Being an adventure freak and travel enthusiast, I believe travel has the power to heal and it certainly ignites a strong sense of purpose in me.
Venturing into unexplored territories, meeting new people has helped me embrace life. One such life-changing experience was my recent road trip to Leh Ladakh.
We were 8 ordinary individuals (I along with my 7 friends) navigating through the backdrop of snow-clad mountains, appealing valley, passing through the most picturesque places on earth, our 10-day journey covered Srinagar, Sonmarg, Kargil, Leh/ Ladakh.
Personally, it was a dream come true for me, to ride a bullet (old heritage, mean machine, which is not a bike but an emotion to the cult followers) in the Himalayas. Through this piece, I would want to take you through the less traversed roads and share a few emotions I went through while navigating through prominent places that were being visited.
Soaking in the visual treat of the appealing, beauteous valley, snow-clad mountains, and lush green surroundings, we continued our journey towards Drass, the second coldest inhabited place on earth, which is also famous for the epicenter of the Kargil war that took place in 1999.
Kargil War Memorial is built in the memory of our martyrs who gave the supreme sacrifice for our motherland. As we rode, our memory flashed images of Kargil war and how our brave soldiers foiled the plan of intruders to capture the highway whose strategic importance we are all aware of.
The path that leads us to the memorial is nicely decorated/ surrounded by India flags, has a huge epitaph with names of all the officers and soldiers who were martyred.
With moist eyes, we realised that our martyred jawans are truly immortal who always held their love for motherland superior to heaven or worldly pleasures.
Just a few kms away from the magnetic hill, there is Gurudwara Sri Pathar Sahib, which has gained prominence and is told to be built in the memory of Guru Nanak, a Sikh Guru.
The most prominent aspect of this Gurudwara is that it is located at an altitude of 12,000 feet and is managed by the Indian Army. This very Gurudwara has a huge rock with the imprint of Guru Nanak Dev’s body and demon’s footprint.
We all sunk in the blissful environment, realising all regions have one objective and preaching which is: live a truthful life with purpose, believe in one God, respect others, and have high moral standards.
Like every place of worship, divine energies/ vibes and calmness embraced us from all around, so we spent extra time before Guru Granth Sahib. We also had community food that was served to all visitors irrespective of their caste, creed, religion, gender, ethnicity or economic status. There was a lot to learn from the entire aura. After spending a blissful time at the Gurudwara, we headed to cover other local places of interest.
Journey of contentment & borderless love:
During our journey, I witnessed 2 kids crossing a rusty iron bridge and finding them innocently charming and cute, I stopped by and got playing with them, smitten by their simplicity. A small stop at this place taught me a great lesson for life i.e. to observe and learn how people with just bare necessities, no visibility on their future are divinely happy and satisfied with whatever comes their way, then be it strangers, harsh weather, or attacks by unfriendly neighbors. They just do not complain at all and seem to be devoid of any visible stress in life. After getting enlightened, we headed to Turtuk.
Turtuk is a remote village, that is only 2.2 kms away from the LoC (India Pakistan border). After walking a few meters, we reached the northernmost village of India called the Thang village. Interestingly, before 1971 the twin villages namely Thang and Pharnu (now on Pakistan side) were in India and people used to stay at one place and work at the other place. But after the war in the year 1971, on December 16th and 17th, the villages were separated by the LoC and ironically the families were separated and till date, there are members from the same family that are living in two different countries and are divided by borders. Extremely sad, but true.
This 10-day trip has potentially transformed my life, giving me new perspectives and turning me into an author before I could even come out of the trip hangover. My e-book titled Tenu Main ‘Leh’ Javanga – Journey of 8 ordinary men is a small attempt from my side to encourage and inspire readers to: i) explore new places, ii) re-connect with near and dear ones, iii) apply learnings from experiences had, iv) crave for funny/ light moments in life, v) take up new hobbies, and vi) enjoy life to the fullest.
Read also: It all started with – “a Hi”