Ladakh in May 2015 - A dream fulfilled

Chetan Kulkarni

Super User
Thank you everyone. Hope to start the log tonight.

Voila!!! Awesome start!
nice. Prey do continue the conversation.
Lets start the fun... Chetan!!!
wow great start chetan bhai looking for your beautiful pics
awesome teaser...
Chetan bhai start the show...
Chetan bro. Beautiful prelusion.....
There is a category of movies which can judged to be hit hit just by their posters. If this were a movie, it would surely have fallen in that category. Stupendous photograph.

Cheers
Akshay
Beautiful picture.... =D>
waiting for more!
Let the Show begin =D>
WoW Great Teaser Pic...Waiting for this Ladakh Story to Unfold !!!
 

Chetan Kulkarni

Super User
Prologue
For ages now, I have been reading travelogues about Ladakh. It has always been a Mecca which must be visited at least once. Even my wife was very keen to see Ladakh. Coincidentally a friend's husband, who is a Colonel in the army, got posted to Ladakh in December and she said come to Ladakh and we will manage most of the things.

I needed no further invitation!!

Plan Iteration 1:
The initial thought was to do Ladakh and Zanskar with Srinagar as the starting point. With two weeks in mind the plan sounded reasonable on paper. But then news of the frozen water body at Phutkal and detailed review of the plan indicated Zanskar might be too much to digest. So it got dropped.

Plan Iteration 2:
Do a run from Srinagar - Kargil - Leh - Nubra - Pangong - Tso Moriri - Manali - Chandigarh. Again given the risk that Rohtang may not be open this was also dropped. By this time the return tickets from Leh had already gotten exorbitant. So we had to drive back to Srinagar for the return flight.

Final Plan:
16th May
Travel from Pune to Mumbai
17th May Fly from Mumbai to Srinagar. Pick up from the airport and drop to the hotel. Stay at Srinagar. House boat/hotel.
18th May Srinagar to Kargil. Visit Sonamarg , Drass on the way. Stay at Kargil (Army Camp/Hotel)
19th May Kargil to Leh.
Stay at Leh Hotel/Guest House
20th May Visit Leh palace, Shanti Stupa and Tsemo Gonpa. Rest for the whole day after a long journey. Easy tour around leh in the evening time. And get ready for the next day. Stay at Leh Hotel/Guest House
21st May Visit Sham Valley Stay at Leh Hotel/Guest House
22nd May Drive from Leh to Hunder. On the way stop at Khardung-la pass. Visit Turtuk which is a village which borders with Pakistan. At Hunder you can do camel riding. Visit Sand dunes. Diskit monastery. Stay at Hunder
23rd May Drive from hunder to Warshi, visit Sumur monastery on the way. Drive along the Shyok river towards Siachen glacier and back to Hunder/Sumur overnight .
OR
Visit Turtuk on this day if not possible on the earlier day.
Stay at Hunder
24th May
Drive from Hunder to Pangong Tso via Agam Shyok route.
25th May Stay at Pangong Tso . Stay at Spangmik
26th May Pangong lake to Tsomoriri lake. Via Tsaga la pass. Stay at Korzok, Tsomoriri lake.
27th May Tsomoriri lake to leh via Taklang-la pass. Visit Tsokar lake, Stay at Leh.
28th May Leh to Kargil
29th May Drive from Kargil to Srinagar. Stay at Srinagar
30th May Around Srinagar Srinagar.
31st May Fly from Srinagar to Mumbai and drive back home Pune :)

The key members of this trip.
Me, my wife Shilpa, 11 year old son Shlok, 7 year old daughter Avni, friend Ashwinee and her 14 year old daughter.

Day before D-Day
We planned to travel to Mumbai by a cab which was booked for noon. We had asked for an Innova with a carrier so that all the luggage and people could comfortable go to Mumbai. This was done through our regular guy.

At noon a Toyota Etios arrived at Ashwinee's place! We spent the next two hours finding an Innova and eventually at 3:30 we left for Mumbai. Our driver was speaking in chaste Marathi but was playing some songs in a different language. So I asked him where he came from. He said he was a Nepali who lived in Mumbai!! I would have never known had he not told.

Anyway our man turned out to be Schumacher reincarnate. By 7 pm I was in Borivali.

Our next mission was to catch a taxi driver to drop us to the airport. We found an elderly gentleman who agreed to meet us at 6:30 am to drop us to the airport!

Finally we were ready to leave.

The D-Day
Right on cue our friend arrived at 5:45 am and dropped a message that he is ready when we are. We left at 6:45 and arrived at 7:30 am for our 9:30 am flight to Delhi.

For anyone who needs his number it is Shivhari - +91 9969673788

The flight from Mumbai to Delhi was uneventful and we got ready for our next leg after a decent break and lunch at the airport.

The flight to Srinagar was picturesque as we got closer though the clouds and fogs made viewing a bit difficult.

The light made a beautiful viewing of the rivers of gold below.

River.jpg


River2.jpg


Soon as we got closer the snow clad peaks made their entry

Peaks.jpg


Snowclad.jpg


There is no joy like seeing these mountains. No matter how many times you may see them their allure is undying!

After landing at the airport our driver Ajaz was there to pick us up and take us to the Hotel Centerpoint.

A bit about the hotel. I expected the hotel to be closer to the Dal Lake. And the first appearance was not very enticing.

But once you go in the place is nice. The dinner was especially nice.

After a dinner we decided to retire. Our friends had advised us to leave early in the morning around 7 am so that we don't get caught up in the convoy traffic at Zojila!

Would we make a quick clean run at Zojila or not? That story is for the next day titled "The Longest Day" :)
 
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