July 9, 10th
We had a buffer day in our plan to mitigate any delays arising due to bad weather and road conditions. Even though we made few changes to our original plan on the go, we were very much on schedule. We decided to spend this buffer day at Leh itself. It is a beautiful town and we wanted to explore Leh.
Leh is a town bustling with tourists. We brought some souvenirs, T-Shirts, Shawls and Saffron. While shopping, I found that few people (Tibetans) understood Kannada!! All due to their association with Bylakuppe and Mundagod camps.
We needed some money and ended up in standing in the queue for 30 minutes in front of SBI ATM!!
White water rafting in Zanskar River was our plan for the next day. While discussing the same with our travel agent, he gave us the news that there was a festival at Hemis Monastery. It was a big event in Ladakh and our travel agent asked us whether we were interested in that. I was bit worried on hearing this news. I am not a big fan of these festivals no matter how famous it is. Spending a day in crowd watching people was not my cup of tea.
After a little round of discussion, we decided to resolve our differences though voting!! It was 2-1 vote for Rafting!!
Large sections of Zanskar and Indus River in Ladakh are fit for rafting. We chose to raft on Zanskar River from Chilling and end at the confluence of Zanskar and Indus River at Nimmo. This distance of about 26km consists of class 2 and 3 rapids flowing in narrow gorges. Chilling is at the distance of about 60km from Leh.
White water rafting was not new to us. My previous experience was in Kali River at Dandeli. But conditions in Zanskar were different from Dandeli. The water in Zanskar was ice cold but the weather was extremely hot!! There was no change of getting into water (unless we accidently fall off from the raft!!). Contrary to my belief, the rafting at Zanskar was not really dangerous. Most of the rapids were class 2 and only a few were of class 3. Rafting in Himalayas is altogether a different experience.
We only went for 18km as the next 8km to Nimmo was just on plains. There is no fun in just going on a raft on placid water after experiencing rapids!! We had our late lunch at Nimmo and headed to Leh. We had one last work at Leh!!
From the day we landed in Leh, Shanti Stupa was clearly visible. Built on a high hill, it has one of the big Buddha statues. We had been postponing the visit to Stupa but now since it was our last day in Leh, we decided to visit the place. A steep climb of about 15 minutes on well maintained steps led us to the top of the Stupa. There is also a road till the top.
A large number of photographers had assembled in the Stupa hoping to take good snaps of sunset and Leh landscape. It was a nice place with great views.
It was our last day in Leh. But our trip had not yet ended. We still had few more days and great places to see!!