We started our day by visiting rock cut statue of 7 mtrs Maitreya Buddha of 7th Century at Kartse Khar village on the opposite side of Suru river from Sankhoo. Zainab, a local girl was very helpful in showing us the narrow walking path beside a stream towards the statue. Once we started from Sankhoo to Kargil, it was a welcome break from unpaved road and the surroundings were excellent with suru river flowing and the fall colors all around. We reached Kargil smoothly, refueled the Xylo and started moving towards Mulbek. In this stretch the road is narrow and one way and also blasting work was going on. We lost some time here before reaching Mulbek where we saw similar rock cut statue of Maitreya Buddha that we have seen earlier in day at Karshe Khar. The landscape, rock colors started changing and we clearly felt that we were approaching Ladakh once we crossed Mulbek towards Namikala and Fotula. Crossing Lamayuru through colorful rocks was a nice experience but I missed the Jilabi Road (Winding road of earlier years through top with much better views of surroundings). We had a very late lunch at Khaltse and when we approached Nimmu where river Zanskar and Indus meets, it was approaching dark. Reached at Leh around 7.00pm and straight away proceed to Kidar Guest House, Double bed and absolutely clean and spacious room and having a nice garden in Fort Road less than a km from market @ Rs. 700/- was a pure bliss.
Suru at Sankhoo:
Maitreya Buddha, Rock Cut Statue at Karshe Khar, just opposite side of Suru away from Sankhoo:
The magical innocence would surely touch you, she took us to the statue:
The palace of Karshe Khar kings, the statue was built during their time:
Sankoo – Kargil Road:
The amazing Fall Colors:
Kargil Town, expanding:
Rock Cut Buddha Statue at Mulbek:
Happy Family, Happiness is oozing out in the smile, isn’t it?
It was a big day and I had to get permits from DC office and I had few ambitious names in my mind. I reached there around 9.45am but didn’t find any official there. They came around 10.15am and mustering all my courage I submitted my papers in the front desk where I had the following list of places mentioned:
Nubra Valley, Turtuk, Wari La, Spangmik, Man, Merak, Chusul, Tsaga, Loma, Dungti, Koyul, Hanle, Chumur, Kyun Tso, Lam Tso.
The clerk kept reading it for 5 mins and then said followings
1. They can’t issue permits mentioning so many places where army mainly controls over civil administration.
2. Wari La is not an official route and if anyone undertakes journey though that it’s entirely his / her own responsibility.
I told him, I was ready to meet DC/ADC but want to visit those places, they asked me to wait until their senior comes and reviews my application. I was prepared with the application letter, photocopies of I-Card and filled up Permit form, 2 copies of each were ready for submission. In another 10 mins the senior came, reviewed my application and without asking a single question he issued the permit by just removing Lam Tso (that Harsh anyway suggested me to remove), I had to pay total 720/- including forest dept fees and permit fees for 8 days. I was overjoyed but just after coming back I realized I messed up the permit by not mentioning Nyoma, Chumathang and Sumdo and there by made my route forced through Hanle-Chumur-Tsomoriri which might be avoided otherwise.
Next was to visit IIA, Leh office to submit a copy of permit which I was instructed to do before proceeding to IIA, Guest House at Hanle. That was done quickly as IIA’s Leh office was next to Kidar GH where I was staying. Rest of the day was used for some small shopping and an evening visit to Shanti Stupa to get a nice view of Leh. Weather was brilliant all through and it was still showing next one week clear and sunny in IMD’s forecast. Hoping to get another great week we wind up the day quickly.
Kidar Guest House:
Pure Ladakhi Style Dining Room:
View from Room:
View from Shanti Stupa: