Category Archives: Ladakh

Revisiting Leh


You ask me, friend, is Leh much different from when you saw it last? Does it look any different? Does it feel different to be there?

It is so, I answer. And yet not.

Hostel where I stayed as a student intern

When I was at Leh earlier, I was a student, seeking to understand the place and help. I had stayed there for two months; in minimal comfort but with conviction that what I was doing would help change the lives of the people there. (This was during my NGO stint during my MBA course with SPJIMR. I had done a primary survey, report and forecast of the energy needs of the Ladakh region with two of my course mates in the months from March to May 2006 with the Ladakh Ecological Development Group, that was to be given to the J&K govt.) Continue reading Revisiting Leh

Visit to Hemis Gompa


Talk of Jammu and Kashmir and every man on the street will have an opinion. So tarred it is with the scepter of terrorism that it is pushed solely into the realm of argumentative debates for most of India.

Not many would have had a chance to pick it up from the table of scrutiny, dust off the surrounding rhetoric and actually look at how life goes on there.

After spending time interacting with people from all over Leh, a couple of my friends and I took time off to make our way around Jammu and Srinagar.

And what did we find? Continue reading Visit to Hemis Gompa

A month’s melange of memories at Ladakh


Buddha statue at Thikshey monastery. Click for more pics

Time is linear. But the perception of time rarely is.

It’s been exactly one month and one day since I landed here. I never knew one month and one day could fly past so fast.

It seems like yesterday that I landed here, groggily looking at the place after trading a night’s sleep for a window seat in the aircraft. And ever since, I’ve been busy accumulating memories and experiences.

Continue reading A month’s melange of memories at Ladakh

Sun, sand and snow – the deserts of Nubra Valley in Ladakh


What would you find in Leh that would remind you of Rajasthan?

Bet this would be a tough one, even if you are given the KBC style 4 options.

And the answer is…..

Sand dunes!

Yep. That’s right. Leh does have sand dunes.

While the north of the Khardungla pass is literally the home to snow, the temperature just south behaves far more reasonably, and rarely dives below zero.

“Khardungla?” you wonder. “Am I supposed to know that one?” Continue reading Sun, sand and snow – the deserts of Nubra Valley in Ladakh

White magic: snowfall at Ladakh


It snowed on Sunday.

After my first encounter with snow, Spring seemed to be preparing to make itself at home in the valley. The air was getting warmer, and we even managed to take a couple of walks with just light sweaters on.

But Winter was not one to give up that easily. It let Spring claim the day, but under the cover of darkness, when least expected, it struck the earth with tons of snow. Continue reading White magic: snowfall at Ladakh

The magic of the mountainside


As a rule, I desist from using superlatives.

There is a danger in strewing them around insouciantly. The reader encounters one, then the second superlative. By the time she reaches the third, a discontent starts brewing, like when one forces yet another sweet down though the tongue does not enjoy the taste as much as the earlier ones. If she encounters a fourth one, she starts questioning the credibility of the author’s narrative. Come on, she thinks, nothing can be that good. Now the author’s just trying to enliven reality. Another superlative, and the reader bids goodbye. Continue reading The magic of the mountainside

A week’s perspective at Ladakh


Two whole buckets of hot water!

Today’s bath was a luxury.

At Leh, things taken for granted back at home seem to be an event of note. Simple things like having hot water to bathe, having running water in the house, drinking water with a glass – we usually drink using a mug or cup, straight from the bucket – feel like causes for celebration. Continue reading A week’s perspective at Ladakh

2 degrees below zero: First impressions of Ladakh


The dull throb of the engine grew into a tremendous roar as the plane got ready to take off. I was seated by the window, just ahead of the engine. From where I sat, the engine seemed to be a cannon getting ready to propel its target across the sky. The roar grew louder as the plane rushed along the runway, the engine sucking up the air for a final thrust to get the plane off the ground. And suddenly, the nose of the plane rose and we were airborne. Continue reading 2 degrees below zero: First impressions of Ladakh

Leaving for Ladakh – part 2


Yeh kiske bus ki baat hai?

Three kinds of buses ply Delhi.

The Whiteline buses are the costliest, and also the fastest if you want to get anywhere in Delhi. The premium charged goes towards having lesser stops along the way and shorter routes.

The Delhi State Transport buses stop more frequently along the way, but achieve reasonable bursts of speed between them.

Every classification has the reader guessing about the last entity to be mentioned. If the first in the list is touted as the fastest, the second as the next best option, it is natural to assume that the third would be the slowest of the three. Continue reading Leaving for Ladakh – part 2