As we drove higher and higher–well above 12,000 feet–there was a visible change in the geographical features. The brown slopes of the mountains that adorned a hat of snow on the peak morphed into all-white walls bifurcated by a rough patch of road that allowed us an access. Below us, at the bottom of the valley, melt-water gushed away, making a long journey into the plains that nurtured the civilization of a billion people. Up here, the only sound of life came from the inhabitants of our own car, save for an occasional yellow-billed chough that flew past or a cuddly-looking marmot that scooted away on our arrival. Glaciers dotted the landscapes, adding more force to the river that skirted past their mouths. The enormous tall massifs covered with snow hurt our eyes, and yet, pleased our souls through a sense of calm and magnanimity effused from them. Someone in the car said, “we have reached heaven”. I could not help but nod silently. I did not want to speak up and break the indulgent muses of my mind.
It was a summer afternoon and we were driving towards Penzi-La, the mighty pass that rose above 14,000 feet to partition the valleys of Suru and Zanskar. I was leading a photography tour comprising a dozen trigger-happy people who were willing to go through any struggle to be a part of this gigantic landscape. For past three days, we had come away from the networked world and were camping amidst high mountains, disconnected from everything else but the grandest showcase of nature. We had traversed in the shadow of Nun and Kun mountains, both massive projections from the ground that climbed well above 20,000 feet, covered in megatonnes of snow that shined in the bright mountain sun. click to read more »