Sunday, September 25, 2011

Ladakh, Landscapes

3 years of planning and every time seeing it jinxed in one or other way, the Ladakh Trip had remained as a dream until 16th Aug 2011, when we entered the nature's pristine creation after our relentless efforts to get there. As I wrote in the my earlier post, Destination Leh,  we had to beat a series of uncertainties and had to make the best decisions. After overcoming all the hurdles for 5 long days finally the Leh trip was taking a good shape. Though we had covered more than 1200 KMs of road journey, we were elated when we reached Leh. We just had  more than 2 days of time and wanted to make best use of it. Weather didn't disappoint us, instead it was extra nice to us. Some times clear skies, some times a slight drizzle, and a couple of times snowfall on the way to Pangong Lake and Nubra valley. It was a perfect show displayed by the weather to the desperate people who wanted to get there at any cost. 

On the first day, we visited Pangong Lake (one day trip). We had hired a Scorpio and an Innova as there were no Tempos available. So the gang of 9 was split into two groups. The Pangong Lake is roughly about 5 hours drive from Leh and the way towards it is beautiful with some amazing landscapes. The lake is at a height of about 14270 ft; it is 134 KM long and spread across India and China, with only 40% of it in India. In the winter the entire lake freezes. When we visited the lake, the atmosphere was just perfect. The play of clouds along with the sun light created magical scenes as we walked along the lake. The lake with crystal clear water, reflecting somewhat bluish color provided breathtaking view against the backdrop of few snow-capped mountains, few sun-drenched hills and few hills covered with the clouds. The joy, obviously was immense, watching such picturesque landscape. We spent few hours walking around the lake and obviously had some photo shoot. Few pictures of the landscapes between Leh and Pangong Lake are posted below.

The Nubra Valley is a high altitude desert in the Ladakh region, which is at a height of around 10000 ft above the sea level, with scant vegetation. It is roughly around 150 KMs from Leh. On the way to Nubra Valley, we crossed Kardung La pass which is known to be the highest motorable pass in the world (at a height of about 17,582 ft) At Kardung La it had snowed heavily, which was unusual in the month of August it seems. Again, the landscapes along the way to Nubra Valley are picturesque. At Nubra valley there is a small group of Bactrian Camels and camera ride will be available. Again, we hardly had any time and hence spent very few hours in Nubra Valley. I guess it had rained a day earlier, and there were some lovely reflections that we got to see out of standing water. We headed back to Leh after a satisfying visit to an amazing valley. Once we got back to Leh, it was almost an end to the eventful journey for last 9 days. We arranged a taxi to Srinagar from where our flight was scheduled on 20th Aug to Delhi. In the wee hours again, we started another long journey but this time back home.

It was a very short visit with plenty of beautiful things to be registered in mind for a longer time; those high altitude roads, rivers and water streams meandering through the snow-capped mountains, the yaks gazing in the valleys, the Himalayan Marmots playing with the visitors, delicately standing villages on the hillocks,  versatile landscapes from barren lands to vivid green lands, surprising snow fall at Kardungla Pass, the military convoys in plenty of numbers hovering between the camps on the roads carved through the high altitude desert, a short distance Camel ride and the list goes on. Some things one can only experience, words fail me. It was not such a great feeling knowing that we were heading back, away from all these things but that's how it is. By evening we had reached Srinagar, and though there were two more days left as per the itinerary, it seemed like an end of this long trip. However another awesome experience was waiting for few of us. Look forward for the next post to know what it is and trust me it is really worth watching :-)

Few of the photographs (23) from the two days spent in Leh:

1. Roads carved on the hills and the clouds and the play of light producing magical scenes, on the way to Pangong Lake from Leh
2. A village delicately balanced on a small hill near Leh
3. A tent at Changla pass, on the way to Pangong Lake, Ladakh
4.  Landscape around Ladakh
5. Landscapes around Ladakh
6. A tourist lady entertains a Himalayan Marmot while the Marmot  thought the lady was holding some eatable in her hands; the man tries to capture that moment in his camera. ( My personal favorite from the trip) :) 
7. My friends, Lawrence and Beverly sit along the Pangong Lake to pose for a photograph
8. Shadows, light and people create a scene, Pangong Lake, Ladakh
9. A family stands at the edge of the lake to experience an unforgettable evening, Pangong Lake, Ladakh
10. Brown-headed Seagull in flight, Pangong Lake, Ladakh
11. Brown-headed Seagull in flight, Pangong Lake, Ladakh
12. Soldiers watch me curiously as I click their photograph, near Pangong Lake, Ladakh
13. Calm and Serene, Pangong Lake spread across India and China, Ladakh
14. While heading from Leh to Nubra Valley, it snowed a lot and the trucks halted till the roads were cleared
15. Ladies with contrasting colors walk on the sand at Nubra Valley Ladakh
16. Reflection produced due to the rain water at Nubra Valley Ladakh
17. A Cow came real close to me while I was shooting the reflections near Nubra Valley, Ladakh
18. A water stream,  villages, snow covered mountains, the clouds hovering over the village, green patches and dry lands all in one frame
19. Military Convoys cross the road at the Nubra Valley (desert) as the play of clouds produce a magical background
20. One of our vehicles, while heading back to Leh from Nubra Valley
21. Another Village near Diskit, Ladakh
22. A village on the way back from Nubra Valley to Leh
23. Himalayan Marmot usually found in Himalayas at a height of 980 to 14,800 ft; I believe they are found only in Ladakh in India.


  1. Really enjoyed this post. What a beautiful pictures! It resembles heaven. What an excellent narration also! It's of course a product of an unceasing toil.


  2. Autograph please, really kulli I have become fan of yours, really great effort. photos are superb, and even writing is also good... I think you can publish book of your journeys.

  3. loved pic18....awesome shot!

  4. Thanks Shukoor for dropping by.. :-)

  5. @Manz, @Amt, @Niki thanks a lot.. @Amt, I haven't traveled enough to publish a book but will surely plan it for the future :-) thanks le..

  6. Amazing clicks Prashant..really breathtaking :)

  7. Nice write and great pics. Enjoyed reading through it.

  8. Wow! That's a beautiful area. Thanks for sharing the great pics and your thoughts. It makes for a very pleasant break in the day.
    Ira K.

  9. Superb. Thats an excellent collection.

  10. Hey Prashant awesome pics, I ve been through all these places on my Bullet, you brought back my memories !!

  11. Ladakh is truly magical and your pictures crearly tell of it. Waiting for that someday when I get there.

    Will be adding your blog to my blogroll. :)

    Also, what camera do you use?

  12. @Everyone, thanks much for dropping by and commenting.

    @greenerpasturesind,( wish you shared your name :)), thanks for the comments. I use Canon 450D with kit lens, 50mm f1.0 and 55-250mm IS - all Canon kit.


  13. name is vaivhav..... :)

    A good for me I am ever an Nikon guy..

  14. Superb collection of snaps.....very good share...

  15. Awesome! Leh & Ladakh - Every traveller's dream :) And that was an excellent set of pictures