"Seeing something once is more preferable than hearing about it a thousand times."
The traveller in the protagonist of this travel story is complemented by the Asian proverb above. Farhat Ansari, a digital marketing expert, has the soul of a wanderer. She has crossed off a number of places on her wish list in India and internationally, including Singapore and Malaysia. She describes herself as ‘impulsive’ when it comes to travel, claiming that she has made unplanned excursions multiple times throughout her life.
Farhat claims that a trip to Ladakh with friends had been planned for years but had never materialised. But this year, she was in no mood to put off the trip any longer, so she took the decision to embark on the long-awaited journey. She made the decision to travel to Ladakh on her own. Though she had travelled alone before, this was her first domestic solo vacation, and the anticipation was palpable.
"I'd had it! Before my birthday, I had to go to Ladakh," says Farhat.
She booked a trip of her dreams with Thrillophilia after doing some research and being impressed by the positive reviews and the appropriate itinerary. She then booked a flight to Leh and exhaled, relieved that she would finally be visiting Ladakh.
"I felt a pleasant kind of restlessness on the flight to Leh. There was a mixture of scepticism and exhilaration. My journey began when I arrived in the city of Leh and was transferred to my accommodation. When I arrived at the hotel, I discovered that the five other passengers who were scheduled to accompany me on the SUV trip had not arrived. As Leh is at such a high altitude, my first goal was to acclimate to the environment and air pressure. So I rested for the first half of the day before leaving in the evening to explore the surrounding areas."
Farhat visited Shanti Stupa after being impressed by Leh's unique culture and geography. She finds it beautiful and calm in a divine way. It was raining when she arrived at the place, and there were few visitors. She simply stood at the bottom of the stairwell, taking in the splendour of the stupa's surroundings.
Day 2 has arrived, and visits to some intriguing locations were on the agenda. Farhat and the driver were the only ones travelling through the lovely hills and mountains because there were no other passengers. Despite the fact that Farhat had not anticipated it, she relished every bit of it, especially in the absence of any companion travellers. She went to Magnetic Hill, a place that defies gravity, and was astounded to discover that the legends she had heard about the place were true.
The section of the day when Farhat witnessed the confluence of the Zanskar and Indus rivers, is etched in her mind till this day. She stopped there, taking in the magnificent sight of the confluence of two rivers with distinct personalities.
"To me, it symbolised the meeting of two persons or bodies while maintaining their identity and qualities." Farhat regards it as "wonderful."
Farhat also went river rafting there, which is a fascinating pastime. The fact that she was rafting at the world's highest rafting point made the river rafting there extra special for her.
"After touring the locations in an SUV for the first two days, my tour was combined with a group of bikers on a biking expedition to Ladakh on the third day. I wasn't delighted with the change in plans at first, but I was also excited by the prospect of visiting the area of high passes on a bike, so I decided to take a bait," says Farhat.
It was time to embark on a journey to Nubra Valley. Farhat had heard a lot about the valley's beauty, and the time had now come for her to see it for herself. Riding through the breathtakingly beautiful yet nerve-wracking roads provided her with a healthy dose of adrenaline. The grandeur of the surroundings she was passing through was lost on her. She was finally living the life she had envisioned for so long.
"Passing Khardung La was the most thrilling aspect of my journey to Nubra Valley." It was difficult, and passing it gave me a sense of accomplishment. "I felt like I was on top of the universe," Farhat exclaims.
Farhat was speechless when he saw Nubra Valley's distinctive sceneries, which included an endless length of sand set against majestic mountains. She had a wonderful time in this beautiful valley. Moreover, she claims that the food that was served there was the greatest she had so far on her vacation.
The Beauty Of Azure Lake
You've probably heard Anthony Hopkins say in the movie Silence of the Lambs, "All good things come to those who wait!" Farhat had waited a long time to travel to Ladakh, and she deserved to be rewarded. When she finally got to view the endless horizon of Pangong Tso in front of her eyes, it was all worth it. With a shadow dance by the clouds overhead, the azure lake sits against the backdrop of huge mountains, displaying God's unparalleled workmanship. Everyone was taken aback, especially Farhat.
"Words can't express how stunning this location was. It's the emotion you get when you just stand in front of this lake that mesmerises you more than the landscape," Farhat says.
"Though the breathtaking scenery kept me enthralled throughout the journey, it was the sight of Pangong Tso that I fell in love with. When I went out of my tent at midnight while staying by the lake, there was no one else around — just Pangong Tso and me. I looked up at the sky, which was adorned with millions of stars and the moon, and caught a glimpse of them reflected in the tranquil water of the magnificent lake. It was extremely hypnotic. Nothing compares to what I saw that night," Farhat says, her voice tinged with nostalgia.
She plans to travel to Europe and the Andaman Islands soon after her Thrillophilia trip to Ladakh. A different time, a different place, creating different stories!