When some of the wild and weird minds meet, a Road trip is the thing that happens. Leh Ladakh road trip is even more rewarding and enticing. That’s what happened to us when old buddies met at a coffee shop, that too after a span of 12 years. Yes! You guessed it right! We were a gang of old school friends, who had met after a long period of 12 years.
Let me take the pleasure of introducing my gang. Raman, an IT professional, but a passionate traveller at heart, Prithvi, a Doctor, but very eager to collect adventures, Chavi, a fashion designer and a great singer with a melodious voice, Rohan, a lawyer, but a Chef by hobby with untold passion for cooking. Now, it’s me, a Writer, an avid traveller and a solitude seeker.
So, it was one fresh and crisp morning of July, when 5 of us packed our bags along with passion. We had chosen to go for a Leh Ladakh road trip, a fun-filled adventure trip.
Yes, we were cautious enough to pack all the essentials including food items, water, medicines, and other necessities. We all were very prone to hunger. Thus, packing lots of healthy snacks like biscuits, chocolates, dried fruits, juices, dried sachets of soup powder, glucose, and instant noodles was a must and we did it very promptly. Packing lots of clean drinking water and water purifying tablets was another urgent necessity.
We were going in the wildest, inhabited, and dreary terrain, Ladakh. Hence, it was mandatory to carry the first aid box along with necessary medicines like that for headache, nausea, loose motions, fever, or indigestion. We were lucky enough to have Mr. Prithvi, a doctor who advised us to keep some sterilized cotton, bandages, and antiseptic creams and lotions. I heeded to my grandma’s advice who said, “while travelling expects best, but be prepared for the worst.” So, I packed a bottle of insect repellant in my bag.
I had read somewhere, “ Ladakh is truly more of a journey than the destination.” So, we were going to explore that snowy wilderness in no time. I could not sleep the night before we had planned to start our journey.
4 o’clock in the morning, when the alarm rang, it was for the first time that I was happy to hear my clock singing the alarm tune. I woke up in no time and made calls to my friends.( to make sure no one in the team gets late, I was super excited to begin my journey to Ladakh!) I had a handy mug of coffee to sip by, and just a buttered toast( which was half burnt due to my hurry, but I was still happy.)
I checked again for my friends over the phone and they started making fun of me. Chavi, even said that we have dropped our plan and gave me cold shocks. It was only when Raman told the truth that I came back to my senses.
Let me disclose one secret of mine. I am a big foodie and I don’t want to waste any chance which can be enjoyed for relishing delectables. I know, we were going on a road trip. But could you imagine the fun when you open Dabbas of home-cooked food and enjoy it with friends?
I am not a super cook, but I love to try my hand at the dishes. I cooked Paneer butter masala, Mushroom chilli, and Gobhi fry. I had also packed some soft home cooked chapatis along with plenty of salads with tangy mango pickles. When I shared this with my gang, they bumped upwards with happiness. At least, I was sure to enjoy home-cooked food for a one-time meal. We were going on an outstretched journey to the tough terrain and hence were fully prepared mentally to miss our home-cooked Dabbas.
My wait was over and an SUV was standing in front of my apartment. I saw Raman was firmly seated on the driver’s seat. For sure, he was going to take the chill of driving to the snowy hills. I came downstairs in no time and carried my luggage along with me.
I carry a completely different philosophy of life. For me, soul satisfaction is above all other things. This was one of the reasons why I was sitting in the SUV along with my friends. When you reach the destination, the thrill and excitement meet their goal and are finally over. The real stimulation lies in exploring the wonders of the journey.
Way to Ladakh and that too a road trip is truly celestial. At least, that’s what we realized. Apart from Raman, who was sticking to the driving seat, four of us were partially submerged in the magic of the scenic landscape around. A milky white wonderland was in front of us. As our SUV was passing by, we saw snow-clad hills saying goodbye to us. You may consider me to be overly emotional, but I am. I feel lost whenever I gazed through the crude ivory shades of the snowy mountains. Just after some time, we were spellbound to see the lush green wheat and barley fields.
Ladakh is a land of contrast as well. We were busy imbibing the charm of lush green fields and never knew a piece of barren land was waiting for us spread across the hilly slopes. We also experienced a sudden change in temperature and weather. But thanks to our edgy dressing we were able to shed away the extra clothes as we were dressed in layers.
As we were about to reach Pangong lake, the driver’s seat was exchanged with Rohan. We were very much concerned about everyone in our team and yes Raman had been driving since we left from the home. Thus, we decided to give him a much-needed break so that he can also peep into the scenic landscapes of Ladakh.
When we reached Pangong lake, I was awestruck by the brilliant aqua shade of the water. It actually confused me because sometimes it looked turquoise. But, it was so soothing that it kept me glued to its sight for long. When Chavi reminded me that the Bollywood movie “3 Idiots” was shot here as well, I got my inherent answer as to why the Directors choose such locations for their movie.
The lakeside has a scoop of romance, a slice of chill and a spoon of tranquillity and lots of solitude. Prithvi realized well on time that our hungry tummies yelled for the food. So, we lit the fire with the help of some stray wooden sticks, and our pack of instant noodles came out of bags. Prithvi even carried dried mushrooms and veggies. Adding them to our Maggi increased the volume as well as the taste of the noodles.
Time elapsed like the swift wind as we sipped our coffee mugs. It would have been all spooky dark lest the twinkling stars illuminated the sky with sheer brilliance. Mountains do have something which sets them apart from the rest of the destinations.
The purity, the crude hue of nature, the silence whispering something in your ears, and the solitude. These all made sure we were enveloped in optimum pleasure and resilience. Your thrill actually multiplies as you move upwards in sounding impossible spots. Imagine the spirit when your vehicle is moving on a very sharp edge of the hilly path or taking a very steep turn in the mountains.
We were crossing the hilly road with much patience, and enthusiasm. The ivory shades of snow were dissolving with the brown hue of the barrens and then the aqua of the lakes. This tale of colours stopped only when we reached our pre-booked hotel. It was an honour to be greeted by the hotel staff. We got a bouquet of flowers along with chocolates and a warm welcoming coffee.
All of us were tired and preferred to go for a restful day at the hotel. After taking the hot water shower we all binged on the steaming hot meals and filled our tummies with sheer satiation. Our rooms radiated our snoring and we all cuddled in our cozy blankets. I expected the hues of my road trip to come in my dreams. I had become an undoubted fan of the “road trip to Ladakh”.
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