"Finally Leh"- My first solo trip, a dream come true !!!
Updated: May 17
Travel makes me more aware of myself. It gives me "I can make it happen" attitude.
I planned my first solo trip to Leh, way back in Feb this year. Trust me it’s a heavenly abode to experience. Leh is situated high up in Northern India in the controversial Jammu & Kashmir region and is majorly inhabited by Indian Army. The best time to visit is May to September, as during the rest of the year; it usually remains closed due to heavy snowfall and blockage of connecting Manali-Leh and Leh-Srinagar highway.
I collaborated with a touring agency and 7 other women- completely unknown to each other- joined me at Leh, to experience this exotic place. The excitement of meeting new people, exploring an entirely new world had caught me up. The moment I landed at the airport, I knew its worth the efforts, the feeling was one of its own kinds. The airport was surrounded by snowclad mountains, freezing cold, temp ranging 3 to 4 degrees- it made me feel as I was on the top of this world.
Once I reached the hotel, I was advised to take rest for some time, as its important to help the body to acclimatize to the climatic conditions of Leh- high altitude and scarcity of oxygen. But the magnetic beauty of this place did not let me rest. The only possible way out for my curious and impatient soul, was to check out some local attractions and visit the local Leh market. Visiting Leh market was fruitful, as it made me familiar to the local crowd and also brought me closer to the culture prevailing there. The people were extremely friendly and very helpful.
First day was dedicated to local sightseeing like Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, Thiksey Monastery, Hall of Fame- museum dedicated to our War heroes and Rancho School- The shooting spot of one of the Bollywood’s high money making movies “3 Idiots”.
Following days, I visited, Indus and Zanskar Confluence Valle, Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib, Nubra valley and Pangong Lake driving past the dangerous terrain to World’s highest memorable road at Khardungla Pass – about 17,982ft- for which a couple of legal formalities must be completes (such as taking permission) before starting my journey. I had to show the copy of permissions at various checkpoints.
I rode my first ATV in the white Sand Dunes at Nubra Valley. The night camping and bonfire made the stay worth. The mild wind and beautiful mountains view in the early morning at Nubra Valley were refreshing. The feeling of the panoramic views of the parallel mountains and beauty of Leh cannot be expressed in words. The best way to get close to Leh is to keep looking at those mountains and talk to them, they will surely answer you.
The route to Nubra Valley is exotic; one would fall in love with it for sure. You will find many bikers on their way waving hands at you to motivate will be just another feeling. You will start feeling energetic. If you are driving, you should be cautious and it is highly recommended to hire a cab if you are not a perfect driver. The steep curves and mountains, and at times the one-way road, make the journey adventurous. It is difficult to find restaurants and breakfast points at some places, so I had to carry keep necessary arrangements for food and water.
My last stay was at Pangong Lake- the Lake with variant colors- this lake changes its color and show different shades as per the sun movement over the days. It is one of the prime shooting location for a couple of Bollywood movies. Its beauty is difficult to express. I planned a night stay at the tents near the Lake, to observe early morning sunrise. The experience here was mesmerising.
Away from home, amidst such panoramic scenic beauty, I felt rejuvenated and re-connected with my inner self. The peace you experience is spellbound. I am a frequent traveller, but the emotions associated with this tour were different. I enjoyed, I had fun, I went emotional, I met some new friends, I captured every possible feelings and emotion I could during the entire journey. If beauty is there, I witnessed it. During the entire journey, I felt as if, I was in my dreams. The people of Leh are lovely, very cooperating, one can easily fall in love with them. If you ask me the best part of the tour, I must say the route, the drive to various places; it was a treat to my eyes and soul.
The funny but meaningful road-signs by Border Roads Organization, hot Maggi at such high altitude, ride over double humped Bactrian Camel add to captivating beauty of Leh. So pack your bags and get going!!!