By Divij Pasrija:
There are some things which cannot be put in words. Love is one of them and then there is Ladakh- the land of scenic beauty, rustic charm and nature at its best. Nevertheless, I will try to pen down my experience of Ladakh as best as I can, trying hard not to lose myself in those brilliant moments spent in the lap of majestic Himalayas.
The moment I touched down in Ladakh, I was sure this is going to be a magical experience, and I will definitely extend my trip to a little longer than my earlier stipulated stay of 15 days. I wasn’t wrong on both the fronts. The place mesmerized me and left me spellbound, although it did take a couple of days to get used to the physical conditions of the place. After all, there has got to be a relative lack of oxygen at a place which lies more than 3000 meters above sea level.
My journey began
After a couple of days of acclimatizing myself with the place, it was time to explore and discover the hidden gems of Ladakh which everyone talks about. And being a trekker at heart, I wasn’t taking any biking trails whatsoever, no matter what others suggested me.
For trekking lovers out there, I would highly recommend trekking in Ladakh on foot. There is nothing that can beat the experience. Since I was just starting off with my Ladakh trekking experience, I decided to take it easy. That’s why, I started off with trekking in Markha valley, a popular spot for trekkers.
Markha Valley was simply amazing
It is a relatively easy trail which takes you through varied landscapes, quaint villages and stunning views, which is like second skin to Ladakh. I came across groups of nomads too, who were people with a quiet demeanor and an air of contentment around them. After that calm little trek in Markha Valley, where I got to interact with locals, take in the sights of Ladakh and come to terms with the topography of the land, I was ready for a bit more adventure. But boy, did I up the ante more than I wished to!
It was time for some arduous fun
My next stop in my Ladakh trekking trail was the majestic Stok Kangri. Any trekker worth his salt aims to scale the height of this majestic peak, which is more than 6000 meters high. I wasn’t going to back down either. So there I was, making my way through the rocky terrain, stopping occasionally, following the instructions of my guide, and finally, I was there, at the top. The view that lay in front of my eyes cannot be explained in words. You have to be there to experience what I felt at that moment. I guess that’s where the word divine came from.
I checked out some monasteries too
While trekking in Ladakh had been fun and exhilarating so far, I wasn’t going to miss out on the monasteries of this wondrous land. After a few inquiries with the locals, I gathered that the trek from Hemis to Padum is the one which has some of the oldest monasteries on the way. And off I was to feel the aura of the age old monasteries of the place, taking in the beautiful sights that are there every step of the way.
Trekking is a small but significant part of the bigger picture
People say trekking in Ladakh is an experience you must have at least once in your lifetime. In my perception though, trekking in Ladakh is a small but significant part of the bigger picture. Ladakh trekking trails take you through rugged lands and pristine pastures, but the little surprises that come along the way is what makes this destination special. I still remember shepherds shepherding their sheep on one of the peaks which took me back to the movies of the yore, when paradise was given importance.
And then there was the local food and a bit of paragliding
Believe it or not, if you are in Ladakh long enough, you will fall in love with the local food here. The Yak cheese that I had, had a distinct flavor to it, which does take getting used to, but at the end of it, it was delicious for sure. And then there were herbal teas that I had on my various trekking trails, which were energizing in the cold weather as well as good for my health.
Although I was content with scaling the heights of Stok Kangri, I could not hold myself back from giving paragliding a go. And I am glad I didn’t hold back. I had once done it in Manali some time back, but this time, the experience was simply out of the world. Soaring in the skies of the remotest part of North India is definitely an experience to be had.