Landscapes and Monasteries around Leh

I had thought for the first time about possibility of a trip to Leh, post popular Bollywood movie “3 Idiots”.  Since then, I have noticed Leh being featured in many Bollywood movies.  My interest further peaked, when some of friends and colleagues posted their pics from their visit, and also when I bumped into time-lapse and star trail videos and pics on Vimeo and YouTube.   It is not easy get our scheduled aligned with Leh calendar.  I finally decided to explore Leh via Photography Tour conducted annually by Toehold team of Bangalore.

This is a first part of 4-part blog series that will be developed over the weeks, as I get time (or when I am long flights to somewhere around the world). Part 1 is dedicated to document our visit around Leh, Part 2 is dedicated to our trip to Pangong, where as Part 3 is dedicated our exhilarating journey to Nubra via Khardungla Pass, and final part-4 is for our last phase of our photography tour to meditative Tso Moriri lake. Now that I have a 10 hour layover at Delhi airport, I am catching with my updates.

Our Day 1 started at the capital of the Himalayan kingdom, Leh is now a district along with Kargil, together constituting the famous area called Ladakh.  We spent our day 1 in Leh acclimatising to high altitude climatic conditions.  Acclimatisation process is not as bad as it was written in many articles.  However, it was little important to us, as we flew to Leh, contrary to driving her from Sringar or Manali. We stayed put in our hotel “The Palace” and took it easy.

We did take “Diamox” few days in advance of the trip.  It did help in reducing AMS (Altitude Mountain Sickness) quite a bit.

Our photography trip crew consisted of 19 photography enthusiasts (with varying skilling levels, from beginner to experts) from various parts of the country and the world.  It included Entrepreneurs, a Pediatrician, IT Professionals, College Grads, Civil Services Officers, Educators, Home Makers, Management Professionals, Stock Photographer, and more.  Youngest member of the team was just about 17 years old, and senior most one was a retired civil services professional.  We had folks coming from all over India, 2 from Dubai, and two from USA (who happened to be in India for a vacation).

We spent our Day 2 exploring photography at two famous monasteries Hemis and Thikse. Check out respective links for details around above two monasteries.  It was a meditative expierence to walk around and inside the monastery. At the end of the day we visited Shanti Stupa for a view of entire town of Leh and attempted making few time lapse videos.

Below pics and videos document our experience around Leh.

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Excitement began as soon as “Now Boarding” sign flashed at Gate 27B at T3 Delhi
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Landed in Leh amidst mountainous landscape
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I would not normally pose in front of a plane :-). I did it because of uniqueness of Leh airport with terrific landscapes as it’s background
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Monastery in distance
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First pic around Leh

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Hemis Monastery

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Thikse Monastery

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Distinctively varied landscape

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“The Monk Who Sold Me Ayurvedic Medicine”
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Shanti Stupa

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Pic Courtesy: Udit
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Sign on top of a dust bin

 

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Here is the full photography crew:

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Skippers: Rajiv Shyamsunder and Sachin Rai of ToeHold
Alexi
Alexi from Dubai / USA
Mrs. and Mrs. Tandon
Mr and Mrs. Tandon from Virginia
Anis
Anis from Duba

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Kanchan
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Samir
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Sushmita from Tirupati / Bangalore
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Dr. Bharat (Paediatrician) from Ahmedabad
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Sanjana (youngest crew member, but with most expensive gadgets)  from Bangalore
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Sujay and Sanjana from Bangalore
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Udit from Bombay
Govindraj
Govindaraj
Prakash
Prakash BS
Sai
Sai from Hyderabad
Shweta
Shweta from Bangalore

 

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Mrs. and Mrs. Khanna
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Complete Crew. PC: Rajiv Shyam

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