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I went to the Shanti Cafe because of its free Wi-Fi and its great location right above the busy promenade of Old Manali. The one good thing i like about the tourist restaurants in Old Manali this year (2012) is that most of them have started offering free Wi-Fi to attract customers, but the food still remains bad and the Shanti cafe is no different.The cafe has a nice relaxed atmosphere. Its great to sit by the railing and watch the colorful characters walking along the promenade of Old Manali. I ordered a lassi and started working on my computer, checking Facebook and updating Kettik. The owner is from Keylong, a Nepali originally but born and bought up here in India. He spoke good English and we chatted for a while.Everything was nice until i ordered my main course. I was in mood for som
Located on Mission Road, just off the main Mall Road in Manali, this quiet little restaurant does not attract many tourists. But dont let that fool you into thinking that the food here is no good. Its great. In my 3 visits to Manali, i must have eaten at the Mayur restaurant some 5 or 6 times and the food has been great each time. The interiors of the restaurant are bright and clean. And very quiet since it was located in a side street of the main Mall road and attracted very little visitors.I especially liked the Chicken Saagwalla (Chicken cooked with green spinach) and their Biryanis. The prices were also reasonable, about 50% less than that of the Sher-E-Punjabji restaurant located on the Mall road (i found that the restaurants on the Mall road all charge exorbitant prices compared to r
When i visited Maan back in October 2010 there were no signboards advertising homestays or guesthouses. I asked around, and villagers pointed me to a local home (check the map above for the exact location of the house).The host is the wife of the headmaster of the government school in Maan. She spoke good hindi and was friendly and hospitable. They did not have a separate room for vistors and i ended up staying in their common 'glass' room and had my dinner in their kitchen with the family. Overall it was a typical homestay experience in ladakh, warm and friendly.Tourism is relatively new to the Maan village, the villages of Maan and Merak were opened to tourists only in 2010. Few of the enterprising locals are scrambling to cash in. My hosts were also building a couple of rooms to accomod
I visited the TsoKar lake back in October 2010 while cycling the Manali - Leh highway.The Tso Kar lake is located close to the main highway and one can always do a short detour to the lake before continuing on their way to Leh (or to Manali). It is well worth the effort.The approach:To reach the Thukje village one has to take a diversion at Debring (at the base of the climb to the TangLang La pass) and follow the asphalt road for about 15km to reach the village. There are a few dirt tracks available before Debring which lead towards the lake. We (me and 2 other cyclists) followed one of them, only to realize later that they do not lead to the Thukje village but to a campsite near the lake's wetlands.By the time we realized our mistake, we were too far in to turn back, and we could see the
In my opinion, this is hands down the most beautiful of all the high altitude lakes in Ladakh. I visited the Tsomoriri lake back in October 2007 on a rented Enfield motorcycle. The trip turned out to be one huge adventure. I was delayed at Leh due to a slight miscalculation with regard to fuel stops (basically had to drive back to Leh to fill up). The drive was wonderfully stunning that it delayed me even more. As far as mountain roads go.. the stretch between Leh and Tsomoriri has to be one of the best there is, taking you through the entire gamut of mountain landscapes. We start at Leh and ride gently upstream along the Indus river with the Ladakh range to our left and the Zanskar range towards the right. Initially we ride through the heart of Central Ladakh passing through villages rich
I've visited Pangong Lake twice. The first time was back in Oct 2008 when i did a short overnight trip to the Pangong lake on a rented motor bike and the second time was in Oct 2010 when bicycled there from Leh and spent over 5 days staying at the different villages around the Lake.The obvious draw for me is the beauty of the lake and the mountains that surround it. Separately they are stunning in their own right but together the mountains and the lake combine to give a unique visual treat few other places in the world can match. As you travel along the lake, subtle changes in the color of the waters (based on changes in its depth) and/or the layout of mountains keeps the visual experience flowing. Add a splattering of puffy clouds and a slight breeze you can be sure that you'll never bore
This book provides a wonderful introduction for anyone looking to learn more about Ladakh. Its author, Janet Rizvi, lived in Ladakh for a few years during the late 1970's. In a few hundred pages she provides a wealth of information derived from her own experience of the place and from her research on Buddhist literature and from various accounts of early travelers and traders who passed through this region.I found the entire book to be lucid and rather enjoyable to read. I read this book after having been to Ladakh a couple of times and spending over 2 months traveling across the region. The book was last edited in 1996 but i could still see the similarities in the lifestyle of the people as described in the book and what is there today.The book's description of the geography of the region
A few other articles about the Tsomoriri lake that you might be interested in.- Travelogue : The Tsomoriri Trip.. A troubled trip that couldn't have gone any better..- Myth/Folktale : The story of how the Tsomoriri lake got its name.- Myth/Folktale : The story of how the Tsokar lake lost its waters and how the Tso Kiagar lake was born.
A few other articles about the Tsokar lake that you might be interested in.- The story of how the Tsokar lake lost its waters and how the Tso Kiagar lake was born.
The Shey palace is pretty impossible to miss when you are driving on the road out of Leh (towards Manali).For me personally, the best part about visiting Shey is the expanded view of the valley and its villages. From one of the vantage points (a little up the hill above the palace) you can spot the Thiksey, Stakna, Matho and Spituk monasteries. Goes to show how important this vantage point is and it is no wonder that the ancient kings of Ladakh built their capital there.
The Hemis monastery may not look as pretty or spectacular as some of the other monasteries (Thiksey, Chemre, Spituk etc) in Ladakh. But i love it for its simple and practical design which makes it easily accessible by the visitors.For starters one does not have to climb a plethora of steps to enter the monastery. It is easily accessible by foot. The entrance opens up to a vast courtyard where the annual mask dance festival takes place. The monastery's main building is on the right side, facing the courtyard and a beautiful two-tired viewing arcade lines the other three sides of the courtyard. The walls of the arcade facing the main building are adorned with beautiful stone slab paintings.Overall you get an overwhelming sense of openness and space here when compared to any other monastery i
With a plethora of guest houses and hotels in Leh it can sometimes be hard to pick one. I have a feeling that you can walk into any guesthouse and more often than not the place would be warm and welcoming. Atleast thats how i stumbled upon the Kurja garden guest house.I arrived in Leh, mid-October, after cycling the Manali-Leh highway. After the long, hard journey i wanted to indulge myself in a little bit of luxury. Luxury for me would be to have a nice large room to sleep in, preferably with an attached bathroom with running water and hot showers. I also wanted to avoid the commercial looking establishments (like the ones close to the Leh market are) and find a more homely place to stay in. My wanderings led me to the Karzoo pond and there i was greeted with numerous signs advertising v