FrozenThe earlier day we had checked the status of the mighty Changla and it was closed due to heavy snowfall. We decided to leave early in the morning with a view to reach Spangmik early. We had got food packed and some warm water in bottles to sustain us in the drive should we get stuck.
When I had checked the weather in Ladakh while planning this trip I had expected maximum temperature in the 20s and minimum in 10s. However late snowfall in Ladakh made things far colder than expected.
We set out at a good pace and the road aided us as well. By 8:50 am we were at Karu and took the left turn for Spangmik.
The Stakna Monastery is a clearly visible landmark on the road.
A quick break and we moved forward to the next landmark which is the Chemrey Monastery.
From here instead of the lower road to Sakthi we took the upper one which gave some great views.
The monastery was visible in the distance
And the fields at Sakthi
We gradually started climbing towards Changla top and saw the famous mark of Zorro
Things were getting really cold and we were dressed in layers to beat the cold. And right in front of us was a truck of GREF with workers who sat in that open truck with some protection but not sufficient enough to fight the cold. And these guys were going to work on some road construction or maintenance.
And still one guy waved at us enthusiastically.
Sustenance of life and families makes us do tough things.
Snow around the roads greeted us as we climbed..
And traffic was really slow moving due to fresh snow covering the roads. We could see vehicles queued up everywhere and were wondering is there was enough grip available for us. We could see other vehicles struggling to climb. Folks in sedans received my total respect for their bravery!
Amidst all this was cool and composed Stanzin who assured me he could drive without chains. And true to his word he was easily driving where others struggled. Part of the credit was also to the Tata Aria's larger wheelbase but the man on the wheel gave us all the confidence.
So while he did the hard work of driving, we enjoyed the views around.
And by 11 am Changla Top was visible to us.
The place was snow clad and Avni went down to play with some snow.
Jay Changla Baba!
A quick peek at what lies beyond
And the mandatory pic in falling snow
And a deserved picture of Stanzin
The ride down was equally pretty and scary
Finally around 12:30 we left the whites for the plains of Changthang Plateau
Freshly laid black tarmac greeted us along with grazing animals
Which included wild horses
Now I expected Kiangs to be shy and run away at the very sight of people
But they were cool and let me shoot some closeup images.
And finally at 1:30 we were at Pangong Tso greeted by grey skies