Since this Bangalore-based software expert is also a dog and movie aficionado, her journey to the mystical land is nothing short of a romantic drama. Swati's inspiration comes from the tiniest details found in nature. She couldn't be happier with the decision she made when she set out on this trip to immerse herself in nature.
Taking a trip to the area of Jammu and Kashmir, Swati and her three companions experienced what every traveler to India hopes to share: heaven of serenity and adventure.
The Dream Trip
She'd always wanted to visit Ladakh and Kashmir because of the region's propensity to take even the most experienced traveler by surprise at every turn. She couldn't contain her excitement when she realized her dream might come true, and she couldn't actually help but be astonished by the shifting moods of nature. So in April, she and her three female pals set out for the breathtaking destination.
When planning a trip, it's critical to spend time with like-minded individuals. To Swati, this journey to Leh-Ladakh would not have been possible without the ladies in her group, and she holds them in high regard for their skills of making the most out of their time in Kashmir.
"I was surrounded by such women who, like me, felt a strong connection with nature in their own unique ways. This trip wouldn't have been the same without the incredible adventure we experienced. Snigdha, Sonam, and Prachi all have different personalities, which helped keep the group's spirits up" she says, appreciating her friends.
The Trip Begins
Swati vividly remembers the magnificent aerial views of snow-capped mountains during her plane journey from Delhi to Leh and believes that the best time to visit Ladakh is in the last week of April. First, a local guide showed them around the Leh Palace and the Leh market when they arrived in Leh. Then, while she fell asleep, she felt that Ladakh would have a lot in store for them the next day!
Out And About In Leh
After breakfast, the girls headed to the Spituk Monastery through the Magnetic Hill, which really is a spectacular sight in itself. The merging of the Zanskar and Indus rivers was the girls' high point of the day.
"It felt as if every mountain around the confluence had its own tale to tell," she goes on to say, trying to describe why she spent a lot of time there. Then, at night, they strolled the Indus River's banks searching for the silver lining in the moonlight.
The next day, Swati made her way to the Nubra Valley via Khardung La, the highest point in the Himalayas. Khardung La's snowfall was the most exhilarating in her account of this journey. "The land was covered in snow, and the air was full with a sense of satisfaction by arriving at the summit," she says.
From Khardung La, the snowy landscape changes dramatically into a desert, and before you know it, double-humped camels are waiting to take you through the desert on a thrilling ride at Hunder.
The very next day, the girls departed Nubra Valley for the stunning Pangong Tso, where they were greeted by a full moon and the freezing cold. These young women found peace and comfort in the profound silence, which was made all the more beautiful by the full moonlight and the frigid temperatures. Every second of the evening spent at Pangong Tso was spent talking, and the laughter and excitement that filled the atmosphere were fueled by curiosity for what the next day held.
For their journey to Leh via Chang La, they set out on Day 5. Roads on both sides of Chang La's summit were blanketed in snow for an unforgettable journey. Finally, the girls could go to Kashmir, the place some have called "heaven on earth."
They traveled from Kargil to Srinagar by way of Drass and Sonmarg. Drass, the world's second-coldest inhabited region, lived up to its reputation by presenting the girls with dangerously low temperatures, which they enjoyed! At the Tiger Hill in Kargil, Swati felt a surge of patriotism as the pride and sacrifice of our fallen Jawans filled the air.
They were spellbound by the towering pines and pristine white snow in Sonmarg. After breakfast, they set off for Srinagar, the state's summer capital, where they were greeted by a shikara for a ride on the Dal Lake. During their trip, Swati and her friends visited famous Srinagar tourist destinations like Mughal Gardens, Shalimar Gardens, and Chashme Shahi. Finally, they enjoyed a sumptuous meal at the houseboat in Dal before deciding to call it a night, which serves as a constant reminder that the charm of an old-world setting is unmatched.
The following day, the girl gang woke up in Gulmarg, Kashmir's winter wonderland, where they prepared to take a ride in the world's highest cable car. The girls decided to spend three hours at the top of the Gulmarg Gondola because the weather was cloudy and so enchanting that they couldn't bear to leave!
The trip was nearing its end, but the desire to see more was only increasing! Finally, it was time to experience Pahalgam on Day 9, a town known for its stunning scenery of the valley and its popular horse-riding tours. When the girls were done exploring, they returned to Srinagar and went to the sacred Hazratbal Shrine, located on the shores of beautiful Dal Lake.
Farewell With A Promise To Return
Swati and her companions visited the Shankaracharya Temple in Srinagar before catching their flight back to Delhi during the trip's final day. The enchanting beauty of these lands made sure that this was a once-in-a-lifetime trip for everyone!
Swati's memories of Kashmir are filled with awe-inspiring stories of her time there. They thank Thrillophilia for being their rock on this trip, and they do so with a heart full of fond memories. Not surprisingly, she intends to return to Ladakh in the future because of her admiration for its natural splendor.