TREKKING IN KASHMIR & LADAKH

My second trip to the Himalayas was in July / August 1988 when I did a 33 day trip with World Expeditions to Kashmir in northern India. Our trek was called the Himalayan Traverse Trek, a 19 day walk which went from the forests and greenery of Kashmir, across the Himalayas over glaciers, to the high altitude desert of Ladakh. As well as the dramatic change in landscape, there was also a change in culture - from Islam and mosques in Kashmir to Buddhism and monasteries in Ladakh. The trek crossed six high passes, the highest being the Kanji-La at about 17500'. Before and after the trek we spent a few days on the houseboats in Srinagar, as well as sightseeing in Delhi, Leh and Agra. Some photographs from the trip are contained below. Click on the thumbnails to see larger images:






Houseboats on Nagin Lake

Our houseboats on Nagin Lake in Srinagar. A beautiful place, but now wracked by war. We spent a few days on the houseboats and visited the Nishat Gardens on Dal Lake, the Hazratbal Mosque and watched the local life pass by on the lake.




Shikara on Nagin Lake
Shikara on Nagin Lake. These are a great way to travel on the waterways in this area.




Houseboat Interior
Houseboat interior. This is the loungeroom on the boat. Further back are three bedrooms, a dining area and bathrooms. The houseboats were luxurious and a great place to relax, providing you could escape the locals who kept paddling up to the boat on their shikaras trying to sell their goods.




Children at Lehinvan Children at Lehinvan, where our trek started. Lehinvan is about a three hour drive from Srinagar at the eastern side of the Kashmir Valley.





Campsite
Campsite among the pines in Kashmir. Our trek took us over the Margan Pass and into the Warvan Valley.





Warvan Valley
Warvan Valley near the village of Sukunni. The valley was very green, forested, and bisected by the Warvan River. The further we went up the valley towards the snows the more steeper and less forested it became.





Trekkers on Bhoktal Pass
Group on Bhoktal Pass at 14500'. We spent a week walking up the Warvan Valley through remote villages towards the Bhoktal Glacier. We spent a day climbing over the Bhoktal Glacier and pass to the north side of the Himalayas. The landscape then became more barren.





Nun-Kun massif from Suru Valley
Nun-Kun massif from Shafat in the Suru Valley. We spent a few days walking eastwards up the Suru Valley past Nun and Kun - the highest mountains in Indian Kashmir.




Monks at Rangdum Monastery
Monks at Rangdum Monastery, close to Zanskar. Buddhist prayer flags and chortens became more prevalent the further we went into Ladakh.




Chortens
Buddhist chortens near Kanji village in Ladakh.




Shilakong Gorge
Shilakong Gorge in Ladakh, not far from Lamayuru Monastery. This was like a mini Grand Canyon that went for a few miles through the mountains.




Lamayuru Monastery
Lamayuru Monastery. We finished our trek at this monastery then boarded a bus for the six hour drive along the Indus River valley to Leh. Along the way we saw convoys of army vehicles and many large army camps.




Leh township

Leh township and the Indus Valley - Ladakh. We spent two days in Leh, visiting the surrounding monasteries - such as Shey, Stok, Tikse and Hemis - and the shops and markets of the town.




Vehicles near Dras

Vehicles near Dras waiting to go in convoy on the amazing road down the Zoji-La pass. From Leh we had a two day drive back to Srinagar via Kargil, Dras and Sonomarg. The road through the Zoji-La pass is one lane wide on crumbly, steep slopes, so vehicles have to go each way in convoys at certain times of the day.




Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal - one of the most spectacular things I have ever seen. So much better in real life than in the photographs. After Kashmir, we returned to Delhi and did a day trip to Agra, visiting Fatephur Sikri, Agra Fort and the Taj Mahal.





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Page last modified on Monday 6 January 2014