Peeking down from window of the plane I could see the mountains begin to form under the heavy carpet of clouds. The destination, announced on the speaker, was no more than 15 minutes away. A sudden excitement grabbed the air as the plane descended onto the runway. As I collected my luggage, I could notice a number of signs on the airport itself stating the importance of acclimatisation. The air in the area was different from the planes, though devoid of pollution, it was dry and I could feel the dearth of oxygen. Still in my exhilaration, I didn’t pay much head to it and moved towards the vehicle that we had hired for the trip.
The sheer beauty of the land left me speechless, the barren mountains with sparsely distributed shrubs giving it a bare look. Yet the brown mountains in contrast with the blue sky formed an almost painted picture. The accommodations we got was near a brook, the blue water rode right into the sunset. The picturesque sight drew me towards it and I found my way towards it, which turned out be a rushed decision. The walk though not more than 500 metres proved to be very exerting. By the time I reached the water I could feel that my breath was heavy and a sudden feeling of nausea made its way up. It was then I realised the importance of acclimatisation. When checked I found that the oxygen levels in my body had dropped and the giddiness I felt earlier was escalating on an alarming rate. It was my luck that the hospital nearby had help to offer.
Once I regained my health, the city seemed beautiful again, though I was careful not to let the weather affect me again. The day two of the trip was spent in a place called Karu. The small town was brimming with human activity. The town was build around tourism and held a very warm and welcoming air. The market held some of the major technical brands as well including SamSung. The local market however was the one that really grabbed one’s attention. A plethora of bangles, pins, decorative items and pots, dripping of the native culture and beliefs. The spices was another thing the market is famous for and one could see many people in small shacks selling a diverse range of spices. After roaming in the market the entire day I had a good opportunity to talk to various people and listen to the stories of their lives. Being tired, I headed back to the quarters and called it an early night,
The next day witnessed to be one of the best of the entire trip, the visit to the Lake Pangong Tso. This serene beauty was unlike I had ever seen before. The longest grassland lake as it is known, stretches over a distance of 134 kms starting from India and ending in China. The lake is supposed to have seven different hues of blues engulfed under that one lake. Standing in front of it, I looked down and I could see my reflection as clear as a mirror. The water, though saltwater, as nearly as clear as a crystal making the base of the lake was visible from afar. This site was nature as its best, coexistence of life and barren. The site is also famous as the shooting point of a bollywood production drawing a lot of tourist attraction.
The day after that saw our traverse towards the famous Nubra valley, an oasis in the cold desert. This place was full of life, both humane and wild. The number of trees present in the place could almost make you forget that you are amidst one of the largest and highest cold desert. The place is also famous for its sand dunes. The large crescent shaped collection of fine sand, gave me an unearthly feel. I felt freed from all the troubles of mere human life.
The day after that saw a visit to Kargil and Drass, the points famous for their being the highest grounds of battle between the Indian and Pakistani and Chinese forces respectively. Standing on the top of a mountain one could see the ranges under the region of China along the periphery. The feeling of being at two places at once took hold of me at the place. Though the place seemed like the reason for the creation of the world beautiful, its high altitude brought back the old acclimatisation problem. After resting for a bit and drinking a load of warm water my health began to regain.
The last day involved our departure from the great land with a pocket full of memories and a soul full of adventures.