Pablo Neruda said “I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where. I love you simply, without problems or pride, I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving” – in this part of my story dear Ladakh, I am declaring my love for you.
You bring me happiness of the flirting mountains, endless adventure, foretaste of the barren land, breathtaking landscapes, endless chants, romantic chilliness, gumpas and monks, abundant trekking trails, picturesque lakes and above all, the grandeur of the Himalayas – you do to me what spring does to the cherry trees.
My Ladakh story is no different; the day I understood mountains are my soul mate I knew Ladakh is where the Nomad will find her home.
Dealing with Monday melancholy, I was reading about Ladakh and came across this random travel club with a super catchy name – JUGNI (which means Firefly). I ignored for a bit and kept researching but the name JUGNI didn’t abscond – so I opened the website and there it flashed “Nomadic Ladakh Adventure” – for the first time I felt the Universe was truly conspiring. I quickly read the itinerary, compared it with my personal itinerary, checked the trip cost, batch dates (not to miss it’s a women only travel club) and took a sign of relief! Everything was in my favor – even the flight tickets were available at the cheapest. Without any second thoughts I called the number on the website and bombarded them with questions – much to my surprise everything was answered with excitement. Happy me confirmed my trip and booked my tickets – YAY I am finally coming to you Ladakh!
For the next 30 days I kept reading about Ladakh starting from the history – to the demographics – to the mountain passes – to the stories about the locals – to the home stays – to the food and what not to do at Ladakh.
Finally the day arrived – all my bags were packed and I was ready to get LEH’D (as they sayJ)
I met the gang of girls at the airport along with the JUGNI Team. I was surprised to see three ladies in their early 60’s were our travel companions along with 8 other young girls in their late 20s. We greeted, hugged each other – I knew this trip will be one of the highlights of my existence.
Never before had I experienced the charm of a destination well before arriving. The sight of the snow clad Himalayas from the plane window is serene, divine and mesmerizing – a view to die for.
Finally, we were there – on the land of the Lamas, the highest plateau of Kashmir – it was truly the piece of broken moon land. I could feel the mantra “Om Mani Padme Hun” in the air and everywhere around me. I was absorbed by the barren land.
We reached hotel Auspicious in about 15 minutes and settled – there was excitement everywhere – Ladakh
Here are some pictures from our trip. Detailed info on all these places is well available on Google so I will let the pictures talk and focus less on words J
I must also mention that out cabbie was the most audacious of drivers who drove through the hairpin bends and muddy paths, with frozen puddles all along.
The end of this trip was more of a beginning – I discovered myself along with discovering the beauty of Ladakh.
Om Mani Padme Hum