Wednesday 12 January 2011

Ladakh – JULY 2010

There couldn't have been a better way to announce the registration of Travel Stories of India's brand new domain, Traveller Stories, than to write a post about Ladakh. A few months ago, I'd posted a short piece on Leh, but here I'm going to detail out the road trip I took in July last year. The route was: Mumbai-Delhi-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Sarchu-Manali-Delhi-Mumbai.
So enjoy this post and wait for many more to come :) here's to many more travel stories.

Three months and I’m back again with my backpack, all set to finally go to Ladakh; a place that has fascinated me ever since my first steps into the world of travel. It is 6:30 a.m. and I’m whizzing past an empty Worli-Bandra Sea Link to catch the flight to Delhi. The crisp, cold morning air feels refreshing. It leads me to my usual digressions. Although I’m a night person, I love how it feels to be up so early in the morning. I wish I were a morning person; I’d enjoy morning walks. Coming back, I reached the airport well in time. All formalities done, I head to the bus that leads to my plane. Turns out, it doesn’t. The on-ground crew sent me in the wrong bus. So I wait to be chauffeured to my flight that is literally 10 steps away, but I’m not permitted to walk the distance. Anyway, I’m all buckled up and waiting for take-off when my thoughts scatter around again as they’d been doing ever since I decided to take the trip. You see, I was going via a tour group. “So?” You ask. Well, for one, I’m not particularly enthused by the idea of a group tour as it has a restrictive itinerary. However, since my friends were too busy and this was the only week I could take off, I chose the second best option because I HAD to go to Ladakh this year, anyhow. Another hitch (or blessing in disguise, I couldn’t be sure just yet) was that I had no idea who I was going with. I knew no one from the group. I was well aware that it could go either way for me: I could end up cursing myself for taking this trip with strangers, or it could be the best decision I ever made. So lets add on some drama here. Read on to find out which way it went

Worli-Bandra Sea Link at night

For easy navigation and a lighter read, I’ve divided my 10-day trip into four separate posts as per the places I visited, in this order (click on the names below to go to the blog post on that destination):
1) Srinagar
2) Kargil
3) Leh
4) Sarchu

5) Manali
The route is as follows: Mumbai-Delhi-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Sarchu-Manali-Delhi-Mumbai.

Kingdom of clouds
If it wasn’t obvious until now, you should know that I am completely and madly fascinated by clouds. And the kind of magical overdose I had on my flight to Delhi was something I’ve never experienced before. Never before had I seen clouds form such mind-boggling, vivid landscapes. In my head, they formed a mini castle, with little towers and arches. As a soft pink haze enveloped them for a few seconds, I remembered all those images I thought were photo-shopped and realised that they were real, oh so real. The announcement of our arrival to Delhi snapped me out of my dream soiree.

Grabbing my bag, I headed for the departure gate and met my tour guide. A Cappuccino later, I met the tour gang. A round of introductions later, we board our flight to Srinagar.

Coming soon: Posts on the remaining destinations...


Shrinidhi Hande said...

congrats on new domain

Anonymous said...

I'm eager to read the next post! I'd be too scared to travel with a tour group alone incase I hated the people! lol :)

Ruchika Vyas said...

@Shrinidhi: Thank you!
@Suni: The next post will be on in a few days as I'm travelling tom. And I would have agreed with you before this trip, but you know, I met some awesome and crazy people on this trip that I'm truly grateful for :) It was worth the risk!

Unknown said...

Hey Ruchika,
first of all congrats on the new domain. was quite impressed by the design. a good start, eagerly awaiting the travelogue:) n ofcourse the wonderful photographs:))
im inspired to write a couple of travelogues meself. been a long time since i did that:)
take care

Ruchika Vyas said...

Thanks Nimish! I'm so glad to have spread the travel bug :)

Anonymous said...

hey.. your trip looks great.. me and my wife are planning to do it this year...
can you please share you travel agent details with me if you had found him good or anyone else we might consider.. my e-mail is mahi_digumarthy (at) yahoo (dot) com

Thanks in advance,

Ruchika Vyas said...

Hi Mahi, I'd be happy to help! The tour I took was very shoddily organised, so I definitely wouldn't recommend that. However, a friend is organising one. I shall email you the details for your reference.
Have a great trip!