Tag Archives: travelogue

Ladakh – A Romantic Saga ||Episode 1 || Delhi – Sonmarg (Kashmir)

Day-1 (Delhi – Sonmarg) route details: Delhi – Sonipat-Panipat-Karnal-Ambala-Ludhiana-Phagwara-Jalandhar-Mukerian-Pathankot-Sujanpur-Kathua-Ghagwal-Samba-Jammu-Pulwara-Sringar-Ganderbal-Kullan-Sonmarg.
Total distance: 990kms.

The plan was pretty simple, really, or atleast so it seemed. Start driving late night and drive as far as we possibly could so that the 2nd day could be a relatively easy drive to Leh from wherever we would be at the end of 1st day’s drive. And since we were four guys and we all know how to drive, it pretty much should turn out to be an easy affair or atleast that’s how we thought it should be.

Now, the vehicle of choice was a SUV since we pretty much knew the terrains we would encounter woudn’t really be what you call ‘smooth’ in real sense. Yes, there would ofcourse be stretches where we would find some awesome tarmac to go “crazy” on, but then there would also be roads (or the lack thereof!), where we would pretty much crawl, to put it mildly. The stuff that we had packed for this 6-day long expedition to #Ladakh were:

  1. Camera gear (first & foremost, and for ME, most important)
  2. Warm clothes, although it turned out to be pretty much not needed (more on that later)
  3. Engine oil & a 5 litre extra jerry-can filled with diesel for the vehicle since finding diesel might just be an issue enroute
  4. Cash and bank ATM cards
  5. Snacks & chocolate bars for instant energy
  6. Miscellaneous knick-knacks.

We met at the now famous Taj CCD around 1am from where we were supposed to begin this journey. Now, driving on the straight stretches of highway is pretty much something which anyone with a sense of judgement and a patient and cool mind can easily do all night. Getting out of the Capital at that time of the night was a no-brainer and we were cruising happily on the National Highway-1 (or rather AH-1, as it is now officially known) in about 30 minutes time after leaving Delhi. Now, I am what everyone calls, a very patient driver and somebody who would NEVER take a risk while on the road, and since it was well past midnight, I decided to take it real easy and we took a couple of breaks here and there to pick up some energy drinks and just generally relieve ourselves and stuff.

The night was pretty much uneventful and with a driver change in between somewhere passed Chandigarh, we were in the hills by dawn. Now, once you cross into Jammu & Kashmir (at the Lakhanpur border), the prepaid mobile connections seize to work and that is because of the security concerns. Out of the four guys, two (me & another friend) had prepaid connections while the other two had postpaid ones. So, essentially, once we entered J&K after paying the toll-tax at the Lakhanpur border, the prepaid mobile networks were gone, and I pretty much switched off my mobile phone and kept it inside my camera bag, both, to conserve the battery (as if I’d need it in the next 6 days, except, perhaps, to surf the internet & check for emails/ whatsapp/ Facebook/ Instagram/ Twitter over hotel wifi at different locations) and also, I just wanted to feel light. I wanted to feel free.

You see, mobile phones are good; I am not against them. But, there are days when you wish you wouldn’t have them but you cannot help it. So, Ladakh presented me an opportunity to be without my cell-phone for a period of 6 days at a stretch and somewhere deep down, I was pretty satisfied with this.

Nonetheless, this – the first day’s drive was pretty much uneventful, and although we had to drive constantly for more than 18 hours, we finally reached Sonmarg (which is about 990kms from Delhi) by night; if I remember, it was around 9:30pm or so that we checked into a nice, small, cozy hotel and relaxed for the night.

Kashmir Valley

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As tired as we were, while eating our dinner and even after going to bed, I constantly kept thinking and visualizing about the kind of high-passes & the terrains that we would encounter the next day. I had been to Ladakh on earlier occasions but the sheer excitement just doesn’t abate, no matter how many times you visit that magical place. I had also pretty much visualized the kind of shots that I wanted – both for my still album and for the film that I was there to shoot.

With all that excitement and adrenaline flowing through my veins, even at 2 in the night, I couldn’t really fall asleep while everyone else was fast asleep. Finally, after calming my nerves down, I went to sleep, for the next day had some amazing stories which were to unfold…

 

…to be continued.

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Ladakh, 2016 – Episode 1: Prologue

Ladakh is a dream destination for many, and as I start penning down the travelogue, I realize, there is so much to share, so much to write. And a barrage of emotions just batter me. Here is the first part (the prologue, really)  – Ladakh – A Romantic Saga: Prologue that I’ve managed to pen down. A lot of story-telling to be done, a myriad of emotions and memories to share. Stay hooked! 🙂

Travel As Much As You Can

I have been travelling since I could basically remember. My first ever trip started when my father moved his base from the place I was born. Since he had a transferrable service (defense forces), we all had to keep moving from one city to another every 2 to 3 years. My parents never were avid travellers so to speak, but I feel privileged that it is because of them that I got the opportunity to travel so much, and it is only because of them that this bug bit me. And bit me so hard!

I totally believe that there are so many important aspects to travelling. I can understand that you might not be able to travel so far and so frequently as I do, given the regular jobs that most people have. But, whenever you get this chance, please embrace it with both arms. I’ve, over the last many years, felt that travelling impacts how a person’s entire character is developed. You are basically not enclosed inside that bubble of yours; rather, you get outside your comfort zone. Travelling is something you cannot learn about reading in a book.

When you travel, you discover. You discover new, beautiful, interesting places that make you want to come back and experience different cultures that you weren’t even aware of. I think it has always been a part of me, and I am absolutely determined to keep on travelling for the rest of my life. There is just so much to see. So much to explore; but so little time.

Travel as much as you can throughout your entire life, for travelling will broaden your horizon, it will make you realize a lot of things in life. And remember, it does not need to be an expensive out of the country trip. A simple road-trip will be just as liberating, trust me. After all, you only live once.

P.S: I am off to another travel adventure day-after, and this time I’m exploring the South India. Starting from Bangalore, I’ll be renting a self-driven car, and exploring some wonderful places like Ooty, Munnar, Valparai and the likes and shall bring back a lot of memories in the shape of photographs and ofcourse these travel blog entries. 🙂 So excited! Cannot wait for the trip to start.

When the Clouds Touch you by…

Last couple of days were wonderful! I have always loved the mountains, and more so the Himalayas for I truly believe there’s where my “home” is. I got a chance to visit one of the most off beat places that the entire area perhaps has to offer; it’s a small village by the name ‘Sigri’ which is located about 20kms. past Nainital, and 6 kms. past Pangot (which is famous amidst bird-watchers).

I took a few pictures, and since I was carrying the SJ4000 (action-cam) with me, I made this small 25-30secs. time-lapse video of how the clouds literally touch you and pass by. It was so quiet, and so peaceful that all I wanted to do was just sit there at the top, and look at the clouds as they went by their business. It was really tranquil, one cannot describe in mere words; you need to go visit the place for yourself.

A travelogue will be up in a few days (I am shortlisting the pictures to be shared as we speak), and I shall try and share as much details as possible about the place, how to reach, and all the details that I possibly can. Till that happens, please enjoy this small video. It should give you an idea of what to expect from Sigri.

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