mostly about food and cooking, but also the stories about the Bread and the Butterflies!

Posts Tagged ‘Ladakh’

Ladakh Himalayas: Through Warila to Thikse

In Road Trip, Travel on December 29, 2014 at 5:36 pm

Day 9, September 7, 2014
Hundar to Thikse

At last, we woke up to the Ladakh-blue skies!

Nubra Sand Dunes
The cloudy skies of the previous day gave way to…
Nubra Valley
the famed Ladakhi blue skies!

The tent-bathrooms at Eco-Resort had piped hot water and a bucket-bath was in order.  The 150 km drive to the next campsite, just a little beyond Thiksey, was a short one so there really was no need for a rushed morning though Vikas and I were ready, as directed, by 6 a.m.  There didn’t seem to be anyone about as we ambled over to the dining area and prepared to sit down to rounds of tea as we waited for the rest to awaken.  Preparations were on to get our breakfast-to-go orders ready but as Vijay joined us, we decided there was much wisdom in eating our paranthas hot. The 7 a.m. departure? Not bloody likely.  Quite a few of us managed a hot breakfast before the whole gang was up and ready to roll.

Abhey decided we take an alternate route instead of retracing our way to Leh and thence to Thikse.  This would take us through Warila.  The sun shone bright and the sunshine-starved travelers took every opportunity to pause and enjoy the scenic drive.  The convoy was less disciplined today with some of us taking out time to capture the scenes on our cameras, but the walkie-talkies kept us in touch.  Pictures can hardly do justice to the majesty of the Ladakh Himalayas.

From Hundar to Warila, along the river Shyok

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Ladakh Himalayas: The Nubra Valley

In Road Trip, Travel on December 4, 2014 at 8:50 am
hundar 01

Waking up in an apricot orchard!

Day 8, September 6, 2014
Hundar (10km and back!)

Pangong Tso became a popular destination after it was featured in the hit 2009 movie 3 Idiots.  Its unparalleled beauty is set amid a landscape very harsh and weather unpredictable.  Given the incessant rains and the gloomy forecast, the lake would have to wait…for the next visit.  This trip, we were getting an extra day in Hundar to spend at leisure – visiting the Nubra Sand Dunes and exploring the Diskit Monastery.  Luckily, we were able to transfer our bookings to Nature’s Nest camp here without losing the deposit.

After breakfast we set out for the Monastery.  It was not raining and it was not windy though the clouds were still hanging low.  We spent a couple of hours walking through the monastery that, like so many others, is like a small village on a hill.  We had landed in the middle of special week-long prayers.  A brightly-coloured fresh mandala made with powdered precious stones was on display in the main prayer hall.  It commemorated the special prayers underway and had taken the monks a week to prepare.  After the conclusion of the prayers, it would be consigned to the waters of the river flowing in the valley below.  Only saints could be this detached from something so beautiful created with so much effort. Read the rest of this entry »

Ladakh Himalayas, Part IV: Leh to Hundar, over Khardungla

In Road Trip, Travel on November 15, 2014 at 12:18 am

Alchi-Leh (2)

Day 6, September 4, 2014
Alchi to Leh (90km, 4 hrs)

Alchi-Leh (1)

Another rainy morning.  The clouds and the incessant rain were getting a bit depressing.  I stepped out thinking maybe I could walk around the village and the monastery before breakfast only to find Anand, the enthusiast photographer, sitting in the veranda looking a bit disappointed.  His mood affected mine and I turned right back in.  I did regret this later when I found out that Alchi is bidding for a spot on the UNESCO World Heritage Sites list!  But, honestly, there really was not much we could have done in that rain.

We showered, dressed, and packed up, and walked over to the dining room.  The morning light revealed many laden apricot trees on the plot.  Inside, a nice breakfast awaited us.  The fruits at the table, papaya and watermelon (!), brought joy to many, and we all had many helpings.  There were eggs-to-order, toast, and paranthas. The tea was good and I had many rounds as the rest joined us, one by one, at the table.

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Ladakh Himalayas Part III: to remote Rangdum and Alchi

In Road Trip, Travel on November 1, 2014 at 10:50 pm
On way to Rangdum

On way to Rangdum

Day 4, September 2, 2014
Kargil to Rangdum (130 km, 7 hours)

Kargil-Rangdum

Kargil-Rangdum

I woke up around 6:15 to the gentle sounds of the Suru flowing outside the window.  Another unhurried morning. There was wifi (at a price) at the Zojila Residency, our hotel, and some of us were longing to get connected on a wider bandwidth. The previous night’s instructions to be ready at 8:00am had been interpreted variously as “be ready to move,” “be ready to eat breakfast,” or “generally be around.” At breakfast eggs and toast were the most popular choices. Bhavna took out a stash of artisanal jams she had brought along. [Yes, the ones I make are sooooo much better.] Many rounds of tea later – we were the first ones there and I got to drown a good many cups of tea as people ambled in – we stepped out to line up the cars. Those who hadn’t tanked up the night before, despite Abhey’s requests, drove off to first do that. Read the rest of this entry »

Ladakh Himalayas: through Zozi La to Kargil

In Road Trip, Travel on October 16, 2014 at 8:36 pm

route

Sonamarg-kargil

Day 3, September 1, 2014
Sonamarg-Kargil (195km, 6 hours)

I woke up around 6 am to a quietness through which I could hear the Sindh river flowing not far away. The rain had stopped and so had that racket from the downpour onto a metal sheet below. I stepped out to check the view on the other side and found the tops of the mountains still hidden behind thick clouds. Little by little the clouds started to lift to reveal fresh snow on the mountain tops around.

The plan for today was to drive up to Kargil through our first real mountain pass (Banihal Pass was through the Jawahar Tunnel) and we were in no hurry.  There was time to take in the surroundings.  Anand decided to take Vikas’ bicycle for a spin. Bharat went out to find a replacement for the petrol tank-cap for his Gypsy which he seemed to have lost while refilling the previous night. The rest just ambled around doing nothing in particular.

Sonamarg is at an altitude of 2800 m (9,200 ft) and is primarily a tourist town with no permanent settlements.  The hotels shut with the onset of winter.  At the moment, the meadows looked mossy-green and soft.

Sonamarg 01

Fresh snow!

Sonamarg 02

Stop with the construction already!

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Ladakh Himalayas – A Road Trip: Jammu to Sonamarg

In Road Trip, Travel on October 8, 2014 at 6:05 pm

Mid-August I was getting ready to accompany students on a study tour to Cuttak, Odisha.  It is one of the few states of the country that I have never visited. Naturally, there was some excitement.  A week or so before we were scheduled to leave TH casually asked if we shouldn’t go to Ladakh instead.  You don’t just wake up one morning and decide you want to get behind the wheel and take a road trip to Ladakh.  Or, maybe you just do!  It had been on TH’s mind a long time.  Even so, this seemed sudden.  But being the good spouse that I obviously am, I didn’t bat an eyelid, and replied equally nonchalantly, “Yeah, sure.”

The following week the car underwent a thorough service at the garage and the mechanics there assured us that the Maruti SX4 was game for whatever the Himalayas might throw at her.  There was a long list of supplies, food and other items, that had to be procured.  Driving in the Himalayas is not be taken lightly, and you are advised to stock survival rations for at least a couple of days.  The weather is unpredictable and takes a heavy toll on the roads.  It is not unusual to find yourself stranded for the night or longer.  Some of the places on our itinerary were remote and isolated, and we were traveling at a time when the tourist traffic would be past its peak.  We stocked up on non-perishable food items that included some junk-food but also nuts and cheese.  Our survival bags included sunscreen, tow-rope, flashlights, and oxygen canisters.  Winter woolies were dug out and we were good to go.

Delhi

We’re off to a rainy start!

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