#himalayan_firefly 73 Posts

The Ladakh Series! . The vast expanse of Leh is interspersed with linear thickets of poplar trees in the valley plains.What an absolute divine harmony to watch the Ladakhi people lead their daily lives around little patches of green which they cultivate themselves, amidst the many gompas on the mighty mountains! Imagine if the whole mankind could take a leaf out (no pun intended 😌) of their example. . . This panorama of Leh town was taken atop the serene Shanti Stupa and the monastery visible far away on the hills is the Sankar Gompa 😇 . . . . . #leh #ladakh #colorfulplaces #nature #bluesky #cloudsofinstagram #greenvalley #earthcapture #wildernessculture #discoverglobe #nakedplanet #PGDaily @lonelyplanetmags #tripoto #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #nomadsofindia #kmhoe #indiatravelgram #_Hoi #indiaclicks #indiahikes #_woi #mountainbikelife #biketrails #roadtrip #ig_landscape #writersofinstagram
The Ladakh Series! . Arguably one of the largest monasteries in Ladakh, Thiksey monastery takes after the largest monastery in the world - Potala palace (in Lhasa, Tibet) former official home of the 14th Dalai Lama. A twelve storeyed complex with multiple rooms and halls showcasing various items of Buddhist art, yet the prime subject of interest is the Maitreya Buddha. A spell-binding two-storeyed tall structure, it is one of the most captivating Buddha statues that I have seen so far. Primarily because of the details and the exorbitant use of bright colors and an unusual lotus seating position, it is a treat to the eyes. Undoubtedly, a MUST visit! . Next up is a beautiful panorama of the Leh town 😊 . . #leh #ladakh #thikseymonastery #discoverglobe #colourfulplaces #indiaig #maitreyabuddha #buddhism #lotusbuddha #PGDaily @lonelyplanetmags #tripoto #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #nomadsofindia #kmhoe #indiatravelgram #_Hoi #indiaclicks #indiahikes #_woi #mountainbikelife #biketrails #roadtrip #ig_landscape #writersofinstagram
The Ladakh Series! . The next morning we set out to explore Leh and its surroundings. Among the many sobriquets such as 'land of high passes', 'the land of mystic lamas', 'broken moonland', 'the last shangri-la', 'little tibet', Ladakh is also known as 'the land of Gompas'. Gompas are buddhist temples, majorly located in Tibet, India (Ladakh), Nepal and Bhutan. So, it didn't come as a surprise as our day ahead panned around the various monasteries and stupas. . We started with the most far flung monastery (Hemis, about 40 odd kms from Leh). Although, Lamayuru monastery claims to be the oldest monastery in Ladakh, Hemis monastery comes very close as a competitor dating to as back as circa 11th century. The temple complex has a huge courtyard partially enclosed by walls with old buddhist paintings, the main room and a museum, which stores and carefully preserves the artefacts from the early medieval age India. Since, photography is strictly prohibited, I don't have any pictures to share. Inside, we were greeted with stoles called 'khata' in Tibetan. Typically, made of silk and white in color, they symbolise the purity of the giver. . Next up, is one of the most ornate Buddhas in Leh. So stay tuned to the Ladakh Series! . Apologies to my beloved readers, for not being around lately. But mytraveldaze is back now! 😊 . . #leh #ladakh #colorfulplaces #monastery #hemismonastery #thikseymonastery #buddhism #cloudsofinstagram #wildernessculture #discoverglobe #nakedplanet #PGDaily @lonelyplanetmags #tripoto #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #nomadsofindia #kmhoe #indiatravelgram #_Hoi #indiaclicks #_woi #mountainbikelife #biketrails #roadtrip #ig_landscape #writersofinstagram
The Ladakh Series! . The first day in Leh we were joined by two more friends who had flown in to Leh from Mumbai via Delhi, making us a 'squad of six' (think on the lines of fabulous five 😊) Having reached earlier, they checked in at the resort in the morning and seemed all chirpy and alive with that infectious vacation energy (they too had spent majority of the day acclimatising). We (the four of us) on the other side felt very content. To be honest, we were still in awe of the journey that we mapped on the road to reach Leh. Such overwhelming views and an indescribable experience! . On reaching the resort, we were welcomed to an evening tea amidst the poplar grove on the porch of our suite. Lha-ri-sa resort, a true blue boutique property is the fruit of labour and love of a Ladakhi family who wants to showcase the real beauty that Ladakh is, through the eco-sensitive and culturally influenced ways of the locals, to outsiders like us. . The architecture draws heavily from the rain-free environment and so is typically flat-roofed with a color scheme very close to what we see in a buddhist monastery (a kind of religion derivative). Ornate use of wood, which is practical in these climatic conditions, acts as a good insulator besides rendering a regal look to the entire property. Noteworthy mention to the many murals in vivid reds and other bright colors that give more than a peek to the heritage of the precious Ladakhi culture. Adding to this mix, are the many patches of organic farming that the spacious resort indulges in and lets the visitors savour them too in the cuisine served in their restaurant. They grow all kinds of vegetables such as cabbages, cauliflowers, tomatoes et al alongside the apple, walnut and almond trees. One could also enjoy the natural fauna around these in the form of many exotic birds and smaller-winged beauties i.e, butterflies; flutters that create enough ripples in your heart to last a lifetime. . . #leh #ladakh #colorfulplaces #boutiqueresort #tripoto #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #nomadsofindia #indiatravelgram #indiaclicks #biketrails #roadtrip #ig_landscape
The Ladakh Series! . From the top of Tanglang la, it was a steady downhill journey for the next 2.5 hours till we reached Leh. The last leg of the journey being extremely arduous due to the constant scaling of the high altitudes and the lack of oxygen thereof, had made us all extremely tired. So we decided to rest and rejuvenate ourselves before heading any further. Our first pit stop in the entire day happened around 2:30 pm, when we spotted the first signs of greenery. It sure felt like eons before, when we had breathed in air to our lungs fill. Can you imagine being all excited and ever thankful for the presence of trees? We were!! . After the refreshments, we started feeling a lot better and found back our lost energies and slowly the signs of civilisation started showing as we neared the many valleys leading up to the Leh valley. I lucidly remember the first sight of the striking yellow mustard fields on the small patches of green in the valley area against the barren mountains. It was like seeing magic. Why you ask? . Ladakh being a high altitude cold desert, with mountains on all sides, makes it fall under a rain shadow region. With no apparent water source like a river or a waterbody, I wondered how the Ladakhis managed to grow their crops. Well the answer to that lies in their ingenuous yet sustainable farming practice of channelling the water from the melting snow of the mountains. Brilliant right? They could be pretty self-sufficient too, had the weather allowed them beyond the short farming season of four months. . And so we finally reached Leh, early evening, all starry eyed! The rest of the day was spent acclimatising and sipping hot liquids over loads of banters and memories from the road. . . #leh #ladakh #colorfulplaces #greenvalley #mustardfields #sustainableagriculture #earthcapture #wildernessculture #discoverglobe #nakedplanet #tripoto #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #nomadsofindia #kmhoe #indiatravelgram #_Hoi #indiaclicks #indiahikes #_woi #mountainbikelife #biketrails #roadtrip #ig_landscape
The Ladakh Series! . After the exhilarating ride on the Moore Plains, came the extremely difficult ride. The incline was extremely sharp and heavy snowing a few days back had rendered the path difficult. The steepness of the climb, the narrowness of the roads and the imposing mountains are a challenge to any rider. My husband (on the bike in the previous picture), deemed it as the most difficult stretch of the entire ride (remember he was fine in Sarchu !) . We were on top of the highest pass on the Manali-Leh highway - Tanglang la(5328 m). The vistas here were exhilariting to the extent that we forgot all the labour involved in reaching here. Even with all this beauty, what caught and held my attention was this sign post! Not that the road had not occupied a pithy chunk of the mindspace throughout this stellar journey, but the feeling hit me with full force while staring up at this plaque put up by the Indian Border Road Organisation (BRO Himank)- a unit of the Indian army tasked with constructing and maintaining roads in the border areas. Working under the Ministry of Defence, they are not only responsible for keeping the transport lines open in the Ladakh region but also ensure access in the sensitive military areas including the world’s highest battlefield – Siachen (Indo-Pak border) and at Pangong Tso (that spans the Indo-China border). . When they say that travel makes a humble person out of you; well this was my humbling moment. Simply dazed with the bravado these guys showcase in the face of such inhumane terrain. While a lot of us mainlanders have the luxury of living in cozy homes and relatively much safer work environments, these guys battle it out every day even if it is not an actual battle field, to save our border areas from turning into battlefields. . And my my, do these guys have an awfully good sense of humour. The road is speckled with funny quotes on their markerstones. . . #leh #ladakh #colorfulplaces #cloudsofinstagram #earthcapture #wildernessculture #discoverglobe #himalayan_firefly #indiaclicks #indiahikes #mountainbikelife #biketrails #roadtrip #ig_landscape #writersofinstagram
#Repost @mytraveldaze with @repostapp ・・・ The Ladakh Series! . As we progressed our journey, we began to see the most amazing valleys and vistas. This was the day when we saw the maximum metamorphosis happening in terms of the landscape. The lush greenery of mountains and human settlements started to wean off gradually and once we crossed Jispa and Darcha valley (the northern most village of Himachal Pradesh on Manali-Leh route), we could barely see any locals. From there on, it was pretty much mostly other adventure riders like us and quite a number of trucks plying essentials to the Leh valley (this being the only time of the year when they can do so). Also, important to note: there are no fuel stations on this route, the last one being at Tandi and the next after 350 odd kms at Upshi just before Leh. So, one must have enough fuel to last this journey. . This was also the day we saw the most amazing glacial lakes - Deepak Tal and a little ahead from that Suraj Tal (also called Vishal Tal and origin of the Bhaga river) just below one of the most panoramic passes- Baralacha la (La means pass in Tibetan). We were strictly advised by our driver to not spend much time here as it is at a very high altitude of 4890m, lest we should fall sick due to AMS. It is highly recommended that first time travelers pay heed to the local drivers as they know the terrain and conditions in and out. . From here, it was a steady descent and a bumpy ride till we reached the Sarchu valley - 4290m (we were to do a night halt here). Sarchu derives its name from the river Tsarap chu that flows in this region. We spotted Marmots (large squirrels) for the first time here and were quite bemused by these rodents. From a distance on the long straight road we could glimpse a cluster of orange tents in the midst of nowhere. This was it! Unfortunately, we were in for a rude shock and so began the most dreadful night of my life! . . #leh #ladakh #colorfulplaces #baralachala #glaciallakes #currytraveler #earthcapture #wildernessculture #discoverglobe #nakedplanet #tripoto #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #nomadsofindia #kmhoe #indiatravelgram #_Hoi #indiaclicks #indiahikes #_woi #mountainbikelife
The Ladakh Series! . Have you ever wanted to paint on a huge canvas with free hand brush strokes? Well, that is what the Creator must have felt like while bringing Ladakh to life! . And when you are in such a place, it is easy to lose track of your destination. The journey itself is no less. You lose track of time and it feels like you've entered a trance. A vast expanse of plain nothingness with not a single soul to come by, a straight road which looks like its the gateway to heaven, and flirtatious mountains playing hide and seek with equally playful clouds - thats Moore plains for you!  Ask about their experience to any rider who rode on this epic tarmac and you wouldn't be surprised by their answer. For it is the most surreal part of the journey on the Manali-Leh highway. . Gliding on that ~40 km stretch of smooth plateau, is in fact a riders dream. You know when they say how travel changes you; its in moments like these when the rear view mirror puts you into that reflective state as to where we are in the schematic master plan. How abysmal are our worries in front of natures might? How often do we get caught up in the insignificant details than give happiness a chance? How we forget to prioritize - people and love over material possessions? . . . #leh #ladakh #colorfulplaces #mooreplains #grasslands #cloudsofinstagram #earthcapture #wildernessculture #discoverglobe #nakedplanet #adventuremotorcycle #motoadventure #motorcyclediaries #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #nomadsofindia #kmhoe #indiatravelgram #_Hoi #indiaclicks #indiahikes #_woi #mountainbikelife #biketrails #roadtrip #ig_landscape #theshootingstar
The Ladakh Series! . Barely minutes after we reached our stay at Sarchu, one of our friends disappeared into the tents; she was the first one to fall prey to AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness): Nausea, heavy headedness and bouts of vomiting being its usual suspects. That was our first tryst with Sarchu. At a height of 4890 m with little or no vegetation and a very thin atmosphere it has rightfully earned the title of the vomit hilton. . Soon our other friend and I followed suit. I was in my tent chit chatting and feeling sorry for both of them, when it hit me- before I could even know, I too was puking. That's when it dawned on me, how bad AMS could get. One moment you are fine and the other you are literally gasping for air. . Fortunately, my husband was the only one, who despite having a headache and feeling nauseous, did not actually show any aggravated symptoms of AMS. So, he became the caretaker for the three of us - getting us all bowls of hot garlic soup and tending to us in turns. Garlic being a natural anti-histamine prevents blood coagulation and acts as a blood thinner which facilitates better oxygen carrying capacity for the RBCs; thereby improving blood circulation and relieving a person suffering from AMS. . But the situation went from bad to worse as the night advanced. Constant puking had made us completely loose our appetite (none of us had dinner). As the night temperature dipped to near zero levels, our tents kept rumbling with strong chilly winds. I had a lot of difficulty in breathing and struggled to catch even a few winks of sleep. It is said that AMS worsens off when a person sleeps, because as the BMR(Basal Metabolic Rate) goes down, so does the oxygen reaching the brain cells (as it is, the air is quite thin at such high altitudes). So, there I lay awake, freezing in the cold (despite the many blankets), with a bucket by the bed side (no strength to even get up) for what seemed like an eternity. Clearly, it was the longest and most painful night of my life. . AT 5 AM we got up and fled ! . . #leh #ladakh #sarchu #altitudesickness #colorfulplaces #wildernessculture #tripoto #himalayan_firefly #devilonwheels #roadtrip #ig_landscape