Khardung La in Winter : Part 2

I had never known North Pullu to be like this : The entire landscape was shrouded in a pall of white and a deathly silence prevailed. Maybe the army wouldn’t have let me ago if only they had seen me. The gentleman giving me the ride stopped for a breather, after all even the snowfall Gods had decided to take a break to gather the energy for a renewed battle.

Normal service resumes. The gypsy is still in front of us and leads the way.

You can read Part 1 of this journey here : From Diskit to North Pullu.

Posing for the camera, maybe even they were wondering about my sanity.

The Dalai Lama smiled from the dashboard picture and perhaps it was faith alone that kept us going. We had developed a camaraderie, I sang an old hindi classic; he invited me home next time I was in Nubra Valley.

Wow, what a sight! Water retains its pristine colour even as it freezes. The black and white painted bridge lends a feeling of sensibility to the fairytale.
Stark barren and desolate conditions, a dzo makes its way to safety after the snowstorm resumes.

I felt like an action hero, escaping from the clutches of a potentially dangerous situation. Only that instead of missiles or nuclear bombs, it was the small matter of a snowstorm!

Emptiness all around, only my heart was full.
This could well be an advert for Maruti. What say?!

As we climbed higher towards South Pullu, the flakes began hurtling down faster and with a furiously blowing wind meant double trouble. Visibility had reduced to zero and perhaps it was only faith that kept us going.

The way ahead.
The Ladakhis have unwavering faith in Dalai Lama. You ‘d think Buddhist prayers be the order of the day, instead old hindi numbers provided solace in the otherwise grim weather.

We were stuck in the car for a good period of two hours. It was a lesson in waiting for a restless soul like me. At one point of time, the car door on my side would not open because the space had been blocked by a snow wall.

A full wide view of the sandstorm raging across the vast open spaces in Ladakh.
To prove that I was there! A rare photograph of a ‘solo traveller’.

It was so cold, the pen ink had begun to freeze. I was already hungry and was dreaming of wolfing down some tasty food in Leh, after the rigours of Nubra Valley.

Dancing right into the eye of the storm. I scribbled some philosophy in my small pocket diary. 
This is how it looks : Getting stuck on the world’s highest road, somewhere at over 5000m near Khardung La (La means pass in Tibetan).

This trip was a part of my epic year that was 2015 : Travel memories of 2015

The gentleman met up with his old friend as we reached Leh and together they took me to a lovely meal of authentic Ladakhi & Tibetan delicacies to a place which I might never have known otherwise.

Locals carrying wood to be used for burning in the traditional tandoor or bukhari that is an essential part of every house in Ladakh.
After crossing Khardung La, road scenes on the other side of the pass. The car sometimes teetered very close to the edge, but we survived.

I left for Hanu Yongma after normal life was resumed in Leh, it was later communicated to me that Khardung La did indeed close down for a day after this snowstorm.

Stories of the Aryans : Walking into the past along the frozen Indus in Ladakh

Does this adventure remind you of one of your own? Please share with me, I would love to listen to stories.

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19 thoughts on “Khardung La in Winter : Part 2”

  1. What an amazing journey you have had ! The photos speak volumes. Never traveled to this part of India, but in my bucket list 🙂 There is something enchanting of snow & Himalayas. Keep posting more travelogues .

    1. Thank you so much R. I think the photographs hardly do justice to the actual landscape that my eyes saw and the words are a faint reminder of how many heart whizzed that day! Thanks again.

  2. What stark contrast from your hometown of Rajasthan! Colors and people, both are missing. 🙂 But what a journey you had ! I always wonder, who would want to live there forever in those conditions. Not us, definitely.

    1. Absolutely correct, Nisha ji. It really was a crazy mad experience that just happened! The locals say that they have been living there forever and are used to all this. I don’t think us people from the plains can survive that kind of winter for long.

  3. Hi! Great blog, thanks for sharing your amazing experience.
    I’m going to Leh this winter – end of Jan’17 for chadar trek. Is it possible to ride(bike) to Khardung La from Leh?

    1. Hey Nimalan, thanks for checking it out and the appreciation 🙂

      While it may be possible to ride a bike from Khardung La to Leh, let me very clearly tell you the situation can get life threatening due to unforeseen circumstances and bad weather. Best wishes 🙂 See you in Ladakh.

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  8. Woo! Your post actually gave me goose bumps. I just came back from Leh Ladakh and can well imagine the car driving on the edge at KhardungLa – indeed just a line between life and death. But your pictures have shown me the winter side of Leh which is a real fairyland. I wish I can explore this someday.

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