Blog Of Amol Kinholkar On Travel Story Of Leh Laddakh Julley Travel

Blog Of Amol Kinholkar On Travel Story Of Leh Laddakh Julley Travel
Blog Of Amol Kinholkar On Travel Story Of Leh Laddakh Julley Travel

BLOG: It was the first time to see the tip of the Himalayas through the glass window of the plane. The golden rays of the morning embraced these ends. With that golden touch, the beauty of the Himalayas opened up even more. Dinkar was also coming up from the distant mountain Kapari like Adhasha. He must have been attracted to the Himalayas. Gadima says in a song,

‘The open mountains are wearing a crown of snow today..’

It feels as if someone has just left the snow on the top of the mountains. For the first time I was experiencing what it was like to be in the sky. The gods must have been jealous of the beauty of Bhulloki from heaven, that’s why Mahadeva must have taken his second home on Mount Kailas in the belly of the Himalayas. Where white, where grey, where red-red soil mountains are neck-to-neck waiting for someone. Where did such patience, such situational awareness come from in the Himalayas? Hundreds of kilometers of rows, hundreds of shades of colors. God gives us the privilege of seeing such an invention of nature, even if only for a few moments. Those moments should be lived to the fullest.

By now it was quite light. There is no tree or vegetation on these mountains which spread for hundreds of miles. Like a giant sentinel in a desolate desert, the Himalayas loom ahead with the Karakoram range. How about the view after the plane descends a bit for its destination? Along with the clouds playing hide and seek behind the mountains, the river Indus was also seen. The Sindhumai from Tibet spreads a green shawl over this desolate region. People should be getting the strength to live here on the strength of the same greenery. It is not for nothing that we call rivers mothers. A mother nurtures her children and the people here in the Indus river valley have the rites of Sindhumai. That is why the most advanced civilization in the world was born in the Indus River valley. As a painter draws a picture beyond his imagination, he was storing the view in his eyes.

Air hostess instructions had now begun. So I put on my seat belt and sat quietly. It was time for the plane to land. The lost life was now conscious, after making two rounds to the airport, the plane landed on the runway and stopped at its designated place. “Juleh.. Welcome to Leh..” said the air hostess while exiting the plane with a smile.

Many people may have wondered what is the matter of Juleh. In Ladakh we say Juleh as we salute. Not only Ladakh, but in vast hilly regions like Lahaul, Spiti, Kinnore, Kulu, people treat you with love when you say Juleh. The word is so popular among the army forces in Ladakh area that they say Juleh instead of Hello over the phone. In Ladakh, if you want to ask someone for directions, if you want information, if you want a lift, just say Juleh to a Ladakhi woman or man and then watch the magic. People will come to your aid. Juleh is not just a word for greeting but it is an emotion that earns you respect and love. Say Juleh with a smile on your face and make new Ladakhi friends. How easy is it? Juleh friends.

Leh Airport is a tiny little airport in the middle of the Himalayas. Photos are not allowed here as it is a very sensitive area. There is a large army patrol here. People here are used to the sight of less tourists and more soldiers. As soon as you set foot at the Leh airport, a cool breeze fills your body. As for the climate of Leh, it varies from extreme cold to extreme heat. In July and August, the heat is unbearable. Especially in August, it is hot during the day, cold at night and rarely rains. Cold winds blow in the mountains at a height of eleven and a half thousand feet above the sea level. Out of it June, July and August are only three months tolerable. If you come in the shade, you feel cold and if you go in the sun, there is a strange atmosphere like summer that burns the skin during these three months. Oxygen is scarce at this altitude so all those who have respiratory diseases or those who are immunocompromised, sick, young or old persons should take medical advice before this Leh expedition. Although there was no problem for us at the moment, life started suffocating due to internet shutdown. It is felt that the internet is needed more than oxygen these days. On reaching the airport, our SIM card was switched off. If your SIM cards are prepaid, they are blocked in Leh. So it is necessary to carry a postpaid SIM card before going to Leh. Our sim card got blocked due to no preconceived notions. But luckily the address of the home stay where we were going to stay was saved in the mobile phone so we left the airport.

Outside the airport there is no option but a private taxi. There is no city bus here, no tricycles, tamtam vadaps or any other means, only private taxis rule here. Their union rates are fixed. It doesn’t take more or less than that, there is no such thing as ghasaghis. Taxi union rate is not affordable for your pocket. But as it was impossible, I had to sacrifice 500 rupees for the distance of 5 km from the airport. As usual, since we have not come with any tour company or group, we have to prepare to face such unexpected expenses and circumstances. Although it has some disadvantages, it also has many advantages.

Around eight in the morning we reached the homestay where we had booked. What is home stay means staying at someone’s home instead of staying in a hotel. This type is nothing new. It is a kind of hotel only run by family men like us. Rest of the rooms are similar to this hotel. But most people prefer homestays as they are very cheap and affordable than hotels. Moreover, your connection with the local people is added. You get a chance to see their living conditions, food and most importantly live interaction. From it we get to know the place, city, state and its people more clearly. After all, this is what the journey is for. Nowadays every house in Leh has become a homestay, as tourism is the main occupation of the people here and the locals are focusing on starting homestays as an important source of income as tourists come only for six months. With no shortage of space, there are many options for scenic homestays in Leh.

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Gonbo Guest House. A house built in Tibetan style in the central part of Leh. There is a lot of positivity around the house, flowering trees and apple trees as well. The owner Stanzin Thupstan is a really sweet guy. At eight in the morning, they provided us with a room. If there was a hotel in this place, the check-in would not have been done till 12. Stanzin gave some preliminary instructions. Coming suddenly to the high mountains, the body needs time to adapt to that environment. Therefore, the first day should be relaxed as much as possible. The tour companies that take the senior citizens forcefully put them in the hotel for two days. However, as we were not suffering at all, we decided to relax for a while and come out. The most important task is how to get a SIM card? When this usual expected question came, he said that all SIM cards are available at the corner of the main market. Think about the waste of your life until you start using the internet with a sim card.

I don’t like trips organized by tour companies. There is no need to travel from one spot to another all day just to take selfies. Sleep well, get up in the afternoon and walk in the main market of the city, observe, understand, if you get a new food, try it without fail. Most important people should be able to read. But before doing all this, it is necessary to find a SIM card shop. Bikes are available for rent at the corner of the main market. First of all we took a bike to go around the city. Eleven hundred for full day and seven hundred for half day. A sim card shop was also found nearby. Here too the recharge of 1500 had to be paid 500 rupees. But never mind. After almost 12 hours, after seeing the self-contained internet in the mobile phone, the confidence increased even though “the entire market is now ours”. Because now the real journey had started.

(respectively)

The article is in Marathi

Tags: Blog Amol Kinholkar Travel Story Leh Laddakh Julley Travel

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