Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Ancient kingdom of Zangla

Today was going to be a short and easy day. The trail was well marked and our destination was the village of Zangla. We needed to got down from the village to the road head. There was an old bridge on top the Zanskar river which had to be crossed.

We hit the trail just after crossing the bridge. There was one jeep going from Pidmo to Padum and our porters got a lift and carried the entire luggage in the jeep.

At least today while walking no great concentration was required. At least thats what I thought, but later saw Mohan struggle with slips on very hard and slippery ice on the road and realized how wrong I was. We reached Zangla in about 3 hours. There were around fifty odd houses scattered around and we didn't know which one we were planning to stay in. After a while we found our porters near a house and we got into there.

The whole village was surrounded by snow caped mountains. I was not sure what the villagers might be doing here in winters as the whole village was in a blanket of white. Mohan had been here in the summers and said that the village looked very different with lot of green around in summer.

There were couple of small villages like Pishu and Karsha close to Zangla and Padum was a further thirty odd kilometers away. As we went inside the house, it appeared like a typical Tibbetan house. The things were arranged very systematically and was very clean. Everybody was very relaxed because next day was going to be rest day. In the evening Satya went up for a walk near the old Zangla fort.

Rest day at Zangla

It was rest and laziness for all of us today. We woke up little late at 8. Nobody wanted to have porridge for the breakfast and Sandeep kept on repeating delicious street food Pau Bhaji, Bhel Puri, Masala Dosa which of course we couldn't get there.
Aound 11 AM we hiked upto the Zangla fort and some of team members decided to rest and they stayed back. The old king of Zangla still has an house at Zangla. The king himself stays at Leh. The fort was in bad condition. There were lot Chortans around, Chortans are where either very respected Llamas are buried or big sword or pistols and such weapons are buried.

The view from the Fort was amazing as we could see the whole of Zangla carpeted in a blanket of snow. The route to Leh over the Char Char la and Yumlang goes through the mountains nearby. We spent quite some time on the fort there and decided to explore the place a bit more. There was a water duct going behind the mountains so we followed it for sometime into the mountains. We then decided to return back for lunch. We were to learn later that a Hungarian team has taken up some restoration work for the fort at Zangla. A Hungarian traveler had stayed in Zangla and created one of the first Tibetan-English dictionary in the early part of the 19th century. More here

Later in the afternoon we decided to freshen up a bit. The last time we had had a bath was in Bangalore, and by this time we were possibly very smelly. Not that any of us had a problem with it, but some folks decided to wash up their hair. The water used to freeze immediately after a while. People with spiky hairdos were a funny site to behold. The evening was spent listening to some old movie songs on Subbu's MP3 player till it ran out of battery. Finally after dinner while everybody was trying to sleep, Mohan was talking with Raghu till late until Satya got up and gave both of them such a weird angry look that they decided to get some sleep and let others sleep.

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