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Ladakh - Planning The Trip

Over 2000 Km by road, in around 10 days. Stunning landscapes, wonderful people. That sums up our Ladakh trip. But how did it actually work? How did we make it happen? Read on to find out!  Leh, the capital of Ladakh , is accessible by air and road. Flying into Leh is the easiest, and time-saving option, while the road is the time consuming one, but with the added advantage of driving past some of the most beautiful landscapes in our country. Each option has much to recommend it, and we chose the road for just one reason – altitude sickness. Altitude sickness was one of my biggest concerns, since I suffer from motion-sickness. Yes, I do travel a lot, but that is despite my condition, and, over the years, have learnt how to handle it. I struggled with it when we visited Nathu-La in Sikkim, and wondered if I would be able to manage a week at the even higher altitudes that we would encounter in Ladakh. This was the reason we stuck to a basic plan, of only 9 days in Ladakh, though we

Our first encounter with the Kanchenjunga - A Photo Blog

It is the third highest mountain in the world, and the highest in India. Located on the border of Nepal and Sikkim, the name of the mountain range is written in various ways – Kangchenjunga, Kang-cheng-Dzo-nga and Kanchanjanga, among others. It is most commonly called ‘Kanchenjunga’, and it is one of the few mountain ranges so revered that even now, the peak is never scaled, out of respect for local sentiments.





The mountain’s name is said to come from the Tibetan phrase – Five Treasures of the Great Snow. The number refers to the five major peaks, and also to the five actual treasures  - Gold, Silver, Gems, Food Grains and Religious Texts.

These ranges are famed for disappearing for days at a stretch, behind clouds, showing no sign of existence, but we were lucky. We had our first sight of the majestic mountain range as we approached Darjeeling…




The peaks loomed over Tathagata Farms, where we stayed, far from the madding crowds of Darjeeling…




Over the next few days, as we explored Sikkim, the weather stayed clear, and the mountains watched over us, towering over the region like an omnipresent deity. No wonder the locals revere them!

They are also the biggest draw for tourists in the area, and the most visited places are the points which provide the best view of the ranges. We didn’t go to Tiger Hill in Darjeeling, but managed to the sun rise over the ranges, bathing them in a golden glow, near Baiguney in West Sikkim. I have already written about it here.




At Namchi, the Padmasambhava statue has a superb view of the snow-capped mountains…




and visitors at the TEMI Tea Estates click the mountains more than the plantation!




Around Gangtok, the best viewpoints also double up as temples, the only ones we visited in the region. The Hanuman Tok is, as the name suggests, a shrine to Hanuman. As at many mountains, it is also believed that he rested here while returning with the Sanjeevani mountain. The shrine is a relatively recent one, with an idol of the God installed in the 1950s by an officer posted here. The view of course, is magnificent….




The other point is Ganesh Tok, which is of course, a temple to Ganesha. This is an even more modern affair, but again, the view is what grabs the most attention.




However, the best view we had of the  Kanchenjunga wasn’t from any of these points, but somewhere near the Nathu La pass, when we visited the temple to Baba Harbhajan Singh.




The clouds had begun to set in, and had begun to cover the mountains. Yet, it was an impressive sight. It was here that we could see how the mountains changed as we approached the mighty range, and we finally realized just how lucky we were, that we had seen the mighty sentinels of this region, for over a week, without a single cloud obscuring them!




Here, seeing the mountains so close, and yet so far, so high, almost touching the skies, they did feel divine! 

Comments

  1. That's some grand views of Kanchenjunga! :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Neelima! It feels wonderful hearing that, esp from you :D

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  2. Majestic mountain range. Beautifully explained. Thanks.

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  3. So majestic! Mountains like this give me a sense of peace and happiness. As a matter of fact, as I read your blog and enjoyed your photos, I have a postcard of the Grand Teton range in winter propped against my computer. :) The Tetons (in Wyoming, USA) are impressive, but would be only foothills compared to the heights of this mountain range. Thank you for the beautiful post, Anuradha!

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    1. Thank you Natalie! I guess mountains everywhere are beautiful, no matter what the size. But of course, the impressiveness increases with size :D which means i have lots more to see and be impressed by :D you know what, you should plan a trip to India, and we should meet!

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  4. Hi Anuradha,
    Seeing your post on The Kanchenjunga really captivated me and inspired me to pack my bags and leave for Sikkim. The pictures of the Kanchenjunga truly were majestic and unreal. You are very lucky to get a week of clear skies. I wish that would be the case when I visit, cheers.

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