Ladakh . . . the place so much heard of, so much said about. Planning a trip there certainly means multiple sessions on what to do and what not to do as part of the survival kit there.
As the flight rose above the chaotic Delhi cityscape, we didn’t have to wait much longer to experience the awe of nature and what the coming days were to offer to us. In no time, the lofty skyscrapers were substituted with the mighty Himalayas, the smoggy opaque sky with the highly saturated blue, the manmade junk with the nature’s creative expression to its best and the ultra-urban frame was replaced with the delicately placed human sentiments in the form of settlements amidst the valleys.
Starting the journey from Leh, even the airport daringly lives up to our imagination. In every direction we turn to, its sheer magnificence. It’s the feeling of overjoy that grips you on seeing something which has never come across.
Living in cities throughout, which are so meticulously planned and ‘formed’, it’s not that difficult to fall in love with a place like Leh at the first glance. The perfection we have always wanted to achieve could be well seen just resting on the laps of Mother Nature and quietly smiling at our efforts to imitate what we could never accomplish.
When one says that Ladakh is a photographer’s paradise, you are supposed to believe it without a second thought. So packing my bag for the trip was more of being equipped enough to carry home back an album of a lifetime.
It’s the grandeur of simplicity that enhances the city of Leh and its surroundings. The numerous monasteries, the Buddhist hymns, the ancient sacred stupas and the prayer flags adorn the landscape apart from the vast expanse of the white around.
The blue that we have always painted on canvases, the fluffy white patches of clouds we have always made up in our dreamy minds, the snow melted streams jotting like sylph through the ever so viridian scapes that we have always imagined; were all true and present in this corner of the earth.
The journeys to various places from Leh, that of the massive and imposing Pangong Lake or the sand dunes of Nubra Valley couldn’t be said less than perilous. But road to heaven isn’t that easy, I presume. What you see when you reach the destination, makes it all worth. It’s certainly tough not to imagine Gregory Peck riding out of the sunset in the Nubra Valley in search of the Mackenna’s Gold!
One may think my account of Ladakh is a bit biased and that of starry eyed child visiting the mountains for the first time. But, believe me, when I say, I have had my fair share of mountain hopping in years but yes, I was like a starry eyed child and you would be too.
It’s not for me to fathom the exuberant display of this beauty. It’s an experience and not just a vacation or a holiday trip. It’s a spiritual journey from the Thiksay to the Spituk Gompa, accompanied by nature herself on every step. Ladakh is like a knittle. You don’t need to put any effort. You just give yourself up to it and you would be gently pulled towards it.