Julley Ladakh !...Trip by gang of 18 in late August/early September 2019

ypk_123

Fernweh...
How and when did it all start?
Before the beginning...
As I said earlier, it was BCMT which ignited,stoked & kindled our passion for Ladakh...to the point where it became our(mine and wifey's) dream destination. Had been to Sikkim twice and just LOVED the place. In my mind I always imagined Ladakh as similar to Sikkim but on a bigger canvas...more grand, even more beautiful, higher passes, perhaps tougher terrain.

Was always telling my friends/family it was my dream to visit Ladakh. Took a long time to finally do it. Guess it's the first but certainly not the last of my Ladakh trips. Anyways....we have been touring a lot, visiting many places in India, Europe, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore etc.

But not Ladakh yet.

This was really hurting me...after a bit of procrastination in the initial few months of the year, I finally made up my mind to DO IT in 2019.

My previous planned trip to Ladakh (Srinagar-Kargil-Leh route) in July 2015 had to be abandoned barely 2 days into the trip due to the sudden serious illness of my MIL. We had to leave everything and had to rush to Hyderabad from Srinagar.

So now I was keeping my fingers crossed and hoping Ladakh will finally welcome us without any obstacles/problems.

Alas...it was not to be. We had to face multiple problems right upto a few days before departure from Vizag to Delhi. I was also a bit worried/apprehensive as our group size swelled to 19...one big plus was that all of us were seasoned travellers. But all the same, I felt 19 persons in the group on a trip to a place like Ladakh is indeed taking a bit of risk as all of us were first-timers to this high altitude cold desert.

For any trip by our group, it all starts with the Nayudus and us.

Let me introduce the gang. From here on references to group members will be by their initials/nicknames (eg LN for Lakshmi Nayudu, Nani for YS Sekhar, Cmdr for SSR Nayudu, ypk for me)

Me...YP Kishore (aka ypk).. bitten by the travel bug a long time back. Working in a Central PSU in Vizag (Steel Plant). That's me in the pic below.
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ypk_123

Fernweh...
My better half, comrade-in-arms, partner in crime, fellow traveller...Shanta (aka GS). Her pic at our home in Vizag.
 
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ypk_123

Fernweh...
The Commander.

SSR Nayudu (aka Cmdr).

Yes...Not only is he a (Retd) Commander who served in the Indian Navy, he's also a fitness freak who cycles a 100 Kms without breaking a sweat, followed by a swim for an hour. Not to speak of a couple of badminton games in the evening. A great lover of movies....he has a huge collection of dvd's (English,Hindi & Telugu) in his home theatre. Also a great travel lover. His motto in life ..."Humko sab kuch accha lagta hain".

In one word, he along with Lakshmi Nayudu are not just friends but family to me and Shanta. That's the Cmdr for you below (at Pangong lake)
 
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ypk_123

Fernweh...
Lakshmi Nayudu (aka LN)

Great friend, Naval wife, wonderful mother, amazing teacher(retd from KV last year). A really genuine person who never hides her feelings or emotions.
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ypk_123

Fernweh...
Bharati Nayudu (aka Jaya)...the amazingly talented elder daughter of Cmdr and LN. Cardmaking,quilling,crafting...you name it, she does it. She and Chaitanya (aka Chaitu)...the son-in-law who is more of a son to LN, both work in HR dept of the same PSU (Vizag Steel).

Ishaan...the apple of their eye, mature beyond his years. All of 11+ years ! Now in Class 7, DePaul school, Vizag.

Jaya,Chaitu and Ishaan enroute Rohtang pass
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ypk_123

Fernweh...
YS Sekhar (aka Nani)...my cousin. A go-getter, man of all seasons, great brother, greater hubby to Jyothsna and even greater dad to Deepu and Gautham. Our life in Green City became much easier and happier after Nani shifted here. Thank u Nani.

Nani and the kids ( Deepthi- class 9, Gautham-class 6 in DPS, Vizag) at Jispa Journey Camp
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ypk_123

Fernweh...
Now, you may start wondering why did I mention the group size as 18 at the beginning of the thread and as 19 in post #12 here
I was also a bit worried/apprehensive as our group size swelled to 19...all of us seasoned travellers. But I felt 19 on a trip to a place like Ladakh is indeed taking a bit of risk.
Well... there's a twist in the tail. Poor Jyothsna, who, despite her fear of heights and susceptiblity to AMS, agreed to come on the tour after a lot of persuasion (especially by the Cmdr) and even packed her bags, had to drop out, at literally the last minute. Her flight tkts for all legs of flt journeys, hotel bookings etc were all made, suitcases packed and she was all set to travel with us.

My aunt (Nani's mother / Jyothsna's MIL) had a fall and injured her hip about 12 days before the start of journey. We were all worried and tensed up as she is 80+ years old. Luckily X-rays and CT scan revealed no fractures. It was only a muscle injury, that's what we were informed and she was advised complete bed rest for about a month. We all relaxed as our worst fears were allayed. There was 10 days time left, so our plans were on...or so we thought ! Aunt was progressing well the first 4 or 5 days. Nani made arrangements for an extra maid to look after his mom, another cousin in the city was to visit periodically, Nani's supervisor was also tasked with visiting daily and taking care of any requirements of his parents & informing Nani of any problems etc.

But just a few days before the D day, aunt was in great pain again...unable to even move slightly on the bed. Again it was confirmed by the doc that there was no fracture...but she was in great pain. Seeing her agony, Jyothsna decided to drop out of the trip and persuaded Nani and the kids to go. She would personally take care of aunt. That was her priority.

Thus our group of 19 became 18.

Jyothsna here...we owe you a trip to Ladakh ! Maybe this time when it snows. What say ?
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