ALI MOHD KHAN
Ladakh, wedged between, Tibet and Pakistan, is part of India’s most northerly province and is one of highest inhabited regions on the earth. Its boundary extends from Kunlun mountain range to the main great Himalayas.
Ladakh’s stunning landscapes and spirituality of people left an indelible mark on my first trip in 2014.so I decided to organize a trip in June 2017 again. Seven friends responded and we drew up a packed week long road trip on June 2017.
On June15 We left home at 10 p.m. in order to avoid any sort of traffic jam
As we drove on ,the lush green slopes of Srinagar gave way to huge barren mountains .we reached zoji la which is at an elevation of 3,528 meters and is second highest mountain pass after Fotlu pass on Srinagar-Leh national highway and provides vital link between Ladakh and Kashmir valley .
Driving Zojilla is scary it will tests your driving skills. We reached on the top of Zojilla at 2pm .we came out of our cars prepared some tea and took some rest .we can’t believe it that we had party at an elevation of 3,528mts.
One my friend shouted from top of his lungs.
‘’Duniya ki sab se oonchi party mai ap ka suvagath hai ‘’
Welcome to world’s highest party.
‘’Jo sun raha hai wo khuskismat hai aur jo nahi sun raha hai wo aur b khuskismat hai ‘’
Fortunate is one who is listening and more fortunate is one who is not listening.
His voice was only thing that was breaking the silence of night. We keep cracking jokes and start talking endlessly till dawn broke. At 6:30 am we started heading towards kargil.
On the way we visited kargil war memorial, also known as Vijay path, is war memorial built by Indian army located in Dras, in the foot hills of tooling hill.
As we were about to reach kargil, the very first glimpse of this heaven brings twinkling to your eyes just imagine the sight of magnificent mountains greeting you –that was the welcome I will never forget.
We came down from our cars and in one voice shouted.
‘’Ladakh here we came ‘’
Logic and reason demanded that we should rest, but our incorrigible curiosity kept nagging us to explore kargil on broad day light.
We visited various famous places in kargil and enjoyed our day to fullest.
Finally at 6pm we convinced ourselves that exploring can wait, but a lazy nap can’t we booked a hotel and stayed there for the night.
Next morning at 11p.m we left for Leh .LEH is roughly some 210 kms from kargil, a drive of 5 to 6 hours .The journey between Kargil to Leh was special one .the winding mountain roads are accompanied by the meandering streams of Drass, Suru, Indus and Zaskar .after some halts and photos we reached Lamayuru a small village which is some 100 kilometers before Leh .Moonlike landscapes carved into greater Himalayas are its claim to fame, and the reason it is called moon land
We had a stay of one hour there; we had omelets, played chess and took some photographs. ’Sheikh mohd ali and pathan Danish were comprehensively defeated by the tag team of Murtaza Ali and Ali mohd pathan ‘’carved one of group mates into moonlike landscapes of greater Himalayas. We left moon land neglecting their plea for another game.
Finally at around 7 pm came this beautiful town surrounded by huge hills and mountains with ice caps on them .yes, we had just landed at Leh! It was a wow moment for all of us.
We stayed in a guest house, first we relaxed a bit and then party went all night. next morning at around 10 pm we were all set to explore Leh .we visited shanti stupa ,besides giving shanti (peace) ,it is the best place to see the city view landscape ,after this we explored Shay park ,Thskey monastery and other famous places of Leh ,next day we visited the pending places and stayed again in the same guest house .
Our next goal was pang gong lake which is about 160 kilometers away from Leh city .we started marching towards pan gong at around eleven pm .water coming from glaciers and stones from mountains makes it almost impossible to cross road at certain places .the scary nature of road punctured our spirits and we never thought we will reach pan gong.
Disappointment was all over us till we reached a point where we saw something special
A big board displaying ‘’NEVER GIVE UP’’ rejuvenated our hearts and we start believing that we won’t give up until we reach pan gong
FINALLY after passing Changla pass (the second highest motor able road in the world) and braving the toughest road conditions we reached pan Gong Lake at 6 pm
What can be said about this place .it is a heaven on earth .crystal clear blue water, rugged trans-Himalayan mountains in the background make for a stunning panoramic view
Well we saw moon rise between the hills with its mirror image on the water .it was just beyond explanations .we sat on the floor of the lake and started listening to each other’s stories. Amir ali sheikh’s story was a special one .The serene, bright blue water, rocky lake shore and my besties with me will remain etched in the memory forever.
There were camps arranged just beside the lake and we stayed there for night,
Next afternoon we left pan gong and on the way back stayed for a night first at Leh and then at kargil finally we reached home on 23 June 2017.
By any standard and from any perspective, the Srinagar- Leh journey has epic written all over it .the road that opens up only few months will test you ,shock you ,scare you and will leave u spell bound .you will believe life is beautiful.
A special thanks to our drivers who made our trip safe and secured.