It is amazing, wonderful, surreal, out of this world and much more. In fact, it cant be defined in words. IT is something that you have to feel, to understand what exactly it means.
Ladakh is an emotion. or may be a state of being.
Well, I have been to Himalayas thrice before this, and I am fairly familiar with the flowing rivers, lush green meadows, cherubic people and omnipresent Himalaya ranges from wherever you see. And yet, Ladakh drove me crazy. There are very very few places in whatever world I have seen, which make me long for them. Which have a certain pull mechanism within. Where I would seriously feel like getting settled. Ladakh features most definitely on them.
Leh is best described as a little touristy town, and that is about it. Something like Pondicherry, or Goa, with Cafes and hawkers and white-skinned tourists at every nook and corner. Gladly, there are at least food options here, with restaurants serving everything from Ladakhi to Chinese to Israeli. Of course, the whole background of multiple Himalayan ranges and a stark contrast of blue-white-brown and green sets this place apart from a typical touristy hub.
As you leave the town of Leh and take the interior route, the real journey begins. And boy, that one can not be compared to anything on this earth. The treasures that one discovers here, are priceless.
A serpentine road, full of U-pin bends, leading to high passes. snow-caped mountains, standing there, vast and overbearing. Interesting patterns and textures of those mountains, making the photos pretty.
Flowing, bubbly water of the river shyok. The mighty Indus.
The sudden patches of dark, bright green in the otherwise lunar landscape.
Bright prayer flags, adding a visual contrast to that landscape of stark white.
A Monk clad in his maroon toga, chanting away.
Border Roads Organization workers, doing a superb job, topping it with their more interesting road-signs.
Army posts standing proud on top of mighty Chang-la and Khardung-la.
Himalayan fauna like Yak and wild horses.
The serene, divine and almost surreal blueness of Pangong lake.
And stars, thousands, millions of them scattered in the sky. A sky so lit up and so beautiful that you want to cry.
How can one let this all stay just a 'sight-seeing' and not become a part of one's soul? It is difficult. It is extra-ordinarily difficult to turn away from something so unprocessed, un-glitzy, unaffected, especially when its rare to find such unaffected beauty in our worlds. And perhaps, therefore surreally beautiful.
Almost divine, spiritual.
And that is why Ladakh is a state of being. A heavenly state of being.
After all, it's often one of the most simple things in life, that lead you to heaven.