We hired a bike later in the morning and our first destination was Sangam point. “Sangam”, because Zanskar and Indus meet there. It is true that the journey is ALWAYS more beautiful than the destination. No sooner did we hit the highway NH1, the vastness of nature hit us.
Huge barren mountains like no where else in India. There’s beauty is barren as well. Quite unlike the lush green pine forested mountains of Kashmir. We could feel how small we were.
“And the earth We spread out, and placed therein firm mountains” (Qur’an 15:19)
Verses like these keep coming in my mind. I was overwhelmed in minutes. The mind could not sink in the rate at which the eyes were absorbing the magnificence of what was around us.
Have We not made the earth as a bed And the mountains as pegs?”(Qur’an 78:6-7)
Confluence of Zanskar and Indus
The point was beautiful. Husband and I had a very nice time there. The water was serene, and the crowd was scarce. It was ages since I last sat on the bank of a river with my legs in water. My thoughts drifted to the river that runs through my grandmother’s village. A lot of childhood was spent enjoying the clear waters that is now shrunk and polluted.
While walking down, we came across two couples who wanted to go rafting and asked us whether we would want to join (there was shortage of 2 on their raft) . Whenever such adventurous opportunities knock our door, husband and I immediately look at each other and the conversation goes like:
Him: “Karna hai?” (Wanna do?)
I: Haan (yes)
Him: Chalo (Let’s go)
I: Chalo (Let’s go)
Whether it’s swimming under waterfalls and across rivers, crossing the mighty Brahmaputra, trekking across glaciers, climbing up mountains, jet skiing, horse riding, ferry rides, gondola trips, or skiing- each was an impromptu plan made with rushed adrenaline. We experienced these few “firsts” together.
Beautiful is an understatement. Being in that place is simply a blessing. Everyone on the raft kept staring at the hugeness of mountains on both sides and the Indus zig-zagging through it.
The raft was beyond our control. Screaming and hooting we finally hit the calm waters. One can never have enough of such places.
In hopes of a little adventure (and to make the most of the hired bike) we took the road to Phey from there. A tiny village, untouched and drenched with pure culture. The best thing about Leh was vegetarianism due to prevalence of Buddhism. So we really didn’t have to worry a lot about food. We stopped at a tiny eatery run by a lady single handedly and ordered Thukpa and Momos!
The last time I ever had Thukpa outside was during a family trip to Gangtok -Darjeeling with Mom dad and sister when I was in class 5. These were alien concepts for pan Indians that time. I remember a local seller handing us 10 momos on a leaf with the spicy condament at ₹1 per piece just before we embarked on our toy train journey.
Thukpa was a novelty for husband this time. Our hostess took her own sweet time to prepare and we weren’t in a hurry as well. We were the only customers there! I went blabbering about everything we did when we were in Gangtok and the lady soon joined our conversation. We learnt about their village and how the family functions there. The food – warm and soothing , was devoured amidst a very cherished conversation.
Kindness and warmth yet again, compelled me to embrace our hostess before departing. I am sad now for I am unable to remember her face, much as I am trying. I wish I had clicked a picture.
We left back to the city. Explored the market on the bike. The innermost lanes, figuring out everything about travelling to Nubra and Pangong our next destinations.
To be continued….