A Hard Way To Solace Place

Tawseef Wani

The unprecedented outbreak of summer dissent left me terribly shaken, emotionally shattered and consciously slaughtered. To evade the remorseless atrocities which finally claimed 113 lives prompted me to visit Ladakh- a preferable place in valley to get the perception of peace. I accompany a congenial colleague to visit the arid desert region in the month of July almost three weeks before the cloud burst which marked the drastic devastation by claiming 200 lives and left hundreds homeless and injured.
On the way, the battered road of Zojila pass provides a last sparkling aerial view of Baltal valley. The Sindh River seems crawling like a snake in between lush green entourage with steep peaks on side. Its gleaming water appears in sync with azure sky. Nonetheless, the amount of pressure on the resources by excess flow of people for both pilgrimage and tourist influx deeply strikes the heart which poses threat to fragile ecosystem. It is pathetic to feel the stink of filth and garbage at Baltal despite having a matchless beauty. Racing up and down the dangerously looking treacherous, rough, narrow battered road of Zojila strewn with enormous boulders may have a tendency to put the life at stake, but, the serene views of surroundings from the top of the world ‘thrills and spills’. The daunting and adventurous journey via Zojila may have a remarkable impact in one’s life of exploring new destinations.

Descending the Zojila we chug through the damaged road providing a wide spectacular view of unending snow capped peaks through Gumri valley, almost a thirty meter long snow laden tunnel with double the height of vehicle moving through it, is really awesome; yearning tourists to have such tunnels in their scorching cities. The lambs and horses gambolling in the meadows appear strangely dwarfed not because they were far away; the road we are on travelling is itself almost high as the peaks themselves.

We travel continuously through little hamlets with flat roofed settlements made up of mud bricks amidst vast fields lined with apricot trees to Drass- second coldest place on earth. The whole town dots the memorials to fallen Indian soldiers and a war museum; about a war that strike between the two nuclear powered neighbours just over a decade ago. The Tiger hill and Tololing valley of Drass stood peaceable, stark and austere despite being the witness of bloody war. We sip a tea at nearby tea stall and went on treading to Kargil- the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh. Ladakh covers a massive 70 per cent of the states area but accounts far less the two per cent of its population. 97 per cent Kargils are Muslims of the Shai persuasion and three pet cents are Buddhists, exactly opposite in Leh. Kargil is a land of Baltis and Purig Pa people, mongoloid by race and Shia Muslim by faith, is least developed in all aspects as compared to Leh where development is at zenith.

We had a dinner at nearby hotel and prefer to spend a night in Scorpio car finding it more comfortable than the stinky and poky room on rent. The journey through lush green snow capped peaks and pastures ornamented with herbs and flowers ended next morning when we left Kargil. After travelling few miles greenery starts diminishing, birds virtually disappear and it was a novel leap into different experience of travelling. Off to Kargil, it is now more than 200 kilometres to Leh via even worse road and barren landscape. Clay Mountains, sand mountains, stone mountains and many more with different appearance, colours, and varieties didn’t allow blinking an eye. I feel deadly tired but didn’t shut my eyes for a moment’s notice; such is the landscape characteristic quality of Ladakh. The hamlets of district Kargil which are settled on a way to Leh are terribly poverty stricken lacking the basic amenities for the decent and dignified survival. Proper roads and full time electricity are their aspirations within the realms of possibility. The only thing they have of their own is water- too cold to touch. The people who live away from water streams have to toil everyday to fetch water. The supply lines are not working because of intense cold in winter. They burst in winter till summer and repaired in next winter to get burst again. The road continues to be tortured except in some places at Namkeela, Fatula and Lamayuru. All these high altitude places are nice to pass over, as I glide past the evening time at Fatula, the feeling of having a peace resonates in my mind.
The only pass that seems dangerous after Zojila is Lamayuru, where danger lurks at every narrow curve. My colleague desperately negotiates these curves while passing down the Lamayuru. At top of it, we were at the Roof of the World, the whole road from top to down is one-way curly. The alternate bi-lane road is under construction on Lamayuru which is easy to pass on. Passing it brings respite. Now it is all macadamized road to Leh through magnetic hill. The villages which fall under the outskirt province of Leh like Khaltse and Mulbig are prosperous and well developed signs the signal of Leh’s prosperity.

Leh – the capital of Ladakh has an imposing entry road alongside the Indus valley. From airways to army barracks, streets to outskirt roads everything is tidy and eye appealing. The whole day I had a long tramp in Leh town, visit many places like wanderer. Vendors selling dry fruits including famous Ladakhi apricots, women in Kimono attire selling fresh vegetables, book stalls embellished with books about Ladakh and Dalia Lama, Tibetans and Chinese jewellery are things of attractions. No one is allowed to smoke cigarette in public place, polythene is seen nowhere, shadows of peace strolling the town, lovable responses, pleasing gestures were some observations which I remind.

I have not confronted any chaotic moment at Leh. The collision between the two cars too went off silently. The two drivers pat each other amid pleasing gestures and thanks God for not sustaining injuries. I wander what would have happened to Ladakhis after cloud burst which shattered their peaceful life. Though, Ladakh, the land of passes has many valleys, mountains and lakes its beauty is incomplete without its monasteries. Buddhist monastery is a place for worship, meditation and teaching. Ladakh has many monasteries called Gompas where Buddhist monks and nuns stay, study and practice.

There are innumerable monasteries each one has its own beauty and uniqueness. SHANTI STUPPA: It has an impressive white-domed structure built by Japanese Buddhist organization and was inaugurated by His Holiness in 1985. It is amazingly spectacular especially when illuminated at
night. ALCHI GOMPA: is situated on the bank of Indus founded by Ringchen Zangpi is easily accessible. HEMIS GOMPA: is biggest monastery in Ladakh was built in 1630 and isfamous for huge painting of Buddha, which is brought to the public display only once in eleven years of time period.
Interestingly, these Gompas are situated on the outskirts of busy town in peaceful environs. Having a rich history of Muslim-Buddhist fraternity the two sects are difficult to differentiate. Apart from religion, the social and cultural integration help them to create and foster new perspectives on how Buddhism and Islam will harmoniously respond to the issues of multitude. And, both are jointly tackling the aftermath effects of disastrous cloud burst. The Government of India has donated 125 crore for immediate rehabilitation and security of Ladakhis. May the peace they lost, soon dawn on them. May the same peace will dawn on my blood stained vale as well. 

The unprecedented outbreak of summer dissent left me terribly shaken, emotionally shattered and consciously slaughtered. To evade the remorseless atrocities which finally claimed 113 lives prompted me to visit Ladakh- a preferable place in valley to get the perception of peace. I accompany a congenial colleague to visit the arid desert region in the month of July almost three weeks before the cloud burst which marked the drastic devastation by claiming 200 lives and left hundreds homeless and injured.


On the way, the battered road of Zojila pass provides a last sparkling aerial view of Baltal valley. The Sindh River seems crawling like a snake in between lush green entourage with steep peaks on side. Its gleaming water appears in sync with azure sky. Nonetheless, the amount of pressure on the resources by excess flow of people for both pilgrimage and tourist influx deeply strikes the heart which poses threat to fragile ecosystem. It is pathetic to feel the stink of filth and garbage at Baltal despite having a matchless beauty. Racing up and down the dangerously looking treacherous, rough, narrow battered road of Zojila strewn with enormous boulders may have a tendency to put the life at stake, but, the serene views of surroundings from the top of the world ‘thrills and spills’. The daunting and adventurous journey via Zojila may have a remarkable impact in one’s life of exploring new destinations.

Descending the Zojila we chug through the damaged road providing a wide spectacular view of unending snow capped peaks through Gumri valley, almost a thirty meter long snow laden tunnel with double the height of vehicle moving through it, is really awesome; yearning tourists to have such tunnels in their scorching cities. The lambs and horses gambolling in the meadows appear strangely dwarfed not because they were far away; the road we are on travelling is itself almost high as the peaks themselves.

We travel continuously through little hamlets with flat roofed settlements made up of mud bricks amidst vast fields lined with apricot trees to Drass- second coldest place on earth. The whole town dots the memorials to fallen Indian soldiers and a war museum; about a war that strike between the two nuclear powered neighbours just over a decade ago. The Tiger hill and Tololing valley of Drass stood peaceable, stark and austere despite being the witness of bloody war. We sip a tea at nearby tea stall and went on treading to Kargil- the second largest town in Ladakh after Leh. Ladakh covers a massive 70 per cent of the states area but accounts far less the two per cent of its population. 97 per cent Kargils are Muslims of the Shai persuasion and three pet cents are Buddhists, exactly opposite in Leh. Kargil is a land of Baltis and Purig Pa people, mongoloid by race and Shia Muslim by faith, is least developed in all aspects as compared to Leh where development is at zenith.

We had a dinner at nearby hotel and prefer to spend a night in Scorpio car finding it more comfortable than the stinky and poky room on rent. The journey through lush green snow capped peaks and pastures ornamented with herbs and flowers ended next morning when we left Kargil. After travelling few miles greenery starts diminishing, birds virtually disappear and it was a novel leap into different experience of travelling. Off to Kargil, it is now more than 200 kilometres to Leh via even worse road and barren landscape. Clay Mountains, sand mountains, stone mountains and many more with different appearance, colours, and varieties didn’t allow blinking an eye. I feel deadly tired but didn’t shut my eyes for a moment’s notice; such is the landscape characteristic quality of Ladakh. The hamlets of district Kargil which are settled on a way to Leh are terribly poverty stricken lacking the basic amenities for the decent and dignified survival. Proper roads and full time electricity are their aspirations within the realms of possibility. The only thing they have of their own is water- too cold to touch. The people who live away from water streams have to toil everyday to fetch water. The supply lines are not working because of intense cold in winter. They burst in winter till summer and repaired in next winter to get burst again. The road continues to be tortured except in some places at Namkeela, Fatula and Lamayuru. All these high altitude places are nice to pass over, as I glide past the evening time at Fatula, the feeling of having a peace resonates in my mind.


The only pass that seems dangerous after Zojila is Lamayuru, where danger lurks at every narrow curve. My colleague desperately negotiates these curves while passing down the Lamayuru. At top of it, we were at the Roof of the World, the whole road from top to down is one-way curly. The alternate bi-lane road is under construction on Lamayuru which is easy to pass on. Passing it brings respite. Now it is all macadamized road to Leh through magnetic hill. The villages which fall under the outskirt province of Leh like Khaltse and Mulbig are prosperous and well developed signs the signal of Leh’s prosperity.

Leh – the capital of Ladakh has an imposing entry road alongside the Indus valley. From airways to army barracks, streets to outskirt roads everything is tidy and eye appealing. The whole day I had a long tramp in Leh town, visit many places like wanderer. Vendors selling dry fruits including famous Ladakhi apricots, women in Kimono attire selling fresh vegetables, book stalls embellished with books about Ladakh and Dalia Lama, Tibetans and Chinese jewellery are things of attractions. No one is allowed to smoke cigarette in public place, polythene is seen nowhere, shadows of peace strolling the town, lovable responses, pleasing gestures were some observations which I remind.

I have not confronted any chaotic moment at Leh. The collision between the two cars too went off silently. The two drivers pat each other amid pleasing gestures and thanks God for not sustaining injuries. I wander what would have happened to Ladakhis after cloud burst which shattered their peaceful life. Though, Ladakh, the land of passes has many valleys, mountains and lakes its beauty is incomplete without its monasteries. Buddhist monastery is a place for worship, meditation and teaching. Ladakh has many monasteries called Gompas where Buddhist monks and nuns stay, study and practice.

There are innumerable monasteries each one has its own beauty and uniqueness. SHANTI STUPPA: It has an impressive white-domed structure built by Japanese Buddhist organization and was inaugurated by His Holiness in 1985. It is amazingly spectacular especially when illuminated at
night. ALCHI GOMPA: is situated on the bank of Indus founded by Ringchen Zangpi is easily accessible. HEMIS GOMPA: is biggest monastery in Ladakh was built in 1630 and isfamous for huge painting of Buddha, which is brought to the public display only once in eleven years of time period.
Interestingly, these Gompas are situated on the outskirts of busy town in peaceful environs. Having a rich history of Muslim-Buddhist fraternity the two sects are difficult to differentiate. Apart from religion, the social and cultural integration help them to create and foster new perspectives on how Buddhism and Islam will harmoniously respond to the issues of multitude. And, both are jointly tackling the aftermath effects of disastrous cloud burst. The Government of India has donated 125 crore for immediate rehabilitation and security of Ladakhis. May the peace they lost, soon dawn on them. May the same peace will dawn on my blood stained vale as well.

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About theparallelpost
The language of words is more heavenly than the language of tongues and lips. The Parallel Post is a forum to offer a space for people who dare to speak through their words. The intention is to create an environment to share in words what we perceive in our minds...

4 Responses to A Hard Way To Solace Place

  1. karim says:

    it is nice to read this wonderful write up,, i hvn’t visited ladakh but reading it felt me traverse the whole region…this write up refresh me,,, i am feeling gliding over the ladakh..

  2. wasim says:

    nice…

  3. kasim says:

    it is nice to read this write up…i feel being in ladakh,, i just imagine being on a travel like u had it,…

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