Julley

Ladakh is magical and mesmerising. When in Ladakh don’t forget the magical word “Julley”, which means to greet and say hello. Ladakh is and will always be a grand treat and none can see the pure beauty of Ladakh  in just one visit, you may want to be in Ladakh for a long-long time as there is so much to see and you may want to see, the same thing again and again.

The entire ladakh region is made up of different valleys, there is the Leh Valley, the Zanskar Valley, the Mashka Valley, the Nubra Valley.

This is about the Leh Valley and the areas around. One can visit Leh by road or by air. Road Travel is mainly from the month of May till September. Air travel is available all the round the year. People mainly visit Leh during the May period but I happened to take my visit to Leh in the month of January when both the maximum and minimum temperatures are below freezing point ranging from -8 Deg C  to -22 Deg C. Visiting during the winter has its own privileges but there are certain problems with respect to water, clothing etc.

My journey began when I boarded my flight to Leh from New Delhi, It’s approximately a one hour 10 minutes flight from New Delhi. Aircraft cabin is pressurised and temperature is regulated, so you are ok till the time you land at Leh. On landing at Kushok Bakula Rimpoche Airport at Leh at 11300 feet , I was greeted with a temperature of – 7 Deg C and thinner air. When I took off from New Delhi, the temperature in New Delhi was around 10 Deg C.

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View from my aircraft Window

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View from my aircraft Window

The best way to handle colder temperature is to dress in layers, keep your body parts covered, carry a sunscreen, moisturizer, sunglasses/transitions ( in case you wear prescription glasses). When you travel by road to places of higher altitudes your body slowly gets used to the variations taking place around in terms of less oxygen but when you land straight away from a place that is near to sea level to a place that is at a higher altitude problems arise. You may develop a headache. Believe me, developing a headache is good but then it should go away. In case you are flowing in directly to higher altitudes, drink lots of water and take rest on your first day, don’t try to rush in.

After taking my rest on Day 1, I had no time to waste, I was dressed up in layers, had my water bottle packed, sunscreen applied to my face and hands.

(Before, I begin further, don’t drink cold water, drink hot water coz if you catch cold at a higher altitude you will have to go down to lower altitudes to get back to normal and there is no way around it, no medicine, nothing, so drink hot water and all those fitness people know that hot water/water at room temperature is good for health. But, room temperature here does not apply, so take hot water.)

Coming back…

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Leh, is a dry desert

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Leh

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Sunrise in Leh

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Leaves all shed in winter

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There is a slant in the valley

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Dry, yet different colours

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The Close Up View

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There is the Indus river behind. I am on the extreme right. The person in the center is a friend cum fellow traveller and person on the left is our driver Rexin, a Ladakhi, whose company my friend and I enjoyed.

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Indus River is partly frozen and mind it that Indus River is flowing then too it froze partially. Anything, that is still freezes completely. If you leave a bucket of water in night, the water would freeze by the morning.

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This is the magnetic hill, the phenomenon that defies gravity. Be at this place to see for yourself. The slopes of this area create an optical illusion that uphill seems as downhill. Be at this place to experience this wonder.

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This is another view from Magnetic Hill. Just see the different colours of the nearby ranges.

Nearby Magnetic Hill there is the Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, which has a story behind. Guru Nanak, the Sikh Guru who was travelling through this region came know about an evil and the problems this evil was causing to the Ladakhis. Guru Nanak decided to put an end to all this and started meditating at Pathar Sahib. The evil came to know about Guru Nanak and threw a big boulder at him. The boulder on touching Guru Nanak turned soft and took the shape of Guru Nanak’s body. The evil after many attempts to move away Guru Nanak came to realize that Guru Nanak is a messenger of God and is a pure spirit, the final result, the evil changed and the local Ladakhis started calling Guru Nanak as Nanak Lama. Don’t forget to visit Pathar Sahib.

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This is the Zanskar river, partly frozen. A few Kilometers from here orginates the famous Chadar Trek. Zanskar river freezes completely in winter ( or I should say used to freeze completely in winter, thanks to global warming). This river used to serve a direct and quick connection between the remote Zanskar region and Leh.

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The Frozen Indus River

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Confluence of Indus river (coming from left) and Zanskar River (Coming from front), post confluence the river is known as Indus River.

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Some Ice Hockey & Ice Skating. A few kms outside Leh, some 7-10 minutes by car from Leh Airport

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Some Ice Hockey & Ice Skating. A few kms outside Leh, some 7-10 minutes by car from Leh Airport

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Two kids learning to skate together

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Main Market, Leh

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Main Market, Leh. You can do some shopping of local clothes, etc. here. During winters, a lot of shops are closed but still you can manage to get a lot.

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This market has some good places to eat. There is Neha Snacks, then just before  Neha Snacks there is a Punjabi Restaurant.

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Local Market, Leh

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Tea

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A Ladakhi

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Ladakhis

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A Ladakhi

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Young Monks

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A Ladakhi making Ladakhi roti

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Ladakhi Roti

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Ladakhi Roti, don’t miss to eat it

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Thiksey Monastery, Some 20 kms from Leh

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Thiksey Monastery, Some 20 kms from Leh

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Thiksey Monastery, Some 20 kms from Leh

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At Thiksey Monastery

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At Thiksey Monastery

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Shey Palace

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Shey Palace

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Don’t know his name, forgot to ask but this gentleman brought wood to be used for prayers at Shey palace from some 300 kms away.

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Mr. Rizing Hangdu. He lived here since he was a kid and he looks at least 65 years old

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Freezing drop of water at Shey Palace.

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Just Opposite Shey Palace

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Just opposite Shey Palace

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The place I am standing at is Sindhu Ghat

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Sindhu Ghat

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Open Ground at Sindhu Ghat

img_0493Cricket at 11500 feet. This was a cold one, I remember being told that temperature was around -20 Deg C

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Cricket at 11300 feet

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Some serious Ice Hockey between Local Team, Ladakh Scouts and Scara. Carrying a DSLR with your kit sometimes has special privileges.

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Some serious Ice Hockey between Local Team, Ladakh Scouts.Carrying a DSLR with your kit sometimes has special privileges.

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Some serious Ice Hockey between Local Team, Ladakh Scouts.Carrying a DSLR with your kit sometimes has special privileges.

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Guinness World Record

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Leh Palace

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Shanti Stupa, You get a 360 Degree view of Leh from here.

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Spituk Monastery

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Spituk Monastery

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Spituk Gustor, Winter Festival at Spituk Monastery

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Spituk Gustor, Winter Festival at Spituk Monastery

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Spituk Gustor, Winter Festival at Spituk Monastery. Lamas performing at Spituk Gustor

Spituk Gustor, Winter Festival at Spituk Monastery.

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Prayer Flag. Each Flag Color has a meaning. Blue means sky;white means air; red means fire; green means water; yellow means earth.

I am thankful to the people of Leh/Ladakhis for the respect they gave me during my visit there. I surely intend to come back and in local Ladakhi dialect I would like to say, thukjeche i.e. Thankyou.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Reblogged this on shadesoflens and commented:

    This is Leh. When I clicked this picture, it was -20 Deg C, damn cold but this shot was worth it, this is like a home, almost all of us,one day would want to live here.

    Like

  2. thelighttraveler says:

    Wow! You came right in the middle of winter. The frozen Indus river is quite a sight! I didn’t know some monasteries have winter festivals, too. Cool!

    Like

    1. Yes, I was there in January, I went onto frozen Zanskar river ( Chadar Trek). The good thing about coming in off hours is you get to know the people better and make good friends with them. I documented my journey in videos too https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdokYbdDr4_v0A6g3mKvqaA?spfreload=10

      Like

  3. dustkokejuna says:

    Aw, this became an exceptionally nice post. In idea I have to set up writing like this additionally – taking time and actual effort to make a good article… but so what can I say… I procrastinate alot and also by no means manage to go accomplished.

    Like

    1. Thanks for liking the post. I did not end up in the format I am writing from the beginning, it took a lot of experimentation and time for me.

      Think of new ideas and ways to share your work.

      Like

  4. mettatsunami says:

    As I visited in August, it was great to see through your lens what it looked like in the winter. Thanks!

    Like

    1. Thank you. Glad that you could see through my lens. I specifically choose winter as the no. of people are less, there is super peace in monasteries, excellent interaction can be done with the locals. I was also able to learn a few words in ladakhi.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. mettatsunami says:

        When I was in the town market in Leh, especially as a westerner (because it’s a ‘well-known fact’ that ALL westerners want to shop), I was always being called out to from the shop owners to buy something. I found the vihara on the right hand side of the market, and as soon as I entered, it was like a peaceful oasis. No hassle, just somewhere quiet to meditate among the chaos. It was wonderful. The monasteries were the same, but I bet without the crowds of selfie takers they must have been even quieter. Glad you were able to enjoy the serenity!^)

        Like

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