With the mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
Travel

[PHOTO ESSAY] Lakes of Ladakh: Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri

A mystical lake, an animated sky.

A love undefined, and I watched time go by.

The way the sun shone on the water,

Making it sparkle like a thousand suns,

How I wish, your love shines on me above.

Just like this lake was once frozen and is now afloat,

Your love might just revive me, my love.

Neha Ramneek Kapoor

One of my favorite memories from the recent Ladakh road trip, is the visit to the breathtaking lakes.

Ladakh, the land of mountain passes. A cold desert surrounded by mountains. When one hears this description, one doesn’t really expect the area to have lakes. Well, Ladakh has quite a few! Tso Kar, Mirpal Tso, Chagar Tso, Kiagar Tso, Kyun Tso, and of course the famous Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. (The word Tso translates to “lake”).

I believe there are a few more, and I hope to spend some time on each of the lakes of Ladakh, but this post is about Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. These are the two lakes where we spent the most time at. We actually camped at both, and that was really fun! Especially Tso Moriri. Our tents were pretty unadorned and modest, and for me that’s the beauty of camping. Also it was really cold!

If you have been following my social media posts you’d have noticed that my recent Ladakh visit was a road trip with Scout My Trip, OYO and some fellow bloggers. After leaving from Delhi and eventually holding #HighestBloggerMeet at Khardung La, we headed to Pangong Tso from Hunder, and on this day the tone of the trip changed for me completely. On this day we crossed Chang La, which is one of the most difficult and hence thrilling mountain passes in the region. Crossing this pass while being in the Thar was quite an experience. The vehicle is perfect for offroading and that’s what this journey was! There are very few roads! In fact one of the SUVs in our caravan decided not to do this route because of the wear and tear the vehicle had already endured, and that was a great call taken by the Scout My Trip team. Throughout the trip they ensured that the safety of the group was paramount. Hats off to Vineet, Deepak and Dada. Unfortunately Vineet and Deepak had to miss Pangong. Hey V and D, hope the pictures make up for it!

The sheer beauty of Pangong Tso is that the lake changes colors as the sun changes its position. Hues of blue, green and aqua appear to dance on the surface of the water.

A view of the mighty mountains, lush green fields and deep blue water, is what Tso Moriri has to offer.

Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri are paradise for anyone into birding. In fact I will soon be sharing more pictures of the birds Karan, a fellow blogger and traveler, spotted. He is so good at it! This post has one picture of the Bar Headed Geese, which is quite a rare sighting.

If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, make sure you visit both these lakes and if possible, more of them. It is quite an experience, and trust me the views are so breathtaking that they cannot be captured in pictures perfectly. You gotta see it to believe it. In the meantime, hope you enjoy these pictures.

xoxo

Neha

PS: Thank you Amit and Deepak for help with this post!

With the mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
With the mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
The mystical Pangong Tso, Ladakh
The mystical Pangong Tso, Ladakh
The magical blues of Pangong Lake
The magical blues of Pangong Lake
The mystical Pangong Tso
Aqua hues at Pangong Tso
Walking along the banks of Pangong Tso
Walking along the banks of Pangong Tso
The mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
The fierce Thar at Pangong Tso #LikeABoss
Cairns of stones, at Pangong Tso
Cairns of stones, at Pangong Tso. Previously used as signs and landmarks in unoccupied lands, locals say that they are also known to bring good luck for travelers.
A rare sighting: Bar Headed Geese at Pangong Ladakh.
A rare sighting: Bar Headed Geese at Pangong Ladakh
The mighty Thar at Pangong Tso
The savage Thar at Pangong Tso
Pangong Tso
A riot of blue at Pangong Tso, Ladakh
Chillin' like a bawse at Pangong
Chillin’ like a bawse at Pangong

 

Our camp at Tso Moriri
Our camp at Tso Moriri. It was so beautifully cold there!
Thar aka Thor chilling at Tso Moriri
Thar aka Thor chilling at Tso Moriri
Breathtaking views at Tso Moriri
Breathtaking views at Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri and the adjoining area is stunning
Tso Moriri and the adjoining area is stunning
A view of the snow capped mountains from Tso Moriri
A view of the snow capped mountains from Tso Moriri
The rugged Thar taking a much deserved halt at Tso Moriri
The rugged Thar taking a much deserved halt at Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri
Tso Moriri

 

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Khardung La
Travel

#HighestBloggerMeet at Khardung La, with OYO and Scout My Trip

A few weeks ago, I received a phone call from the affable Vineet of Scout My Trip, knocking my socks off by telling me that I am going to be a part of the First Ever Blogger Meet being held at Khardung La, and the Highest Blogger Meet in India. At an elevation of 18380 feet above sea level. The highest motorable road in the world. Woot! I could not have asked for more as I had always wanted to visit Ladakh and being a road trip buff, I jumped on this opportunity.

Our journey began on 11 July and lasted 12 days, the details of which cannot be contained in one blog post. Brace yourself for more! These 12 days have been life changing, as I met some wonderful people who are going to be an inseparable part of my life from now on. And moreover, there’s just something about the mountains. You come back transformed, every time.

The highlight of the trip was of course Khardung La, where history was created as we all collectively made not one but two records. Steering through tough terrains, braving the cold, getting over tire punctures, reveling in the beautiful views and laughing through it all, we made it to Khardung La on 16 July. It was as remarkable as we expected. Blankets of snow on the mighty mountains, cold winds and the thrill of being there.

Khardung La, Ladakh
Khardung La, Ladakh

The cherry on top of the snowy cake was the announcement made by OYO about #OYOnauts. It is a huge step forward for the travel community. What us travelers really cherish, are stories. OYOnauts is providing a platform where travelers, photographers, writers and bloggers can share their travel stories and bag all expenses paid trips. Doesn’t that sound amazing? It is! Go check it out.

IMG_1908-3
#HighestBloggerMeet at Khardung La. Pic courtesy OYO.

After touching the highest point of Khardung La top, we gathered at Tsolding Buddha Park, a pristine little area with a small water body. Almost 30 of us sat there for 2 hours, relished our Maggi and had brilliant conversations! I have to say, this bit wasn’t easy. Oxygen was scarce and the weather kept changing from really cold to really sunny. Records don’t come easy!

#HighestBloggerMeet
#HighestBloggerMeet. Pic Courtesy OYO.

While making the records was such a thrill, the best part about the trip was the people. The immensely talented bloggers, and the gifted scouts. It was an honor being a part of this with them. I will need another blog post to talk about the bloggers, but here’s a quick thank you to the scouts. Because this feat of #HighestBloggerMeet would not have been possible without them.

Scout My Trip
L to R: Pratik, Dr. Amit, Dr. Shakeel, Samarth, Neeraj.
#highestbloggermeet
All smiles after making two records. Pic by Raza.

Vineet, Co-Founder, CMO, ScoutMyTrip. And the literal glue of the group! Sab saath me chalenge!

Deepak, Co-Founder, CEO, ScoutMyTrip. Such swag much wow. PS I like the beard.

Neeraj aka Yayawar aka Dada. The encyclopedia of the mountains! 

Samarth. Fellow retro music buff. Fab dancer. Life of the party. Cheers for the good times!

Dr Amit Nikam. Rescue team leader. Friend for life. #hippiecar core team member. More on that later.

Dr Shakeel Khan. Scientist. XUV lover. Faster than F1 racers. We would still be revving our engines when Shakeel bhai would reach the destination.

Pratik aka Nano Seth. Cutest and funniest. Kaafi nakhre and kaafi swag.

I am getting all senti now so will continue in the next blog post. Missing these people and the mountains. Seems like I left a part of me there itself.

Adios.

Khardung La
Happy happy at Khardung La

 

 

Travel

Travel Snapshots – Goa 2016

Oh hi!

Just thought I’ll share some snaps from a recent vacation.

I was in Goa recently for a short vacay with my brother and some friends. Goa is my happy place. I can go there over and over and never get bored. I crave for it more in fact.

This time I went to Vagator, Arambol, Anjuna, Candolim and Calangute. North only, because it wasn’t peak season and we wanted to party and all that jazz. Next time I’m staying in South for sure. Palolem is on my wishlist! Here are some photos from my latest Goa trip.

If you would like some suggestions on where to go, where to party, where to eat, do let me know in the comments below 🙂

sunset at vagator beach goa
Sunset at Vagator

(I am taking my Alexa rank to the next level with Blogchatter)

Travel

Travel News : Stayzilla expands presence in North East, Sikkim and Bengal

I’ve always been fascinated by the North East and especially Sikkim. Probably because I spent part of my childhood in the North East. I’ve been meaning to visit again for a while and now that Stayzilla has expanded operations there I’m more excited.


Given the remoteness and demand for stays in these areas, Stayzilla works closely with various state tourism departments for opening up more homestays across the hilly terrain of the East. The region is known for acres of lush green forests including Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary and the Buxa Tiger Reserve, a 760-square-kilometre tiger reserve. Both places are famous for its scenic beauty and wild animals such as bison, elephants and deer.

Stayzilla has also introduced homestays in Tawang, Bhalukpong and Bomdila, located along the West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh. While homestays in Bhalukpong are supervised by the forest division, the stays in Bomdilla are run by Monpa, Sherdukpen, Miji, Bugun and Aka tribes.

Homestays not only provide the comfort of home to tourists but also help boost the local economy. It provides travellers with a unique opportunity to not only experience the rich cultural heritage, taste the local cuisine of the region but also create a connect with people from different parts of the country. Identifying the undersupply of stay options relative to demand in India, Stayzilla stays are surpassing geographical barriers to welcome diverse cultures experiences across remote places such as Majuli.

With an array of homestay facilities available across Sikkim and Meghalaya, Stayzilla lists homestays that offer tourists an opportunity to live with the locals, discover and share their lifestyle. Stayzilla has been actively involved in promoting eco-tourism and rural home stays in the region.

Along with rural and wildlife tourism, religious destinations spearhead domestic tourism in the country. The Mayapur Tourism Department under ISKCON temple provides accommodation to several devotees and have recently opened up homestays in collaboration with Stayzilla.

Stayzilla is conducting several sensitization workshops across Siliguri, Darjeeling, Kalimpong, Agartala, Imphal, Aizawl, Kohima, Dimapur, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Moosakhia, Samanong and Kaziranga among others to promote Bed & Breakfast (B&B)/homestays.  These workshops facilitate open dialogues with potential hosts, enabling Stayzilla to take a step towards improving the sector.

All in all this is great news for people like me who enjoy homestays. Definitely looking forward to plan a trip soon!
 

 

Events, Travel

Goa Weekend with Renault Lodgy and Blogadda

As you know, I was in Goa last weekend having a ball driving the Renault Lodgy and interacting with wonderful bloggers. Because when Harish from Blogadda calls and invites you to Goa, you don’t say no! I attended an event with them last year in Goa and had such a great time that I obviously jumped onto the bandwagon this time too.

Monsoon, driving, great food, incredible location and wonderful people. What’s not to love? Bring together people who are zealous about blogging and life, and you get a diverse pool of potential consumers to try out your new product.

Bombay bid us a tearful (read rainy) farewell and delayed our flight by an hour or so but we managed to land in Goa in one piece. A warm welcome by Harish, Ankita, Sushma and gang at The Leela and we were off to our warm, beautiful rooms.

We were introduced to the pretty remarkable Renault Lodgy by the able and very talented Renault team in an interactive session hosted by the gorgeous Archana. By now, we were dying to get our hands on the steering wheel and the next morning, we did.

Pic courtesy : Renault
Pic courtesy : Renault
Pic courtesy : Renault

We drove through the stunning roads of South Goa, to The Lalit. Interspersed with good conversation, great music and lots of photo clicking, our drive was one hell of an experience, with my awesome team Deepak ji, Ashwini and Bhumika.

The car is spacious, with ample head and leg space. 7 full-size seats over three rows. The interiors are plush, classy and sporty; has a decent music/entertainment system; has charging points on all seats (yay!); a rear view camera for easy navigation.

In all, I felt the car is perfect for drives outside the city with your family. I would love to take my dog for a drive in the Lodgy. She would love the ample space! However, I am not sure if it is the perfect car to drive around the city traffic. I see it more as a second car for long distance travel.

My awesome team
My awesome team

A sturdy drive, an adrenaline-charged experience, a smooth pick up and gorgeous interiors. That’s all I really need in my kind of car. And as a lifestyle blogger and lover of all things stylish, my eyes first look for style in any product and I think Lodgy has got it. They have managed a balance between sportiness and beauty.

Pic courtesy : Renault
Pic courtesy : Renault

Tired and supremely happy, we partied through the night post the drive. I got an opportunity to sing for my fellow bloggers and I have to say, they were the most amazing audience.

Picture courtesy @ankitdavv. #LiveLodgycal

A post shared by Neha Ramneek Kapoor (@pwneha) on

A beautiful weekend was spent in beautiful Goa and I got to meet so many new wonderful people. A huge thank you to the Renault and Blogadda teams and the blogging community. It was an honour being amongst the top 40 bloggers of the country.

Until next time,

Neha

I was a part of the #LiveLodgycal Drive by BlogAdda.com in association with Renault India.