A Day Resurrected : Visiting Diskit Monastery

I had boarded the 7 am bus from Turtuk to Diskit and the lure of observing bactrian camels in Hunder had resulted in me getting down at Hundur bridge. It was understandably chilly in the month of January and to my dismay I found that there was no camel to be spotted. I was almost…

Failures on the Road – Stupidity in Changthang, Ladakh

It’s time to get real. Travel is not a bed of roses (well, not for me anyway); I am not looking for comfort on the road, but for experiences – which may differ in variety and can range from staying with a nomadic tribe to trekking on rough paths to see a spectacular view. In…

Leh-Ladakh : Amalgamation of Cultures

Strategically located on the Old Silk Route, the caravan town of Leh has over the centuries developed into a major entrepôt giving it a very cosmopolitan air. A walk through Leh almost feels like arriving back in time to a Central Asian capital, with a mixed racial composition of its inhabitants providing a cultural experience…

Leh in Winters : A Snapshot

When I had first booked a flight to Leh in the winter of 2013, it was really uncharted territory. Everyone said that all hotels in Leh are closed in the winters and I will freeze to death. By then I had travelled to remote areas on my own and known that most things are hearsay…

A Winter in Ladakh : Masked dances at Spituk Monastery

Spituk has been a place of historical importance for centuries in Ladakh; it was the transit point for the lucrative pashm (wool of Pashmina goats) trade from Tibet to Kashmir. It is also religiously significant – (a) The lama of Spituk Monastery is the Gelugpa head for all of Ladakh and (b) Kicking off the masked…

Hitchhiking in a truck : Stories from Nakee La

It was close to 2 in the afternoon and hunger had kept knocking on the doors of the stomach but to no avail. And there wasn’t exactly a choice to stop as I liked; for I was hitchhiking in a truck from Darcha in Lahaul. We stopped at the check post in Sarchu and I…

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…

Khardung La in Winter : Part 1

Although the lure of becoming the first official tourist to explore the other side of Nubra Valley was immense, murky skies had necessitated that I take a logical decision and go back to Leh. We were only allowed till Ensa Gompa earlier on the Panamik and Sumur side, the district administration in Diskit informed me that…

Lessons of Life at Pangong in Winter

I had woken up breathless in the middle of the night. And then I saw out of the window, the lake shined in glorious moonlight. I dare not go out to pee, we had all been advised by the gentle homestay owners to stay indoors and clear of the cold, at least till the morning…

Lamas at Phuktal (Phugtal) Monastery

Last year in Keylong, on a whim I had decided to trek all by myself to Zanskar. Upon reaching Purne, my tattered state was realised and I decided to take it slow and explore the remote cave monastery of Phugtal (also sometimes spelt as Phuktal). The path was treacherous and a swaying bridge had almost…

Top Cafés and Restaurants in Leh

After the rigours of high altitude and utter disbelief at the sight of the lakes and valleys, it is time to take it easy and relish these delights. After all, for most people – A trip to Ladakh is a once in a lifetime trip. La Piazzetta  This lovely garden place with candles and lanterns…

Can you help me ‘do’ Ladakh in 6 days?

Although I am not a travel agent, people apparently try to think I am and want to get Leh’d. Excerpts from a conversation that might seem humorous to some of us : Q. Hi Shubham. Randomly saw your ladakh pic n ur website Can u guide me for ladakh? We r a group of 3-4…