Ladakh 2013

By Azeez Narain azeeznarain@gmail.com | 2013

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A Framed World View : This is a view from the Leh Palace, overlooking the old town area of Leh. Abandoned several decades ago, this palace houses no ruler or government today, but standing in one of these windows one can see the panoramic view the king of Ladakh would have once had over his bustling city. Embedded in the lap of the Karakoram range, Leh appears serene and protected despite its extreme climatic conditions.

Thresholds of Time: Ladakh''s intricately carved doorways and window-frames on its palaces, homes and monasteries are recognisable from afar, and beckon visitors to pause and admire them. Against the stark landscape of the region, these doorways are a welcome break to the traveler looking for restful spaces.

Contrary Reflections: This motorcycle parked on the Chang La pass in Ladakh (3rd highest motorable road in the world at 17,590 ft!) was perfectly angled to show the two facets of the Karakoram mountain ranges in Ladakh. Ahead, one can see the barren rocky ranges, while in the bike''s rear view mirror the snow capped mountains are visible. Fluttering between its handles are Tibetan Buddhist flags with the words ''Om Maani Padmayum'' which are commonly found all over Ladakh and are also installed as good luck and safety charms by the daring riders who ride all across these mountains.

The Ships of Nubra Valley: While taking an evening stroll in the Hunder area of Nubra Valley with my friends, three double-humped Bactrian camels, suddenly appeared together in front of us as if they were a family. Away from the bustling tourists, they seemed at ease, moving at a slow and timeless pace that characterizes Ladakh. Ever patient and uniquely adapted to the extreme climate of the region, the Bactrian camels are a rare species found here alone, attracting popular interest.

In Nubra Valley.

Tricolor: A tricolor of natural hues gives striking contrasts in this image. Pangong lake is embedded like a sapphire amidst the grey Karakoram mountains of Ladakh, with the occasional lush green fields of barley around its edges. A lone tent is the only indicator of habitation amidst the virgin beauty of the region, where time seems to have stood still.

Objects in the Mirror: The omnipresent message ‘Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear’ on the rear view mirror of cars seems to be a little out of context as one drives on endless, long roads through the Ladakh region where often for miles and miles one sees no signs of life. Border Roads Organisation keeps the travelers in good humour through witty (and sometimes corny) messages aimed at keeping the drivers’ attention on the road such as ‘Feel my curves, but do not test them’.

Phyang Festival : This a scene from the Phyang Monastery festival clicked on the occasion of Dalai Lama’s birthday. Colourful costumes, enchanting music and enthralling performances of music and dance were witnessed by hundreds of travelers from across the world in July 2013.

Lone Flower at Diskit Monastery

Somewhere en route from Leh to Pangyong

Taking the High Road: This photo clicked en route from Leh to Khardung La pass exhibits how quickly one ascends in the Karakoram mountains. A journey from 11,500 ft at Leh to Khardung La Pass at 17,500 ft which is the highest motorable road in the world takes merely two hours. These roads which appear like thread thrown across a mountain are definitely not for the faint hearted.

Pangyong Lake: Enchanted Lake’ as its name literally translates into is a 130 km long stretch of water extending from India to Tibet with surreal beauty. The hues of blue change through the day and present a mesmerizing sight like none other on the planet. During winters, the lake completely freezes and becomes a large sheet of ice.

Pangyong Lake. To see some more pics on Ladakh click here

Pangyong Lake. To see pics of Ladakh Festival Click here

Pangyong Lake. To see pics of Monasteries of Ladakh Click here

Pangyong Lake. To see pics of drive from Chandigarh to Leh Click here