The drives in Ladakh are the spellbinding part of travel to this magnificent region. Every drive is special. Every drive has something special. Every time you drive in Ladakh you will will end up with some surprises. This was true during this drive as well.
Nowang, our friendly driver was ready at the Army officers' mess in Nimmu at 7.30 AM. An early fauji breakfast of Poori and Alu Baji with Egg bujia made us ready for the long drive. The sun was up and bright. The sky was clear too with few clouds. Driving along Indus river, we crossed Leh town and turned towards Khardungla. This was our second drive to the highest motorable pass in the world. First thing which surprised us was the lovely tarmac compared to the one we drove on four years ago. Except for a small patch after South Pullu, the road was fantastic. The harsh summer of Ladakh in August meant that there would not be much snow along the way. Still the vistas were lovely. Hop in and let us drive along............... (please click on the pictures to see them in original size)
|Shanti Stupa glowing in morning sun light as we climb...|
|Tricolour flying high on the summit|
|Few snow covered peaks around Khardung La Top .....|
|Savouring black tea at K Top. Notice absence of snow around the place. But it was chilly and windy though.|
A quick cup of black chai in the small shop run by Ladakh Scouts, we were back on the road. We had not been to Nubra during our last trip to Ladakh. Naturally we were excited. As we descended, the first few KMs from Khardungla Top was narrow and under construction. Once we crossed this stretch, it was a bliss of a drive! The road was awesome. The sights were spectacular. We seems to have started where we had left on the previous day. The undulating valleys were surrounded by lofty mountain peaks. Tiny hamlets along the way were conspicuous of their green fields contrasting with surrounding brown landscape. Deep gorges and ravines weathered down by winds. Shyok river flowing gently........We are now in stunning Nubra valley!
|Stunning earth formations on the way to Hunder|
|The ravines were spectacular too.....|
|Then the stunning colours......|
|And some natural wonders!!!|
|Then there were Yaks feeding n wild grass|
|Monotony of brown disturbed by lovely green......|
|The valley view only got better as we drove on......|
|The vastness was mind blowing.....|
|The formations are stunning.....|
|------with snow caped peaks peeping out like an icing on the cake!|
|Then we also saw these mud fortresses!!|
|A small little lake with the statue of Buddha in the middle|
|Small villages with stunning views...|
|And quiet flows Shyok.....|
|We now turn right from the highway towards Diskit and Hunder. The landscape dramatically changes and how!|
|First sight of Diskit Monastery|
|.......and first sight of Avalokiteshwara....|
How was the drive? Hope you enjoyed it as much as we did.
It was breathtakingly beautiful. We loved every minute of it. We reached Diskit Monastery, one of the largest in Ladakh. A visit to the monastery, exploring the sands of Hunder and customary ride on Bactrian camel was next on the agenda.
a) The road from Leh to Nubra valley is in good condition except for few KMs before Khardungla Top and immediately when you start descending from it.
b) Good roads has its own drawback. We saw dangerously rash driving by the cab drivers. Make sure you tell your driver in uncertain terms to drive safe.
c) If you leave Leh in the morning, you can comfortably reach Hunder by evening after visiting Diskit monastery. You can have lunch in Khalsar. We tried Tukpa, the Tibetan noodle soup in one of the restaurant and it was tasty.
d) Make sure you stop and savour the magnificent vistas on the way.
e) We were in august and it was hot and there was no snow in Khardung La Top. A week later weather changed and people were stuck in blizzard! The weather in mountains is always unpredictable. Be prepared for it.
f) Don't stay for more than 15 minutes in Khardung La Top. Do not over exert yourself by running etc.
g) Ladakh scout has a nice store for memorabilia. Pick out something for the keepsake.
This is the ninth post in "Ladakh Diaries" series in this blog. If you want to explore earlier posts on our experiences in Ladakh please click the link below. Once you complete reading each post please click "older posts" at the end of the page which will take you to previous posts in the series.
Ladakh Diaries - Our experiences in Ladakh
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