A Tourist’s Tale of Winter in Ladakh

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

  1. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Messages:
    61,276
    Likes Received:
    5,779
    Location:
    New Delhi
    25th December 2011, Leh

    Woke up at around 2AM and took a bath, last minute fight to get all things inside the bag and in the meanwhile I got a call from the cabbie that taxi was waiting outside. With the jacket, sweater, shirt and warm inner on, I was hardly feeling any cold, even though it was the coldest December day at 2.9degree Celsius, while the poor cabbie was wrapped in a blanket, trying hard to concentrate on the road.

    Arrived at the T3 parking and was quite impressed by it all, waited for a while for Rahul to arrive (Google Latitude sucks at moments like these) and finally moved inside and checked in our luggage in less than couple of minutes, thanks to web check in facility offered by Jet Airways. Going past the security check, Rahul got a friendly reprimand from the security officer to not wear such heavy lowers (he was wearing the custom made holo filled lowers we got made from Carabin) next time around! :D

    We were amongst the last passengers to get on board the flight, yet had the first couple of windows seats on the right, reserved for us, due to the web check in facility and that meant that I had more leg room than a primer class passenger, while Rahul had all three seats to play with!

    Jet Airways flight took off around 6 minutes before the due departure time and we took it at as a good sign and waited for the sun to come out, so that we could take out our cams and start shooting, thankfully we didn’t have to wait long.

    [​IMG]

    Soon we were flying over the Zanskar Range and it looked fantastic!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Sadly due to the sun being on our side, I wasn’t able to do justice to the fantastic view on display and had to content with the above photographs.

    Soon we were hovering over Leh and touched down on the Leh Airport, 16 minutes before our scheduled arrival. We were informed by the pilot that the outside temperature was a bone chilling -16 Degrees Celsius and hearing that, we quickly got in to our jackets, caps and gloves. Though once outside, we didn’t felt all that cold and took it as a sign that our gear was sufficient enough.

    Once past the security checkpoint, I called up Rigzin, our driver for the entire duration of our Leh trip (recommended by Kaushik Da) and he was waiting outside to pick us up and drop us to the Shanti Guest House, where we had planned to stay.

    [​IMG]

    After a short drive to Shanti Guest House, it was time to unload the luggage and move inside the cozy little room which was prepared for us. Chatted with Rigzin in the meanwhile and decided that he would pick us up at afternoon and take us to the main market and Leh Palace.

    After a short rest, we moved downstairs for some breakfast and ran in to fellow BCMTians Sai and Anand, who had arrived in Leh on the 23rd and had managed to explore quite a bit of Leh town on foot. After a light breakfast consisting of toast and tea, we decided to head outside for a short walk and found the stream outside Shanti Guest House, half frozen.

    [​IMG]

    Since all four of us were feeling alright and were quite happy to be outside, we decided to walk a little further, something which finally culminated at the Shanti Stupa, which by road was around couple of kilometer from our guest house.

    Walking to Shanti Stupa

    [​IMG]

    Though the road was steep and we weren't carrying any water, we soldiered on, in part delighted by the fact that we were able to push ourselves so much, on the first day itself!

    Of course arriving at Shanti Stupa, we were left completely breathless, in part due to the long walk and no water and in part due to the beautiful stupa in front of us.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Had some really cold water at the Shanti Stupa and while coming down, we decided to take a short cut, which landed us directly behind the Shanti Guest House. But sadly, there was no back door and as soon as Anand climbed over the wall, dog at Shanti Guest House started barking and we had to look for an alternate route, which finally left us at the starting point of stairs for the Shanti Stupa and then we had to take the steep road to the guest house!

    In the meanwhile I got a call from Rigzin, that he had arrived and left the guest house, as he didn't find us there. Told him to come in an hour or so later and in the meanwhile, witnessed plenty of people joyfully and in part, drunkenly driving around, since it was Losar i.e. first day of the Tibetan New Year.

    Aunty at Shanti Guest House was visibly disappointed by the fact that all four of us didn't drink alcohol and were in fact, vegetarians :D, heck our driver too turned out to be a teetotaler, despite 18 years of service in the army!

    After resting for a while, our taxi arrived and we decided to head for the Leh Palace, to shoot some long exposures of the Leh town at night.

    Since the sun has gone down, temperature started falling rapidly and wind too picked up and shooting without gloves became a real problem and shooting with them on, wasn’t really an option! Eventually I got the shot I was looking for.

    [​IMG]

    And we decided to head to Neha Sweets in the main market for some delicious chole bhature and after having our fill, headed back to Shanti Guest House, where even more food was waiting for us! Something which I decided to decline and took some rest, while Rahul decided to have a second dinner at the guest house :D.

    Thanks to the gas powered heating in the room (something which needs to be switched off, before going to bed), we slept cozily in our beds, waiting for the next morning to arrive…

    Home Next->
     
  2. cheguevara

    cheguevara Guest

    so finally it begins !!!

    ---------- Post added at 11:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 11:55 AM ----------

    AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME...what a shot of the Leh Town !!! it looks surreal...
     
  3. hiambuj

    hiambuj Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2008
    Messages:
    40,895
    Likes Received:
    125
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Great, no fatigue, straight to business.
    I so wish to stand somewhere on those white patches, in the Aerial shot you took from flight, of Zanskar range! :)

    The last shot blew me away!

    BTW, were the three people seen in the Shanti Stupa shot, also tourists?
     
  4. mindless wanderer

    mindless wanderer with age, get a cage!

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Messages:
    7,713
    Likes Received:
    759
    :minigun::minigun:\\:D/\\:D/\\:D/
    FINALLLYYYYY it begins...

    GRANDIOSE

    Cheers
     
  5. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Messages:
    61,276
    Likes Received:
    5,779
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Thanks Che

    Thanks Amit, would love to be on top of the Zanskar Range myself, but wonder who is going to carry me up there :D. The three ladies in that photograph are locals, who came to pray at the stupa.

    Thanks :)
     
  6. ToughGuy

    ToughGuy Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Messages:
    2,360
    Likes Received:
    11
    Location:
    New Delhi
    very fine and crisp shots, truly amazing !
     
  7. rkbharat

    rkbharat Guru

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2007
    Messages:
    7,473
    Likes Received:
    251
    Location:
    Gurgaon
    fantastic updates YS.

    I really loved first and last pics, though all are beautiful. Did you used GND for last shot?

    Shanti Stupa looks so desolated, a rare thing in season. To get a clean shot of stupa, without people moving around, we had to go there early morning.

    Walking up there to stupa is a big task :grin:
     
  8. Yogesh Sarkar

    Yogesh Sarkar Administrator

    Joined:
    May 18, 2006
    Messages:
    61,276
    Likes Received:
    5,779
    Location:
    New Delhi
    Thanks

    Thanks Rajiv, didn't use the GND in the last shot. Its an HDR, consisting of three exposures of 5, 20 and 30 seconds. There were people visiting Shanti Stupa at that time, though mostly locals in the group of 4-6 and while we were there, around 20 must have come in, but yes, not enough to block the view, even at 1:50PM!
     
  9. piyush0401

    piyush0401 Active Member

    Joined:
    Sep 6, 2010
    Messages:
    2,203
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Mandi, HP
    WOW...Awesome start, pics are amazing, Leh Town shot is just AWESOME!!!
     
  10. mindless wanderer

    mindless wanderer with age, get a cage!

    Joined:
    May 16, 2011
    Messages:
    7,713
    Likes Received:
    759
    I'm going green with envy...looking at those shots again n again n again!!!
     

Share This Page