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Friday, November 4, 2011

Road To Leh-Part I

  I should have posted this blog a year back but better late than never. Last year July , we finally had the opportunity to travel to Ladakh, which was our dream destination. I'd say it was the best vacation I ever had in my life and it would be a shame if I couldn't share it. Our journey started from blr to delhi via flight .Delhi was scorching hot and we were mostly in a friends' A/c room the entire day and got out briefly to visit Lal Kila, which looked quite ordinary. At night, we took a bus from Delhi to Manali(the bus depot was terribly dirty that I really didn't mind cleaning it up before we left - reminds me of Monica in the Friends sitcom) .We reached Manali by 10 in the morning .The route was absolutely picturesque!

Delhi-Manali route

We were scheduled to take the bus to Leh from Manali the next morning.We had booked our room at the Himachal Pradesh tourism hotel. The room had the bare necessities satisfied but gave a fabulous view of the over lying mountains .It was more than enough to satisfy the fatigued eyes of an over-worked software engineer who spends approx 9 hrs in front of the computer daily and another 2 in front of the TV.After a quick breakfast , we did some walking around and found that entire Delhi crowd had rushed to Manali to get some relief from the heat. So we headed to a place called Naggar.We took a bus ,which took us less than an hr. The Naggar attraction was some quietness and an old palace (which can be easily skipped)

Naggar Palace

The next day early morning , we trekked a little through the woods, which was fabulous.The trees were wet and green from the early morning drizzle ; they stood there free, fat and tall with all its grandeur.the region was covered with apple trees ready to ripe.The mountains looked foggy and the streams giggled like young girls walking to school.

An early morning trek through the woods

After breakfast, we headed to the HP tourism office from where we were scheduled to catch our bus to Leh, which was supposedly a 2 day journey with night halt at Keylong. The journey from Manali to Keylong was scenic and gave me a feeling that I was finally alleviating myself from the clutches of  the concrete jungle I was staying in, gradually slipping away into a dream world .We could start seeing snow in small chunks slowly trickling into mini-lanes of water and sliding through the mountains.

The roads started getting more and more narrow and tortuous and the views breathtaking. The snow-clad mountains started to be seen but like far away destinations and by nightfall we had reached Keylong. At Keylong, we were supposed to stay in tents overnite . The tent provided a cot with a bed and blankets and the toilets and food were provided by an adjacent hotel.

Things got chill by night fall.If I am not wrong, the temperatures dropped to like -4C or probably lower and  the tents got colder.Anticipating this and considering my extra sensitivity to cold , I had wrapped myself with everything from tights , thermals, T-shirts, with 2 further layers of sweaters and a heavy woolen jacket with 3 layers of socks and a pair of snow boots and 2 layers of gloves.I removed only the boots during the bed time and wrapped myself against with another layer of blanket. I think it rained at night but I had kept myself pretty warm. The only trouble wearing all these clothes is its difficult to walk and to use the toilet.

Inside the Tent
The next morning at 4 am, we headed to Leh after a cup of hot tea and a box of carry-away breakfast, in the hope of reaching Leh by nightfall. I manged to clear my intestine but my guess is many others didn't .We were finally about to see the great Himalayas!!

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