So when I told a dear friend about my impending Leh visit, she did not seem to share my excitement and told me that it was a depressing place and that lack of vegetation made it thus. I just smiled since I wanted to experience it and not just rely on hearsay.
Our tour operator suggested that we reach the airport early and grab the window seat since the aerial views will be breathtaking. Am I glad I trusted them, a really short flight of an hour and 15 mins, the descent began pretty soon. Flying over the fluffy white floating wisps of clouds that reminded one of baby’s breath anyway, I caught white and brown mountain range peeping from the cloudy veil. As the flight kept moving on the bird’s eye view kept changing and transforming, the mountains from full white to white with streaks of brown it definitely was a glorious sight like none other. The sight enthralled me like never before.
On landing and throughout the trip of 5 days in Leh, we visited several places, but the landscape largely was browns and whites. Like my little old friend of 6 years said, “vanilla with streaks of chocolate or just vanilla”.
The mountains in Leh are a unique lot, brown majestic ones dotted with huge boulders till the eyes could see making us wonder at times, “what was the force that was holding them up” they did look like they could roll right down anytime. The very small weedy grass interspersed at far intervals just revealed the strong will of life’s desire for itself. Defying desert and snowy conditions some weeds swayed and danced to the rhythm of cool breezes.
Another marvelous exotic never-seen-before sight that welcomes one on the way to Lamayuru Monastery is called the Moonland. The beautiful sand-dune like high mountains had a unique personality of their own, it was a sight one cannot forget in a hurry. The soft rocks that turned into sand on being crushed in-between the fingers and its yellowish orange hue added to the surreal beauty of the area. Our WOW Buddy Zeba said that these formations reminded her of Cappadocia in Turkey!
Sure, Leh was not lush, the mountains were so very very different from the ones that we are used to in Shimla or Nainital, but was it devoid of beauty? No ways, it had a charm that was so distinctive it is unforgettable, the barrenness striking against the azure skies and stretching far and wide may be “imperfect” to some but beautiful it is. My take is that Beauty should not be trapped in definitions. It is all encompassing, and the saying that “it is in the eyes of the beholder” resonates so much more deeply today than ever.