Voyage to Ladakh
THIS REGION STRIKES WITH A BEAUTY THAT IS DIFFERENT IN ITS APPEAL DR. FAROOQ AHMAD PEER
Allah has created green valleys, deserts, plains, mountains, rugged places and barren places all over world. The man must feel proud to see and watch all the creations of Allah so that he can fully understand that His power and Nature is present everywhere and at every place.
It can’t be denied that the tourists from the world and India usually visit the lovely valley of Kashmir for its natural beauty and exquisite atmosphere. But nobody can refute the fact that our entire State is rich in tourist attraction and there are other places also which attract tourists all over the world and one of the such lands is and has been the region of Ladakh.
Although Ladakh does not posses the gorgeous beauty and scenic charm of the vale of Kashmir, but the lure of the grandeur of its endless mountain ranges, its wind-swept plateau, its roaring torrents, the sapphire depths of its limpid lakes, its shimmering glaciers and its quaint cultural patterns - everything is irresistible to the lovers of Nature. It is a land of attraction for the adventurers and geologists whose experience and minute study can unfold the treasure of minerals lying hidden beneath the rugged surface of the land. The tourists can feel inclined towards the people, their culture, religion and traditions. They could be interested in the flora and fauna, geography, topography and history of the land
The flinch of voyage to Ladakh from Srinagar makes a voyager first to reach to the beautiful valley of Sonamarg to feel the touch of cool breezes blowing which rise from the river Sindh and the snowy glaciers. The traveller may have to wait and halt at least for two hours at Sonamarg as the army convoy usually has to cross the Zo-Jilla pass first in order to avoid any mishap at the dangerous pass, for it is having naturally an odd and rough road with dangerous curves. As the Convoy reaches to Sonamarg, the lover of nature can once again start his journey and reach to Baltal . At Baltal the traveller rejoices the presence of gushing and naturally sinuous streams amidst the raw forests pouring down into the river flowing below the mountains which rushes towards Sonamarg wherefrom it makes its destination to the Valley. After Baltal, the traveller reaches to the dangerous Zo-Jilla- Pass and while going through the pass, one thinks not to pass on this road again and throw life into a risk. The Zo-Jilla makes the drastic transition between the two contrasting environments of Kashmir valley and the Ladakh region, within the span of an hours drive. As soon as the last turn of the road near the top of the pass is crossed, the fascinating and soothing forests of Kashmir disappear and the dramatic bleakness of Ladakh, with the ever changing colors of its brown and ochre mountains suddenly meets the eyes. At 2 p m, the traveller reaches the beautiful valley of Drass where lunch may be taken. It is to mention here that Drass is in the west of Kargil on the road to Srinagar. It is locally called Hembabs (or Snow land), and is renowned for being the second coldest inhabited place of the world due to the intensely cold winters and terrible snow falls. The temperature here during winter goes to minus 40 Celsius. During Spring-Summer months, however, this valley turns into a very picturesque land as the surrounding hillsides transform into green pastures splashed with a variety of wild flowers. At 5.30 pm, the tourist reaches to Kargill where one can halt for the night to have a respite from the tiresome journey. It is to mention that Kargil town is situated midway between Srinagar and Leh highway. Kargil was once an important trading centre due to its strategic location at the intersection of trade routes from Russia to India and from China to the West. Over the last 30 years, the political changes taken have considerably reduced the importance of Kargil and instead Leh has been developed and made as the Centre of importance. Being located in the lap of Himalayas, Kargil serves as an important base for undertaking adventure tourism and trips to the Zanskar valley and other Himalayan regions.
The tourist can leave Kargil for Leh early in the morning the next day preferably at 5.a m. At 8.a m, he may reach to Mulbekh, a village, 45 kms away from Kargil, to have breakfast. Mulbekh is a Buddhist dominated area and a famous Gompa is here perched atop on a rocky hill that dominates the valley below. On the national highway of Kargil–Leh, one can witness rivers flowing between the deep gorges which add color to the beauty to the valleys of Ladakh. One can also see barren mountain peaks and also at certain places green patches below the tall mountains where from the streams of water flow. During the travel one feels amazed how the brave people of Ladakh live at these barren places and how they manage their lives. In the afternoon, the tourist may reach to Khalsi which is 337 kms away from Srinagar and at this place lunch may be enjoyed. Khalsi is a resting place for tourists and one can find many restaurants on the main road. During the journey, one also comes across Fatu La Pass which is the highest pass (14,200 ft) on the route to Leh. As soon as one crosses the highest pass, the road opens into the valley of Ladakh. Just 16 kms away from Leh, is a Famous Gurdawara where it is believed that Guru Nanakji had blessed the land by his presence and had compelled an evil doer (Rakshak) to run away from the place who would tease and torment the people passing by that place. At this place the tourist can interact with the Sikh priests of the Gurdawara.
After paying obeisance at the Gurduwara, one reaches to Leh where accommodation of the tourism department of the State and private hotels is available. It is to note here that Leh is the capital of Ladakh and there are many monasteries, stupas, gompas, temples which represent the ancient culture and history of Ladakh. While in Leh, a tourist can sort out a plan of his visits to the different places in and outside Leh. The tourist can pay obeisance at the mosque of the great saint of Islam, Hazrat Amir Kabir (R A) at Shy, 15 kms away from Leh, visit the Gompa at Shy which was built by the king Deldan Namgial (1620- 1640) in the beginning of the 17th century AD. He can also visit the famous Thicksey monastery, 20 kms away from Leh which is the most beautiful of all Gompas in Ladakh. There are eighty monks or lamas living in the Gompa. He or she may visit to Hemis Gompa, 45 kms away from Leh on the West bank of the river Indus, It is the biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh. One may visit the Stok palace, 15 kms away from Leh. The palace is a rambling building where only a dozen of eighty rooms are used. One may visit the Leh palace, which over looks the town from the south – west slope of the Tsenmo hill. It has eight storeys and was built by Singe Namgyal in the 16th century.
In case the Sindhu Darshan festival is around by the time a tourist is in Leh, he can enjoy the ceremony of the Festival which is celebrated every year from 12th of June to 14th of June on the banks the river Sindh.The Sindh or the Indus River is vernacularly known as Singhhey Khabab in Ladakh. The festival in fact stands for harmony among all regions of Ladakh and reflects peaceful co- existence. The festival is a mega event for the tourist attraction where tourists watch different kinds of cultures. The tourist may leave Leh at 5. a. m to have glimpse of the world famous Pangong lake. The lake is 165 kms away from Leh city and the lover of nature may reach to the site of the lake at 11. 30 am. The lake is salty like the other lakes of Central Asia. It exists in Ladakh as well as in China and is 90 miles in length and 3 miles in breadth. Its color is beautifully charming , exquisite sapphire blue and in the golden rays of the Sun, its beauty is increased and the scene becomes fascinating and naturally marvelous. At this place one may stay for a nights halt or move back on the same day at 2 p and can be in Leh late in the evening.
. The tourist may visit the famous Nobra valley far away from Leh city and one will find a lot of difference between the two places because the former is greener than the latter in surroundings and soothing in atmosphere and is also abundant in hot springs. Here, one can have a camel ride, which every visitor of Nobra valley loves to merry. One may visit the Khardulinga mountain peak which is 18, 380 feet in height. Before leaving Ladakh one can visit the markets of Leh and come to know about the different cultures presnt in Ladakh. While on visit to the markets one is sure to feel that the western culture has begun to skulk into the simple lives of Ladakhies and the Tibetans have made onslaught on the business of the people of the area.
The voyage to Ladakh is indubitably a takeoff to hunt the ocean of the beauty of our land and drape ourselves with the knowledge and information of our own ethos and history.
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Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Thu, 16 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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