This is a folk tale about how the Tsokar lake in Ladakh lost most of its water. It also explains the origin of the tiny Tso Kiagar lake on the way to TsoMoriri. The story was told to me by a local from the Thukje village.
One of the things i'am unhappy about myself as a photographer is my reluctance to take more portraits while traveling. There are some good reasons for it. But still, at the end of a trip when i look back at my photos, the ones that bring me the most joy are the ones with people in them. If i had taken a portrait of someone, then more often than not, it means that i had interacted with that person before taking the portrait and they had shared a small portion of their story with me. It is those stories behind the portraits that make them so memorable for me. Here are a few such stories from my trip to Ladakh in 2010.Â
After 5 beautiful sunny days around Pangong Lake, the weather turned for the worse and dropped a ton of snow on the mountains around Chang La. I had to find a way back to Leh. Cycling was impossible now, but i had not planned on cycling back anyway. So i waited at Tangste, hoping to get ride on a jeep or truck going towards Leh.
In between Leh and Pangong Lake lies the mighty Chang La pass.Â At over 5400m high, Chang La is officially the 3'rd highest mountain pass in Ladakh (after Khardung La and Tanglang La). After successfully cycling across the Leh - Manali highway i did not think that crossing Chang La on my bicycle would pose much of a problem. But i was wrong.
Towards the end of my Ladakh trip i had become very proficient in hitchhiking around the place. I no longer hesitated to stick out my hand to flag down any passing vehicle. I knew that people would stop if they could spare the space to take you on board. So i no longer worried about finding transportation to anywhere in Ladakh. That little theory of mine was put to the test when i went to the Nubra valley. And i barely made it through.
Hitchhiking is a popular way of getting around Ladakh. The places are so remote and the public transportation options so minimal that people have no choice but to hitchhike. And for their part the vehicle drivers are always willing to stop and pickup anyone wanting to go in their direction. Sometimes for free and sometimes for a little fee. Growing up, hitchhiking was a common practice. Especially during my college days where getting a lift basically made all the difference between arriving in time for class or arriving late and having to miss the entire morning session. I gave up the practice after leaving college and never once hitchhiked during all my travels. But all that changed when i visited Ladakh last year (2010). I used to take the local buses to visit the villages around Leh and