And I have the t-shirt to prove I was there! Well, the shirt was purchased in Leh cause the souvenir shop at the Khardungla Pass was practically empty. It took us around 3 hours to reach the top from our hotel in Tegar. Heavy traffic, but also there had been some landslides & bulldozers were pushing boulders off the road (& funnily enough down onto the next section of road). I was (un)lucky enough to sit on the side that was closest to the steep drop off – at times I felt like reminding Tupden “THESE ARE SOFT SIDES”, but skilfully managed to not say anything at all, apart from letting out a quiet “holy f&#@” or a louder gasp. Along the road, the soft sides had collapsed here & there as a gentle reminder that they will not support heavy vehicles. And there were around 4-5 vehicles I spotted where the drivers had been unfortunate enough to forget about soft sides & had probably toppled to their deaths far below.
Khardungla Pass does have the highest cafeteria in the world, serving maggi noodles, momos, & lots of nibbly bits & tea, but not chai tea. I was feely very heady & wobbly at this altitude. And then the group wanted to walk up to this gompa & I was having trouble walking in a straight line. Not likely! So everyone else went up & I stayed put – walked around taking a couple of pics. And I ventured to the toilet which was nowhere near as bad as the Changla Pass toilet, but I did have the sensation that a strong wind would blow the portable off the side of the mountain.
Although we were able to beat a convoy of army trucks to the descent of the mountain, what was meant to take a max 4 hours to return to Leh, ended up taking up close to 7 hours.
Pics to come…..can’t do everything with a few hours of electricity & 2 hours of internet access in a week!!