Every traveler has a different story of Ladakh! Every traveler has a vision that is different from others, when he/she is in Ladakh. Ladakh, the most enchanting destination in India for world & Indian travelers was on my list for a long time. One keeps wondering what’s so different about this beautiful place and why it’s called the Pride of India! Well there are many stories to it, but what’s so different about this place is the amazing culture,people and the most diverse and the most beautiful landscape it has to offer.
Pictures and words, my only tools to capture the overwhelming physical and emotional experience of driving through one of the most awe-inspiring places on earth, Leh- Ladakh. The land of soaring Himalayan peaks and swirling, mighty rivers, serene Gompas and the occasional tinkle of a bell from a yak, Ladakh is a land which beckons you to visit again and again.
So when I got the opportunity to go there under the guidance of Jassi sir, I was very excited to explore the most untouched place in India. As a photography mentor, he is very simple and helpful. Whenever we were in some difficulties whether, about the composition , lights or any technical thing regarding photography, he was always there to guide us. He shared his views, experiences, compositions with us. He gave immediate feedback when asked and constantly motivated us.
During my trip, I was really interested in capturing the lifestyle and culture of ladakhi people rather than landscape. Living with them, observing their culture, and learning so much from them was a heartfelt experience. Their beautiful match-box like Ladakhi houses, with organic gardens, cosy rooms, hundreds of copper utensils, and the warm families living there, left a great impression on me.
The high altitude of Ladakh makes for an interesting transition. I was careful not to exert too much energy during the first few days. The first time that I noticed the effects of the high altitude, and so much of travelling, was when I sucked with back pain and it was killing me from inside, but I was strong enough from inside to recover that pain after seeing the children and people who live there in that hard conditions and even they work hard with smile on their face all the time.
The hotels and tents were very comfortable to stay, and were at the right places throughout the tour.
Our journey on-wards to Nubra Valley took us through Khardung La – the highest motor-able road in the world. When we reached the highest point of the Pass, I felt like I had reached the top of the world – it was a surreal feeling. There was a small cafeteria run by the Indian Military serving tea and coffee to travelers. Hats off to these soldiers! There were many other awe moment for me in the whole tour of Leh-Ladakh.
I think this applies to all the traveling I’ve done, but even more so to Ladakh – the memories that stay with me long after I have returned to the traffic and expensive multiplex tickets, are of the people I had met and a small slice of their life-philosophy, which has been shaped by their religion and their unique natural environment.