I ‘ve always wanted to shoot in India, the developing country of different cultures, architectures and gorgeous religious points. From monasteries built on mountains top, landscapes that make you thank God, to deserts with double humped camels close to the Himalayas makes you understand why travelers love it so much. Mohit and Disha were looking for a destination wedding photographer to capture their anniversary trip to Ladakh. When I received Mohit’s e-mail I was thrilled with the opportunity to travel with this beautiful couple in India. Mohit and Disha hired me for this photo session, not only because they loved my pictures, but for the unlimited photography that I offer to my destination clients at no extra charge too.
A five days photography trip with a private taxi
The flight from New Delhi to Leh was less than 2 hours and upon our arrival to our destination, a polite local taxi driver met us at the airport and drove us directly to our hotel. The adventure lasted 5 days, using an air-conditioned Jeep like car where we visited the most amazing sights of Ladakh. The roads were not well maintained but the driver was very careful and was always on time. Ladakh is an enthralling region located in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir that shares it’s east borders with the well known Tibet. Everything was planned exceptionally from the start to finish. The flight tickets were reasonable, the taxi driver didn’t ask for a fortune to drive us around, the local hotel owners were great hosts and the Indian food was more than delicious. If you are not on a big budget but look for quality vacations, I highly recommend to book a taxi and / or local guide. If you need any help, just drop me a message and I would love to give you the reliable taxi driver’s contact info that we used in Ladakh.
Day 1: A Visit to the Likir Monastery
The monastery of Likir, also known as Likir Gompa (Klud-kyil) is a Buddhist monastery, built around 32 miles (52 km) west of Leh. The driving time to reach the monastery reached the 2 hours.
Day 2: A stop to the Diskit monastery in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh
After our departure from Leh and a drive of approximately 120 km (75 miles) we finally reached the Diskit monastery (Gompa) which is situated at an altitude of 3142 meters above sea level. This day trip lasted more than 5 hours because most part of the road was rugged with thousands of curves.
Day 3: The Hunder Sand Dunes with the Double-hump camels
Close to the Diskit monastery and inside the Nubra Valley are situated the Hunder Sand Dunes. The driving time was around 15 minutes and the distance approximately 4.6 miles (7 km).
Due to the high altitude, those Sand Dunes are also called “the desert in the sky”. Hunder is well known for also popular for its flora and fauna which include sea-buckthorn forests, rare Bactrian double-humped camels, yaks and Pashmina goats. Here, travelers can enjoy the picturesque nature, ride a camel ride and spend a night in the camping tents or hotels nearby.
Day 4: Pangong Tso Lake
Have you ever seen the famous Bollywood move “The three idiots”? It’s here, at the lake of Pangong Tso where the last scene was filmed, where the Indian actress Kareena Kapoor went to meet Aamir Khan by riding a yellow scooter. This movie which filmed in 2009, gave a big boost to this amazing place and to become today a worldwide destination.
Leh Quick Facts
A few quick facts about the city of Leh.
The national airport of Leh (Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport) is a military airport and photography is Strictly Prohibited. The IATA code is IXL and it ‘s one of the highest commercial airports in the world, built at an altitude of 10,682 feet (3,256m.) above mean sea level. The airport looks old and obsolete, but the security measures are very strict. We were told that it’s under constant threat of terrorist attacks. I had also read in several forums that Hand Luggage was not allowed from Leh to New Delhi but in mid October. Personally I did not experience any problem, nor my Indian friends did, even though I had my huge DSLR bag as a hand luggage in the cabin.
Preventing Acute Mountain Sickness
At the arrivals area of the airport there was a big sign from Leh Health Department about how to avoid acute mountain sickness and enjoy your stay in Ladakh.
It can occur to anyone traveling to altitude above 8,000 feet. Leh town is at altitude of 11,500 feet. It would only be prudent for you to take some sensible precautions so that your body can properly acclimatized to the higher altitude and to the low barometric pressure of oxygen in the atmosphere.
Common symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness
Some of the most common symptoms are headache, disturbed sleep, loss of appetite, nausea, coughing, irregular breathing, breathlessness, lassitude and lack of concentration.
1. You must take complete rest of 24 hours, preferably for 36 hours.
2. Avoid excessive sleep during day time.
3. Avoid sleeping pills and alchohol.
4. Take adequate amount of fluid (i.e. 2-3 liter a day) but don’t take excessive fluid.
Prevention: You can take tablet Acetazolimide (Diamox) 250 mg twice a day for 3 days to prevent mountain sickness.
Chief Medical Officer: 01982252012
Medical Superintendent, S.N.M. Hospital: 01982252014
The hospital is well equipped and staffed. It was conferred Kayakalp Award for the year 2015-2016 by the Secretary Health and Family Welfare Government of India. The award was given in recognition of the efforts towards excellence in promoting cleanliness, hygiene and infection control in the District Hospital and contributing improve quality of care.
Story to be continued…