Travelling southeast we move towards the hyper-popular Pangon Tso, after our trip to the green Turtuk. I used the term hyper-popular because of the extreme popularity that the lake gained in recent years. Its popularity can be credited to its exceptional beauty, the Bollywood film ‘Three Idiots’ that featured the lake and lastly the social media posts that frequently show the lake as a background or as is. Anyone travelling to Ladakh may skip other places but will never miss visiting Pangong lake. So let’s explore this mind-blowing high altitude (13,862 ft) lake.
The morning came after a well-spent night in the cold desert of Nubra. The bright warm sunlight brought hope and happiness around. The birds were chirping, the flowers were gently waving, and the barren mountains around were keeping a watchful eye on everything below. Serenity and peace prevailed in every corner but we could not stay, we had to move on for the day. We have to explore further north and reach where the Indian territory ends.
Leaving behind Leh for the next few days we ventured North towards the once famed highest motorable road – the Khardung La Pass (17,582 ft). With a lot of excitement and the Inner Line Permit handy we began our journey in a rented car with a local expert driver also leaving behind the bike that was our companion for the days in Leh. After an initial check of the permits, our fast ascend began winding through the mountains to reach the Khardung La. This pass connects the Indus river valley and the Shyok river valley and forms the gateway to Nubra Valley.
On this 75th Indian Independence Day, I could not find a better way to express my gratitude and pay tribute to all the freedom fighters who brought us this day and to the valiant soldiers of India who risk their lives defending our nation to keep our flag unfurled. Breaking the sequence of the series of my blog posts on Ladakh, today I share my emotional experience of visiting the Rezang La war memorial in Chushul. This is where the 120 heroes of the Charlie Company of the 13 Kumaon led by Major Shaitan Singh fought a fierce high-altitude battle against the marauding PLA troops to save the Chushul garrison in 1962 Sino-India war.
There was an adrenaline rush after the previous day’s adventure and we were still on a high eager to scour the day’s itinerary. Today’s circuit did not cover much distance, and Hemis Gompa was the farthest point of it. We were brimming with confidence after the successful completion of our first long-distance high-altitude day trip on the bike. With great expectations and excitement, we began our third day of touring in Ladakh.
A day of complete rest, followed by a day of relaxed sightseeing, we were now confident enough about our health in this high-altitude terrain. So we dared to travel a little far for our second day of touring in Ladakh. Sticking to our itinerary we started for the Lamayuru circuit. Lamayuru (11515 ft) is located on the Leh-Srinagar highway at a distance of more than 100 Km from Leh. Lamayuru or Lamayouro is known for the Lamayuru monastery situated on the slope of the hill overlooking the beautiful green village within some alien landscape.
Leh is the biggest city and the capital of the newly formed Union territory of Ladakh. It was also the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Ladakh or Maryul. This high-altitude (3,524 m or 11,562 ft) cold desert city is located by the bank of the river Indus and is surrounded by lofty mountain ranges. Leh is the only base for anyone travelling to Ladakh as it is well connected by road (to Srinagar and Manali) and by air to the other major cities nearby. As a continuation of my Ladakh series, today I will share my first day of touring experience in Leh.
The region of Ladakh is the highest plateau in India which is drained by River Indus (or Sindhu). It lies within the high mountain ranges of the Himalayas and the Karakoram. Also known as the upper Indus river valley, this high-altitude desert land, with lofty mountain ranges and multiple rivers snaking through offers a striking geographical and topographical landscape. One of its major rivers is Indus which gave our nation the name India. Today, I will share my journey through this incredible land of high mountains, rivers, and valleys scattered with man-made monuments and statues aesthetically blending in.
The backwater of the Kabini reservoir gives a magical touch to the serene green landscape of the Nagarhole National Park. The backwaters and the surrounding green grassland provide the required food and drink to the inhabitants of the forest – grass for the herbivores and herbivores for the carnivores and the life-saving water for all. Kabini river originates from Pakramthalam hills in Kerala and flows to the east to merge with Cauvery. In its course, near the town of Sargur, it forms the huge Kabini Reservoir and the backwaters extend meet the forest. Let me take you to this immensely beautiful land of tigers and leopards by this tranquil waterbody.
This summer on a mango hunt we went to Devgad. Though not a popular summer destination like the cool mountains but a treasure trove that unveils only in the hot sultry summer month. Yes, we went to Devgad for its treasure of Alphonso mangoes and as a gift that came along was the tour of the surrounding coastline and the impregnable sea forts. My tour to Devgad was not only scenic and serene it was also mixed with fun and adventure.