Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Reporting from Leh - 13th July 2012

On 12th July night we reached Delhi and then spent the night on T3 as our flight to Leh was @ 6:30 in the morning the next day. T3 is a huge terminal for sure and certainly the best in the country and at par with better terminals in other countries. It remains to be seen however how much international traffic it can attract. I hope it will.

At the time of boarding the flight to Leh I felt as though I was travelling abroad. 80 % of the flight consisted of foreign nationals. It was good to see, as the region attracts so much attention globally and sad to see as well that in spite of being part of our country so few Indians travel there. Perhaps the cost of air travel is prohibitive and that is the reason….! However, it was certainly one of the best routes to fly on and you get a bird’s eyeview of fascinating Ladakhi terrain, barren mountains interspersed with snow capped peaks. It’s said that this terrain is part of Central Asian landscape. It’s a cold desert and then you see a distinct green patch in this barren landscape and that is the oasis called Leh.

The Oasis - Leh

We landed at Leh's Kushok Bakula Rinpoche airport. This is an air base @ Air Force station and so passenger flights are permitted only in the morning. Now that tourist influx is quite high so the airport is in real need of expansion. That is what I sincerely feel.

We took the cab and went to Shanti Guest House @ Chanspa road near Shanti Stupa. This is where IndiaHikes had made our arrangements for the 14th. We reached a day early and decided to take a chance. Apparently rooms were available for 13th & the lady too was quite co-operative so we didn’t have any problems. In fact we got a welcome drink too. We got the 1st test of altitude as we huffed & puffed to reach our room on the 2nd floor. I was really tired by now as we didn’t get to sleep @ Delhi airport the earlier night. So I just dozed off in the next 10 min.

We went to the market in the evening. It was kind of acclimatization walk cum trip down memory lane. Went to the same café near Axis Bank ATM where we had been before (during our bike ride trip in 2010) and had adrakwali chai. Did some window shopping in the market and then while coming back we stopped by @ World Peace Café and had some really well made, hot, chicken momos. I couldn’t resist the temptation to sms my friends and tell them that – ‘cool, pleasant weather, garam garam chai, and delicious, hot, chicken momos….. this was “life”….!’ In short I was high on life then. Needless to say I received quite a few interesting retorts…!! :-) 

On my part though I’ll recommend this place as one of the good eateries in Leh. You get quite a variety here and the quality of food is good. If you are walking from the market towards Chanspa area, its located at a corner where you take a left turn to go to Karzu Officer’s Mess and then to Shanti Stupa. [guess that is as vague as one can get….  :-) ]

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