After a wonderful trip down south, it was time, our group explored the Northern part of India. A travel tale of 11 friends who were set to pay a visit to the North and successfully completed the journey in a span of 11 days.
Mapping our journey!
Day 1- Day 2: Bengaluru-Delhi
We started from Bengaluru to Delhi, 34 hours of train journey never got boring even a bit, with the best of crowd beside. We had fun games to play, music, play cards and loads of talks to spend all those hours in the train.
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Day 3: Delhi
On reaching Delhi, we just had one full day to spend at Delhi and we made the best out of it. We started with the historical structures like Raj Ghat, Red Fort, Jamma Masjid and then headed to World’s Largest Hindu Temple- Akshardham. This was followed by quick shopping on streets of Karol Bagh and Chandni Chowk, having the best street food of Delhi. And then at midnight, we headed towards Indira Gandhi Airport to fly to LEH!
Day 4: Delhi-Leh
After facing the heat at Delhi, which was around 42*C in the month of May, we knew LEH would get us frozen, with its temperature being around 2*C and we were all set for it! I now had half the baggage of clothes, on my body to my rescue. But one other thing we were all worried about was- acclimatization! Few of them felt nauseous, few had a severe headache and other issues. Paracetamols, Aspirins, and few homeopathy medicines helped us sail through the situation.
On our flight to Leh, All that we witnessed was the long stretch of mighty Himalayan Ranges! We had ours jaws dropped seeing those huge snow filled Himalayan mountains.
And finally, came this beautiful town surrounded by huge hills and mountains with ice caps on them. Yes, we had just landed at Leh! It was a wow moment for all of us.
As there were no prior bookings made by us, we did not know where to stay, how to go on from there. All I had booked was a train from Bangalore to Delhi, flight from Delhi to Leh and then a return flight from Chandigarh to Bangalore. So all plans had to be made instantly during our stay at Leh-Ladakh.
As soon as we got out of the airport, as usual, the taxi drivers rounded us up and we chose 2 of them who convinced us to take us to a good place of stay and we trusted them, and yes they did not disappoint us! We ended up staying at one of the best guest houses with the best hospitality at Leh-Bharath Guest House
Day 5: Leh- Ladakh
We just checked in at the guest house, relaxed and later on, in the evening we all went out to the main market which was around a 20 minute walk from our guest house, we shopped for a bit and by the time we returned back, the bonfire was all set and we had the music, barbeque, drinks and then the party went on all night.
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Day 6: Leh-Ladakh
Suggested Read: 7 Secrets Of Ladakh That Only The Hills Whisper
The previous night, we had decided to rent bikes in the morning and just go on a ride. Well, we ended up having a splendid ride to Magnetic hills and Sangham.
It was around 40-45 km from the Leh city and that stretch of the ride had the best of sceneries. The sceneries seemed to us like wallpapers. Later in the evening, we returned our bikes and on our way back to our guesthouse, we decided to pay a visit to the Pangong Lake (3 idiots climax scenes has been shot here).
Day 7: Leh-Ladakh
At around morning 10, we were all set to leave to Pangong Lake but before that we decided to visit Shanthi Stupa. It was on one of the corners of Leh city, from where we could see the whole of Leh city. This place as its name suggests, for sure gives us SHANTHI (peace). It is such a peaceful place with a stupa, a meditation center and a beautiful view of Leh city.
Suggested Read: The Spell Binding Effect: 10 Places To Visit In Leh Ladakh
After this, we headed to the Pangong Lake. On our way ahead, we could see that we were approaching the snow covered mountains. From the very first day, we just wanted to play around with that snow we found it finally as we passed via Changla pass (The Chang La is a high mountain pass in Ladakh, India. It is the second highest motorable road in the world. The Chang La is on the route to Pangong Lake from Leh). The wait was over, we all jumped out of our vehicle and played around like kids. Yes, we found out we are still very young at heart.
In the meanwhile, few of us started feeling uneasy since it was at a very high altitude and they had to be given oxygen at a military base camp at Changla. We were glad to meet the army troop of Madras regiment. We realized how big the Indian Army is, how they serve us, under what conditions and situations they stay in. We took a moment there, to thank and salute our soldiers and took a few snaps with them and moved ahead to Pangong.
Pangong Tso, you Beauty! It was a Heaven on Earth. Crystal clear blue water surrounded by mountains, with a part of the lake frozen and temperature dipping to -3*C. One of the craziest thing I have ever done in my life is to, sleep on the floor near the lake at -3*C and watch the stars with best of friends beside and with best of music being played in the background. Well, believe me, we saw the moon rise between the hills, with its mirror image on the water. It was just beyond explanations, this beauty of Nature has to be seen and enjoyed!
There were camps arranged just beside the lake and we stayed there for the night, we requested for the bonfire and then the party mode was on! We moved inside our camps and slept sometime in the midnight when the temperature dipped more and it got unbearable.
Day 8: Leh-Ladakh
We were all done with Pangong and just wanted to leave that place as soon as possible. Many were falling ill, because of the altitude sickness. Breathing became uneasy, the temperature had dipped more than the previous day. We had a quick breakfast, then hurried and headed back to Leh which was around 150kms from Pangong Tso. Reached Leh by evening.
Further, our plan was to visit Punjab (Amritsar/Wagah) and then head to Chandigarh and finally back to Bengaluru (Chandigarh to Bengaluru flight was already booked), so we had to leave Leh by road either via Srinagar or Manali. But to our bad luck all the roads leading from/to LEH were shut down, due to Landslides. The only option now left, to move out of Leh was to take an aerial route.
Immediately we booked a flight to Delhi (Luckily we got it at a very low cost and it was for a day after) Now we did not have to travel to Srinagar, then to Jammu, to reach Amritsar, all we had to do was board a flight to Delhi and catch a bus or train to Amritsar. It saved our hours together of traveling. So, we had another extra day at Leh to relax.
Day 9: Leh-Ladakh
Few of us decided to sleep and relax on this last day at Leh and few others decided to head to Khardung La- the world’s highest motorable pass. They rented bikes and headed to Khardung la and returned back without being able to reach Khardung La due to landslides. While those of us who had stayed back, decided to visit Leh palace which was not so good and did some shopping again later on. The Final day came to an end.
Day 10: Leh-Delhi
We had our flight to Delhi at 11 AM, but the flight got delayed due to a military drill and finally we left to Delhi at 12:45 PM. We reached Delhi around 2 PM and we had to leave to Amritsar the same night. Nothing had been booked yet and we did not know what to do next. All we knew was that we had to spend those next few hours at Delhi and somehow reach Amritsar by next morning.
So we just took a bus to the Metro station. At the Metro station, we happen to meet a guy and initially he just helped us with a route. Later on within some time, he just got so close and he decided to show us Delhi.
We just kept all our luggage at the cloak room and decided to give a final touch up to the left out places at Delhi. Our Delhi Friend guided us through Central park, Connaught Place.
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We then headed to Karol Bagh in cycle rickshaws, to complete our left out shopping. The day had ended and by then we had booked our bus to Amritsar. We bid goodbye to our Delhi friend who was with us throughout and then we headed to Amritsar.
Day 11: Amritsar- Wagah
Early morning around 7 am, we reached this holy city. After a few rickshaw, rounds found a hotel room. Freshened up a little and then headed to Jallianwala Bagh. After which we reached the Golden Temple. It was filled with thousands of devotees and tourists, yet had maintained its sanctity. Had our lunch there at the temple. And took a cab to Wagah Border to witness the Wagah border closing ‘lowering of the flags’ ceremony or The Beating Retreat ceremony.
It was such a treat to watch, such a patriotic display of things at the Border. It is such a place, where any Indian sitting in the crowd there, would just rise up and shout slogans for India. Slogans from Pakistan from one end and slogans from Hindustan at the other end, it was patriotic experience at its best.
After the show, we returned back to the hotel, and then visited the golden temple again to witness the Golden temple with lights! It was amazing to witness its beauty at night, lit gloriously with lights.
The dinner was as heavy as it could get, with the famous Punjabi street foods filling our stomachs.
Had booked an early morning train from Amritsar to Chandigarh. Then headed to the Chandigarh airport, and took a noon flight to Namma Bengaluru.
TIPS for travelers:
- Make all necessary bookings a few months in prior, to get the best possible prices.
- Check the weather conditions and keep yourself ready with all necessities to suit the conditions.
- Be ready to take a call on alternative plans. The journey will not always be smooth as we think. It’s very much necessary to keep alternate plans ready.
Quick Checklist: Carry light luggage, Keep both summer & winter wear (Delhi= 40C and in Leh= -4C), necessary medicines, a first aid box.
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