Despite the chill nature of the last entry, that was not to be for the next 4-5 hours. We climbed some rocks, we almost fell over, and we conquered the palace ridge.
What made it harder was that the last 2 days we’ve been dealing with a few symptoms of the runs (welcome to India!) and altitude sickness (dizziness, headaches, dry cough, dehydration, breathlessness). So we’ve been handling it with 500mg of Cipro every 12 hours for the runs, and lots of water and high carb meals for the altitude sickness.
2 days later, we’re feeling much better.
We begin at the bottom:
We then climb our way up, huffing and puffing (from the high altitude, foo’) until we reach a halfway “cafe”
After a bit more climbing, we reach the humble entrance of the Leh Palace, where we pay a not so humble fee of 100 rupees to get inside.
All in all, the interior of Leh Palace is a big waste of money. There’s really nothing to see but empty dusty rooms, construction, and holes in floors. Although there’s a single prayer room (the 2 pictures above) that’s somewhat interesting, it still wasn’t worth it. If anything, the palace sports great views over Leh, but you can get those views for free outside the palace.
After ditching the palace, we headed up higher for the Tsemo (Victory) Fort:
It’s a pretty tiring hike up zigzagging trails that are pretty annoyingly (and deceptively) steep, but nothing you can’t do in less than 20 minutes.
We then decided to take a little risk and climb around the victory fort via old school rock climbing, but this time navigating around an endless myriad of prayer flags flapping away in the wind. The views around the fort were quite exquisite:
Afterwards we headed back down for dinner, where from below we admired our handiwork. Looking up at the Palace and the Tsemo Victory Fort, we couldn’t help but ask ourselves: “Were we really up there a few hours ago?” Indeed, yes we were!
And of course, no rooftop dinner would be complete without the sunset.
Tomorrow: we take a morning flight to Jammu. There we catch a 2.5 hr bus to Pathankot to transfer onto a 2.5 hr bus to Dharamsala, the current residence of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Given that it was his birthday today, we’re curious if we can make it in time to at least see leftover streamers and plastic cups from last night’s INSANE party (kidding, of course).
See you down South! and Goodbye Kashmir!