When the weekend comes, it can be a symbol of a sigh for men and kids. But, not for moms. Just like any other day, I had to wake up on time, 5.30 am, yeah! This is my time for “Good Morning” and then my race begins from the kitchen to the living room, to the bedroom, to the balcony, and then to the market. The work of the entire weekend piles up for Sunday and becomes quite a hectic day.
But that Sunday of May’2018 was pretty different. I was busy cooking meals for the family in Kitchen. My husband and son were watching “National Geographic” for all good reasons. It showed some documentary on Ladakh Trip with all captive and alluring scenes of mountains and valleys.
It was Sunday and I was cooking Aloo Paranthas for the family, a very delectable meal of North Indian homes. Serving Paranthas with butter and curd I heard him say, “ Manisha! Let’s go to Ladakh next Weekend.” I was shocked and said, “Why? what happened? I mean why Ladakh, all of sudden and how will we arrange the trip in such a short time along with kids?”
My husband gave a broad smile and said, “ You know my mountain love, right! Kids will also enjoy a lot as their summer vacation is going on. Look, it is so hot and humid here. Ladakh is a snow paradise. Come on, we will manage.” This way, our Leh Ladakh family trip was finalized.
The very next day I applied for 3 days of leave in my office and our preparations started for the Ladakh.
“When in Ladakh, always expect the unexpected.” I have read this on some blog of a website and it was true in its real sense. As travelling with the kids, I had to be pretty cautious about their safety and comfort. So, we planned for a train journey from Delhi to Srinagar. I ensured to pack plenty of home-cooked fresh food for the family and kids. (I am very good at this thing).
My kids are giant foodies. So, I packed dry-aloo, paneer bhurji, puris, salad, pickles, and curd. I was also carrying cup noodles which can be instantly cooked with the help of hot water. Needless to mention that when you travel with kids, your bags are known to be stuffed with lots of chocolates, biscuits, chips, and dry fruits. My food packaging must have given you a glimpse of our enjoyment as we were moving ahead for our snowy trail, Ladakh.
There are a lot more reasons for selecting and enjoying the train journey. The series of chat that goes never-ending with a sip of chai(Train tea best enjoyed with some biscuits or chips) acts as a true binder for family. Then, you get to stop and buy some snacks as you hear the yelling vendors, “ Garam samosa, Anda-bread, dal pakora and all that”.
As we reached Srinagar railway station, we had called a taxi which took us to the pre-booked hotel room. Kids were super excited as they saw the snowy white landscape of Srinagar on our way to the hotel. They started clapping with happiness and their glee spread smiles on our lips.
Kids were very tired, so I asked them to get refreshed. Afterwards, they gorged upon the steamy hot meals and in no time I found them snoring in bed. My husband and I took our meals and went for a rest. Velvety dusk was smearing around when we woke up. Kids were crunching the munchies and we sipped our steaming hot coffee.
We had called another cab for Leh. We left early in the morning and by 9 am we were gazing through the breathtaking sights of dreamy white hills and green pastures. Sand Dunes, high altitude, and azure blue sky made my heart skip a beat. The shots from the movies like “3 Idiots” and “Jab Tak hai Jaan” were mirroring in my eyes. Such scenic beauty! I had not imagined that I would be in such a wonderland of snow. It is like a dream come true which I never dreamt.
It took us approximately 10-11 hours to reach Leh. We stepped into the hotel rooms and went for a heavy rest. We went for an evening stroll with the kids and tried to explore the local market. Leh is a small town all wrapped in its ethnicity and culture. Snow-capped hills and serene blue sky are all enough to heal your soul. We bought some gifts for the family and friends from the local souvenir shops. As kids resisted some street food, we also went for a gastronomic safari by tasting local delicacies.
Our next stop was Pangong lake for I felt a visit to waterbody would be a soulful, calm retreat for us. The Pangong lake stood heavily correct for us. Turquoise, teal, emerald, or sapphire, the lake water is a blend of ever-changing colours. It appeared as a magic trick played in a combined effort of the sun and the wind.
Camping along the side of the lake is a fun and adventure-filled leisure activity. I could read excitement on kids’ faces very clearly. We cooked a lot of happiness along with Maggi noodles. We slurped through the tangy noodles and sipped through our hot coffee. The chilly night went by and we gazed through the thick blanket of shimmering stars. The melodious chirping of birds woke us up as we were snoring in our beds in the camping tents. We returned to our hotel and went for a rest.
Your trip to Ladakh region remains incomplete without your pious visit to the ancient Monasteries. Moreover, I had seen shots of Bollywood movies that showcase the charm of Buddhist Monasteries whispering tales of ancient history. So, I could not resist my temptation to witness the beauty and serenity of Monasteries. We visited Shey Monastery, Thiksey, and Hemis Monasteries. My special like goes for the Shey Monastery and Shey Palace. Shey Monastery and the palace is built in 1665 and is a sheer treat for eyes quenching for historical heritages. Shey Monastery is built inside the Shey Palace. The royal family of Ladakh once stayed here and the fact gave me an adrenaline rush in my body.
The gigantic statue of Shakyamuni seated Buddha with copper-gold finishings stole my heart. You will also see 5 Buddhas in meditation seating near the colossal Budhha. The intricate carvings on their face engaged me for a while and I gained respite from it. The red robes of Monks and Lamas created a whole new aura of a spiritual sphere which forced me to go for meditation. Meditation is the surest way to reveal your true self. My husband was very eager to discuss religious things with the Lama, and he even chanted some of the Buddhist mantras.
When we returned from Ladakh, our bags were stuffed with gifts, rosary, showpieces and lots of memories. Ladakh is a place that cannot be explored in a single visit, thus we left for our homes with a promise to come again for visiting Ladakh.
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