Ladakh 2018

Tours and Treks Report Grade XI – Leh - Ladakh

3rd October: We took an early morning flight to Leh-Ladakh and while in mid-air, all of us were mesmerised by the picturesque and majestic snow-capped mountains (Himalayan ranges). We clicked a lot of pictures and enjoyed the view immensely.

Once we landed, our tour guide explained that we had to take rest in order to acclimatise ourselves to the high altitudes. Hence, we all took a nap for a few hours to replenish our energy for the short trip to Shanti Stupa. There, we came to know that at Leh, people practice Hinayana Buddhism and not the Mahayana one.

4th October: We went to the bank of the river Indus. The water was so clear that the river bed was easily visible. After that, we went to Rancho’s school. The students of the school gave an impressive performance. The boys performed various dances including hip-hop and ones where martial arts like kung fu were incorporated.

We danced to the tune of contemporary songs which was complemented by a wonderful piano performance which everyone enjoyed. Immediately after the programme, the local students became our guides and took us around their school. They showed us their classrooms, art block, science block, mathematics block and even the sites where the famous Hindi movie ’3 Idiots’ was filmed. Throughout our short stay at the school, we had fruitful conversations and discussions with the students about each other’s culture and tradition. We learned much about the Ladakhi script, Buddhism and the way of life at Leh.

5th October: After an early breakfast, we headed for the Khardungla pass. This proved to be the most difficult part of the trip. As we gradually climbed up the mountains, the temperatures started dropping. The snow began getting thicker and our van had to halt for change of tyres and to clear away the snow. Finally, we reached the highest motorable pass in the world. However, by that time, everyone’s hands and feet were freezing and immobile. Despite our numb legs and hands, many of us got down to experience standing in minus 20 degree Celsius.

We clicked photographs in front of the Khardungla pass which is at an altitude of 18380 feet. Also, the view from there was magnificent and indescribable. Late in the afternoon, we reached Nubra valley. Although the trek up the Khardungla pass had consumed our energy, many of us along with our teachers, went for an optional nature walk among the lush green and brown grass set amidst the tall coniferous trees. We observed the yaks from up close.  The whole experience was an incredible one.

6th October: Unlike other days, the fourth day of our excursion was quite relaxed. We enjoyed a bumpy ride on the Bactrian camel. This experience was a unique one for many of us. We walked amidst the huge sand dunes and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. After lunch, we visited monasteries and learned more things about the historical significance of Leh-Ladakh region.

7th October: Everyone was excited to see the Pangong Lake, which is the highest saltwater lake in the world and has a breathtaking view with its blue waters and surrounding landscape. We spent a considerable amount of time there, mesmerised by the majestic mountains behind a sapphire blue lake reflecting the azure sky.

After a short break, we headed for Changla pass. The climb up the pass was not as challenging as we thought it to be even though the temperature was approximately minus 12 degree Celsius. The climb was made easier due to the fact that we had climbed up the treacherous Khardungla pass earlier. By night, we reached Leh and some students enjoyed sipping steaming coffee at the café nearby.

8th October: On the last day of our trip, before travelling to Bangalore, we were given an opportunity to ride a bicycle at Leh for around 10 km. It was extremely challenging and it really tested our stamina and taught us not to give up. All of us were tired and everyone was literally sweating even at such low temperatures!!!

We visited the Hall of Fame or War memorial built for those soldiers who had sacrificed their lives for the nation, at Siachen glacier. Everyone was touched by the courage and bravery of the Indian soldiers who have to endure temperatures of minus 50 degree Celsius. Some quotes on the memorial brought tears to our eyes.

“When you go home,
tell them of us and say…
for your tomorrow,
we gave our today.”

and
“Quartered in snow, silent to remain…
When the bugle calls, they shall rise and march again.”

JAI HIND

The experience was a very humbling one indeed!