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Shivali goes to magical Ladakh.

Shivali goes to magical Ladakh.

Shivali Chopra

LLadakh. I'd always wanted to go see this spectacular land. And in July of 2014 I finally did. Sachin Rai of Toehold was leading one of their popular photography tours and I threw my name into the hat. It was to be 10 days traveling through Ladakh, along with fellow photographers and photography enthusiasts, documenting our travels and learning new ways to shoot and see the landscapes through the lens.

Ladakh_Toehold_PhotoTour_2014

The trip didn't begin well. I woke up on the morning of my flight to Ladakh with a high fever. Doesn't matter, I said. Let's go anyway! When we landed in Leh, Ladakh's capital city, my airline sweetly informed me that my suitcase (with all my clothes in it) was somehow still in Delhi! It was another three days before my luggage and I were reunited. Then for the next surprise. I had a prepaid SIM card on my mobile and those don't work in Ladakh and all of Jammu (Now you know!). So it was quite a while before I could call my very worried mother and inform her that I'd reached safely. Any longer and she might have sent the Indian Army out to look for me :)

WWhat happened over the next 10 days made up for all this. I travelled to the Nubra Valley, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri. We slept in tents, enjoyed our packed lunches by the streams, witnessed some glorious sunsets and saw for the first time (for us city dwellers) a night-sky filled with stars. We stayed up in the bone-chilling cold to shoot long exposures of the sky, drove on the highest motorable roads in the world, touched snowflakes and climbed up infinite stairs to take in the view from the very top of a monastery.

It's very easy to be awestruck by Ladakh and its beauty and there is a photograph to be made at every corner. The harder part is to capture the place in a way that makes the viewer feel exactly what you felt when you were there. This is my attempt.



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