Minna Francis

Children Stories Others


Minna Francis

Children Stories Others

Women Voyagers - Trip to Ladakh

Women Voyagers - Trip to Ladakh

8 mins

There are some experiences for which words are not enough. You need to feel it to enjoy every bit of it. One such experience is traveling to Ladakh - the land of scenic beauty, rustic charm and nature at its best. Women Voyagers recently took an All Women Group for a trip to Ladakh and the fun we had was just the stuff dreams are made of. It was a mix of travel and fun. We created Tik Tok Videos, danced, enjoyed nature, and of course, the varied personalities in the group made the entire trip a fun-filled and adventurous one. Here is an attempt from me to pen down my experience of Ladakh as best as I can recollecting those brilliant moments spent in the lap of majestic Himalayas.

At Srinagar

We started the trip from Srinagar. It left me absolutely spell bound and was majestic. There are many varieties of flowers starting from Srinagar’s famous Gardens – Sharlimar Garden, Chasma Shahi Garden, Tulip Garden. Most of these flowers, the group had never seen and the rich colours of these flowers – impeccable beauty. Some bloom freely and abundantly, some others are terribly shy and stick close to the ground. But no matter what, they all sport dark and brooding or fresh and pastel colours. They just add more to the contrasting landscape that is unique to Srinagar and the entire stretch.

From there we moved to Leh which is approximately 18,000 feet above sea level. The air is thin, oxygen levels are low and because the place is surrounded by rows and rows of snow-capped mountains, the group had to be acclimatized to the low oxygen levels.

Women Voyagers’ Ladakh Journey with the Women Travellers Group :

People say trekking in Ladakh is an experience you must have at least once in your lifetime. Though I am not a trekker, Ladakh has its own charms and way of inspiring you to trek. 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.

Ladakh is the only place, wherein you can close your eyes and place your finger on Shade Card of the blue vibrant sky and you will find the display of vibrant hues and mellow shades is almost obscene in its onslaught on the senses – it’s just too much for our colour-starved-in-city-life selves to take. The best paintings of the Universe can be seen only in Ladakh. One can never get over the colours one finds there, nor can one get enough of them.

Ravishing Landscapes at Leh

The landscape in Leh is constantly changing, no two mountains or sea looks alike. They are all different and the colours keep on changing constantly. One minute, there are looming mountains with swirls and swirls of coloured rocks, and next there are snow-covered peaks, followed by rivers and tufts of greenery and desert scapes and pebble-lined pathways and blue skies, every moment leaves you gasping, every eye-full leaves you wanting more. And truly speaking, we enthusiasts could not get enough of it. We longed for more!

Buddhist Monasteries

You will find so many monasteries in Ladakh and of course Buddhists, who have given their lives for the upliftment of the mankind and do selfless seva. They firmly believe in leading a simple life, without expectations and focused on inner peace. One of the most well-known monasteries in Leh, it’s where part of Jab We Met’s song was shot. Unfortunately, I couldn’t capture those lovable moments in my camera. It was such a great sight to see The Indus River flowing past us and of course, we had never seen such clear and clean water, blue green, with brown patches in some places the water was chilling and so difficult to go down and touch it. It was awfully quiet, and very peaceful out there and we could all hear our heart beats.

The famous Khardung La

The jaw biting wind stands guard against intruders and snow stocks up on ammo to hurl on unsuspecting travellers at Khardung La. At 18,385 feet, it’s the highest motorable road in the world. It is the gateway to Shyok and Nubra Valleys. The two bases on either side of Khardung la are North Pullu and South Pullu. Inner Line Permit is needed to cross North Pullu to reach the Nubra Valley. At an altitude of 18360 feet to the top of the ridge, with lots of switchbacks, with a feeling of pride, a sense of achievement and a good stretch of off-roading you finally reach K-Top.

Absolutely nothing comes so close to the fresh snow, which we all experienced with our naked eyes Lofty Snowy Mountains - Just cannot describe how awesome it is to be able to see snow up close! It’s like fine powder that either melts in your fingers or sticks to them, based on what sort of a mood it is in. When the sun hits it, a thousand diamonds hidden in every square inch of the snow come alive and dance a slow, sparkly dance for the sun rays.

Nubra valley

The descent onwards from Khardung La leads to Nubra Valley, and the landscape changes dramatically from snow-clad mountains to swirling, rocky patterns in looming mountains and vast desert land dotted by marshy trees. The Indus River continues to run through Nubra, gushing peacefully. We stayed at an organic farm-cum-resorts and camp. We also enjoyed the Mela which happens only once a year and had the good fortune of seeing trees full of fruits and in full bloom, among other things. And then, of course, there were the double humped camels, which is a treat to the eyes. The double Humped camels are only found in Nubra Valley and the ride on the double Humped camels is awesome.

Pangong – Lake

Tso called in local language, is 60 kilometres of pure magic that we share with China. On a clear day, the lake shimmers in myriad hues of browns, greens, blues and purples. The minute our feet touched the lakeside at Pangong, we scattered in all directions like a string of pearls set free, and found our own pool of water to immerse our souls in. The water was ice cold and the lake is also famous because of 3 Idiots.

The famous scooter has been installed on the Lake to give a feelgood factor to the visitors and we can shoot pictures as per our own ishtyle. Pangong Lake is a sea of glinting silver, rapidly changing colours as light fills the sky and reflects it back on to the water. The phenomenon is indescribable. One has to experience it to believe it.

The Magnetic Hill

The rare phenomenon of Magnetic Hill leaves everyone astonished. For the uninitiated, the hill possesses magnetic properties that can pull cars uphill and compel passing aircrafts to increase altitude in order to escape the magnetic interference.

And if you’re tired covering a few places on this route, you can halt at Gurudwara Pathar Saheb. Here you will be served with hot tea. Trust me, this one cup of tea is sufficient to rejuvenate your senses for the hilly ride. In fact, this trip showed the entire gang a new way of Life and how to create a lovable world.

Local Delicacies at Ladakh

Solja is the local tea brewed with butter, water, milk, tea leaves and salt,. Chaang – a drink made of Barley, but unfermented. Steamed and fried Momos, Vegetable Pulao, a curry made with potatoes, spinach and inch-long flat wheat dumplings and soup. For dessert, apricots boiled in sugar water and local fruits are a delicacy. Maggi is forever in demand and forever in the air in Ladakh. Maggi eaten from little hotels on the roadside and sometimes, from a tiny shack in the middle of nowhere, tasted absolutely delicious and with a lot more punch.

Moments stretch out in Leh, it gets dark only around 9 pm. You lose track of what day it is, time doesn’t matter, and life seems at its stillest, peaceful best. Don’t be too surprised if you forget that you’re away from home and there’s a life waiting back there for you. Just soak into this beauty and enjoy this nature. Leh is one of those experiences that silently worked its wonders on you without you realising it; and when you do realise it, you shake your head about it in amazement, reminisce, send up a prayer and carry the magic of the wordless mysteries of nature with you for as long as you live. Your life just gets that much richer for it. The proud feeling of reaching the Top of the world is priceless and getting there isn’t easy, but that’s the best part!!

The most important part of the trip was the amazing Women that we were traveling with who made the trip an unforgettable one for us as organizers. Women Voyagers accompanied by these fun- loving girls who, like me, feel connected to nature in their own ways. The crazy fun that we had is an inseparable part of this journey.

Down the memory lane, Women Voyagers pledges and recalls each and every moment spent in Ladakh as an experience to bow down to. With a heart full of such memories, each mountain has a different tale to tell, each wave has a special way to make you feel special, and Women Voyagers vows to visit Ladakh again, with a different set of Nomadic Girl Gang, just out of the love for nature’s beauty and spreading Love and Peace. We came as strangers and parted as friends. Held each other in high spirits and took utmost care of each other.

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