Thursday, October 4, 2012

Amazing Leh and the Indian Army

Indian Army Kargil-Drass War Memorial
Secluded terrain, long (unbroken) roads and clear blue sky – this is Laddakh – the lost paradise, no doubt. Here, on one side the wind makes you shiver as you regret not packing an extra jacket and on the other it leaves you breathless because of the altitude – a whooping 11570 feet above sea level.  On the outskirts, Leh is just like any other village but when you enter its boundaries, the modern town melts into a crumbling old city of timber and mud bricks.

Indian Army Kargil-Drass War Memorial Indian Flag
Reaching Leh by road for a first time traveler like me wasn’t easy. We took the Manali route because many said it’s more picturesque than the Srinagar-Leh road. And they were correct. The beauty of the mountains paired with endless waterfalls made the route amazing. We crossed Kullu, Manali, Solang Valley and Rohtang peacefully. The trouble started after we crossed Keylong which is at the height of 10,000 feet. Manali-Leh road gains height faster which sometimes results in altitude sickness, but the presence of Indian Army makes the journey endurable. My first interaction with the Army Medical corps was in Pang Valley  which is completely isolated, penetrated only by barren mountains. Because of this isolation, the valley has not become the residential commuter area as like the rest of the region, but that doesn’t take away the beauty it offers.
Indian Army Drass War Memorial Indian Flag
There are Medical Camps at every manageable post, which are maintained by the Indian Army. (It has a large military base in Leh to patrol the borders with China and Pakistan). At these camps, I got a chance to interact with officers whose main job sometimes becomes providing medical facilities to those feeling frizzy on this route. The dedication with which they work is really inspiring, especially because the posts they stay in normally touch temperatures below 20 degrees. The commitment towards service is awesome and truly reflects the spirit of their motto ‘fight to win’.

Pang Valley wasn’t the only place where we had to take army’s help. We saw them again while on the way to Pangong Lake, Khardung La, Kargil and Drass war memorial and at every place, the interactions with the men in uniform were better than before.


Shyam said...

Mam, you are awesome… thanks for your tips on Leh. I am going there i want to make my September “WOW”…

James K said...

Dear Nitima Sood,
I like to live by all the articles and videos that I receive from you.
I am hoping to meet you in person when you visit South Africa in March

Suneeta Jain said...

Thank you so much mam!

Suri said...

great pics…thanx a lot.. :)

Arjan said...

Dear nitima
I have desire to travel more but i feel some thoughts which discourage my thoughts.i dont knw how to say but i feel it. How to get rid of that.please help me


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