Trip Report :Ladakh - Page 3 - India Travel Forum | IndiaMike.com

Trip Report :Ladakh

#31 Dec 15th, 2015, 21:36
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#31

Day6 : Snow fall at Pangyong and star gazing at Hanley

The itinerary for the day was : Tangste- Spagmik - Man - Merak - Chulsul - Tsaga La - Tsaga - Loma – Hanley ( Stay Hanle)

As usual , I woke up early and peeped through the curtains of the room . There was the golden light falling on the far mountains , creating an orange glow, beautiful sunrise it is. I stood there for a while , still undecided whether to get the camera or not . Finally , decided against it , often it is better to appreciate the Nature’s beauty through own eyes rather than looking through a lens . We had our breakfast packed and set off. The sky suddenly turned gloomy with clouds hovering over it. Mr. Changla exclaimed “ Bombay ka fashion or Ladakh ka mausam dono badal te rahte hai”- which translates roughly to Mumbai’s fashion and Ladakh’s climate both are unpredictable. In fact, we have got sunny days so far in Ladakh , so little depressed by the cloudy sky in this all important day.

The drive was beautiful , Sonam pointed towards Eagles hovering above in the sky . We also came to point where Marmots cross the road. I was hopeful of seeing a marmot , they are so cute , looks out of the fairy tales. But unluckily , that was not the season of marmots , they might be hibernating in their burrows deep inside. Few Kms before reaching Pangyong, we saw a beautiful frozen lake . As we moved towards Pangyong , we had this view.


Sonam also pointed us towards a fence which guarded possible landmines , legacy of the 62 war. As we moved towards Pangyong takind a right turn, there was a dirt track which leads to Marsimek-La , the actual Highest motorable pass, mentioned in Limca book of records.

Finally , we had the magnificent view of Pangyong lake before us , the play of sun and cloud continued unabated. For a while , I stood there confused with my camera in hand, where to begin. This is humanly not possible to capture the beauty of this lake. The colours of the lake changed in hue every few metres. By then , snow flakes started to fall . Un mindful of the climate , I simply stared just to capture the heavenly beauty that was on display in my heart.








Slowly , we moved towards Man- Merak , negotiating the dirt tracks , leaving behind all the guest houses and hotels . In this season , there was hardly any tourist or local, the whole lake side was open for us. I had a feeling , during peak season , with so many hotels, tents, guest houses and hordes of tourist would be a disaster to this place.
#32 Dec 15th, 2015, 22:13
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#32
Fantastic photographs and great Narration..Subscribed..
Sair kar duniya ki galib,yeh zindagani phir kahan..

****************************** **
Some of my compilations in Flickr
#33 Dec 15th, 2015, 22:15
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Contd.
As we left pangyong behind , went towards Tsaga la , the sky became clear. Soon , we caught sight of Indus river once again. Wide open valleys and semi frozen Indus was a sight to behold. The valley also changed color , Ladakh seems to me the God’s canvass , HE was so undecided with the color to give, threw in all the colors.







In between we paid our respect at Rezang La , the memorial of 1962 war martyrs. Being born in Assam, tales of India’s ill-fated 1962 war always affected me as a child. These were the words inscribed for the Brave Hearts :

“How can a Man die Better than facing Fearful Odds,
For the Ashes of His Fathers and the Temples of His Gods,
To the sacred memory of the Heroes of Rezang La,
114 Martyrs of 13 Kumaon who fought to the Last Man,
Last Round, Against Hordes of Chinese on 18 November 1962.
Built by All Ranks 13th Battalion, The Kumaon Regiment

From here on our discussion with Sonam , who himself is a Tibetan refugee, centered around Tibet , India –china relationship, Arunachal Pradesh & Dalai Lama. We were listening to a speech made by Dalai Lama on compassion and happiness. His words spoken was befitting to the landscape we were driving through. His words made me melancholy and engrossed in deep thought of self-realization.



Our papers and permits were checked at Loma. The road was exceedingly scenic , the sun was setting, so the mountains were all painted in deep orange and yellowish tinge. There were Kiangs everywhere on the road. But they are very shy animal , it was not easy to approach them .





When we reached Hanley, it drove straight to the observatory. Mr. Sonam Dorjey, whose Guest House we booked works at the Observatory. The observatory is set up on a Hill and it was very windy and terribly cold. Mr. Sonam showed us the telescope and the way it works. The observatory is the 2nd highest one in the world and spending time inside the observatory was great fun.



We reached Hanley at 6 PM and it was quite dark . The rooms were clean and had traditional Bhukari for heating. Toilets were outside the room and very clean. The Bhukari works very well , better than any heater so far in Ladakh , within minutes we felt warm.

After freshening up , I stepped outside on Sonam’s insistence. The sky was full of stars , such a beautiful night it was. Sonam wanted to know how to shoot star trail but unluckily my remote timer was not working. I tried few shots in bulb mode but was not happy with the results. I was getting terribly cold outside, so I had given up and take shelter close to Bhukari.
Last edited by sindabad; Dec 15th, 2015 at 23:22..
#34 Dec 16th, 2015, 10:13
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#34
Quote:
Originally Posted by sindabad View Post ... but unluckily my remote timer was not working. I tried few shots in bulb mode but was not happy with the results. I was getting terribly cold outside, so I had given up and take shelter close to Bhukari.
So sad to note!

Hope, you could take few star trail photographs...
#35 Dec 16th, 2015, 10:54
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Lovely photographs..keep them coming..
#36 Dec 16th, 2015, 11:50
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@sindabad
Fantastic narration and photographs. I almost feel the cold! This is on my bucket list and i thank you for this great TR. When you have finished with the TR, i would like some guidance.

Keep it coming
#37 Dec 16th, 2015, 14:06
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#37
Quote:
Originally Posted by Prakaant View Post So sad to note!

Hope, you could take few star trail photographs...
@Prakant : yes , I hoped , but the battery died away at the cruicial moment , I checked it at home , it was working fine.
It was terrible cold at night , not possible to stand there for so long . Also , the power is available only upto 9-10 PM in Hanley , I had to recharge my camera for next day .
But it was really beautiful night , hope I had more time to appreciate it.
#38 Dec 16th, 2015, 14:09
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#38
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Originally Posted by life1style1 View Post Lovely photographs..keep them coming..
Thanks for liking .. there were some 2000+ photos , difficult to select
#40 Dec 16th, 2015, 14:59
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Originally Posted by Earthian View Post @sindabad
Fantastic narration and photographs. I almost feel the cold! This is on my bucket list and i thank you for this great TR. When you have finished with the TR, i would like some guidance.

Keep it coming
@Earthian : Thanks for your comments . It was cold indeed but the bargain there was hardly any tourist and you can enjoy Nature's beauty uninterrupted . We got sunny days , which was comfortable ,at night when the mercury drops , we were comfortably inside the hotels.
#41 Dec 16th, 2015, 15:01
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Originally Posted by iamsomnath View Post good going Sindabad :-)
Thanks Somanth da ..your inputs helped
#42 Dec 16th, 2015, 15:37
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#42

Day 7 : Retrun to the Blue lake : Tsomoriri

Our Itinerary for the day : Hanley - Loma - Nyoma - Mahe - Sumdo - Tso Kiagar - Tso Moriri / Tso Moriri - Tso Kiagar - Sumdo - Tso Kar - Debring - Ta Lang La – Leh ( stay leh)

We woke up to a bright sunny day in Hanley . The village monastery was visible a few meters away from our guest house.


There were horses grazing the distance field:



We retraced our path upto Loma where again our permits were checked. Today morning we didn’t see any kiangs in that area , yesterday evening they were roaming in big herds. We did see few eagles sitting in the bush . The place looked ethereal last evening under the golden light but at 9 :00 AM the colors were faded. But still it retained the raw charm , I felt to experience this beauty one needs to move around this place at a slow pace. I told Sonam my feelings , he replied “ Sir, Loma se Nyoma or bhi sundar hai “ – Nyoma route is more beautiful .
I sat there impatiently hoping for better photo opportunities . There was another round of documents checking at Loma gate.
As we moved towards Nyoma , the color of the Hills changed to bright red . The indus river was visible in its semi- frozen stage. Indeed, the Nyoma drive was very very scenic . One should never miss Loma- Nyoma drive during Ladakh trip.

Frozen Indus river and wide open vista:


Frozen Indus in all its glory:


The amazing colors of Nyoma :


We drove along the road , there was a air base close to the mountain range.


We stopped by a roadside tea stall . I walked around for some photo oppurtunity :
#43 Dec 16th, 2015, 17:18
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Part II :

The drive is so beautiful that you feel the urge to stop at every bend . We drove straight to the Mahe Bridge , our documents were checked here. Here we took a diverson for Sumdo> Korzok . The other road moves ahead to Chumathang.
The Hills here are rugged and vertical , Sonam informed that this is area of Mountain Goats . So , we kept looking for any sighting . But unlucky us , the sighting is also very rare
We moved ahead towards Korzok . Few kilometers before reaching Tsomoriri , we saw another lake - Kiagar Tso . It was quite far from the road . I walked to its shore , it was frozen and sun reflecting on its surface created a wonderful aura.


The sun flare was working on the lake


We moved ahead towards Korzok. Many nomadic tribes have set their tents in the filed. Yaks were grazing and woman doing their chore in the sunny morning. A child walked towards us , it was 14th Nov- Children's day in India. We handed him over chocolates.
The path to Tsomoriri:


Reaching Tsomoriri and viewing its blue water is a humbling experience. The sun was on our side and it created the deep blue color of the lake.


The lake is also part of the wet land conservation , there were many birds at the lake side.




We drove along the banks of lake and entered the Korzok village . There was another army check point where we had to do manual entry . I really felt for the army personal across the border area standing guard to some lonely bridges and checkpost under inclement climate , there job is so tough.

We drove to a viewpoint , where due to sun's reflection , the water of the lake reflected in a deep blue hue . I have never seen such beauty before.
Sharing some photos here :



Another one , my love Tsomoriri


I just got trigger happy



I have travelled a thousand miles and spent many sleepless nights in her thoughts . So when she is standing there in all her glory , all my pain is expunged.


Who wants to leave from such a place , certainly not me


Aww!! but actually it was time to go , the real world is so unromantic . We retraced our path to Mahe Bridge . Meanwhile Sonam shared an information which annoyed me very much . He informed me that the Tsokar which was also in our itinerary , the water mass has shrunk due to salt deposits ,not worth a visit during this season , also our return by Ta Lang la is not possible as the path is closed due to snowfall . Due to time shortage we would rather take Chumathang route for Leh. Initially , I was annoyed very much , he should have shared this piece of information when we set off in the morning. But his conduct through out the trip has been 10/10 , so I gave him the benefit of doubt . Also in such harsh climate , our driver is our best guide , he knows the route better than us . So after Mahe , we took the Chumathang road .
Chumathang is famous for the Hot sulphur springs , they were everywhere along the river bed.
The sun was setting at the background and hot spring oozing along the river.


We had our late lunch at Chumathang . Leh was still 140 km away . It was already late afternoon , so we set off quickly . Sonam knows the road very well.
He drove in almost complete darkness , made me realize his expertise. We drove by the Shey palace and 3- idiots school .
We reached Sia- La guest house at 8:00PM. After such a long and tiring ride , another shock was awaiting us.
There are no room at Sia- La , Mr. Gulam Nabi informed us . The room which he so cordially told me will be kept available before we left for Nubra was no longer there. I had even informed him through emails and SMS , had face to face discussion 3-4 times for the room on 14th Nov which he now completely dishonoured. I was totally annoyed and confused with such treatment , standing there at his door at such an odd hour under such a climate. I saw a big group of foreign tourists , things became clear to me. After much argument, Sonam helped me in this, he gave me a room which we have to vacant before 7:30 AM . Anyways , we had plan to vacate the room by 8 :00 AM but for unknown reason he insisted on 7:30AM checkout. Infact when we checked in we were kept waiting for 20-30 mins when rooms were being prepared. After such wonderful trip and hospitality we received from Ladakhis such incident came as a shock to me. With such hurt feelings, we went to our room.
Though I was very tired , but because of this incident and pressure of waking early, didn't sleep well that night.
Last edited by sindabad; Dec 16th, 2015 at 23:44..
#44 Dec 16th, 2015, 17:36
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Day 8 : From Heaven to earth

It was the day for our return , our Go Air flight was scheduled on time. We bade goodbye to sonam , it was a wonderful trip , all because of him . With a heavy heart we entered departure. After multiple levels of security check , there is a round of baggage identification which is unique to Leh airport. Before boarding the bus , one foreign woman asked the security officer , in what order to board . He replied " Random", she broke into giggles. Welcome to India lady

The flight was on time and soon ladakh became a memory , a treasured trip of a life time . I scribed few lines during the trip , when I arranged them it read like this :

Once I was a tree
In the spring’s forest
The roots nurtured me earth.
In its blossom, I breathed.
The breeze forlorn-
Rustled the leaves.
And to me, it sang-
Lullabies.
Often I dreamt- “Of Dawn”.
“The light cascading down the treetops
The forest floor covered in mist
Where she walked, a celestial form
In Her alluring tone, calling for me”
Once I was the spring’s tree.

Once I was a path
In my wandering longing
I followed her-
Across the streams & rivers.
And through the narrow lanes
Of villages far.
Veiled in the mud and dust
Deep gorges, sigh!
Along winding roads of Mountains high.
I walked till the grass
Drenched in dew, stopped stride.
In the fading lights of dusk
The snow peaks shone,
And with colors of rainbow
She painted the azure sky
Spellbound, I kneeled and gazed.
Left my footprints unseen, untraced.
Once I was the wanderer’s path.


Once I was a man who sat by the sea
I listened to her heave and sigh
In the abyss of my heart, echoes
Cries of the wave, abrading the rocks.
Like ancient sorrow hard to obliterate.
And in a full moon night
When the stars melt in the sea
Like diamonds of her attire, they shine.
She rose from her sleep
In Her arms, embraced me
My longing subsided.
Once I was the sea.

Thanks for reading the TR. And in Bengali " Note gach te murolo , amar golpo furalo"- Untranslatable.
#45 Dec 16th, 2015, 17:45
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#45
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Originally Posted by sindabad View Post ...After such a long and tiring ride , another shock was awaiting us.
There are no room at Sia- La , Mr. Gulam Nabi informed us . The room which he so cordially told me will be kept available before we left for Nubra was no longer there... I was totally annoyed and confused with such treatment , standing there at his door at such an odd hour under such a climate. I saw a big group of foreign tourists , things became clear to me. ...
happens sometime... People like Mr. Gulam Nabi have also to earn their bread for off season...

Lovely ... amazing ... wonderful report...
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