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That's How I Got Leh'd

This is a continuation of a travel series. Read the previous blogs here..

  1. To The Himalayas - Unguided Solo Travel 
  2. Niti Malari - Where People Are Gods
  3. Heavy rains, Dark night, A stone cave and Me
  4. Loitering in Badrinath | Sadhus, Cannabis, Free Meal, Free Stay



The Heart's Walk

I was having a wonderful and quality time in the ashram of Badrinath, but somehow after 3 days into it, my heart started to run away to gather other experiences. I got restless and decided to take a leave.

To Ukhimath and trek Nandikund, and then trek the Panch Kedar was the plan. I was supposed to get a vehicle from Joshimath or Chamoli, but don't know what happened, I headed towards Dehradoon..

Let's Inject Some New Excitement To My Plans By Boarding Any Bus From Dehradoon

On reaching Dehradoon, I went straightaway to its ISBT. There were lots of buses parked, and I decided to play my luck by boarding any bus to my eye's likeness !!

At around 4 PM, I was seated in a bus to Manali.

With that, my plans had now changed drastically from the initial one, which was centred in Uttrakhand only. Now I was going to Himachal !!

Somehow Manali was very plastic and my camera became my best friend. I did not want to waste money on drinks and food. So I sought out corners to feed myself with Tibetan delight !! I knew I would be getting authentic Tibetan food here. 

A half plate of fried Juma ( spiced clotted beef blood stuffed into intestines, dried and fried before serving ) and 1 full plate of Pork momo.

Aah !! Full and Content. It was time for a good night's sleep.

Street Photography In Boring Manali

  • local porters in manali streets
  • children working in Manali
  • children sharing tea
  • a begger near Manali
  • baloon seller near Manali
  • baba near Manali




Getting To Keylong

Manali was overcrowded by tourists to my liking I didn't quite like that. If I liked anything about Manali, it would be the journey to it, and its authentic Tibetan food, in the corners, near the Government Bus Terminus.

Not to my heart's content was indigestible for me. So I started to overwork my mind to do something about it. I remember reading a book by Mr. Manohar Singh Gill on Lahaul and Spiti, which described the places in a most authentic way. Soon I was found on the jeep going to Keylong - the capital of Lahaul.

truck Leh Manali




.. And The Milestone Which Read - Leh 362, Changed It All

The drive was getting better with time and I started to receive the 'Drug of Thrill' to calm my soul.

Rohtang Top gave me a sad feeling. It was a fairground for some of the most irresponsible tourists and tour operators there. Good, that I was in a daily transport jeep which didn't stop there !! I had entirely different visions of Rohtang. 

Soon after Khoksar, the road showed a different charm and kept me excited, but it was on reaching Keylong when a milestone reading 'Leh 362' entirely changed it all !!

I spent the remaining of the day loitering around Keylong, but most importantly, booked my tickets to Leh, on an HPTDC bus. The bus would leave at 5 in the morning. I asked at the counter about the cheapest stay option here. He replied, in the bus stand itself, opposite to the counter. I checked into a basic clean dormitory, which ensured no security of my luggage. Rs. 50 per night. Food would cost another 50. Cheap, isn't it? 

Now, it was time to get some good sleep for an eventful journey tomorrow..

  • leh manali road photo 1
  • leh manali road photo 2
  • leh manali road photo 3
  • leh manali road photo 4
  • leh manali road photo 5
  • leh manali road photo 6
  • leh manali road photo 7
  • leh manali road photo 8



Keylong To Leh

Well, only 6 of us boarded the huge bus. 3 Indians, a Korean, a Mexican and a German. The rest of the journey was a lifetime experience. Himachali drivers, I tell you.. Till now I had seen humans taking shortcuts while walking. Now, I was witnessing a big bus, taking short-cuts in the treacherous mountainous roads !! UNBELIEVABLE !!

While all of them were sleeping or feeling dizzy, the route was extraordinary for me to even blink my eyes. If I had closed my eyes, it was only my right eye, to see through the camera viewfinder

For the rest of it, let the photos talk.

  • keylong to leh road photo 1
  • keylong to leh road photo 2
  • keylong to leh road photo 3
  • keylong to leh roadside canteen
  • keylong to leh roadside dhaba
  • keylong to leh flat road
  • keylong to leh sand scape
  • keylong to leh pass top prayer flags
  • keylong to leh chorten


Leh - My heart feels settled

The thrilling and beautiful drive to Leh already won my heart. Leh further did magic to capture my soul... 

"You will stay here for longer " - said my heart.. :-)

Stok Kangri - An Unplanned Climb


View User Profile for Suman

Every day I keep learning new things, but as of now, I think I can describe myself as a Loyal Himalayan Lover, Avid Trekker, Student Of Mountaineering, Amateur Photographer and an Enthusiastic Anthropologist. I am a Computer Science Engineer by education and previously worked as a Software Developer for premium IT companies. However, I quit the luxury of a high-earning corporate job and left behind the herd to walk towards the spiritual path laid down by the Godly Himalayas. At the age of 27 with no savings at all and being the only son from a lower-middle-class family, it was too young to fight against the family who in turn had to fight against the rules laid down by society. However, with my determination and perseverance, everything became smooth by passing time.

It wasn't easy for me as I learnt the hard way from mistakes - my own and by observing others. I fought 2 major road accidents that broke my right tibia and femur. I underwent 7 surgeries that kept me away from the mountains, but I patiently fought them all to get back to trekking again in the Himalayas with rods and plates in my bones. Despite doctors saying I cannot walk properly ever again to getting back to trekking on the difficult routes again, Life made me understand very clearly what it wants out of me in this World. It wants me to serve the Himalayas and its community, live a peaceful, content and simple life. That's what I have dedicated my this life to. I am not religious, but spiritual. The Himalayas define my road.

The Himalayas today is spammed by mushrooming trek agencies and big companies who take pride in being India's Largest, biggest, oldest, etc. They are exploiting everything for the sake of profit. It is in dire need of regulation by credible Government authorities, Sustainable Tourism Practices needs to be forced upon every organisation, Small Group Sizes needs to be mandated, Fixed camping should be restricted in alpine zones and Negative Ecological Impact Trekking Protocols should be laid down immediately by governing bodies. With all these objectives, I founded Himalayan High in the year 2015. Learn more about Himalayan High on About Himalayan High

Posted by Suman Chowdhury Thursday, October 1, 2015 8:19:00 PM Categories:

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