Sunday, September 2, 2007

KARGIL, LEH, PAMONG LAKE AND ON TO MANALI

















After visiting the holy cave of Amarnath on 6th August 06, I was back at Baltal near Sonmarg in the afternoon. I missed the last bus for Kargil and was not inclined to spend the night at Sonmarg. So I hopped into a truck that was going towards Kargil. It took an excruciating two hours to cover the 20 kms distance from Baltal 8000 ft to the famous Zojila Pass at 12000ft. However, the driver was interesting chap: and regaled me with many stories. I caught glimpses of Baltal camp far below on anf off. On reaching Zojila Pass the terrain suddenly flattens. The groan of the straining truck engine changed to a pleasant sounding purr. The landscape was arid and lunar. It reminded me of the cold desert of Sikkim- a part of the Tibetan Plateau that juts into Sikkim.
Shortly we were at Drass- we halted a few minutes at the Memorial constructed to honour the fallen in the Kargil war. At 10 pm the truck dropped me at Kargil. I got a decent room in a hotel. Busses for Leh leave Kargil at an unearthly hour – 3 in the morning and I was in no mood of traveling so early. I was however lucky to get a taxi at seven in the morning that was going back to Leh after dropping some passengers. The landscape was stark but beautiful. We halted at the monastery of Lama Yaru on the way. By late afternoon I was at Leh. I spent the evening visiting the Leh Stupa and then hunting for passengers who were interested to visit the Pambong Lake and with whom I got share a taxi. I managed to locate three persons and off we were to Pambong Lake at 6 in the morning. Pamong is a fresh water lake and is 80 kilometers in length and straddles the border between India and China. 70 percent of it lies in China. It looks like a sea.
I spent the evening loitering around the bazaars of Leh and then caught the bus in the morning for the one and a half day journey to Manali. I was given a seat in the last row and I felt I was riding a horse that had gone berserk. The scenery was breathtaking with undulating mountains topped with snow. We halted overnight at a place close to Sarchu on the border between Himachal and Kashmir. Next day the road took us through Keylong and the Rothang and we were at Manali in the afternoon. I caught the 4 pm bus for Chandigarh. There are lot of things I missed in Ladakh – the Zanskar Valley, the Tsomori Lake and the Bactrian Camel. I’ll be back sometime to experience these.

1 comment:

pilankar said...

Thanks for the post. Can you tell me the time for Bus service from Baltal to Leh. Also, can we board bus from Baltal or we need to goto Sonmarg.