My trip to Ladakh, I must say, did not have a very good start. What with a sleepless night in the train, an early morning flight to Delhi that left me queasy, and a 12 hour bus journey to Manali that very night, that brought out all that I had eaten that day into a paper bag. No, it was not a very auspicious start.
We had to spend one day in Manali before leaving to Ladakh, for acclimatization, and so, we had the whole day in front of us for local sightseeing. We first went to see the famous hot springs, and were bitterly disappointed when we found that it was just an artificially collected pool of warm water, reeking with sweaty bodies. But the walk up and down proved to be quite entertaining. We met an old lady who had a rabbit with her that she lent for photographs; we had a nice time window shopping, looking at all the souvenirs on display, and of course, looking at the variety of people around us.
Next, we went to Solang valley, which turned out to be just another over-crowded disappointment. And then, I saw the boards offering paragliding services. After a long talk, I persuaded my dad to let me try it out, and finally, my mom, dad and I, all decided to jump the cliff!! After a long ride up the winch, and a rather tedious walk (or slide) down a very steep sandy path, we reached the launching spot. Geared up, I was tied to a professional who was to control the parachute while I enjoyed the view. As the wind blew our way, we ran towards the edge of the cliff before the wind hoisted us high up into the air. And what a sight it was!
Snow-capped mountains all around us, fir trees hugging the slopes of the valley, and the mighty Baga River flowing right below us- that is a sight that I will take to my grave. My dad however, was not lucky enough to jump, as the wind turned the wrong way, and it was time for my college registration.
Still exhilarated and giddy with the flight, I somehow managed to register for my courses. I went back to the hotel, licking my vanilla softy, finally feeling that the trip had taken a turn for the good.