A pleasant morning and I am off to the Nubra Valley (Diskit, Khalsar, Sumur, Panamik in the map). I am joined by some familiar folks here– the Indian guy who directed me to K2 adventures, the Italian I met at La Pizzeria yesterday and two other Italians who seem to know how to have fun! If they hadn’t told me their native places, I’d have assumed they were from Sicily.
The best part of this group is that everybody loves chai….and while traveling through India that is what you should look for! Awesome for me!! Our first stop is at South Pullu, catch some breath and scale up to hte heights of the Khardungla – It is the highest motor able road in the world at an astounding height of 18380 ft. As I get out, I am struck by the lightness of being (with apologies to Milan Kundera) , the air is really thin!
I meet a guy on a solo motorcycle tour across the length and breadth of India to raise awareness for CHRYSALLIS – a performance arts center for the challenged. Established in 1999 in Bangalore, they claim to have trained over 5000 children with disabilities to work in over 60 dramas. His camera had malfunctioned (as happens to a lot of electronic devices at such heights — esp. the zoom feature) and I offered to take a picture and put it here.
Down the KhardungLa, we reach the Khardung village and stop for chai. Nubra valley has just begun and we are be headed towards Diskit. No points for guessing that Diskit has a fabulous monastery as well . HH the Dalai Lama was here a few days ago for sermons. All the valley people seem to have followed him to Leh for the next set of sermons and the gompas bear a deserted look, for the monks have also retreated. The monastery was founded around 1420AD and is home to about 120 lamas. We go around the monastery by ourselves and admire the beautiful landscape all around.
After lunch we beat a retreat to Panamik. I wonder how this place ever came into existence. Imagine standing in the middle of a desert, with a clear blue sky, with mountains surrounding you, and low and behold, there is also a stream of water under your feet! It is simply amazing, and if you havent been there, no amount of pictures can tell the tale. But since this is a travel blog, I am putting up some to share. I don’t think I have any words to describe what I (or the others) saw. we just laughed till we were sick, and then we just gazed at it in gay abandon.