Ladakh, translated to ‘Land of High Passes’, is one of the most sparsely populated regions in Jammu and Kashmir, yet one of the highest-ranking places for travel within India. The culture and history of this region are closely related to that of Tibet, and the area is well-known for its strategic location at the crossroads of several important trade routes. Leh, the largest town in Ladakh, is best-known to visitors, and one such traveller was Rashmi Sharma, CEO of KUN Exclusive BMW in Telangana and AP.
In spite of her hectic work schedule, Rashmi always finds time to do the two things she loves most: travelling and reading. “I always travel with an open mind because seeking knowledge in new places is what has always inspired me,” she says. “You learn to find common ground with people regardless of their state, age, or ethnicity. It improves your social skills, relieves stress, and lets you take care of yourself. ”Her 10-day trip included two days of work and eight days of exploring Ladakh along with a bunch of her friends.
The group set off on a road trip, starting with Leh Palace, also referred to as the ‘Lhachen Palkhar’. “The roof of the palace provides spectacular views of the mountain of Stok Kangri and the Ladakh mountain range,” Rashmi tells us. Next on the list was the gravity hill near Leh known as Magnetic Hills. “The hill is said to have strong enough magnetic properties to pull cars uphill, and it even creates an optical illusion by making the down-slope of the hill appear to be an up-slope. It is a really wondrous phenomenon,” she says.
Thikse Monastery, located on a high mountain, was their next stop. The 12-storey complex houses a lot of Tibetan Buddhist art, including the 49-foot statue of Maitreya Buddha. Rashmi tells us, “The monastery has typical Tibetan architecture. We got to buy a lot of traditional Ladakhi stuff from the souvenir shop here. ”Moving on to the magnificent Shanti Stupa, Rashmi was awestruck by its beauty and architecture. “Run by the Indian Army, the museum and war memorial, Hall of Fame, houses weapons, historic exhibits, and a souvenir shop that we simply couldn’t resist,” Rashmi says about the next place on their itinerary.
The group then drove to the popular mountain pass of
Kardung La, which is north of Leh and is known to be the world’s highest vehicle-accessible pass. “The unearthly and unexploited beauty of our next stop – Nubra Valley – is best explored from July through September,” Rashmi reminisces. “The pleasant autumn season let us enjoy the most heavenly sights in Ladakh.”
The final stop on their road trip was Pangong Lake, one of the top tourist destinations in India during the summer and autumn months. Here, the group got to camp by the lakeside. “Camping in Ladakh is an exhilarating experience,” Rashmi gushes. “Imagine being in the lap of nature and surviving the toughest weather conditions. Pitching your tent and sleeping under the stars, away from all the hustle and bustle of city life, really brings out inner peace.”
“I believe that every traveller must go on a road trip to Ladakh at least once in their lives. It is a visual treat. I was amazed by the scenic beauty of Leh Ladakh, especially Nubrah Valley and Thikse Monastery. As Dalai Lama said, ‘Once a year, go some place you’ve never been before’,” Rashmi concludes, adding that she’s looking forward to her next sojourn.
– as told to Tanya