Ladakh – Kingdom of Nomads
A recent trip to Ladakh made me realize a truth of life we often miss out on- appreciating what is around you and taking pleasures in small things is what life is all about. And this lesson in life was taught to by the nomads of Ladakh. I am sorry for starting my Ladakh travelogue on a spiritual note, but that’s what the place does to you- it is spiritual as well as adventurous.
Adventure was what I was seeking
Adventure was what I was seeking when I first reached Ladakh. At the end of the trip, I got much more than I ever bargained for. My journey started with a traditional welcome of hot herbal tea at the guesthouse I was staying in. The hot tea relaxed my frayed nerves, and soon enough, I was talking to the local guide, making plans for the rest of my stay.
Hiking was what I was most keen on, and we (me and my guide) started off with Markha valley. I was not the only one trekking in Ladakh though. While appreciating the landscapes, the flora and the fauna that surrounded me, I came across groups of people that were doing the same. And since we were marching towards the same goal, friendship was inevitable.
So there I was, trekking in Ladakh, taking in the views, spending moments of complete bliss and talking to people I had never known before this. But little did I know that my journey in Ladakh was to bring me more surprises.
People inhabiting such heights
Along out trekking trail, we came across some really high passes, some as high as 15,000 ft. But what was even more surprising was to see people wandering through the passes, with hardly any belongings other than their yaks and a small bag. I was told by my guide that these were the nomads of Ladakh that have been living here since centuries.
Their calm demeanor and their contentment with whatever little they had made me realize the true meaning of life. The nomads of Ladakh do not do any farming, since the land so high up is not suitable for agriculture; and they do not settle at one place for too long. How they survive in these barren lands is still a puzzle for me, but they did teach me that you don’t need much to survive peacefully in this world.
My Ladakh trekking experience continued
After a trek through Markha valley, I was advised by my guide to give Rupshu Valley a try, and that I did. I was greeted with ever more scenic landscapes, scores of nomads herding their cattle, and picture perfect moments. I even got the chance to have some Yak cheese along the way, which does taste a little odd to start with, but by the end of my journey, I got used to it.
So there I was, looking for some exhilarating trekking in Ladakh, but what I got was far more than that. The scenes of content nomads, happily going about their lives in those barren yet beautiful pastures, are something that will stay with me for the rest of my life.
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