Cox & Kings Customer Review: Super Saver Ladakh
Urvashi Darira made light of us when our Cox & Kings representative told her that this trip was going to change her life. “That’s what they all say!”, she commented. 8 days later, 8 magical days later she had to eat her own words.
Ladakh changed her life, and how. Read on to know….
The decision to explore Ladakh was my friend’s brainchild on a night of introspection through the film ‘Into The Wild’. Not much of a brainchild, if one considers that the film’s major part deals with our protagonist’s choice to live-off the beaten track in Alaska.
Ladakh is India’s answer to Alaska in the US. Wild, barren, snow-covered, inhospitable at times, and filled with admirable contrasts…
Our destination was fixed. Now our journey had to be planned. Since I had already travelled through Cox & Kings earlier, there was no question about whom we were going to hand over this holiday to. Tried and tested works. A few hassle-free formalities later, the two of us were all set to embark on our ”life-changing journey”.
Day 1: Acclimatising To The Altitude & To The Pleasant Shock
I have never, I repeat, never, had such a scenic landing into an airport. Having heard a lot of things about the beauty of the majestic mountain terrain in Ladakh, I thought I was quite sure-footed to face the same beauty. Boy, was I wrong. I was blown away.
We collected our luggage and met the Cox & Kings representative outside the small arrival room. Within an hour we were all settled in a comfortable room with a view. Being on an early morning flight, we had the entire day to walk around the Leh town. What had started off as a tremendously small village, is now a bustling township with bazaars, restaurants, travel agencies, taxi services and guest houses.
Day 2: Acclimatising To The Rich History & To The Stubbornly Located Gompas In Leh
After a rustic breakfast of roti and brilliantly made tea, we proceeded towards Shanti Stupa. Walking up the initially high and finally small steps took us not more than 20 minutes. Post lunch, we visited the dilapidated Leh Palace and the Sankar Gompa. The view of Stok Range from here is unparalleled.
Day 3: Acclimatising To The Tallest Buddha In Ladakh
This was a very exciting day for us because there was so much to look forward to. Sand dunes in a cold desert, the one-of-its-kind two-humped Bactrian camel, snow-covered top of Khardung La pass (the highest motorable road in the world), the highest statue of Buddha in Ladakh, and the precariously located Diskit monastery.
The drive in itself was a memorable one with a wow-inspiring factor at each turn.
Day 4: Acclimatising To Hair-Pin Turns, Up In The Mountains
Khardung La is notorious for the hair-raising drive it demands. Although the roads are now well-equipped to handle extremely cautious drivers (who often have face-offs with local drivers), the turns are still quite dangerous. The drops are treacherous, but the ride was memorable. We survived.
Day 5: Acclimatising To The Raw Beauty Around Leh Town
After the past couple of day’s adrenaline-packed adventures, my friend and I spent the entire day visiting sights around Leh. She was particularly enthusiastic about Sangam (where the Zanskar and the Indus river meet). What a place! The banks of Sangam have so many coloured pebbles and rocks. We had a leisurely hour to collect some and fling some into the river. Quite a work-out for my arms.
The Gurudwara Pathar Sahib impressed us even before we had entered. Beautiful on the outside as well as on the inside. From here, we moved towards the Alchi monastery. Although a little off the track, this monastery is home to beautiful temples, which you just shouldn’t miss.
The highlight of our day was Magnetic Hill. I was interested in putting my mind to rest about whether or not the whole car-gets-pulled-on-its-own theory has any truth to it. I finally know now.
Day 6: Acclimatising To Bollywood
Aamir Khan has a history of making the locations of his film even more famous than they already are. Pangong Lake in Ladakh is one of them. This place cannot be done justice to in words or through images. The calm that washed over me as I walked along this lake is something we all need, but can’t afford in the bustling cities. Even our ever so friendly neighbouring country of China is visible from across this lake.
Although Pangong lake stole the thunder on this day, Shey and Thiksey monastries deserve credit for their undisturbed presence with mountains looming in their backdrop. We also crossed Chang La pass (2nd highest motorable road) for Pangong.
Day 7: Acclimatising To Royalty & To Our Last Day In Leh
We lazed through our morning, walking along the banks of Pangong. After a breakfast of the most delicious maggi on this trip, we set out back for Leh. Just half an hour before Leh is the Stok Palace, where the former royals of Ladakh still reside. Although we didn’t get a chance to meet any of them, it felt like walking the red carpet nonetheless. This is as close to the trekking point for Stok Kangri as we could get.
Ladakh cannot be visited just once. It is humanly not possible. So why fight it? Bring along a couple of friends, someone you love or simply travel solo. Either way, Ladakh and its warm people will capture your heart…
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About The Author
Urvashi Darira loves nothing more than meeting new people, visiting new lands and learning about different languages and customs. When she isn’t hunting for the best flight deals to travel the world, you’ll find her scouting the latest fashion trends.