 2am. We promised to meet in the morning to get the permit together, before the trio left for Nubra.

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