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The province of Ladakh is a country of passes

To be honest, talk about mountains and show them – it’s a little cheating, because there are no ugly mountains. But what to do, if it was in the mountains that there was a place that gave me the brightest month of my life. And this place was the province of Ladakh in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Lake Tsomoriri, Ladakh province.

Most of my life I lived in Murmansk. Nearby there were always not so high, but all the same mountains – the Khibiny, in which almost every Murmansk resident visited, and of which, probably, all fans of snowboarding and downhill skiing know in Russia. But it so happened that even in a little hike to the Hibiny (or somewhere else), I did not gather for my life. He spent most of the weekend there with friends-skiers, although he did not ride himself. And it turned out that my first full-fledged visit to the mountains became a two-week 200-kilometer track in the Himalayas with 11 passes and a maximum height of 5588 meters.

In Ladakh there are two things that strike to the depths of the soul.

First, it is a cultural shock from the life of the local population. It is so unlike our ordinary life – measured or active, urban or rural – that it seems as if such a diversity simply can not exist on one planet.

Monks in monasteries, guides and porters, shepherds-nomads, inhabitants of mountain villages, owners of small inns in the mountains (I do not even know what exactly it is called there – tents, where you will be treated with tea and rice and will give a place for rest and overnight stay) . They live in their own rhythm, they are not interested in our news, technology and our lives in general. It seems that 500 years ago, and 1000 years ago, everything was exactly as it is now. Only without random tourists, like us.

People are watching a performance on a religious festival in the village of Karzok.

Secondly, and most importantly, here is an amazing nature. All this was built with water and a wind of stone, but every time we crossed the pass, we saw something completely new and unlike the terrain where we passed earlier. There are no two identical valleys, mountain chains or passes. Nowhere and never has my brain received so much new visual information.

#Yak #Yak #Yak #Yak #Yak

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Well, yak yak? .. Yak yak!
On one of the overnight stays we stopped in the river valley, and next to us settled a shepherd with his huge flock of sheep and sheep. Nearby, we noticed a wolf who decided to drag on one of the sheep. But it did not work out, because he was spotted by a shepherd dog. He was driven several kilometers, and perhaps we would have witnessed a fatal fight, but at one point the wolf decided that he could not escape on his four, and jerked into the river. In swimming he was stronger than dogs and escaped.

Another Tibetan wolf, we met on the road.
The same evening we saw a small group of sheep and lambs on one of the slopes, which fought off from some other herd (not the one that was near us). We watched them for a few minutes and saw one of the lambs fall from the mountain and fall into the river. We managed to pull it out before it was swept away by the current, and the general decision of the lamb group was passed on to our shepherd neighbor.
Lamb wanted to eat, but decided that “nothing was saved?”
We fell under the snow at night. Fall asleep in the summer and wake up in the winter is an inexpressible sensation.

In the evening all this snow was not there.
Of course, walking around Ladakh passes is not the easiest thing to do. We were faced with difficulties in the form of mountain sickness (we did not have enough planned days for acclimatization, and for the first time almost all of our group was suffering from a headache), the sun, from which the cream with a protection factor of 40. did not save. All right, because he crooked himself and badly covered his face on the daytime crossing the glacier. We were flooded by a torrent of night and a stream that came out of the banks, and we had to save things from the water in total darkness.

But all this did not spoil the impression of this place.

To visit Ladakh, of course, it is not necessary (with) head to hit the mountain tracking. There are many places for slightly less hardcore tourists.

This is the city of Manali – a kind of Indian Sochi, where rich Hindus come from the south of the country to wait for the harshest heat of the summer and the rainy season, to relax, take a walk in the mountains and with absolutely childish rapture pobarahtatsya in several hundred square meters of melting blackened snow that many of the local tourists see for the first time.

Window view. #Manali. Altitude – 2km.

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View from the window of our hotel in Manali.

This Leh – high-mountainous and deserted (by landscape, but not by the number of people) is a city that historically is the commercial center of this locality. There is a stunning and well-preserved Lech palace of the 17th century, the stupa of Shanti, which you need to climb up to 541 steps (I thought, but could get lost), a bunch of markets and shops that we called “aliexpress in reality” and many mountain Buddhist monasteries in the district . In Leh, you can even fly by plane, but in this case, prepare for a hard acclimatization, because the city is located at an altitude of 3.5 kilometers.

View of Lech from the Leh Palace.

Between Manali and Leh there is one of the highest mountains, and therefore one of the most picturesque and dangerous roads in the world. Its length is almost 500 km, and we with great difficulty stormed this distance on a jeep for almost 24 hours. It looks like this:

In Ladakh, the Indus River begins its course and part of the road passes by it. The colors of the sky, water and mountains in the Indus valley can not be conveyed by any photographs.

This is Tsomoriri – an insanely beautiful high mountain lake, which can be reached by cars and motorcycles (we got there on foot, it was the middle of our track). The main thing is to be ready to meet in the vicinity with a detachment of frontier guards, after all, literally behind the surrounding mountains, Tibet, unrecognized by China, begins. Nearby there is a large monastery Karzok-Gompa, and we were somehow lucky to get there on the day of Karzok-Gustor. I will not say that we understood what was happening there, but I do not know where and how else you can see something like that.Most of the photos in this story are from my friend Dmitry Babenko , who dragged me into this adventure. After this trip, Dima resigned from work and finally dedicated to the mountains – trekking and rock climbing – his whole life. And I really envy him, tk. until he is ready for the same change in his life. I just moved from Murmansk to Petersburg and stayed plankton in the office, but I know that I will definitely return there. Your humble servant is portrayed by a bear in the background.
Coordinates (Lake Tzomoriri): 32.915492, 78.303521

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