The final phase of our camp started with the journey towards Tso Moriri lake. It was one of the three lakes we were supposed visit and as per the verbal poll taken among the campers at the end of our trip, was the best of the three. Most of the journey was parallel to the Indus river. At some places the flow was so strong that one could hear the stream even in the car. On the way, we saw one more smaller lake (Google maps calls it Kyagar Tso) which was much more mesmerizing. As we reached the Tso Moriri lake, we saw a few Bar Headed Geese. We were told that the Chinese border is closer from where we had stayed. The view from my hotel room was amazing. We were strictly instructed to return by 7.30 PM if we wanted to roam around in the area. The place near the lake gets very windy and cold. Thankfully we didn't have to stay in the tents in such harsh weather conditions. However, this time there was no night sky watch. From my room I could clearly see the Big Dipper and Cassiopeia constellations. I can recollect that after returning from walk around the nearby area, few of us had an interesting conversation about Game of Thrones. In fact, we even had a bigger discussion on a number of topics when we were having dinner. We talked about the flaws in the religions, the noise during festival season, whether there is a pattern in the alcohol consumption as per city (my friend has a strong belief that Mumbaikars are much less alcoholic than city people), different places to visit and their architectural significance (OK, I wasn't an active participant in the last topic). Next day plan was to get up early for the Sun rise from the lake.
|Tso Moriri at Sunset|
|Tso Moriri - Sunrise|
|Tso Moriri - Sunrise|
|Tso Moriri - Photo Session!|
|Tso Moriri - Sunrise|
On the final day of our journey, just as we finished our breakfast, a flock of Tibetan Sandgrouse came flying over our heads. I will never forget the sight when I saw few Sandgrouses moving in a line crossing the road. Afterwards we took a group photo with our group leaders, drivers and last but not the least Mr. Bijoo who guided us along the tour with BNHS. During the return journey, we passed the Tanglang La which is claimed to be second highest motorable pass in the world. As we were free for the rest of the day, we went to main market for one last time. I got some memento for few of my friends and Ladkah Photography calendar for my brother (yea, yea it was 2015 one). The fresh vegetables in the market were so tempting that my friend bought some to take back home. One last incident which made me laugh to the fullest, was narrated by our fellow camper told us how she lost and found her spectacles. Now, I cannot detail the whole incident, but I doubt if it will ever fade out of our memories. To think back it might have been funny for us but it was pretty brave thing to do to get back those glasses (even if one has only pair). Of course, the bottom line is - "Never make fun of an old man having 2 different colored spectacles" (No, only those who were present for the camp would understand this).
|Way to Tso Kar|
Return journey back to Mumbai was smoother than Mumbai-Leh journey. The halt between the 2 connecting flights was just an hour long. During the Delhi-Mumbai flight, I was engaged in a nice conversation with my friend. Again the conversation spanned across totally unrelated subjects. It started with skimming through the travel magazine kept in front of the seats, when we discussed the places to visit in India. Then the topics varied from which books to read, Kashmir issue, why current Americans get to use the resources originally belonging to Red Indians, should the world resources be divided equally across country, should there be a concept of country (why not have a "world" as a nation), belief in God and the necessity of having God & why some Indian girls are ready to sacrifice their careers to marry and settle in US?
Few incidents which I missed in my earlier posts include the one on second day where a local cultural program was arranged for another group of travelers staying at the same hotel. The performance was very good, included folk dance and songs. Another incident involved people feeding Himalayan Marmots with biscuits and chocolates. Such food is not natural to these animals and creates hindrance in their hibernation period (Harsh winters of Ladakh). The idiots who were feeding these animals included foreigners, even though there were huge boards nearby explaining the Dos and Donts about Marmots. Many people from our BNHS camp went to the location where such feeding was happening and asked everyone to refrain from feeding the animals. There is a need for awareness among tourists not to feed the animals any junk food.
|What a view!|
|Cultural Program at Hotel|
Before closing the post, let me just list the birds I can recollect from the Ladakh itinerary. The most common bird I saw there, was Eurasian Magpie. We also saw Chukar Partridge at many places including the national park. We even spotted Agama lizard during one of the stops on the way to Tso Moriri. We also noticed hill pigeons, Ravens, Larks, Redstart. I know I have missed most of the birds but with no photos and books it is not possible for me to list all the birds. Apologies to my readers!
|BNHS Camp - Ladakh|
I hope to travel more in the coming years and find my passion...