A new month , a new day and new friends. At breakfast table , we met our travel mates – YD and DB. This was a group tour organized by Junglelore and YD was our tour guide. DB is a Dr from Mumbai and though he doesn’t look like one, he is a sweet gentleman in every way for sure. After a brief round of introductions, we discussed our itinerary for the rest of the week, and headed to our rooms, me and SB with an intention to explore Leh palace in the morning, and YD and DB with an intent to acclimatize. Remember they had just reached .
My first pic shows 10:27 AM, so am assuming we would have started around 10:15 AM. The streets bore a deserted look as am sure the tired tourists were still at breakfast table trying to gain energy for the rest of the day. As for us, we were too eager to explore Leh and the palace and for another bout of adventure.
This should be from a bike rental place. There are lots in Leh.
Though the land is barren, you can see lots of colors around , like this one:
The main market was already bustling with activity with Ladakhi women at work and lots of local greens on sale.
Just turn back from the road view and you would see the police station and a very affable Food’s Corner restaurant. With an amazing view, friendly staff and super cool food, this cafe is a must visit. What we had: Veg thukpa , veg momos and ginger tea.
As you walk down the main street, you can witness a beautiful mosque .
and a post office:
So if no anything else, speed post is an option here.
The palace is at the end of the main bazaar road. Ask the locals and they will guide you as regards the exact path. Don’t rely on GPS as network connectivity is very limited. Rely on your gut instincts and social skills. They always work.
If you are on right track, you will come across a small cafe.
We were short of time and a bit scared to venture this place alone. Sad!! Please try it if you can.
As we moved ahead the maze and climbed up the ramp, each corner bore a new look, a reminiscent of the past, with an attempt to merge with future.
A few more steps and palace was in sight.
I agree, for most of us this bland 9 storeyed building won’t classify as a palace. This is the beauty of Ladakh. Expect the unexpected. It merged well with the surroundings and confirms to the notion that simple and rock solid foundation is what we need . Extravagance and flamboyance is a passe.
There is a minimal entry fee and a few boards talking about the historical significance and India’s Swachh Bharat Mission.
Well, talking about the palace, I would categorize it as a huge stone and brick structure, with narrow passages, small rooms, and less info on what they stood for. We visited a small prayer hall built inside and kept climbing the stairs in a bid to reach the summit. Once in a while, stopping to click and grasp in the overwhelming effect the palace was slowly bestowing on us.
Few of the rooms have been converted into art and photo galleries. The insufficient lighting didn’t motivate me enough to shoot, but nevertheless a couple for you.
There is still lots to cover.
You are allowed till 8th floor. Why not 9th, am not sure.
The view from the 8th floor is breathtaking, and please put up with me since am going to use this word too often from now on.
Black is the shadow. 🙂
Once satiated with the views and clicks, we started our descent back which was actually like a cakewalk. I at times wonder if someone actually ever had a cakewalk, literally.
Graffiti depicting the respect for INDIAN ARMY. More on these breavehearts, later.
A beautiful sight on my way back. Not sure what attracted me towards it, just found the entire setting too beautiful to resist.
Tired and hungry, we were back at the hotel for a sumptuous lunch and some relaxation.
Evening we headed out with our friends for a market stroll. YD took us to 2 new places:
Gesmo Cafe: Again a must visit in Leh, for some amazing food, feel good vibes and internet. Their lemon cake and special omelette will leave you wanting for more.
We also visited our local tours operators – very friendly and seasoned folks, old timers who gave us good insight of the palace and took us to their rooftop office to let us capture some sunset shots. I couldn’t. Sorry
But instead took an amusing one to tickle your bones.
All of us are in some way !!
That’s for the day. Marked with some wonderful experiences of culture, people and food, it left us more knowledgeable and happier. There’s so much to learn, look around and try to soak in the warmth. You will feel better.