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Aiming High: Ladakh and Kashmir in the Indian Himalayas

♪♫♫♪♫ When I’m on, when I'm on my way, yeah ♪♫♫♪♫

Have visa, will travel.

Having travelled to India every other year since 2003, it seemed natural to plan a holiday there for 2013 too – there are certain traditions that do need to be maintained dontchaknow.... Initially I wanted to go to Allahabad for the Kumbh Mela religious festival in January / February, but after some serious deliberation we decided the crowds would be just too overwhelming. Reading the news reports from India during the Kumbh Mela pilgrimage, I know we made the right decision – some 80 million people are thought to have visited the Kumbh, making it the largest gathering in human history. Yes, it would have been cool to have been part of that, but not so cool for the scores of people trampled to death in the stampedes.

Anyway, after more consideration (David wanted to spend his birthday somewhere exotic) and discussions with our trusty agent in India (Sabu of Icon India Tours ), we came up with a plan, which included Ladakh and Kashmir in the Indian Himalayas.

The Ladakh region of India

Packing for the trip has been a challenge to say the least, as the average summer temperatures for Leh and its surrounding areas can vary as much as between -10 °C and +35 °C. With its thin air, the sun feels even more intense here than it does at lower altitudes - it is said that only in Ladakh can a man sit with his head in the sun and his feet in the shade and suffer from sunstroke and frostbite at the same time. We also have to consider the start of the trip in Delhi, which is experiencing monsoon season right now (with massive amounts of flooding around), and a heatwave with temperatures in the mid 40s (centigrade)!

The weather forecast for Delhi looks seriously scary!

It looks like the weather will be very pleasant in Leh

Maybe not the best temperatures for camping in Pangong Tso, but we've known worse! A few days ago they had -3 °C and snow!

It could be chilly up in the mountains at Khardung La...

...with a nice warm finish to the holiday in Srinagar.

♪♫♫♪♫ Led Zeppelin's Kashmir ♪♫♫♪♫

Oh let the sun beat down upon my face, stars to fill my dream
I am a traveller of both time and space, to be where I have been
To sit with elders of the gentle race, this world has seldom seen
They talk of days for which they sit and wait and all will be revealed

Talk and song from tongues of lilting grace, whose sounds caress my ear
But not a word I heard could I relate, the story was quite clear
Oh, oh.

Oh, I been flying... mama, there aint no denyin
I’ve been flying, aint no denyin, no denyin

All I see turns to brown, as the sun burns the ground
And my eyes fill with sand, as I scan this wasted land
Trying to find, trying to find where I’ve been.

Oh, pilot of the storm who leaves no trace, like thoughts inside a dream
Heed the path that led me to that place, yellow desert stream
My shangri-la beneath the summer moon, I will return again
Sure as the dust that floats high in June, when movin through Kashmir

Oh, father of the four winds, fill my sails, across the sea of years
With no provision but an open face, along the straits of fear

When I’m on, when I'm on my way, yeah
When I see, when I see the way, you stay-yeah

Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, when I'm down...
Ooh, yeah-yeah, ooh, yeah-yeah, well I'm down, so down
Ooh, my baby, ooooh, my baby, let me take you there

Let me take you there. let me take you there

Posted by Grete Howard 02:27 Archived in United Kingdom

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Very impressed that you chose to go to Kashmir! Such a beautiful and tragic place.

(friend of Kay and fellow VT member)

by Katherine

Ladakh is my favourite place to visit and would love to go back there all the time.

by Aadil Desai

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