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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Jammu And Kashmir, India

Jul 3, 2009 - Fanjila to Hanupatta

Leave Fanjila 07.30 Arrive Hanupatta 10.30 Song in my head - Hung my Head by Johnny Cash Rupees spent 120 Get up and needing to do the necessary, pop to the loo. Most toilets are closed rooms, but this one has lost it's walls and instead has some low plastic tarp, and additionally is on a small hill with no privacy i.e. everyone walking down the road can see what you're doing. The only way to avoid this is to adopt a Haka-like pose, and whilst doing this I look down the rectangular hole, which is not something you can often do as it's...

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Travels of a Kinnie

Jul 2, 2009 - Buddhist Festival at the Hemis Monastery

Today we attended the first day of the festival at the monastery at Hemis. The festival, which consists of dance dramas set to music of masked Buddhist characters depicting scenes from Buddhist lore, is considered to be Ladakh’s premier summer festival. This morning we arrived at the monastery shortly before 7 a.m. in order that we could secure a prime viewing spot. Unfortunately, the weather this morning was unlike any I had previously experienced in Ladakh. While we had experienced cold weather at some of the higher altitudes of the...

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Break From the Law

Jul 2, 2009 - Leh to Franjila

Go to the bus station through the (for once) traffic free streets of central Leh, past cows, dogs and old women going through rubbish tips, past workmen shovelling in pairs (one holding the shaft, the other a cord attached to the base of the head). On getting to the station, find out that there is a bus straight to Franjila, which would save me a days walk on a road from the gompa at Lamayuru. I hesitate, as Lamayuru is regarded as one of the most significant and spectacular sights in Ladakh, but decide I'll see enough on the trek anyway so...

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Travels of a Kinnie

Jul 1, 2009 - Homestay with Ladakhi Family in Hemis

Although we had just finished our trek here the day before, we returned to Hemis here from Leh in the afternoon for the festival at the monastery set to begin here the next day. As Hemis is a small village without much in the way of standard lodgings for tourists, tourists coming to Hemis stay either in tented camps set up for the festival or with Ladakhi families who rent out rooms in their homes to tourists. We stayed at the home of a local painter. The home is well built in traditional Ladakhi style out of mud, straw, wood and stone....

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Break From the Law

Jun 30, 2009 - Trekking the Markha Valley - Day 7 - Shang Sumdo to Hemis

Today marked the final day of our trek. From a walking perspective, it also proved to be by far the least enjoyable of all of the days. For most of our short 3 hour walk today, we merely walked alongside a paved road to Hemis. This made for a very anti-climatic finale today when compared to the previous 6 days of the trek. While it would have been a nice walk on a trail, as the route took us through a winding canyon alongside a river for much of the journey, the paving of the road - while undoubtedly beneficial for the villagers of Shang...

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Break From the Law

Jun 30, 2009 - A lazy few weeks in Leh

Went to the polo ground to watch a match there put on as part of the Leh Festival, a secular event done by the tourist board. Never been to one before and doubt I'll go to the likes of this one ever again; this was a little different to the genteel events I imagine you get in England. For a start, I'm fairly sure Prince Charles never had to dodge cows and dogs that wander onto the pitch, not to mention work his way round a chorten (Buddhist monument) that sits on the edge of the field like the lime tree at Kent Cricket Ground used to. The...

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Travels of a Kinnie

Jun 29, 2009 - Trekking the Markha Valley - Day 6 - Nimaling to Shang Sumdo

Last night we spent a freezing cold night camping in the valley at Nimaling (4,720 meters; 15,490 feet). The frigid overnight temperatures - likely exacerbated by my body's reaction to the high elevation at which we were camping - caused me to wake me up repeatedly. Eventually I put on long johns, rain pants, an extra fleece, my waterproof jacket and three pairs of socks. While this helped to alleviate the effect of the chilly night air, this did little to help me sleep soundly again before we had to get up this morning. Shortly after 8...

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Break From the Law

Jun 28, 2009 - Trekking the Markha Valley - Day 5 - Tahungste to Nimaling & Side Excursion from Nimaling to Kang Yaze Base Camp

It is about 4:45 p.m., and I am sitting in the sun on my camping mat outside of our tent. We are camping tonight here in the valley of Nimaling (4720 meters; 15,490 feet), a gorgeous flat-bottomed valley. Views from here are spectacular. Today’s trekking consisted of 2 parts: the trek from Takungste to Nimaling this morning and the excursion we undertook this afternoon from here to Kang Yaze base camp, the base camp of a nearby high peak visible from our campsite popular with mountaineers during the high season. This morning’s trek to...

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Break From the Law

Jun 27, 2009 - Trekking the Markha Valley - Day 4 - Markha to Tahungste

It is shortly before 2 o'clock in the afternoon. I’m sitting on a rock next to a stream with icy cold water. We finished lunch a short while ago here in the Tahungste Valley, where we are camping tonight. We hiked about 4½ hours today to get from our campsite on the outskirts of Markha to our current campsite here in the windswept valley of Tahungste (4150 meters; 13,620 feet). Today’s trail took us through beautiful valleys lined by high cliffs, scenic Ladakhi villages and past centuries old Buddhist chortens, mani and monasteries. We...

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Break From the Law

Jun 26, 2009 - Trekking the Markha Valley - Day 3 - Skiu to Markha

This evening I am writing this entry again with the sounds of the rushing water of the Markha River as a backdrop. Today, however, we are at a campground on the edge of town just beyond the monastery in the village of Markha. Unfortunately, tonight it is not as tranquil as I might like, as a number of bell-wearing pack horses and mules are grazing within earshot, and the jingle-jangling of their bells continuously seems to pierce the night air. The pack horses and mules belong to the approximately 300 person procession of Buddhist monks and...

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Break From the Law

Jun 26, 2009 - High Court of Jammu & Kashmir, Jammu Division

Route: Jodhpur-Nagaur-Bikaner-Sri Ganganagar-Fazilka-Ferozpur-Amritsar-Wagah Border-Batala-Gurdaspur-Pathankot-Kathua-Jammu Distance covered:1073 Kms. Place of Stay on 25.06.2009 (after midnight of 24.06.2009): Pagoda resorts, Padampur Road, SriGanganagar Place of Stay on 25.06.2009: Amar Singh Club, Jammu Driving through the sand dunes was my first experience. But Ankur and Amol have had this experience before. As obvious, while I was over excited, they were constantly trying to calm me down by saying that these dunes were nothing compared...

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Jun 25, 2009 - Trekking the Markha Valley - Day 2 - Ganda La Base Camp to Skiu

Dusk is quickly approaching as I write this entry from our campsite alongside the Markha River. We are in a lush valley at the bottom of a desert-like canyon, seemingly an oasis in the desert. If one saw a picture of our campsite he or she could easily presume, judging from the terrain, that the photo hailed from the American West rather than the edge of the Tibetan Plateau in a remote region of faraway India. A cool breeze is blowing, the sun is still shining - albeit its strength is quickly fading - and the temperature remains comfortably...

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Break From the Law

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