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Old 25th March 2015, 17:26   #16
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

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Originally Posted by DevilzzzzOwn View Post
Can I ever afford to risk my health with the amount of hard work you would have to put in during treks at such places?

While I can't say anything about your other points, I do hope you understand the only risk to your health is by sitting in front of a workstation all day. Being active and moving out of a city is actually good for your health.
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Old 25th March 2015, 18:15   #17
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

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Originally Posted by DevilzzzzOwn View Post
Hi //M,

What you are doing by posting pics like these is making us petty workers look into our souls and question ourselves.

Can I ever quit my job and visit places you have been to?
Can I ever see the nature as it is supposed to be seen? (i.e. live, not on a Television or Laptop.)?
Can I ever afford to risk my health with the amount of hard work you would have to put in during treks at such places?

While unfortunately, the answer to all of these questions is a NO for me, atleast I get to see your brilliant pics and enjoy what you must have enjoyed.

Thats why I love Team-BHP.

Keep 'em coming, brother.
Can I ever quit my job and visit places you have been to? -- No, you need not quit your job to visit places unless you want to travel 365 days a year

Can I ever afford to risk my health with the amount of hard work you would have to put in during treks at such places? -- Going out in nature will actually improve your health.

//M, awesome TL, eagerly looking for the trek which you did, since it seems to be an offbeat trek.
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Old 26th March 2015, 02:56   #18
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

So, Finally I saw it. Checking out just your pics on FB was not doing justice to the trip experience you had. It's a dream to visit Leh-Ladakh once in my lifetime on my bike. Want to do this trip with you and will try my best to join you this year. Coming to this travelogue, Breathtaking pics you've clicked there, the aerial view of the Himalayas were amazing. I read that the minimum temperature there went till -35° Celsius during Night. How did you manage to keep up with that kind of cold?
It was nice to see the famous BRO quotes altogether which you've clicked though.

Regards,
Swapnil
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Old 26th March 2015, 10:05   #19
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swapnil_Alto View Post
So, Finally I saw it. Checking out just your pics on FB was not doing justice to the trip experience you had. It's a dream to visit Leh-Ladakh once in my lifetime on my bike. Want to do this trip with you and will try my best to join you this year. Coming to this travelogue, Breathtaking pics you've clicked there, the aerial view of the Himalayas were amazing. I read that the minimum temperature there went till -35° Celsius during Night. How did you manage to keep up with that kind of cold?
It was nice to see the famous BRO quotes altogether which you've clicked though.

Regards,
Swapnil
Thanks a lot Swapnil.

Yes the aerial views looked amazing, the lens won't do justice to what the eyes have seen. The Himalayas covered in thick sheets of snow and the occasional sprinkle of brown and grey coupled with the bluest skies, I am quite sure I have never witnessed such scintillating landscapes ever !

-35° Celsius indeed was really cold. However as soon as I reached Leh, the temperature was around -5° Celsius and by night it was probably around -15° Celsius. So spending a couple of nights in Leh helped us to acclimatise well. During the colder nights, we would just wear four layers of clothes, couple of woollen socks, one over the other, and slid into two sleeping bags, one inside the other and keep our ears open almost always so that it helps in acclimatisation.

After a couple of days, it became a bragging factor and -20° Celsius seemed liked a cakewalk for us. No wonder when I returned back to Delhi I wanted to rip apart my clothes as within 2 hours the temperature changed from -15° Celsius in Leh to 25° Celsius in Delhi !
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Old 26th March 2015, 14:38   #20
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[quote=Dodge_Viper;3671316]Can I ever quit my job and visit places you have been to? -- No, you need not quit your job to visit places unless you want to travel 365 days a year

Can I ever afford to risk my health with the amount of hard work you would have to put in during treks at such places? -- Going out in nature will actually improve your health.

Hi DV,

Didn't mean it the way it sounds.
Losing my job was in reference to asking for a month long vacation.
And risking my health was in terms of the physical activity that my never exercised body will have to go through during treks.

Cheers.
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Old 26th March 2015, 21:58   #21
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

10th February 2015, Day 4


With excitement, enthusiasm and a lot of energy, we started the first day of the trek. The prayer flags were put up at Lamayuru, the starting point of the trek. From Lamayuru, we went towards the Moonlands, crossed over and entered a gorge. The views of the moonlands were absolutely breathtaking.

Soon the dry brown landscape made way to white snow clad vistas as we climbed up towards Prinkiti La. Prinkiti La is a small pass, only accessible by foot. As we climbed higher, the views around got extraordinarily beautiful.

We reached Prinkiti La with slow steps, basking in the sunlight, enjoying the mountains. The cool air compensated for the lack of oxygen. We spent about 20 minutes at Prinkiti La after which a steep descent awaited us.

We descended gradually over the loose gravel and made enough grip with the help of our trekking poles. In about another 15 minutes, we found ourselves walking over a dried river bed kind of trail, formed probably during the Ice Age. At times, the snow covered trail became our playground.

We saw unusual formations, sediment rocks jutting out of mountains.
The dried river bed made way to a lovely pristine village of Sheila. The dry landscape suddenly made way for a partly frozen and partly flowing stream and dried trees. I could just imagine the beauty of this place during the autumn, it would be nothing short of the alpine pastures witnessed in the French Alps.

Soon, we reached our campsite at Wan-La (The "La" in Wan-La is not really a high-altitude pass, its just the name given to the village suffixed by a "La"). By the time the lunch was being prepared, we indulged in a football match with the Ladakhi kids. After a wholesome lunch and basking in the sun, we proceeded towards the Wan La monastery, perched over a cliff overlooking the village.

The climb to the Wan-La monastery was short, but difficult due to the very steep gradients. We could also find a lovely wooden plank over a stream that looked straight out of Bollywood movies. Not surprisingly, we spent quality time there – sometimes just enjoying the solitude and serenity and sometimes listening to music courtesy a JBL jukebox. There was a different kind of vibe that night, the mood was set, we danced, sang and played under the bright moonlight. Thankfully there were no wolves howling around like last night at Lamayuru !

Our campite at Lamayuru
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Starting off from Lamayuru overlooking the stunning Moonlands
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The climb to Prinkiti La
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Prinkiti La
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Descent towards Sheila
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Unusual formations on the way !
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I tried poking it thinking it might fall off
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Sheila, a scenic village on the way to Wan-La
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The Wan-La village

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Our campsite at Wan-La
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Football with Ladakhi kids
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The climb to Wan-La monastery
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Vantage view of the Wan-La village from the Monastery
Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!-dscn3777.jpg

Last edited by //M : 26th March 2015 at 22:00.
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Old 30th March 2015, 13:46   #22
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Amazing pics Arunabh.

But travelling by flight and then taking a cab? Yaar this is not done. No wonder you had not stories to tell us from this trip.

Asit
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Old 30th March 2015, 14:33   #23
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Loss of words to describe the beauty you witnessed. Awaiting the real thing.

How I wish to fly there right way sitting in my 4'x4' (only a namesake 4x4) cubicle

Glued.
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Old 30th March 2015, 16:00   #24
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

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Amazing pics Arunabh.

But travelling by flight and then taking a cab? Yaar this is not done. No wonder you had not stories to tell us from this trip.

Asit


I do have stories to share asit, maybe during our next meet !

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Originally Posted by vinayrathore View Post
Loss of words to describe the beauty you witnessed. Awaiting the real thing.

How I wish to fly there right way sitting in my 4'x4' (only a namesake 4x4) cubicle

Glued.
Thank You sir.

I think the 4x4 cubicle is a true story amongst most of us, sadly !
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Old 4th April 2015, 09:58   #25
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

11th February 2015, Day 5


The Wan-La to Fangila stretch was comparatively easier to do on foot than the Lamayuru to Wan-La stretch. There were no ascents or descents, just a walk over a frozen river. However, we had to exercise caution during walking over ice sheets.

We wore gumboots to prevent our feet from getting numb and also to aid grip levels. Since there were no ascents or descents, wearing gumboots and walking did not feel irritating over a flat surface.

Walking over hard ice sheets is not an easy task; one looses grip levels and kisses the sheet often. So we took baby steps helping each other to cover the distance. At times, our one step cracked the ice sheet forcing us to lose balance.

Somewhere close to Fangila, a part of the ice sheet cracked. The result was a pretty nasty one, I lost balance and gravity did the trick. My feet were soaked in icy cold water despite wearing gumboots. While it was really scary at that moment, I became the butt of all the jokes after reaching Fangila.

On our way we saw kids sliding over ice and we were tempted to do the same but after a couple of falls, we proceeded ahead towards our destination for the day. On reaching Fangila, we saw a group of Ladakhi kids sledging over ice. Now that was something none of us could resist and it was so much fun to try sledging over the hard ice sheets !

We had a wholesome dinner, played some card games, sang, dance and gazed at the stars. It was very cold outside, soon we tucked ourselves into our sleeping bags and called it a night.

Campsite at Wan-La
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Walk over the frozen river
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Ice sheets can be little loose at times
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The Sun and a Rainbow around it
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Kids having fun over the ice sheets
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Prayer flags along the route
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Water, water everywhere…not a drop to drink !
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At times the trail had snow over the ice sheets
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The beautiful landscapes
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Yours Truly, posing for the ‘Kodak’ moment
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Villagers travel by foot for days over difficult terrains to reach their destination
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Picture postcard perfect !
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Who needs a freezer !
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The breathtakingly amazing landscapes
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Ice sheets
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Water sources were all frozen
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Kids enjoying sledging !
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Fangila
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Star Gazing. Pic Courtesy a fellow trek-mate, Aniruddha Bhuniya
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Last edited by //M : 4th April 2015 at 09:59.
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Old 7th April 2015, 13:00   #26
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Beautiful photos and engrossing narration, Arunabh!
Its good that you did it and its even better for us that we get to see winter Ladakh courtesy to you :-)
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Old 7th April 2015, 16:19   #27
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

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Beautiful photos and engrossing narration, Arunabh!
Its good that you did it and its even better for us that we get to see winter Ladakh courtesy to you :-)
Thanks a lot Sayak Da.

The winter Ladakh is absolutely spectacular. The rugged stark landscapes look amazing with snow capped peaks, dried trees and minimal tourists. The best part was that we could witness snowfall six times in the 10 days we stayed there.

The sight of a frozen waterfalls is a reason enough to make a quick dash to Ladakh during the winters.
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Old 12th April 2015, 22:05   #28
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

12th February 2015, Day 6


I stood over a peak overlooking the scintillating hamlet of Ursi, my eyes fixed on the Mt.Mirutse. The mighty Mt.Mirutse stood tall and dwarfed every other mountain peak in its vicinity. The surroundings were calm and serene with dollops of snow all around and the rugged terrain that dominated entire Ladakh, I instantly fell in love with the place. I wondered why we do not venture into such lesser known or probably relatively unknown places !

The scintillating view of Mt.Mirutse from the peak
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We started off from Fangila post breakfast. It was really very cold that night, and as we went higher we were wary of the spine-chilling cold that we will get to encounter in Ursi and Hinju. Our destination for the day was Ursi, a beautiful sleepy small Himalayan hamlet off-the-tourist map.

Unlike yesterday, today there were some steep ascents to be done. We started walking over the ice sheets again and reached a spot where the ice was really smooth over a small slope. The idea was to slide down that slope and have some fun !

Each one of us killed time to slide down that slope multiple times, and whoa it was so much fun !!

After spending almost an hour sliding around, we bid goodbye to the frozen river and started the ascent towards Ursi. It was a steep climb so we took ample stops, enjoyed the views around and soaked in the surroundings.

We reached our homestay at Ursi, a very cozy and comfortable place to stay in. It was a bright and sunny day but the sun could do nothing to keep us warm against the cold and strong winds. We were a little tired due to the climb, so after a wholesome lunch we decided to take a quick nap.

After an hour’s nap, we got up refreshed and charged up to scale a peak overlooking the village. The climb was really steep, definitely the steepest climb in the entire trek. There was way too much snow and loose gravel beneath, so grip levels were low but a steady pace kept us moving and we were on top of the peak sooner than expected. The views we were able to witness from the top were breathtaking. No picture can describe the beauty that the eyes saw. No wonder the Gods chose the Himalayas for their celestial existence !

After a quick celebration, we descended down the slopes to reach our homestay. By the time we started the descent, it was already dusky. But we were carrying our head torches, so visibility was not an issue. The evening was spent playing card games and the usual singing and dancing. I knew this was the best group that I could have done the trek with, lively folks and each of them were true gems !

We interacted with a few local families, had dinner with them and called it a night !

Walk over ice sheets
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Ascent towards Ursi
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Serpentine roads visible at a distance
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Stopovers to soak in the surroundings
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Buddhist Prayers
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Homestay at Ursi
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Climb towards the peak overlooking the village
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The team at the top of the peak overlooking Ursi
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The mighty Mt.Mirutse visible from the peak
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Descent towards Ursi
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Last edited by //M : 12th April 2015 at 22:12.
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Old 13th April 2015, 19:45   #29
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The very warm and friendly people of Ladakh whom we met during the trek !
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Old 18th April 2015, 10:03   #30
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

13th February 2015, Day 7


What do you do when you feel adventurous while doing a leisure walk over the mountains? Trail the off beaten path !

We started off from Ursi after a hearty breakfast. It was more of a leisure walk to Hinju but we realized the trail would get a tad boring if we just keep on walking and descend gradually. So there was an urge to do something different, something adventurous. There was a snow covered slope, looked very tempting and our guide told me this slope would eventually take us to the trail which we were supposed to follow to Hinju. The decision was made.

With utmost caution, we descended down the slope savoring in the scintillating views around enjoying the beauty of the barren landscapes and snow covered peaks.

After a good 60-70 min descent we were at the base of the hill. After some quick photographs, we proceeded towards the village of Hinju. It was again more of a leisure walk but what amazed us was the sight of two young Ibexes that we could spot. There was a steep and rugged mountain in front of us and while we were gazing at the mountain, we realized there was some movement in a particular area which was not really clear to the naked eye. Thanks to our camera lenses on full zoom, we could make out that there were two young Ibexes staring at us. Pretty sight it was !

Soon we reached the village of Hinju and soaked ourselves in the surroundings. Hinju was fairly a bigger village with some dozen homes, our previous days in the trek saw villages with hardly 6-7 homes. We had a sumptuous lunch and took a gentle walk around the village.

It was our last night during the trek, tomorrow after reaching the base camp of Konski La, we would retreat back to Leh where we would have the comfort of a blanket and heater. No more tents and sleeping bags. So we wanted to make the most of that moment. Each one of us stayed awake almost the whole night, played games, shared lovely stories of previous experiences and recollected the memories of this trek. We generously thanked the porters and our trek leader for such an amazing and lasting experience.

The descent down from Ursi
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Barren landscapes of Ladakh
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On the way to Hinju
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Spot the Ibex !!
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With maximum zoom, this is what I could capture
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Somewhere around Hinju
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Last edited by //M : 18th April 2015 at 10:06.
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