Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The Source of the Teesta Trek in North Sikkim: Lachen to Cholamu

North Sikkim Plateau
Looking south from the high point of Dorji-La over the North Sikkim plateau
In the summer of 1987 I was extremely lucky to receive the hospitality of the Indian Army to trek from Lachen upto Cholamu Lake, the source of the river Teesta in North Sikkim. This road is now jeepable and the army uses the road for ferrying materials, supplies etc. to their higher camps. Travel companies from Gangtok also arrange permits for tourists and take them up from Lachen for the day upto Thangu and Gurudongmar Lake.  However, it is a bone-jarring ride and to enjoy the magnificent mountain scenery, the sweeping views across the North Sikkim plateau towards Tibet and the plethora of bird and animal life in the Trans Himalayan region, this trek is highly recommended but I am sure it is permit restricted at the moment.. The trek starts in the southern side of the Himalayas at Lachen and crossed the Himalayan watershed at Giagong where it enters the Trans Himalaya. The trail them travels along the North Sikkim plateau with the plains of Tibet to the north and the main Himalayan range to the south. On the way to Cholamu it passes the sacred lake of Gurdongmar which is a place of worship for the Sikhs.

I was able to climb upto the army high point at Dorji la, which is a peak about 5650 metres north east of Cholamu lake. It was mid June, the onset of the monsoon. To the north of Dorji la the plateau of Tibet stretches for miles as far as the eye can see a brown barren wasteland.  And to the south the high point looks down the Lachung valley   and in the distance, flickering flashes of lightning could be seen far below lighting up the valley in the midst of the inky night. It was a surreal experience as though one was seated at one of high points of the globe. 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Markha Valley Homestays

 The Markha Valley is the most popular trek in Ladakh. It is relatively short, located close to Leh, the walking is mostly below 4000 metres with  night stops around 3500 metres and has the best of Ladakh thrown in: Sculpted canyons and fantastic rock formations, medieval villages,  Buddhist gompas and snow-peaks.  It is now possible to trek the Markha Valley in Ladakh during the summer months July to mid September staying at homestays. I trekked this route in September 2013 with a South Col team and some of the homestays are given here.


For more information on Ladakh homestays do visit  http://www.himalayan-homestays.com/ladakpages/default.html and for more photographs of the Markha Valley trek do visit  http://www.sujoydas.com/Ladakh-and-Zanskar/The-Markha-Valley-Trek-Ladakh

Sunday, November 10, 2013

The Exiled Tibetans

Lifeforce Magazine  recently published my photo-essay on the Exiled Tibetan Community in Mcleodganj and Dharamsala.

To view the essay please do visit http://www.lifeforcemagazine.com/index_22.htm

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Nubra Valley: Dream Camp Sumoor

The Nubra Valley in Ladakh 
Rigzin Wangdus, who hails from the village of Sumoor in the Nubra Valley, Ladakh has set up a camp resort in midst of  flower drenched gardens and verdant vegetable farms! Nubra which is across the famous Khardungla pass from Leh is a much visited tourist destination during the summer months. Dream Camp cosnsists of tented accomodation with deluxe rooms and attached bathrooms is recommended if you want to stay for a few days in the Nubra valley.

Other than Sumoor, Diskit, Hundar and Panamik in the Nubra valley can also be visited. It is worthwhile to cross the Khardung la pass from Leh and spend two nights in the valley.

The contact details of Dream Camp Sumoor is below:
Rigzin  Wangdus +919419873198, +919419543001, rigzin_wangdus@yahoo.com.

For more photographs on Ladakh and Zanskar do visit http://www.sujoydas.com/Ladakh-and-Zanskar


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