Travel photographer Susan Blick has discovered "Heaven On Earth" in 'The Land of High Passes' in Northern India. So sit back and let her take you on a travel journey like no other...
Ladakh, you arrive and it’s instant! The fresh mountain air. The warmth from the high altitude sun. The friendliness of the people. And for some, the near-immediate lack of oxygen! Ladakh is as close as you can get to heaven while on Earth.
Ladakh’s capital Leh is one of the world’s highest. You fly into 3,500 metres and on your first day must avoid all exercise (sounds like my kind of destination!) you’re also instructed to drink lots of water to keep hydrated. Most people adjust fairly well after their day of rest and by the following day are able to do some city sightseeing followed by some out of town adventures.
Once you leave the confines of the capital it won’t take you long to come to the conclusion that Ladakh really is a land of big skies and landscapes. Sweeping plateaus hemmed in by 5,000+ metre peaks with Buddhist monasteries perched on mountainsides make it a photographer’s dream.
Travelling out of town usually means traversing high altitude passes and whilst moving between valleys and plateaus you drive over some of the world’s highest motorable roads. Khardong La, the World’s highest public road which is well-maintained and strictly guarded by the Indian Army, takes you to the sand dunes of Nubra Valley. Here the big attraction is the double-humped Bactrian camels a reminder of the Silk Road trading days. These days however they earn a much better living for their owners as every evening at around 5pm hundreds of domestic Indian tourists gather for the obligatory camel ride into the setting sun. With a backdrop of picturesque sand dunes and million year old river cliffs it’s little wonder the place is so popular.
After the stunning dunes of the Nubra Valley you’ll be hungry for more adventure. Safe in the confines of a jeep with your highly experienced driver at the helm you’ll navigate river beds full of huge granite boulders and drive switchbacks that offer jaw-dropping views at every turn. In good time you reach the pristine waters of Pangong Lake, which separates India from the Tibetan Autonomous Region. Half the lake sits in Tibet (China), the other half in India, it acts as a natural border. Pangong Lake at 4,3