Should I travel to India on an organized tour? Or should I travel India independently or solo? We’ve experienced India both ways – the first couple trips on our own and our most recent trip on a small group tour. Recent conversations with our audience, especially solo female travelers, told us a look at the benefits and downsides of small group travel and tours in India was in order.
Having fielded numerous questions about trekking in Ladakh — which trek to choose, how to find a trekking agency, when to go, how to get there, what to pack, and more — we’ve created this Ladakh Trekking Beginner’s Guide. We hope it encourages you to make the long journey to Ladakh and explore its stunning mountain landscapes and fascinating Ladahki and Tibetan Buddhist culture and people. You won't be sorry.
When travelers consider northern India, thoughts run to the Golden Triangle, the popular India tourist circuit of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. While we appreciate the appeal of sights like the Taj Mahal, there is much more to experience in northern India — without the crowds, scams and hustle of being on the tourist path.
How a two-day 258 miles bus ride through Kashmir served as my price of entry to Ladakh.
Ladakh: a place we had dreamed about for well over a decade, a visit packed with expectations. What made this place remarkable wasn’t quite what we expected.
Imagining Ladakh for all of those years, we focused on the landscape. Sure, Ladakh as a setting for just about anything did not disappoint. The physical beauty was more stunning – and more consistently so — than we’d ever imagined.
Tibetan Buddhist prayer flags greet us as we reach Ladakh's Gongmaru La pass. All the residual fatigue from climbing up to 16,800 feet/5,130 meters seems to evaporate once we've reached this place, our goal. It's been six days in the Markha Valley and we've been up and down — and up again.
We have to remind ourselves not to move around too quickly up here, not to exhaust ourselves from the altitude. But it's difficult to contain the excitement of being on top of the world — and as photographers, to grab a piece of and bask in every little visual slice that we can capture. The scenery stuns with layers of mountains for as far as the eye can see, while a surprise snowfall earlier in the week means our view is blessed with dramatic snow caps.
This is a story of our re-discovery of a few of life’s truths amidst a seven-day trek in the Himalayas.
“One foot in-front-of-the oth-er.”
This is a story about how when you hear penguins at 20,000 feet, there’s a good chance you’re in deep sh*t.
“Ladies and gentlemen…the weather situation in Srinagar is very bad…flights are being diverted to Delhi…four flights just before us…we will try and see.”
I'd absorbed only fragments of the pilot’s announcement as my head was buried in a book. We’d come from Mumbai and rivers of monsoon to escape to Kashmir in northern India, apparently only to find more storms.
Then we began our descent.
Slum. It’s a loaded word, one that conjures a raft of negative imagery. But there's one characteristic that's not likely to come to mind: industry.
That’s where Dharavi, Mumbai’s most populated slum, might surprise you.
This is a story about the mystery of mountains, a San Francisco swami, a stroke of good luck, a dabbawalla and the fine art of resourcefulness.
Long, long ago in the late 1990s, I lived in San Francisco. And next door to me lived a man who would one day become a swami. And he told me of a land called Ladakh.
But before I get to that, a photo.