Ladakh

Majestic Ladakh : ZojiLa- The Most Treacherous Mountain Pass In The World!

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Wait a minute! It has a history of war too. Don’t raise your brows! Yes, it has. Kashmir was then an independent Kingdom and Maharaja Hari Singh was its king. It was the year 1947-48. The king was finding it difficult to decide with which country to join his territory, India or Pakistan, or to remain independent. The king chose to remain independent but his wishes were short lived and dashed in October 1947 as Pakistan sent Muslim tribesmen invader into the territory of Kashmir who were then approaching to the capital Srinagar fast. Maharaja Hari Singh signed the Instrument of Accession, ceding Kashmir to India on 26th October. Thus the first war between India and Pakistan broke out over Kashmir in 1947. India referred the dispute to United Nation on 1st January 1948. During this war Pakistani invaders seized ZojiLa in 1948 while they were on the verge of capturing Ladakh. On 1st November, Zojila pass was recaptured by Indian forces under Operation Bison. On 1st January 1949, a ceasefire was agreed with only two-third of the whole Kashmir under Indian control and the remaining with Pakistan (we call it now as Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or P.O.K). In the ceasefire lines, LOC (Line of Control) was drawn up which was formally established in 1972, after a third war between India and Pakistan in 1971.The Line of Control remains the de facto border between the two countries.

We spent enough time at the pass looking at how other vehicles were negotiating the road at the mountain edge that has no barrier. The road is so narrow and vicious that it is known as one of the most dangerous passes in the world. But the route is a lifeline that keeps the people of Ladakh connect with the rest of the world. However it remains closed for more than six months in a year for blockage due to heavy snowfall. The road reopens in late spring. ZojiLa at an elevation of 11649 feet above sea level is considered to be the second highest pass after Fotu La on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway.

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भाग8: रुम्त्से (Rumtse) – कोकसर – मणिकरण – सुंदरनगर – नॉएडा…………… 16/17/18-सितम्बर

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अगले दिन सुबह 8:00 बजे घर की तरफ दौड़ पड़े। शाम 7 बजे राहुल को घर छोड़ा और यहीं पर सबने अंकल का हिसाब-किताब भी दे दिया। वैसे तो अंकल के 2000/- प्रतिदिन के हिसाब से 20000 रुपया बनता था लेकिन अंकल ने गाड़ी की इंजन पैकिंग की मरम्मत के लिए 2000 रुपया एडवांस ले लिया था, वो कट कर उनको 18000 रुपया पकड़ा दिया। वो बहुत खुश हुए। अंकल ने आखिर मे कह डाला कि “आप लोगों की बदौलत मे भी लद्दाख देख आया हूँ। अन्यथा जिन्दगी मे कभी जाने का मौका नहीं मिलता”। राहुल को अलविदा कर दिया। हम सब लोग थोडा इमोशनल हो गए थे। 10 दिन एक साथ ऐसे सफ़र पर रहने से और एक दुसरे पर बिना संदेह भरोसा करने से दिल के तार जुड़ ही जाते हैं। यहाँ से अंकल ने मुझे घर छोड़ा। यहाँ से हरी और मनोज को वो दिल्ली एयरपोर्ट छोड़ने निकल पड़े। अगली सुबह हरी और मनोज का कॉल आया की वो सकुशल पहुँच गए थे।

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लेह – पैंगोंग – लेह…………… भाग6

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धुप ना होने की वजह से यहाँ पर ज़बरदस्त ठंड लग रही थी। मुझे छोड़ कर सब नीचे उतर गए। मेरी तो पहले से ही लगी पड़ी थी और गरम सीट को छोड़ कर बाहर ठंड मे जाने का मेरा कोई विचार नहीं था। तभी हरी ने कहा की चाय बनवा ली है और यहीं पर कुछ खा भी लेते हैं। मैंने मन मे सोचा यहाँ तो पत्थर ही मिलेंगे खाने को। मरा हुआ मन लेकर मैं हरी के साथ चल दिया। अरे वाह क्या बात है यहाँ तो मुफ्त का एक डिसपेंसरी थी, “चांग ला” बाबा का मंदिर और एक रेस्त्रौंत था। गाड़ी से बाहर निकल कर अच्छा लगा और हरी के साथ मैं रेस्त्रौंत मे घुस गया। यहाँ एक बोर्ड पर लिखा था “1st Highest Cafeteria in the world”.

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लेह – खर्दुंग ला – हुन्डर (नुब्रा वैली) – लेह – भाग5

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अब हरी का दिल तेजी से धड़कने लग गया था। इस बार मैं मज़ाक नहीं कर रहा, सही मे हरी घबरा गया था। वो इंग्लिश मे बोला “टेल हिम टु ड्राइव केयरफुली” Or “आस्क हिम टु स्टॉप एंड यू ड्राइव”। उसकी ये बात सुनकर हम हंसने लगे। इस बार अंकल की छटी इंद्री जाग गई और बोले कि “हरी तू बहुत घबराता है, मनोज भी तो पहली बार आया है वो तो चुप-चाप बैठा है”। अब अंकल को क्या पता की मनोज तो इतना घबराया हुआ था कि मुह से एक शब्द भी नहीं बोल पा रहा था। लेकिन अंकल अपनी चाल मे ही गाड़ी चलाते रहे और हरी भी “खर्दुंग ला” तक इंग्लिश मे कुछ ना कुछ बडबडाता ही रहा। सही बोलूँ तो राहुल और मेरा अच्छा एन्जोयमेंट होता रहा। हम “खर्दुंग ला” टॉप पहुँच गए। हरी ने जल्दी गाड़ी से नीचे उतरने की शिफारिश की और चैन की साँस भरी। अब जाकर बेचारा मुस्कराया था।

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Sarchhu to Leh, Pangong Lake, and Back via Kashmir

Sarchhu to Leh, Pangong Lake, and Back via Kashmir

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First town where some civilization could be seen was Upshi which is basically a check post where we did not stop. Next stop at about 30 km was Karu which basically a military establishment just before Leh. We stopped a Karu for a late lunch and some tea and then soon proceeded to Leh which took about 1-1.5 hours. On the way to Leh one can see gorgeous mountain views with Indus flowing along the road.

Next, day we went to places around Leh such as Patthar Singh Sahab Gurudwara (पत्थर सिंह साहिब गुरुद्वारा), so called Magnetic Hill, Confluence of Janskar and Indus rivers, a Kali temple and a Buddhist temple, and one of the oldest monastery near Leh. The landscape near Leh is also dry, barren but mesmerizingly beautiful. Buddhist temple have special wheels called Maney ( माने) carrying the holy mantra “Om Many Padme hum” or “ओम माणी पद्मे हूं”  which the devotees rotate.

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Ladakh: Nature’s Eloquent SIlence

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A trip to Ladakh leaves many a visitors breathless and not just because of its high altitude location. In an ephemeral moment of truce, when the cool breeze lets you rejuvenate your thoughts long lost to the battles of daily routine, a perchance to dream, a sense of being afloat on wings of imagination and suddenly you realize you need to breathe too. It’s just like in songs, ‘a flight of fancy on the windswept fields’ when you are standing alone and your senses reel. The attraction in Ladakh can be fatal especially when emotions are involved. When you are in Ladakh all you wish for is to capture its reality and here in the overwhelming vastness even reality turns out to be abstract.

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Our Leh Trip in August 2012

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We all are ready and fit to explore “The Leh” our first destination to Nubra valley. We get up by 7.00 am and start to Nubra Valley by 8.30 am. We drive just 4-5 km. From leh and one of our friend feeling hungry and said please stop the car in front of any hotel to take some food. Any way after 30 minute drive we found one small road side cafe, and their she take some bread and butter etc. Then we start to Nubra, On the way of nubra valley we cross the worlds highest motorable road “Khardungla pass” we stop at khardungla cafe which is “world’s highest cafe” run by indian army. We all take black tea hear. Khardungla is situated 18350 feet from the sea lavel and oxygen is very low their, we all feel the same little bit altitude problem. We stay their 30 minutes, Aditi one of our friend is busy in photography, and roaming around rest of us are just sit beside the car, we met some bikers their, now-a-days many Indians are coming by bike too.

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Motorcycle Diaries. Road to Ladakh (Kaza – Keylong – Sarchu)

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Bara-lacha La was all clad in snow. Luckily the roads were devoid of any snow, making it easy of us riders to sail through. You’d notice that unlike other key milestones, I haven’t posted any image of a plaque reading Bara-lacha La – actually, I could’nt take any – there was a huge jam ahead, as we climbed up the Pass. I saw an oil-tanker overturned and fallen out of the road, taking the signage with it! Thankfully, the truck hadn’t taken the plunge. It seemed to be a very recent accident – the driver of the truck was safely back on road and was assessing the damages done. The Border Roads Organization that manages these roads was very quick to respond; they had already arrived with a crane and were working out a rescue plan.

Advantage Biker! We quickly made our way through the mounting traffic and descended to the famous Bharatpur – our lunch halt of the day. This place is something – all full of colourful dhabas!

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