Ladakh, Land of Picturesque Passes -3

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Getting ready for the journey in morning.  Most of the time we carried our luggage.  It was traveling in the day and resting at hotel in the night.  we spent two nights at hotel Sera in Ladakh – the first and last night

On 28th morning by 8AM we started our photography trip in search of scenic locations.  Our first trip was towards Khardung La pas the highest motorable road in the world.

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Snow covered mountains look as if covered with silver.  At some places we may find military camps. Some look like abandoned others may be check posts

On the way the view of rocks and mountains, villages, Stupas and Gompas  was spectacular.  The journey was treacherous.

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From far away it looks like there is no road at all.  As we move we can find the road.  There might be sharp bends and curves.   Drivers must be experienced and bold

Though most of it is well laid roads it is adventurous travelling along the edge of mountains viewing the scarce vegetation and life in the valley below.

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A village seen in the valley.  This is the only village totally visible down in the valley on the way from Ladakh to Khardungla

We were travelling in group of four to five members in each vehicle and there were eight Toyota Innova vehicles. Each vehicle is numbered and every group had a fixed vehicle and driver.   The driver said it is mostly Innova and Mahindra Duster vehicles that withstand the travel on these roads for travellers.  Military vehicles are a different lot. I just prayed God and had faith in my driver as he is a professional driver engaged by a tourist agency.  He had travelled many times on these roads.

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A check post where internal permission has to be taken showing ID and necessary documents
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I was scared going behind this vehicle.  We passed off safely

At one point I was really scared.  That is when we were trailing behind a heavy vehicle that was carrying steel rods that were projecting outside the vehicle.  Any sudden brake could cause an accident.  But we smoothly crossed it over.  There was another point of turning a where a vehicle crossed ours.  Watching driver’s ability to move smoothly under difficult situation, I was fully relaxed and immersed in watching the scenery around.

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Buddhist worship places seen on the way, stupas far and near.

We have reached the highest point (5359M above sea level) Khardung La pas by 10.30AM.  It took more than 2hrs to cover 39Km.

 

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The temple on the top of the mountain.  Has photos of idols of Gods of different religions.Though Almighty is one, people worship in different forms.

 

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Photo courtesy – a member of our group.  Who ever comes here takes a photo
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Our national flag on top of the mountain.  All over Ladakh we find these flags.  They are colorful, some may have prayers for peaceful coexistence.

Though it was sunny it was cold. We were asked to move soon as oxygen at this altitude is very less and we may have breathing problems.  Though a couple of members had vomited on the way overall there wasn’t much problem.

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As we were leaving Khardungla, driver stopped here for a second and told us that generally all drivers offer prayers for their safe journey in the mountains

Within an hour we started our journey towards Nubra valley.

 

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Seen on the way at a restaurant/camp at Khardungla.  This type of flag posts with yak’s hair and colorful stripes of cloth are seen in the villages too.  The colors are same as prayer flags. It is for protection or ward off evil forces I am not sure.  When I asked a person about it he said it is their tradition
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Yak.  Seen as wild or domesticated.  Yak’s hair has traditional importance
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The lines are paths for travel

Feature Image : Dr.Sukumar

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