The highlight of my trip was a walk by the shore along the Pangong Lake on a full moon night. Some of us were just lucky that we could capture the best of the views of the Lake and it couldn't have been any better. The lake was beautifully lit and just perfect for some long exposure photography.
As we walked by the shore there was silence in the air, except for the constant lapping of water on the shore. Even in the moonlight, the water looked blue.
It was a cold night but we were prepared for it, and it was our moment. We wouldn’t have that moment again. It was as if everything was set for us. Our companion, the English Assistant professor, Bhattacharya summed up his feelings in words, "I would never visit Pangong again. I can never beat this experience. I’ve had the best of Pangong. This will suffice."
It was past midnight when we came back to our homestay. The Indian writer and Slovakian Assistant Professor had bought a new camera just before their trip and were enthusiastic as kids. I taught them some basic skills of long exposure and they were elated to have learned those skills. They were still shooting even after I had gone to bed. They woke up at 4.30 am to catch the early sunrise before going to bed at 6 am again.
For the first time since my arrival in Leh, I saw clouds drifting above mountains. Here in Ladakh clouds are like spices, they add a new dimension to the entire scenery. In a barren landscape with just the brown mountains and the lake a little bit of white cloud in the blue sky makes it a lot more beautiful. It adds depth and injects life into the almost lifeless mountains, which at times looks like the surface of another planet like Mars.
Just before leaving we stopped at the 3 Idiots point; where the climax of the movie was shot. It was still early but tourists have already started arriving. The shore was sandy and looked like a beach. I was surprised by the number of seagulls and ducks swimming in the shallow water. The cries of seagulls were comforting in such a desolate place that does not seem capable of supporting life.
Later we stopped at a dhaba at the beginning of the lake for food. It’s hard to get a complete meal in this part of the world. You learn to eat in bits and pieces at almost every stop when you are there. Pangong was unique in many aspects. It was not just the place but also the company of nice people and a considerate host that made the journey so much more memorable. We couldn’t shrug off a near perfect trip to Pangong so we met briefly for lunch before exploring our ways again. That, I believe is the essence of travel: making memories along the way while making the best out of every moment!