View From Plane Before Landing at the Ladakh Airport
Our journey to Ladakh had a stop between, in Delhi- the duration of Chennai to Delhi being longer than Delhi to Ladakh. My sister had fought to sit in the seat next to the window on the long ride. Being the elder sister, I had to give in and get that opportunity in the second ride. Only after getting closer to Ladakh did I realise how lucky I was that we had our seating arrangements this way. The plane ride from Chennai to Delhi had nothing but dust, smoke, buildings, and cars.
While taking photos of the clouds, slowly, snow-capped mountains started to appear.
The airport was smaller than any other airport I had been to, if my memory serves me right. The Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is 10,682 feet above sea level and in a region of rough terrain. Naturally, the landing wasn’t very smooth.
Breathing Difficulty the First Day
Along with how chill the place is, it is also at a very high altitude, hence with lower oxygen levels. It was very hard for us to walk long distances(especially for me).
After the first day, I thought this trip was going to be a nightmare.But with time, our bodies adapted to the conditions in Ladakh. We had a wholesome experience, thankfully.
Food- A surprise!
The primary food in Ladakh is meat. Being vegetarians, we thought we would have a hard time finding food in Ladakh, but we noticed that all the hotels were pure vegetarian! Not understanding why this was the case, we asked our driver. He said that they eat meat, but they strictly do not give it to tourists. “Our bodies are adapted to the oxygen levels and climatic conditions here. Eating meat will only make it worse for the tourists.”
The Leh Palace was a dilapidated building, almost completely dark inside. With nothing to see and great difficulty in breathing, we walked away after looking through the first floor. We didn’t have it in us to walk a couple more raggedy flights of stairs.
The Shanti Stupa had a very unique architecture. The colourful patterns and the symmetry of the buddhist temple made it a sight to behold! Being at a high altitude, the Stupa also provided a beautiful view of Leh
Camphor- A myth or a fact?
While we were struggling to breathe, we noticed a healthy, elderly couple at our hotel. “How are you managing in these extreme conditions?”, we asked them. They pointed to the camphor in a porous bag, serving as a pendant to their necklaces. “Whenever we feel difficulty in breathing or feel nauseous, we take a sniff of this camphor, and it goes away.”
Whether this is true or if it was a feeling in their minds, I do not know. I wasn’t able to try it out as I got to know this only on my last day there. But if you are ever to visit a place with these conditions, please do try it out and let me know!
To the readers– Instead of making it long like my previous post, I’ve decided to split each trip into bits so that it’s easier to read. After Ladakh, I’m planning on doing Thailand. Stay tuned for the next post ! 🙂