Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Despite the challenges, the breathtaking beauty of Ladakh often outweighs the fears’

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Actress Samikssha Batnagar, who recently got to witness the beautiful serenity of Ladakh, gets candid with
The Pioneer, sharing her travel tales for our exclusive weekly column in Trave –
logue.
Tejal Sinha
Ladakh is a paradise not only because of its stunning mountains and environment but also because of its people. Ladakh is attractive not only for its breathtaking scenery but also for its incredible people and culture. The way everyone gets together, as well as the distinctive traditions, add to Ladakh’s fascinating beauty. And renowned television actress Samikssha Batnagar recently got to experience the beauty of serenity.
“Ladakh’s culture is rich with Tibetan Buddhist influences, evident in its monasteries, prayer flags, and stupas,” begins the Baal Veer actress. “The people are known for their warm hospitality, unique festivals like Losar and Hemis, and traditional attire. I really enjoyed the Ladakhi cuisine, with dishes like Thukpa and momos, which reflect the region’s heritage and climate.”
Samikssha observed that the Buddhist culture in Ladakh is deeply rooted in Tibetan Buddhism, with monasteries serving as spiritual centers. The people, she says, follow Buddhist teachings, evident in their daily rituals, festivals, and reverence for the Dalai Lama. “Monastic life plays a significant role, with monks and nuns practicing meditation, chanting, and preserving ancient texts. Art, architecture, and rituals reflect a blend of Tibetan and local Ladakhi traditions, creating a unique cultural landscape,” she says, adding, “I had a great time interacting with Ladakh’s locals; they offer a glimpse into their vibrant culture through shared meals, conversations, and participation in cultural activities like traditional dance or attending festivals. Their warmth and openness created a memorable experience that fostered deeper connections and understanding of their way of life.”
Engaging with Indo-Aryan locals, she says, offers a deeper appreciation for their authenticity and contributes to a richer understanding of Ladakh’s multicultural identity.
Apart from Ladakh, for the Kumkum Bhagya actress, one of the best and most unique places in India is the backwaters of Kerala. “This network of interconnected rivers, lakes, and canals, especially in areas like Alleppey and Kumarakom, offers a serene and picturesque setting unlike anywhere else in the world. Visitors can experience the beauty of the backwaters by cruising on traditional houseboats, known as “kettuvallams,” which glide through the calm waters while providing a glimpse into the traditional lifestyle of the region. The lush greenery, serene waters, and peaceful ambiance make the backwaters of Kerala a truly unforgettable destination.”
Her hotel experience in Ladakh was likely characterised by stunning views of the Himalayas, comfortable accommodations, and warm hospitality. Many hotels in Ladakh she shares offer a blend of traditional Ladakhi architecture with modern amenities, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst the rugged terrain. Additionally, “the staff often goes above and beyond to cater to guests’ needs, providing insights into local attractions and offering delicious Ladakhi cuisine. Overall, my Ladakh hotel experience likely added to the memorable moments of your trip, providing a comfortable retreat after adventurous days exploring the region. I have experienced the low oxygen levels in Ladakh, and it was frightening to a certain point due to the potential risks of altitude sickness. Symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, and headaches were quite alarming, especially if you are unaccustomed to high altitudes. It’s crucial to take precautions, such as acclimatising slowly, staying hydrated, and seeking medical assistance if symptoms worsen. Despite the challenges, the breathtaking beauty of Ladakh often outweighs the fears, making it a memorable and ultimately rewarding adventure.”
She further goes on to share, “For me, travelling to Ladakh was liberating due to its remote and untouched beauty, providing a sense of escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. The wide-open spaces, majestic mountains, and serene atmosphere create an environment where one can disconnect from the stresses of the modern world and reconnect with nature and oneself. Additionally, the region’s rich cultural heritage and welcoming locals contribute to a feeling of freedom and exploration, making the trip to Ladakh a truly transformative experience.”
The primary religion in Ladakh is Tibetan Buddhism, which permeates every aspect of life in the region. Monasteries, adorned with colorful prayer flags and intricate murals, serve as spiritual centers where monks and nuns engage in prayer, meditation, and rituals. Buddhism in Ladakh, she says, is deeply intertwined with the culture, traditions, and daily practices of the people, emphasising principles of compassion, mindfulness, and non-violence. Additionally, there are small Muslim and Hindu communities, contributing to the religious diversity of Ladakh.
“Experiencing Ladakh’s high mountain passes is thrilling. Amidst breathtaking scenery, you’ll conquer some of the world’s highest motorable roads, like Khardung La and Chang La, encountering local nomads and colorful prayer flags along the way,” says the Anthology End actress, signing off the chat, saying, “Travelling with close friends is a fantastic way to strengthen bonds, create unforgettable memories, and add an extra layer of fun and support to the journey.”
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