A Tourist’s Tale of Winter in Ladakh

Discussion in 'Travelogues from North India' started by Yogesh Sarkar, Jan 2, 2012.

  1. aashishkul

    aashishkul Member

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    Thanks YS for sharing such a wonderful log. Waiting for next set. BTW, didn't Rahul write his log? or atleast he can share some photos.
     
  2. dheerajsharma14

    dheerajsharma14 Active Member

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    Again some stunning stuff Yogesh!!! The eyes are still wondering how beautiful the region is... I am just dying to wait for the turn to head here in hopes to feel it. Never saw such a lovely BLUE...
     
  3. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    31st December 2011, Thiksey Monastery and welcoming the New Year

    After visiting Hemis Monastery, we were all feeling hungry and hence decided to have our lunch at a dhaba in Karu. No Kadi-Chawal, but aloo paratha were there and all of us ordered that.

    While waiting outside the dhaba for our lunch to be served, we were being slowly surrounded by street dogs.

    Now I have never liked the attitude of Ladakhi dogs, as they usually are rather aggressive and sort of wild. But I guess the cold had taken a toll on them as well and I had been noticing all throughout the trip, how subdued and worn out they all seemed to look, even in the manner in which they walked.

    So when our lunch was finally served, I couldn’t resist tossing a morsel or two towards them, which was promptly caught in the air and consumed! While I really didn’t quite get the wagging tail response one generally gets from the street dogs of Delhi and most other places, the look and sparkle in the eye was all too familiar.

    After having lunch and getting a lesson that at the end of the day, all dogs are, well dogs, we headed towards Thiksey Monastery.

    Once there, it was time again to start walking uphill and then climb a flight of stairs, which all four of us did at rather snail’s pace, with plenty of stops en route to rest. Not sure whether it was the temperature which had gone down quite a bit or the amount of oxygen, but Thiksey seemed a lot steeper than it did in 2006 and from the looks on other’s face, I concluded, that I wasn’t the only one, who felt that way.

    Thiksey Monastery Gate

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    Thiksey Souvenir Shop

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    Thiksey Monastery Guest house (open for tourists)

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    View from Thiksey Monastery

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    Sai resting

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    Anand

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    We finally made it inside the monastery, in a slight haste towards the end, since it was almost about to close due to lunch time. Our effort of course were well rewarded, in the form of the beautiful statue of future Buddha, Maitreya.

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    After shooting photographs we came outside and instead of wearing our shoes and promptly getting down to our car, we just stayed there, resting and soaking up the warmth of the sun.

    Till eventually a Japanese group came in, huffing and puffing, just like us :).

    By the time I returned to the Scorpio, I was once again coughing badly and decided to skip Shey, while Rahul, Sai, Anand and Rigzin went in for a look.

    After a while later they were back and we headed back into Leh and told Rigzin, that we wanted to buy some shawls, so he took us to the taxi stand, from where we were to walk to the Main Market.

    While he went in to inquire with others, on which shop to go to and also to finalize the bill, we decided that it would be best if we went to a government shop. That way, even if we end up paying more, at least we will get decent material.

    When Rigzin came back, we told him about this and poor chap had to go back again to inquire about the government shop.

    A little while later, he was back and took us to the shop of Leh Cooperative, behind the Main Market. Which was manned by an old Ex-Serviceman, who upon hearing that the shawl was meant for mom, got emotional and then started telling us a lot of stories of his encounter with other customers. He also gave us a good deal on Pashmina shawls and mufflers (at least that is what we believe) and after saying thanks to him, we headed back to the hotel.

    Settled Rigzin’s bill and told him to pick us up in the morning and started packing. We were soon joined by Sai and Anand and we then went downstairs for dinner and thereafter, all four of us, came back to our room and started our bakar session.

    Government it seems was being extra nice on the New Year Eve and thus Leh got uninterrupted electricity, not only till midnight, but also thereafter, at least till the point we went to sleep around 1 o’clock at night.

    Even though we did nothing special to herald in the New Year, but sitting and talking with friends in the dead winter of Ladakh, with the gas powered superheat for comfort, was quite an experience in itself :).

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  4. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Welcome to 2012.
    Lovely entry to new year.
     
  5. cheguevara

    cheguevara Guest

    What a glorious start !!!
     
  6. avneet

    avneet Member

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    fantabulous start to 2012 , Yogesh.. loved the pics..:)
     
  7. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

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    1st January 2012, back to Delhi

    Got up at around 5:30 in the morning and started trying to squeeze in the last remaining gear in to the bag. Getting ready in the light of a solar powered lantern was quite an experience in itself.

    While I was sad to be leaving Ladakh, I was happy to be heading back home, to my family and finally, some delicious food :grin:.

    After saying goodbye to Sai and Anand, we headed for the airport in Scorpio, en route got a call from Sai that in a hurry Rigzin had put Anand’s camera bag in our car and they were coming to get it, despite our repeated insistence to just forget about it :twisted:. Sure enough, as soon as we got the luggage out of the car, the duo was there, one final round of goodbyes to them and to Rigzin and we headed inside the airport. While the security staff was plenty nice and wishing everyone happy New Year, there was a small chaos at the check in counter.

    We eventually managed to check in and after long queue, boarded our flight, which was packed to the brim with both of us sitting in the same row, which meant that we had to take off our jackets, else there was no way, we would fit together :D.

    Jet Airways’ flight once again took off ahead of schedule and even though we saw plenty of clouds and fog en route, it managed to land us at the T3 of Delhi Airport, ahead of time with 750 meter of visibility, and a temperature which was in plus for a change.

    After collecting our luggage, it was time to say goodbye and catch our respective taxis home and boy, did it feel warm outside and in particular, inside the airport.

    Finally managed to reach home at around 10:30AM and got treated to some delicious gajar ka halwa, that my sis had cooked for me.

    After 7 days, my dream trip to Ladakh in the dead of winter and to experience -15 Degree Celsius and even colder temperature had finally come to an end and it was time to start viewing the photographs.

    ------------------------------------

    A big thanks to Rahul for putting up with me, especially in the last few days and an even bigger thanks to Sai and Anand for putting up with both of us and not hacking us to death, for constantly eating their mind.

    Another thanks to Rigzin, who not only drove us around Ladakh, but also guided us to scenic places, put up with our nonstop chatter and even helped find hotels and on multiple occasions, went beyond what his duty was, in order to help us.

    A special thanks to mom and sis for not only tolerating my constant babble and shopping before the trip, but also afterwards, especially the almost daily request for delicious food, after trip.

    A big thanks to Amit and Anup sir for managing BCMTouring while I was gone.

    Another special thanks to Rajiv, Nitin, Colonel Raina, Nidhi, Nadya, Roxxi and others, who helped us during the planning phase and had to put up with constant idiotic queries.

    A big thumbs up to Jet Airways for landing us ahead of time, each time and not losing our luggage and also to guest house owners, who not only had to put up with nonstop bakar session, but also having to deal with messy rooms afterwards.

    And of course a big thanks to each and every one bothering to actually finish up this travelogue and those who encouraged us before and during our trip through online messages, emails, smses and phone calls.

    --------------------

    Cost incurred for undertaking this trip

    Accommodation Cost:

    Shanti Guest House: Rs. 800 a night, food extra
    Yakmik Changla Guest House, Tangste: Rs. 600 a night, food extra
    Hanle Observatory Guest House: Rs. 400 per person, inclusive of food, tea and soup.
    Chumathang Accommodation (I guess it was called Hot Spring Resort or something like that): Rs. 500 a night, food extra

    Cost of hiring the Scopio (Rigzin, contact no. +919622954779 and +919469472772) for entire duration (10% discount over the taxi union price): Rs. 20,000 + Rs. 1,000 as tip.

    Jet Airways return ticket to Leh: Rs. 4841 per person (got it in 6 interest free EMIs)

    Taxi from home to the airport: Rs. 350

    Taxi from Airport to home: Rs. 520

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    Last edited: Jan 13, 2012
  8. parastanna

    parastanna Member

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    Awesome updates YS.
     
  9. deepaktomar

    deepaktomar Active Member

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    wow new year in ladakh lovely.
     
  10. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

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    Haaaw, No thanks to Anupji & Me!! :twisted: :mad:
    With Admin & 2 moderators gone on holidays, we were guarding the fort here for whole week (& Anupji on weekend too)!! :p :grin:

    Now that your log is complete, you may announce about the process of nominations of top logs of year. ;)
     

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