Breathless Ladakh

LadakhLeh Trip to Heaven

Six years had past since I met Rohan, before he began rolling his R’s and gained a protruding belly that would breathe when he sniggered; which was pretty often.

We met for a couple of beers at the Sports Bar and were waiting for a few more friends when he voiced his desire to see India. He said he had visited several foreign locales but was speechless when the foreigners had, he learnt seen more of his country than he had!

The conversation then drifted from a desire to see, to “maybe we can do this!”

Rohan had moved to New York where he had been working for a consulting firm. Now he was headed for an MBA with London Business School where he had been granted admission.

He was on a three month visit to India to meet his Fiancée’s parents. He had a month before heading to Bangalore to complete the consensus.

I, on the other hand have been working for a bank after quitting my long working hours as a marketing consultant. Having moved to Mumbai from Bangalore, I was enjoying the opportunities and getting used to life at Mumbai. Not having taken a leave for the first six months of my career at the bank, I decided that it was about time.

Rohan and I had spent some time and we were both fun loving as well as logical and practical in our thoughts. Therefore, we decided to gather more company and if that does not happen we would still go! I had seen the whole of South India and wanted to see the North. Rohan had seen most of West India and a little of south as well. So the obvious choice was north as there was not enough time to travel east.

So we began enquiring around for must – see places in the north. After quizzing several people we came up with Leh in Ladakh!

From Trip to breathlessness

We went back to research on Leh and how we could get there. I was keen on seeing Manali as well which fell on the way. We designed our trip to meet up in Delhi and take a bus ride to Manali. We would then choose a mode of transport to traverse the Routang Pass into Ladakh and hit Leh.

The plan was ready. We calculated twenty thousand each to complete the trip with all expenses. Rohan reached Delhi a day early; to catch up with Shubo; another friend of ours who had returned, from the US to spend time with his in-laws. Shubo was a thorough bred Mumbaia who spent the last three years as an Investment Banker and was now enjoying his unemployed break status!

I landed in Delhi a day later and waited at the airport to see Shubo who, I had not seen over the last ten years! “You look the same only bigger and more flesh” said he; my immediate reply was that I noticed the same construction in him.

We loaded my luggage into his hired cab and went over to pick up his digital camera from a near by market. The only things at this point that lead me were the smell of food. I told Rohan and shubo to meet me at an eating joint that I would discover by my pure need. They met me hogging away at some meat at a local dhaba behind the camouflaging buildings. Rohan and Shubo had their laughs at my desperation and exhibited their American found disparity at the levels of hygiene at the dhaba. Once they were done with their cribs I reminded them of the bus to Manali which was due to leave in half an hour!

We then rushed to Canaught Place to catch the Volvo. Having booked front row seats online we were more at ease that we just had to reach there and give in my name. It was at this point Rohan showed me that he had put his free time to good use. He had called the tour guys in advance and found the exact location of their office. Hence, I decided to relax and leave all planning from this point to Rohan and enjoy my holiday!

A nice air-conditioned office greeted us with “you are early; the bus does not arrive for another hour”. Shubo decided to buy us milk from this popular Punjabhi milk place where we had flavored milk in bottles big enough to feed a baby elephant!

The Volvo was a comfortable AC bus with a TV and comfortable seats. Rohan was now at ease with the enormous journey to Manali. After crossing UP and Punjab the bus twined along the road which ran parallel to the river Beas. We saw campers along the banks and river rafters and trekkers. The bus stopped at one point where a few locals were selling wood apples. These were the best variety I had seen; they were a red hue with a yellowish edge. Manali is known as a base camp where trekkers usually setup their base and travel across to near by trekking spots in Himachal and Jammu. We disembarked at Manali for a morning tea but were in no mood to pay attention to our tummy with the beautiful view of the hills and clouds caught in between them.

It was at this point that I met the first foreigner who was spitting pan at the tea stall! “Is that a habit or an abstinence effect?” I asked him. He smiled gingerly and told me that he was from Israel and was here to taste the herbs of India. I assumed he was talking about toxic herbs and informed Rohan that we are going to see a replay of the 70’s hippy culture at Manali. Rohan sniggered as usual and went back to get some sleep.

We arrived at Manali in the afternoon under a cloudy sky. We entered the town square which reminded us of Dadar Station in Mumbai. The town square was a hive of cacophony. I decided that we might have to stay in a hotel if we do not find a mode of transport to Leh on the same day. Hence, we decided to try out one of the local hotels, the room seemed fine but there was neither a fan nor an AC. Besides the room had been a harvesting area for houseflies! I asked if I could use the toilet and was taken through a maze of unlit leaking corridors which lead into a toilet which had just one bulb, no latch on the door and reminded me of a Hitchcock styled jail cell.

It was then decided that we should at least find out about bookings to Leh and how it works before we choose a hotel. Manali was unable to hold our attention to want to stay for too long. We entered the Taxi Association in the middle of the town square to enquire on the big travel board. The Rates of taxis were regulated in Manali as well as Leh.

The Leh cab operators sat in an office behind the main office. We walked into an office which contained two sofas on either side with a desk in the middle wall and completely occupied by taxi drivers discussing matters of social and political concern.

We voiced our intention of leaving for Leh. If we reached Leh in a Day it would cost us more than it would have cost for a stop-over. We opted for a no-stop transit. These SUMOs were shared by 11 people; which would be a crush fit in the SUV. We decided to enquire further before making a decision. My companion now called our sole contact in Leh – Mr. Sample. He called “Sampleji” and asked him for directions on reaching Leh. He directed us to a tour operator who gave us the different rates and methods of travel through Routang Pass. “Bus or cab you will get there sick and tired in 20 hours”, he said. The other option was to pay Fifteen Thousand and get a helicopter ride to Leh and back!

From Trip to breathlessness

The plan, go back to the taxi association where we booked all four tickets available in the back of the SUV and enquired on passing time and getting some rest along with taking a shower. The SUMO was scheduled to leave by 2 a.m. We left our luggage with the Taxi Association who had befriended us over a chai and couple of pictures along with small talk and tons of laughs.

We toke a rickshaw to Vashisht, 4 kilometers uphill from Manali; here we first visited the HOT Springs resting in a temple compound divided into three sections. One section was for the Temple and courtyard; the other two for men and women to dip in the natural spring. The natural spring emerged from the mountain face at Vashist. This was a commonplace for foreigners to flock in.

We walked further up from the temple to see that a big rock released the HOT spring into a man made swimming pool with reveling foreigners and locals washing their wear. This gave us the reason for the water colour being grey and carrying bird feathers from the opening. It was time for lunch, so we entered “Big Fish”. A roof top open restaurant which served Nepali dishes with an Italian flavor!

Rohan and I tested out all the cameras that we were carrying; a Digicam borrowed from Shubho, Rohan’s analog Omega and my analog KB 10 and lastly my SE K790i 3.2 MP Phone. Rohan tried his hand at shooting a video or two while I toke some beautiful pictures of the Beas River running through the valley and a few mountains with snow perched on the top.

We ate well and sat around for two hours and got to see a Nepal verbal fight happen at the restaurant for entertainment. We were the only customers, so we looked around and found Rainbow Café; it seemed to be the most happening café in the vicinity. We decided to head there and spend the rest of the evening.

Rainbow Café is located on a more vantage point above the Hot Springs overlooking the whole of Vasisht down to the valley where the Beas flowed. The foreigners frequented this place because the owners who were two young Nepali boys were not only friendly but also quaint with western dish preparations. I ordered a coffee while Rohan tried to get some sleep over his plastic chair. I insisted that he go in and sleep. They had mattresses and a pillow inside. Rohan was shy and did feel awkward at the suggestion; he thought it better to let his body rest uncomfortably in the name of decorum! I retired to my book called “The Secret” which had a cult theme but promoted positive thinking. A book and a chai with foreigners and a beautiful countryside view. This was perfect, I thought.

From Trip to breathlessness

We shared the table with a young boy from England who had been traveling for some time and was waiting for a bus to Dharamshala in Himachal. He had ordered a pizza which looked delicious. We made small talk and pitied the guy when we learned he had exactly 15 minutes to enjoy his 18 inch pizza and catch the bus which was due in 30 min.! On the last table sat a bunch of German boys, who were sitting at the café since the past two hours over a round of beers. The beers kept pouring in until three hours later when they decided that beer was not enough. So one of them got a crate full of beer and they now had a lot more beer to spend the rest of the evening. The long table in front of us was occupied by 6 Lebanese girls while the table in front of us had five men and a woman who were Europeans. They moved a chillum around with the favorite herb in the land burning away and adding flavour to the ambience. The last two tables had a moving audience, but one thing was clear; Rainbow Café was never short of a foreigner.

Rohan woke up in some time after I had finished my chai and we decided to chill with a beer. The owner joined us for company and told us about the crowd that inhabited his restaurant. He seemed happy to be able to converse in Hindi and we had a pun or two for the foreigners and their antics in the area. Khaini, as he was called had a cute little niece who walked around and supervised the restaurant and even counted cash at the manager’s chair. She was the heart of all eyes with her long hair and round face with a tiny bindi. The nepali girl was a complete eye-catcher at her tender age of five!

The Chillum smoking bunch left the café after having smoked and eaten enough food to fill two bulls.

There was an old man dressed in green pants and a subtly colorful T-shirt. We learnt from Khaini that this foreigner was from Norway and was a millionaire who had come here to spend the rest of his life! He made small conversation with everybody. He openly flirted and hit on the women who did not pay him much heed. The man looked like he was contradicting every rule made in Milan. He came over to me when he saw my book and told me that there was a bigger secret right here in Manali. He said he could show me where it was. I humored him and said where, he then toke me down below the hot springs and behind a little walkway and showed me a tree. Below the tree the roots had covered a little open rocky area. In the center of the rock was visible a Shiva Lingam! The Shiva lingam seemed to be embedded in the rock. It was perfectly rounded at the top and of a different colour from the rest of the stone. He said “This is the secret. India has so many of them and yet you read books from out of India in search of what already exists here” He then toke me to the opening of the Hot Springs and told me to touch the hot rock from which the water emerged. The rock was cold. He then said, “What do you think?” I told him his beliefs were true, I have come here and am going further to discover these secrets for myself. The old man having convinced me, now was back to flirting and irritating the Lebanese girl in the corner.

After sun down we said bye to all the different hues of people that we met and bid adieu to Rainbow Café and walked back down to Manali as there was no rickshaw at this hour! I was already ill of not having had sleep over the last two days and being on a journey for 22 hours after having a grueling day at office!

I now needed to free my bowels which had swelled up and warned of busting through my skin. I hit the Khyber the only restaurant that I knew would have a good loo. I pulled out the toilet roll from my back-sack and thanked myself for being well prepared.

After relieving myself, I realized that Rohan was down at the Camera store and had not yet joined me at the restaurant. I was wondering how I would leave the restaurant without even having a glass of water after their hospitality in watching over my bag and letting me use their loo! Just then the lights went out, I offered the excuse of no light no food and left honorably as an unfortunate guest.

I met Rohan on the heavily crowded street of Manali and we walked over to the only ATM, withdrew cash and went to a Chinese restaurant suggested by our friends at Rainbow café. Rohan had lost most of his hunger and my tummy was completely mutilated by the continuous change in weather and food.

We really needed to sleep, so we headed back to the taxi association at 10 p.m. The room was lit up and empty now. We looked at each other telling one another the obvious when a man’s head popped out of a hole in the wall. There was an anterior chamber or room next to the room we stood in. The only way into the room was this hole in the wall! He said we can sleep on the sofa and we recognized him as one of the men we had met earlier in the day.

10:15 p.m. We were so tired; we just dropped onto the sofas without a care for safety.

11 p.m. A man runs into the room and switches on the lights and switches off the fan and takes away the Television set. Rohan was woken up due to the switching off of the fan, not understanding the reason for the sudden movements he just switched off the light and put on the fan and went back to sofa sleep.

12:00 a.m. Another man walks into the room and switches the electric supply waking up rohan and starts screaming in haryanvi, “Who toke away the television set? They should have at least asked before doing so” he then goes over to where the T.V. rested and pulls out the wires from the wall which I assume were the cable wires. The man popped out of the wall and explained that the predecessor will be back with the T.V. but the new entrant was adamant and left with the cable wires. Rohan now almost completely awake went back to sleep after putting on the fan and switching off the light.

1:00 a.m. A man walks into the room and the moment he put his hand on the light switch Rohan got up and told him to stay away from the fan switch! But this time the call was on me. He came over to where I slept and tried pulling away the mattress from below me. I woke up stood and waited for him to make me uncomfortable. I just looked around dumbfounded in my sleepy state and went to sleep on the foam which lay below the missing mattress.

2:00 a.m. The taxi driver and his assistant come into the room and woke both of us up for the ride to Leh! I was happy that I had enough sleep and was ready to take the 20 hour long ride. I asked Rohan why he was still looking tired. He growled at me and told me about the incidents while I slept like a corpse. I had a good laugh and warned him as we sat in the back seat of the SUMO that we are going to have a real hard back after this trip.

We loaded our luggage and waited for the taxi to pick up the front seat occupants. We then got into the taxi and left to a house on the way. We picked up 4 people who occupied the middle seats of the taxi.

3 a.m. We now began our journey to Routang Pass. There were rumors that the pass was shut and this news came all the way from my dad sitting in Kolhapur and from a few friends at Mumbai and Bangalore as well! I rubbished the claim as the Taxi associations would have got wind of it and let us know that the pass was not traversable. This logic put Rohan at ease. The ride up the winding hills was a prelude to what lay ahead for us back seaters. The winds became softer but chillier, the taxi swiveled around the hairpin bends and we were thrown from one seat to the opposite seat. We tried holding on and relaxing on our bags but the roads here were not made for a smooth ride they were made to direct the vehicle in a desired direction!

There was hardly any light outside, except for the reflections from clouds. The mountains around were so mammoth that only one would come into full view apart from the one that we were on. If we looked downwards we would find the dark valley and one light which was meant to scare away wild animals outside the little houses or farms. The light was covered by clouds and looked like the beginning of a ghost story from our vantage point in the ever shaking taxi.

From Trip to breathlessness

Due to the mountains covering us, we had no light from the sky and the driver completely depended on the headlights for vision. The roads here were small and sometimes non-existent. The taxi driver knew exactly where he had to go without any signs either written or representative. This is what they call knowing the area like the back of your hand. The driver could feel the route because we obviously did not see where the route was! We made good speed and kept up between 40 and 70 kms per hour!

After we got used to sitting like bowling pins, we decided to look around. There were areas of the mountain that were strewn with white patches that were dried snow. There was a patch which we crossed that was a complete wall of snow that had recently been craned from the road to allow us to pass. Once we were at the top of the mountain and the night sky shone light over the terrain along with the heavy traffic lights from different vehicles crossing the pass. We saw: –

There was a mountain behind us that had all hues of green, white and brown. The mountain had a shape that looked like a volcano which had just erupted and was huge in the way it covered the entire back window of the cab which was our aperture!

The pass looked like a zigzag cross road created by the headlights of the vehicles. It was like looking down from the apex of a roller coaster ride.

We crossed the pass in three hours and moved from mountain to mountain till we finally landed the next morning at a camp site below a rocky mountain. We were now in Ladakh. The ladakhis are not very innovative and have very few resources for food. We had rotis with some mutton curry at this place with some good chai. The plastic chairs outside were not occupied as the winds were strong and freezing. The rocky-mountains behind us formed a wall that we had just descended.

11 a.m. Along the road on the left was an army barrack which worked as a checkpoint for trucks carrying goods and on the right were a set of camps where the ladhakhees lived and served passers by. There were red plastic chairs arranged like a restaurant but without tables. Inside the camps which were large tents under which the kitchen occupied 25% of the tent, two large tables with chairs and the rest of the tent had mattresses for sleeping kept on a ledge at a comfortable height. Presumably, passers by would be able to halt incase the roads or bridges were blocked by natural movements.

The road ended into a bridge across the Indus river. The water was pretty rough and the bridge; long with openings in the center. We decided it would be foolish to venture further than the 15 feet we had walked on the bridge. All the taxis and busses that went to Leh stopped here without fail. The checkpoint was only for trucks but it seemed like a spot where all the taxis to and from Leh took stock.

12 Noon. Our driver informed us that there were two taxis which had come down from Leh empty and wished to take us there. We agreed knowing we would get better seats in the scorpio(SUV). We realized that the taxi situation in Leh was so regulated by the government that if a taxi dropped people to Leh the taxi was expected to return empty without passengers. Hence the taxi returning from Leh agreed to take us back to Leh and collected his share from our taxi driver through the association off course.

From Trip to breathlessness

After the bridge the surroundings changed. The hills were no more, rocky; they did not
have too much snow except for little patches on the opposite mountains. The road was no more tarred, it was just gravel and in some places there was a little patch work with hard mud.

The Scorpio drivers were young boys from Leh and were dressed to enter a night club with chains and loose baggy trousers and tight T-shirts. They were 23 and 21 in age and raced the Scorpios at speeds between 60 and 90 Kms per hour across mountain cut roads.

We crossed a few mountains and entered an area which gave us the first view of how Leh looked across the district. Brown sandy hills which looked like they were carved and painted and towered by snow capped mountains in the background. There were plains we crossed where we would see the road twine and wind around an unseen path. On these plains lay huge canyons created by melted snow which flowed into rivers bound south.

The plains were several kilometers in length and breadth interspersed with green grass, rocky areas and canyons. It was difficult to say where the road would direct us as we lost its direction over the horizon. The plains looked like we were crossing a dessert where the sound record was broken on land. The road looked flat but inside the Scorpios, our necks were being thrown in every direction. When a jerk hit us, our necks would be jerked in one direction and before our necks could complete the first jerk it was subjected to two more jerks in a completely different direction. The drivers being used to this track were busy racing each other. There were times when we tried holding our necks but realized that our hands were being subjected to the same torture. It felt like the bull in the china store and the china was us!!

We crossed the plains after 5 grueling hours and the drivers decided that they would take a short cut. We looked at the short cut but were too ill to even react. We went off the road and came straight down the mountain side! The road got worse and my condition got serious. I was feeling feverish at Manali, but now I was completely ill, was running a temperature and could only hope that this gets over soon. I was handed a piece of garlic by the locals in the taxi and asked to chew on it; a natural remedy for the extreme weather and the extreme ride.

Rohan and I had clearly decided that this ought to be a testing ground for SUVs. Not the ones in the middle and south of the country!

We got to Leh and sped past the town. There was a “Welcome to Leh” sign which covered the road. We then saw a milestone that said ‘Leh 5 Kilometers’! After dropping everyone else, we asked the driver if he could drop us at our hotel and gave him the name. He knew where it was and dropped us on the doorstep.

We were famished, ill, our bowels were over done and our heads were spinning. I could not feel my neck but knew it existed because of the pinging pain that hit me every 11th second. We carried our luggage into the hotel and since my condition was worse than Rohan, he went over to check on our reservations. The receptionist said that Mr. Sample had not reserved our rooms. So Rohan informed him about my condition and told him that he could book us in for now and we shall have things sorted out in the morning when Mr. Sample arrives. He agreed and asked Rohan which room. Rohan picked a room on the third floor thinking it to have a better view and possibly a better room. Little did Rohan know then that Leh’s oxygen level was so low that a normally fit man would feel giddy when he climbed to the third floor!

Five bellboys toke instructions on where to place luggage in the room. We entered, locked and dropped dead after having a shower and cleaning our systems. We awoke next afternoon when Mr. Sample called on Rohan and informed us he was coming over. I was now a lot better but yet had a fever. I decided on going soup and two tablets of Crocin and Pudin Hara to be my doctor.

From Trip to breathlessness

Mr. Sample looked Ladhaki and dressed like a trekker with a knapsack and sneakers. Mr. Sample joined us for breakfast and we made small talk on how he left the army and made his livelihood in Ladakh on treks, river rafting and guiding people through Leh’s harsh climate. Sample helped us plan our four day trip and let us know where we should go and how we could head there. I left all the organizing to Rohan and switched off my brain. I was completely on holiday now. The places decided were, Kardungla Pass, Pangong Lake and Changla Top, Hemis, Shey and Thiksey Monastries. Offcourse 1 day was reserved for River Rafting with Mr. Sample.

Sianchen Glacier was not a possibility as one would have to spend four to five days in Leh to acclimatize and then get ready for a day long journey to Sianchen which is divided between China, Pakistan and India. Tsang Po Lake was another must see, unfortunately we had time for only one lake.

We went back to our room post brunch and completed our sleep and squeezed the stress and fatigue out of us. We awoke in the evening and decided to take a stroll in Leh market and buy necessities. It was now that we realized the lack of oxygen and that it affected us the moment we moved any part of our bodies. If I were to talk on the phone, I would need to stop after three sentences to pant and take in more air for the rest of the conversation.

We had heard that it toke a day to acclimatize and since we came on road we would get there faster. This is not true. It takes a good three days to acclimatize. Breathing would still be shallow.

The weather in Leh restricts human activity to a few months only. August through April, Ladakh is covered with snow and the passes get blocked. This means that all supplies are also blocked. The ladhaki people work during season between April and August and hibernate in their homes during the harsh winters and are restricted there as none of the stores are open and nobody roams on the streets due to the extreme temperature.

The Ladhakis were agile and yet had slow movements. The ladhakis have flat and round faces and were fair skinned with red or pink rouge formations on their cheeks. They spoke very little but could converse in Hindi well. Ladakh is a District in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, but since the population consists of more Buddhists and Hindus, they do not follow the state language of Urdu and hence Urdu has been eliminated in schools as well.

They spoke in Ladhaki or Hindi and little English. The ladhaki people are not very conniving and are very simple minded. We could keep our car door wide open with all our gadgets and belongings in the car while we were pre-occupied in lunch and yet found everything in place two hours later on a busy street! Children in Leh look like dolls and women are shy. The society is partly liberated but is still conservative on travel or finding a living elsewhere. The primary food habits are Thuk Pa and Momos. Thuk Pa is a porridge like dish which consists of the liquid from boiling mutton pieces filled with noodles and two large pieces of mutton. Momo is a wrap with a filling of mutton and vegetables. Red meat is a common food in colder regions as they need heat.

While at the market; we saw the Leh Monastry perched on a hillock at the end of the market. We decided to walk it up. Once there, I told Rohan we should climb the hillock and visit the monastry. It would also give us a view of the airport and the army barracks in Leh along with a beautiful view. Rohan looked at me in disbelief and asked if I was sure we should climb with our short breath. Having never experienced acclimatization before, I remembered having climbed larger hills in the south of India and hailed him on with conviction.

We climbed the first 5 steps to collapse in breathlessness. He asked me again, I reverted with a gym instructor’s grit. “This is only warm up” it can only get easier from here. We collapsed like chased dogs onto the next three steps. After crossing 150+ steps with puff stops at every three to five steps off course; we looked down to see a foreigner run up the stairs with a trek bag!

From Trip to breathlessness

This has been a huge motivator for me to get in shape in 2008 and has kept me going to the gym all year through.

The great parts of Ladhak are the colorful monasteries perched on small hills where monks lead secluded lives of auspicious givens. These monasteries have mysterious energy surrounding them and they carry an insight into the Buddhist religion. The paintings and the idols are not all pious but some even talk about demons and power. They are however a must see.

Pangong Lake toke us a good 8 hours to reach after starting at 6 a.m. We were so tired of seeing the monotonous landscape and the ever rise and fall in the ride that we decided to free our boredom by irritating the driver. So we kept asking him about where the lake was and how long would it be before we see any water!

From Trip to breathlessness

We reached there with our driver huffing away and pointing at the lake like it was his freedom from us! Pangong lake is a 150 kms stretch of pure melted ice. 3/4ths of it is in China and 1/4th in India. It is surrounded by mountains and blue sky and has hues of all colors. Since the mountains were sandy they reflected the colours of the lake and it looked like a rainbow carpet across the entire valley.

From Trip to breathlessness
From Trip to breathlessness
From Trip to breathlessness

Pangong Lake is a must see for anyone who goes to see Ladakh. We pacified the driver now with a few snaps and even took over the wheel and gave him some rest. In return he took us to his family in a small town on the way and served us dinner.

From Trip to breathlessness

Third day in Ladakh and we were ready to get to the airport and leave for Delhi. It’s funny that only now did we feel completely strong to the climate. It does take 3 days to acclimatize to Ladhakh. The airport in Ladhakh is different from the rest of the country. Its highly secured and they do not allow any hand baggage. They have single line screening and the airplanes wait their turn like a military outfit. The foreigners were complaining through the entire wait which was very unkind after seeing this beautiful land.

From Trip to breathlessness

Ladhakh is definitely worth a visit asap. So before you get too feeble to visit this breathtaking land, take a few strides in the gym!

From Trip to breathlessness

8 thoughts on “Breathless Ladakh

  1. Absolutely breathtaking man. Your narrative style is so simple yet succeeds in bringing out the language of a backpacker. Looking forward to see more posts / photos of ur trip. Reading ur blog also pricks me as to why i have not moved in writing abt my own trips. Thanks for the inspiration.

  2. Neat stuff dude!! You should have tried the herbs :)..Manali herbs are the best..should have gone for one those rave parties there..anyways looks like you have jotted everysingle incident that happened..awesome stuff

  3. just so divine…i am sure you must have felt the closest to yourself in this trip..the pics are absolutely breathtaking…i can feel being there…dipping my feet in the absolute serenity with absolute silence…next time we all shall go togather…hee eee

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