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Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Leh September 16th 2017

I fell in love with Leh before I’d even got there. The mountains, the views, the people, the air; its whole aura, somehow. If I lived in Delhi, this would be my bolthole from the summer’s heat. On a clear day, the view from the Delhi flight is phenomenal, snow-capped peaks and winding streams of glacier-flow, no apparent sign of human activity until you near Ladakh’s capital and spot the first signs of cultivated fields beside grey-green rivers, a stark contrast to the barren, unforgiving landscape around. As with Paro in Bhutan, it seems incredible that there’s any stretch of flatness big enough for an airstrip, and indeed the airport itself is up the hill from the planes. Too excited to remember to check my seat pocket before getting off the plane – you’d have thought ... read more
Himalayan agama
Gomang Stupa
view from Leh Palace

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Leh September 10th 2017

The day of marathon has arrived. I am still not confident that I will make it, but there is never a question of turning back. After 4 days of relaxing, I am feeling strong. We started at 5:30 in the morning in taxi to get to our starting point. There were quite a lot of people, more than I expected. Many groups from Delhi, Pune etc. We did our usual pre-race preparation, bib, sunscreen. Then after seeing many groups warming up, I decided to join one of them to warm up. Then it was off on the course. Starting strong, I soon overtook quite a few people. Usually it is a sign that I am running too fast at an unsustainable pace. But I was feeling fine, so I carried on. Once slightly out of town, ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Leh September 8th 2017

Every year I try to find a nice exotic place to run a half-marathon (21.1km / 13.1miles is standard half-marathon distance). This year it was Leh, Ladakh in India. Sitting at an altitude of 11,000+ ft. (3,350m) where you have only 60% air compared to sea level, even walking is a challenge here. Add to that the fact that the run course had 1600 ft (480 m) cumulative elevation gain / loss, this became a perfect challenge for me. I had already run the Winterthur half-marathon, so I knew that I have the distance part nailed down, but elevation gain would require lot of training. The good part about that is, I can do that in gym on a treadmill. Continuing distance training in India was very difficult for someone used to running in the clean ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Thiksey July 11th 2017

Trip to Thikse monastery. Firstly, this blog entry is slightly different from the rest in that I will go into some very personal reasons for my visit to Ladakh. I had two very important tasks to carry out here in the high Himalaya, apart from the motorcycle trip and discovering more about this wild and beautiful place. As some may know, my dear wife Di had been a practicing Buddhist for about 15 years and indeed, before I met her, she considered living permanently in the monastery that she was associated with in Bradford on Avon. However, luckily for me, she decided against it about 6 months before I met her. She used to attend week long retreats 4 times a year until she became very ill about 18 months before she died. The first task ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Pangong Tso July 7th 2017

Thikse to Pangong Tso The next morning I rose after sleeping very badly to discover that I had trapped a nerve in my back and could hardly walk. No more bike riding for me. I sat in the back of one of the 2 support vehicles for the last 2 days. This was not as bad as it sounds as I was able to take a lot more photos and quite enjoyed it. Just like driving a section in my trials car! The road led up to Chang La, the 3rd highest pass in the world and down the other side to a green valley with lots of lakes with wild horses, cows and take feeding there. Eventually the road rose over a sample pass separating the rest of the valley from Pangong Tso. Pangong Tso ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Khardung La July 6th 2017

Leh to Kardung La. Highest pass in the world. The next day was a well earned leisurely day off in Leh, getting to know the place and discover the delights in store. Leh is a mixture of ancient Ladahki mud brick buildings and concrete hotels. The streets are very dusty and as usual, traffic is chaotic and there is a constant background noise of hooting horns, cows mooing and people trying to sell you things. In addition,during the day there are sleeping dogs lying everywhere. The problem is that in the night, if one dog barks it starts off all the rest and there must be a thousand or so of these street dogs in the town. One of the delights of the town is the bakeries. Apparently many years aboard group of Germans came to ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Leh July 5th 2017

Thukje to Leh The Indian Himalaya is made up of a series of parallel mountains ranges running from north west to south east. In order to get from Shimla to Leh you have to climb the passes over all of them. They are, in order starting from the south west, the Great Himalaya Range and the Zanskar Range, then just north of Leh there is the Ladakh Range, and finally, running along the border with China from Pakistan to Tibet there is the mighty Karakorum Range which includes near the Pakistan end as one of its peaks the huge K2. We left Thukje after breakfast outside the tents in the intense sun and road back along the single track road across the Moray plain and back onto the main road leading towards the end of the ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Zanskar July 4th 2017

Jispa to Thukje on the Moray plain We awoke to a revelation, the clouds were parting and blue sky was visible. The rain had gone and there was warm sun to dry our soaking gloves, boots and riding trousers. We sat down to a fairly average curry for breakfast as usual and then had a long chat with a group of women in their 60s from Yorkshire. They were travelling by minibus over roughly the same route as us. I met them again at the Thikse monastery a week later and again 3 days after that, shopping in the centre of Leh. After the 14 hours of riding the day before, the start today felt very leisurely and, with no great sense of urgency, we eventually set off about 9.45, into the warm sun and blue ... read more

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Zanskar March 12th 2017

This was my first winter trek and by far the most thrilling and adventurous. After a gap of two years I was again planning to do the thing I love most “trekking to offbeat locations”. The month was December which is among few months where we have winters in India. Though the southern part of India remains warm and humid throughout the year the northern part can witness very cold climate at the plains and freezing subzero temperatures in the mountains. Having done a lot of research about the place where I should visit this winter, I finally zeroed down to the “Zanskar river” trek also known as the “Chadar river trek “(Chadar in English is bed sheet or blanket). During winters the complete length of the river develops a thick sheet of ice over it ... read more
Frozen waterfall at Nyerak - Top view
Group photo after the summit
Floating

Asia » India » Jammu & Kashmir » Ladakh » Leh December 14th 2016

Leh-ladakh in flat Rs 25k Yes, you might feel it unbelievable, but its practically possible.. We did it. Here we are a total of 6 happy go lucky members from Mumbai, I say so because we are travelers and not tourist, which in term would mean that adjustment is the name of the game. The plan started 3 months back from our actual dates of travel ( sept 10 to 18) , so the booking of flight tickets is the most important aspect. Plan the bookings as soon as possible. Sept, I assume is the best month to travel Leh, the reasons being, It’s an off season period, you can get things cheap , the ideal travel period being March to Aug. Though Sept has the same features as compared to the best travel period, yes ... read more
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