Ladakh, Heaven on Earth

Continued from the previous page

Day 7: 10th September 2005 Exploring Nubra Valley

With skies getting overcast, it was only time before the rain would start.

clouds on the horizon

When we reached Panamik, we found that Ladakhi festival was being held there and all of them were about to leave for the next village.

ladakh festival at panamik

ladakh festival at panamik

It was nice to see people all dressed up and we felt kind of sad for arriving late. We moved a little bit further to find a small restaurant and decided to have some tea. By this time it was getting cold and a slight drizzle had started. I wanted to go further till the point we were allowed by the army, since this is the road to Siachen. But Shamik was not feeling well and had a slight fever, so we decided against going further and had our lunch there. Chowmean that we got at this place was much better then the one we had yesterday and the view around the restaurant made the stop longer, yet interesting.

flower

view from the resturant of the nubra valley

After spending more then an hour at the restaurant, we decided to head back. On our way back we found an interesting parking lot. All the donkeys were standing, like they had been parked like the rest of the vehicles. To this day I still get a good laugh when I look at this picture.

mule parking

While going back, we had kids coming out of their houses and coming on to the road and extending their hands to receive high fives from us. This was some thing that we were now looking forward to and were enjoying thoroughly. Ladakhi kids are not only cute; they are also well mannered and curious. We talked with two brothers aged 10 and 12, who had came from Alchi to participate in Ladakh festival and they were impressed by our bikes and even invited us to their house in Alchi!

Where ever we went in Ladakh, we were treated with respect and greeted with open arms. Just like the Ladakhi landscape, the people of Ladakh are inviting and generous.

While coming back we again faced mild showers, but as soon as we left the oasis the showers stopped, infect there was a sand storm taking place just ahead of us! Even though we were getting dirtier by the moment, we were thoroughly enjoying nature’s wonders.

After reaching Diskit I checked with Shamik, whether or not he was feeling ok to continue to Hunder and I got a positive node from him. As soon as we got out of Diskit, I found that Shamik was not following me and after waiting for couple of minutes, he appeared, but this time he had a pillion! I was a bit surprised by this, but continued till we found the famous sand dunes. We stopped our bike 200mtrs before the actual view point, and proceeded to take pictures.

nubra sand dune view point

sand dunes in nubra valley

sand dunes in nubra valley

After the photo session was over, Shamik asked me if I could carry his pillion on my bike, since his rear tyre was low on air. It seemed a bit strange for me, but I didn’t think much of it and from then onwards I carried that guy as my pillion. With in five minutes I found the real reason behind Shamik wanting me to carry him as a pillion. The guy it seemed hadn’t spoken to anyone during the day and all he wanted to do was talk, talk and talk! He spoke about Nubra valley, Ladakh and what he had done since he was born!!!

After dropping him at his home, I went to Shamik and asked sarcastically if his tyre was ok. To which he just smiled and said sorry. Lucky bugger! I still have to get even with Shamik for this, and some day I will (listening Shamik?).

We went till a bridge which was the last point where civilians were allowed to go and found two soldiers guarding it. The soldier on our side of the bridge had an Automatic rifle in one hand and a red flower in the other! This scene was really dramatic and I wanted to take a picture of him, but he wasn’t interested in getting his picture taken, add to that we were not allowed to pictures of the bridge! So we proceeded to take the photo of the road we came from and chatted with him for the next ten minutes.

hunder

We realized that we had made a big mistake by staying at Diskit, Hunder was far better then Diskit and it seemed to offer better accommodation as well.

sunset

my bike

When we came back to Diskit, we decided to try another restaurant and ordered maggi there. Needless to say the food was the best we had eaten in past couple of days. After eating to our content it was time for us to head back to the guest house

Preface, Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7-1, Day 7-2, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 13, Day 14, Day 15, Day 16-17