Juley, meaning Greetings, is the first word you hear when you enter Ladakh, India’s second largest district in terms of area, situated at an altitude of 10500 feet above MSL, is cold desert that awaits you with its own uniqueness, charm and beauty. The mesmerising Pangong Tso, the highest motorable roads, the terrific passes and the peaceful Monasteries awaits you as you go on a trip of your lifetime.
As you embark upon the journey on Srinagar-Leh Highway, you are greeted into Ladakh at Patthar Sahib Gurdwara, which will make you believe in the power of God. Legend has its say that Guru Nanakji while preaching the Sikh religion arrived at this particular place and was meditating peacefully. His glory spread in the nearby areas and people started worshiping him. It is said that a Satan or a Monster lived on a mountain across. In order to spread his fear he pushed a boulder down the mountain so as to kill Guru Nanakji who was meditating below peacefully. Call it the power of penance or call it a miracle, the stone turned to wax before hitting Nanakji. Stunned at this the Satan kicked the stone and to his surprise stone turned to wax. After this the Satan realized his mistake and became Guru Nanakji’s disciple. The impression of Nanakji’s back and the Satan’s foot are still visible on the stone. Makes you believe “God is Great!”
Moving on, take a quick break on the road as you strain your brain on how mystical creation our planet earth is! A hill on the way to Leh awaits to pull you towards itself even though you are not willing to go. Welcome to the Magnetic Hill sign says as you reach there.
The hill has magnetic properties which pulls the metallic objects towards itself, it pulls the vehicles up the gradient. The airplanes increase there altitude while passing through the area and the cars are always parked in gear. Best way to save fuel!
After getting acclimatized to the higher altitudes, breathing in the purest oxygen on the earth and gazing the beautiful landscapes the place has to offer, you will stumble upon preaching of Lord Buddha at Thiksey and Hemis Monastries.
The prayer bells and the stupas brings out the positive energy within you and removes all the negative vibes. Truly a magical journey!
The trademark at the monasteries are these Stupa and the prayer flags. In a nutshell, each and every corner provides you with inner cleansing!
And after all that spiritualism, top it up with utmost peace as visit the Shanti Stupa.
Constructed in the year 1991 by a Japanese Buddhist as a part of the Peace Pagoda Mission. The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama. The stupa is built as a two-level structure. The first level features the central relief of Dharmachakra with deer on each side. A central golden Buddha image sits on a platform depicting the “turning wheel of Dharma.” The second level has reliefs depicting the “birth” of Buddha, the death of Buddha and Buddha “defeating the devils” while meditating.Both levels feature a series of smaller meditating Buddha reliefs.The Shanti Stupa was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism.It is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh.
Scaling new heights can be taken quite literally here as you access various places through world’s three highest motorable roads.
And then you arrive at one of the most pristine places on the earth which goes by the name of Pangong Tso. It is situated about 140 kms to the north of Leh town and located at 14000 ft above MSL, the unique fact about the lake is that only 30% of it is in India, the rest 70% lies in China.The pristine turquoise-blue water of the lake is the main attraction. If lucky on a clear day, one can see 7 different shades of blue. Another interesting fact is that it is a salt water lake despite being at such an altitude. The reason behind it is when the Himalayas emerged from the sea, some of the sea water got displaced and it still remains there.
The seagulls flocking all over the vast lake will be a visual delight if you love birds. The place itself gives you such a pleasure and a feeling which cannot be described by words that after clicking a few photographs for memory, you just sit there on the banks and capture those beautiful moments within your soul!
The animal in the mountains are quite interesting as well. The furry marmots can be found burrowing up along the roads and the magnificent Kyangs will race you to the mountain top. Just amazing.
And just as it seemed that the journey is about to get over, you are served with Nubra Valley on your platter. This is the best example of Nature at its Peak. Nubra Valley is an amazing combination of 3 extremely different aspects of nature together! Snow, Desert, Forest! All three at one place and it is a superb journey.
The major attraction is the Sand Dunes. Once you see them only exclamations emerge from your mouth, such is the magnanimity of those dunes.
Enjoy a camel ride on the indigenous two-humped camels and be humbled by the blessings of the Future Buddha at Diskit.
Stayed amazed by the terrific passes, be blessed by the Buddha, get awed by the beauty of Pangong, experience the art of God at Nubra, eat, merry and celebrate and as it is said there in Ladakh,
“If Kashmir is the Crown of India, Ladakh is the Jewel in the Crown!”