A Trip To Heaven - Ladakh in 2007

Discussion in 'Travelogues' started by Vargis Khan, Dec 21, 2015.

  1. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    We didn?t stop at many places and by 5.30 pm we were again standing at Khardung Top. We stopped to have a cup of tea again and there I noticed some T-Shirts on display that read ?Khardung La, Highest motorable Road in the world? in front an ?I was there? on back of the T-Shirt. We both wanted to buy one for ourselves but unfortunately, only T-Shirts available of XL size. Second thing I noticed was a round hat with same text but again to our bad luck, it was out of stock . With heavy hearts, we left the souvenir shop empty handed and started our descent towards Leh.

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    By 7.30 pm, we reached our hotel in Leh.
  2. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Day 8 - Leh To Pangong Tso

    After more than a 12 hrs ride to Nubra Valley, we were so tired that we slept like babies that night. Even I couldn?t wake up before 8 next morning and as a result by the time we started our ride towards Mighty Chang La, It was already 9.30 am.

    There is no gas station towards Pangong Lake so I was confused whether to take some extra fuel but decided against it. After riding for 35 kms, we made our first stop at Karu to get something to eat. We have been nourishing on Kashmiri dishes ever since we set our first foot in Leh so for a change we decided to have some noodles.

    After submitting our permits we started our ride towards Shakti. Since both of us know that we were going to spend the night at Pangong, we were both in a relaxed mood.

    After Shakti, the steep ascent for which Chang La is called as Mighty Chang La started. But the roads were so super smooth that we hardly felt anything. Rather we were both enjoying the ride. We came across to 2 Israelis who were also on their way to Pangong Lake. My jaw dropped wide open when they told us that they were in India for over a year now.

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  3. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    As we started to get close to Chang La, road slowly started to turn in a mudpit than an actual road. Here I fell in love with my bike totally. Every once and now, we started to come across people with their bikes coughing and crawling towards Chang La top whereas my bike, with 2 people on its back, kept going comfortably in 3rd or 4th gear. When we were about 1 km away from Chang La top, we met a guy whose bike was refusing to climb even in first gear. Believe it or not, we tied ropes to my bike and pulled his bike for the last 1 km to Chang La. Once up there, I just stood in front of my bike for a couple of minutes and kept looking at it, taken off my feet by its power. I couldn?t believe that she just climbed Mighty Chang La with 2 people on board and pulled a 2nd bike with a guy sitting on it on a road that can be hardly called a road.

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  4. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    After spending some time at Chang La, and paying a visit to Chang La Baba ka Mandir, we had a cup of complimentary hot tea offered by Indian Army and started our descent towards Tangtse. As we kept going down, road slowly turned back again into an actual road from a mudpit. And once again, we were awed by the natural beauty around us.

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  5. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    It was around 3 pm when we reached Tangtse and both of us were hungry. We wanted to stop and eat something by to our surprise, entire Tangste was deserted. Every house and shop was locked. We finally found a restaurant and came to know that the entire village was gone to a nearby village to attend a local function. Here we had the most expensive food of our entire trip. A plate of rice and a bowl of daal, for Rs 140. After satisfying our hunger, we started the last 35 kms ride towards Pangong. Road here was again a mix of good and bad patches. I was very excited to see Pangong and every turn I thought I will now get the first glimpse of the great lake. After we have covered 35 kms and with still no sign of the lake, we both got a little impatient and started to wonder if we took a wrong turn somewhere. But soon our fears proved wrong and we got the first glimpse of Panong Tso.

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  6. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Shoyab couldn?t keep his hands of the camera and started to take pictures even though we were still riding towards the last village on this route, Spangmik. He wanted to get off the bike and enjoy the lake but I decided to arrange for our night halt first.

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  7. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Just before the small village of Spangmik (which is nothing but a group of about 10-15 houses) we spotted a camp site which by the very look of it, seemed like still under construction. We walked over to the owner and though their usual charges were about Rs 3500 / night, we managed to talk to him in renting us a tent for just Rs 500 / night, including the meals and that?s because they were still setting up the camp. Once our night accommodation was arranged for, we were soon walking on the banks of Pangong.

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  8. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    After about 2 hrs, it started to get dark. I knew it was going to be a full moon night and couldn't wait to see how Pangong will look in full moon. After we have had our dinner, the camping guy told us that their would be no moon until 10 in the night. Shoyab decided to go to bed but i stayed up, out of the tent, waiting for the moon. It was a little cloudy and i was hoping that the clouds would just go away.

    Soon my prayers were answered and the entire lake started to shine like a diamond under full moon light. I went inside the tent to inform Shoyab what he was missing and he too jumped out of the bed to check out the lake. It was indeed the most beautiful night of my life.

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  9. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    Day 9 - Pangong Tso To Leh

    Pangong Tso is an endorheic lake which means that it retains water and allows no outflow to other bodies of water such as rivers or oceans. Its situated at a height of about 4,250 m and is 134 km long and extends from India to China. Two thirds of the length of the lake lies in China. The lake is 5 km (3.1 mi) wide at its broadest point. The entire lake lies on a salt bed and hence the water is saline due to which there is no life in the lake. During winter, the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.

    AMS struck again and night at Pangong was difficult again. I could not sleep properly and kept tossing and turning. Entire night my headache kept killing me but I thanked god for the sleepless night for the first time due to which we got to see the Sunrise at Pangong else we might have just overslept.

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  10. Vargis Khan

    Vargis Khan Administrator Staff Member

    After having a light breakfast, we started on our way back to Leh but not before we enjoyed the lake for another 2 hrs and took a bath in the lake. Water in Pangong is so cold that we could not even keep our feet in the water for more than 5 seconds so both of us knew that It was going to be very difficult to take a dip. My worst fear was that we might fall sick later but we have decided to do it when we were planning our trip in Delhi and now there was no turning back. We took our clothes off and slowly started to walk in the water but couldn?t walk in more than knee deep and came out. We tried several times but every time we ran back to the shore as soon as the water reached our knees. Than we decided that we won?t be able to go in the water if we walk slowly. So we stood up, counted till 3 and started to run in the water like crazy. Pretty soon the water reached our waists and after nodding at each other, we sat down in the water with only our heads out.

    My body froze in a matter of seconds and I stopped feeling my legs. Energy drained out and I knew that if I stay in for any longer than this, I will faint and might just drown and die here but there was still one thing more left to do. I took a deep breath and pulled my head in the water.

    Walking out of the water were the most difficult moments of my life. I couldn?t feel my body anymore and I was literally dragging myself out. Shoyab was right behind me. I felt as if I was about to black out. My head was spinning and I could hardly walk straight. I collapsed as soon as we were out of the water, totally out of my senses. We wanted to take pictures of each other bathing but camera was the last thing on our minds at that time. We came back to our senses a few minutes later. Both of us had sunburns on our faces and becaue we just took a dip in salt water, my face was burning as if it was on fire. We ran to a nearby fresh water stream flowing into the lake and washed our faces.

    Now it was time to click some more pictures.

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