“A journey is best measured in friends, rather than miles.”
While they do say that solo travel is beautiful; there is no denial from a single soul in the world about the uncountable joy one feels while travelling with their best friends. Truly said, a journey must be measured in the friends you go with; not the number of miles you cover.
Welcome to Rosme’s travelogue of An All-Women Trip To The Land Of High Passes–
The Woman of our Story – Rosme M Mathew
Rosme (first from left) with her friends, at Pangong Tso
Meet Rosme, a travel enthusiast from Bangalore, whose childhood dream was to travel to one of the picture-perfect images she would sketch as a child. On her bucket-list are the roads of North-Eastern India, and she believes this will go a long way in accepting different cultures and traditions of our country.
In our post-trip conversation, we asked her to define her travel companions. She immediately responded, “Crazy, beautiful and lively ladies who just wanted to forget about work, kids, family, and kitchen for a few days and just be like kids who want to explore the world”.
The All-Women Plan – How did it happen?
Each time we see snow, the child in us comes out
In April 2018, Rosme was already on the roads to Ladakh; a road trip that she wanted to experience with her women gang. How did it happen though?
For a long-long time, Rosme had been on the lookout to venture out on a road trip with her women gang. Leh-Ladakh seemed the safest and best bet to her. A simple Google search made her come across different websites that offer the Ladakh sightseeing and road trip; and after thorough studying into the different packages available, she finally zeroed in on ‘Leh Sightseeing Tour with Stay at Pangong’ tour package by Thrillophilia.
Exploring Leh Like a Local
Women went wow, as soon as they stepped down at the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, in Leh. The temperature was about 12 degree Celsius and the first sight of the Ladakhi landscapes instantly made them look at each other’s wide-smiling faces. After having hugged the Ladakhi air, the group met their tour operators and were escorted to their hotel rooms.
The women rested and acclimatized themselves until evening; then they carelessly hopped around the Ladakhi markets for some shopping and simply loved the local Tibetan jewellery. A lovely buffet of dinner was laid at the hotel, before they bid adieu to Day 1 in Ladakh.
Women enjoy Leh and nearby sightseeing spots
Day 2 was about exploring Leh like a tourist, and the group covered visiting the Magnetic Hill, Confluence of Zanskar and Indus rivers, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Spituk Gompa, Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace and the Hall of Fame. This is truly a day to become friends with the Ladakhi culture, and the air that Ladakh breathes, metaphorically.
The Double-Humped Camel Ride in Nubra
With the onset of Day 3, the clock showed 8:30 hours in the morning when the ladies departed for Nubra. A sound advice was given to not spend a lot of time in Khardung La, highest motorable road in the world. Situated at an alarming height of 18,380 feet, the wind was chilly and oxygen levels really low. A quick photo-session and the women escaped off to continue their journey to Nubra Valley, which was still a long 86 km ride away
The women try the double-humped camel ride in Nubra Valley
It was about 2:30 PM when the women stepped on the white sands of Nubra Valley. The air was thin, the view scenic and the serene white tents brought about happiness immeasurable. They spent the day resting, idling and playing in white sands and as evening approached, they took a majestic ride on these double-humped camels.
Rosme comments that this was the funniest moment of the trip. She says, “The camels gave no heed to what their controllers had to say, and it felt like we were at the camels’ commands. It was adventurous in its own way!”
Tasting The Apricots At Turtuk, Near The India-Pakistan LOC
The next day was really special, and the women had been looking forward to this day since Day 0. They woke up early morning, had their breakfast and set off for Turtuk, a small village which was Indian Army’s softest conquest in the battle of 1971 with Pakistan. Turtuk is laid with trees of apricots, walnut, cherry, and apple and the villages welcome tourists with all their hearts.
The village of Turtuk has a very warm Ladakhi vibe, and the women had an amazing time interacting with the locals. Rosme confessed that she literally bribed the village kids with chocolates and gifts, which helped them in return to explore the entire village.
The Final Experience at Pangong Tso Lake
The women pose at the picturesque Pangong Tso Lake
The last leg of the trip was planned for a cottage stay at Pangong Tso Lake. Rosme recollects about the journey and says, “The journey from Nubra to Pangong Tso was not easy. The road was very bad at some places, and even missing at some.” Nevertheless, it was all worth it. Once the women reached Pangong Tso around 4 PM, the sight made their hearts skip a beat! The blue waters of Pangong Tso, blue sky and in the backdrop were snow-laden mountains – it was all as picturesque as a set from a film studio.
After spending a wonderful night in the wooden cottages near Pangong Tso, the group returned to spend another day in Leh. Apart from those countless pictures taken; the women also bought Pashmina shawls, Tibetan jewelry, Kashmiri Kahwa tea-boxes and dry fruits from the local Leh markets.
The women had successfully managed to go on an all-women tour, and look forth to go on their next adventure. A single line spoken by Rosme defines their journey.
“Ladakh is like a fallen piece of Heaven on Earth – snow-capped mountains, crystalline lakes and rivers and the clear blue sky.”
The beautiful accommodation at Pangong Tso
Planning Your Own All-Women Trip to Ladakh?
Leh has a beauty to it which remains unmatched. Rosme motivates more women to travel with their friends to Leh-Ladakh which offers different tours and packages. Here is Rosme’s list of Keep in mind pointers. Find them below-
- Wear clothes in layers, and keep warm clothes
- Only Airtel and BSNL postpaid numbers work in Leh, and only BSNL in Nubra
- First visit the areas near Leh, so that your body gets used to the high altitudes and low oxygen levels
- Drink a lot of water to prevent mountain sickness
- Keep tissues handy while travelling
- Try to find rooms in the ground floors of hotels, where lifts are not available
- Walk slowly, there’s no rush
- Carry liquid cash as some shops do not accept cards
- Opt for a wooden cottage at Pangong Tso as its more comfortable than a tent
- Lastly, ensure you carry your basic medical kit with you
The group posed for the camera and bid adieu to the Ladakhi roads