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Old 27th April 2015, 19:16   #31
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

14th February 2015, Day 8


The last day of the trek was the most adventurous of ‘em all !

We had to walk on a frozen river upto the base camp of the Konski La. We did have previous experiences of walking over a frozen river, but today it was a herculean task. The ice sheet was so so slippery that each step had to be calculated well in advance. Each of us slipped atleast a dozen times to cover that stretch. It got increasingly difficult as we were walking upstream. As we approached the Konski La base camp, we saw the ice sheet had a bluish tinge to it due to the flowing water which was frozen, looked straight out of a fairytales !

There were plenty of occasions when each one of us struggled to go 3-4 steps upstream and then slipped and slided back many steps behind, and then had to struggle our way up again.

But it was really entertaining. Having worn multiple layers of clothes, none of us got hurt but some of the falls were really nasty !

The entire stretch had some parts where we were able to get some traction due to a layer of snow, but majority of the stretch was a polished ice sheet.

On the way back, there was a much simpler route, basically trail walking back to Hinju but we decided to go downstream sliding down the slopes all the way to Hinju. With our body weights balanced, we started skiing quite naturally, the glass like surface and zero friction meant we could slide down easily but without any traction. Scary, yes but definitely adventurous and entertaining. The journey back downstream was just so amazing, it will be etched in my memories for a long time to come !!

After a quick lunch at Hinju, we left for Leh. It was a storytelling competition back in our hotel, everyone had so many stories and experiences to share with our trek organizers once we were back in Leh. We thanked them generously for this amazing trek route, considering that we were very upset when the Chadar Trek got cancelled.

But then this trek was a blessing in disguise.

While the Chadar Trek can get a little monotonous over a couple of days walking over ice sheets and frozen rivers but this Lamayuru to Konski La base camp trek had it all – steep ascents, inclines, stunning gorges, frozen rivers, frozen waterfalls, steep descents, loose gravel and scintillating villages en route !

A walk to remember !!
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Old 7th May 2015, 22:32   #32
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

15th February 2015, Day 9


After a heavy breakfast at Leh, some of us went to the Leh Airport to say goodbye to our friends who were travelling back to their hometowns. The others including me were supposed to travel tomorrow, 16th Feb. It was a bright and sunny day with a clear sky so the remaining people who were supposed to travel back home tomorrow decided to explore the city. We hired a cab and went to see the Monasteries around Leh. We started off with Shey Palace, then visited the lovely Hemis Monastery, then the Thiksey Monastery and finally the Hall of Fame.

Shey was once the summer capital of Ladakh. The major tourist attraction in Shey is the Shey Palace, which has the largest Buddha statue in Ladakh adorned in gold and copper. The Druk White Lotus School, now popular as the "3 Idiots" school, is also located in Shey.

Some pics taken in and around Shey Palace.

Shey Palace
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The spectacular views from the Palace
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Buddha statue at the Palace
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Shey was the capital of ancient Ladakh
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Old 8th May 2015, 07:45   #33
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Some pics of the Hemis Monastery.

On the way to Hemis
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Hemis Monastery
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Last edited by //M : 8th May 2015 at 07:46.
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Old 11th May 2015, 19:47   #34
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Some pics of the famous Thiksey Monastery.

On the way to Thikse from Hemis
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Stakna Monastery
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Thiksey Monastery
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Beautiful surroundings of Thiksey
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Old 12th May 2015, 19:37   #35
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Some pics taken at the Hall of Fame, Leh.

Hall of Fame
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The cafe in the Hall of Fame premises is run by a huge fan of the King of Rock n Roll
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Old 21st May 2015, 14:42   #36
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

16th February 2015, Day 10


I got up early, packed my bags and got ready to leave for the airport. It was 6 am when I left the hotel along with a couple of friends, it was still dark outside. We realized that the whole night it had been snowing in Leh. By 7-7:30 am we had our security check-in's done and we were told that our flight to Delhi has been delayed due to the bad weather. We waited and recollected the fond memories we had in the last one week.

The flights to and from Leh land and take off only during the first half of the day as weather turns bad during the second half due to excessive wind speeds in the mountains and foggy climate. We waited patiently but at about 11 am, we were told all flights for the day have been cancelled. We may either chose to take a refund or reschedule our flights for the next day.

Taking a refund was not even an option for me, so I promptly rescheduled my flight for the next day and prayed to the weather Gods to bless us with a sunny day tomorrow. Almost quickly I made a call to my family and at my workplace to inform them about the status. Dejected, we returned back to the hotel. With nowhere to go for the rest of the day due to the bad weather, we just joined a group of Ladakhi boys who were playing cricket outside the Circuit House at Leh. We made friends with the locals and enjoyed playing with them for over 4-5 hours till dusk. After a nice dinner and random group discussions, we called it a night.

Before sleeping, I wanted to check if the sky was clear so quickly climbed up the steps to reach the terrace.

It was snowing.

Last edited by //M : 21st May 2015 at 14:45.
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Old 21st May 2015, 23:37   #37
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by //M View Post
[center][b]"To those who believe adventures are dangerous, I say, try routine...that kills you far more quickly" - Paulo Coelho
Dear //M,
I am yet to read the complete post. Will do it in 1-2 days. But I appreciate the line by Paulo Coelho. And I praise the title of the thread "Where Eagles Dare". Good writing.

The photographs too are magnificent.

Will get back to you after reading the complete post.

Last edited by Rahul Bhalgat : 21st May 2015 at 23:39.
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Old 22nd May 2015, 10:10   #38
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rahul Bhalgat View Post
Dear //M,
I am yet to read the complete post. Will do it in 1-2 days. But I appreciate the line by Paulo Coelho. And I praise the title of the thread "Where Eagles Dare". Good writing.

The photographs too are magnificent.

Will get back to you after reading the complete post.
Thank You sir.

Awaiting your feedback with anticipation !
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Old 7th August 2015, 12:53   #39
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Default Re: Where eagles dare: A winter sojourn to Ladakh!

17th February 2015, Day 11

The weather Gods were not kind and it snowed the whole night. I got up at 5 am, the heater was not working and it was biting cold. I frisked the heater and tried all antics but the heater didn't work. During this episode I also got minor burn injuries around my right hand.

Dayyum. Not a very good start to the day !

I left for the airport at about 6:30 AM hoping that the flight takes off for Delhi today.

As expected, all flights were delayed.

Till 10:00 AM there were no signs of any flights. However, at about 10:30 AM the first flight to Leh arrived from Delhi. Almost everyone breathed a sigh of relief !

It was still foggy outside however the situation was better than yesterday. Soon we boarded our flight and soon the flight took off. The surroundings were absolutely amazing, washed in white. Soon we were over Himachal Pradesh and the white gave way to green and brown. We arrived in Delhi and we ripped apart our pullovers and fleece jackets. After the sub-zero temperatures of Ladakh for the last 10 days, the 25 degrees in Delhi felt like 50 !

I had around 5 hours to kill in Delhi so I rushed to Nizam's at Cannaught Place and had delicious Mutton roll. After surviving on Maggi, boiled veggies and bread for the last 10 days, the keema tasted fabulous !

I reached Pune late at night and the next day at office was horrendous. Just yesterday I was anxious to fly out of Ladakh and today sitting at my desk, I feel like getting back to the mountains.

Ladakh is intoxicating.

A trip like no other, the aura of Ladakh - the land of high passes, the harsh climate, frozen waterfalls, the bluest skies, the scintillating lakes, monasteries that are perched alarmingly over cliffs for thousands of years, had left me awestruck & speechless. Far away from modern civilization, this small part of land was the most breathtakingly beautiful place I had ever been to.

The addictive splendour of Ladakh will keep me calling back for more !
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