A very interesting and memorable trip starts off on a very boring note. The one thing we have to do after reaching Leh is to acclitimise to the high altitude. Since Leh town is situated at about 11,000 ft above sea level, the air is thin. And since most of us fly there directly from low levels, it's absolute;y necessary to spend day- preferably two like I did- by doing ABSOLUTELY NOTHING.
So my Day #1 went by just watching television and doing practically nothing else. I had forgotten my iPad, Kindle and headphones, so at the Mumbai airport I had to buy a new pair of headphones. That was my companion as well for the better part of the first two days at Leh.
On day#2, I went to Sanchi Stupa, a Buddhist monument perched high up on a hill that gives magnificent views of the Leh valley. That's the place to go if you want good sunset views at Leh. Photographers start lining up their cameras and tripods here, from 5:30 onwards. I found a good spot for my tripod and waited patiently. The magic in the sky starts at about 6:45 when the sun starts to go down slowly; the town becomes darker, skies become grey, snow-capped peaks starts to shine as the sun rays hit them and the sky's colour starts to change. At 7 pm, magic happens. Just about two peaks hidden behind the massive mountain ranges turn bring orange; while other peaks remain darkish brown. A few minutes later, the sky turns on its character. It's beautiful. All this happens in a matter of just few minutes, so you got to be alert. Meanwhile, the monument's lights get turned on and against the blue sky, a lit up Sanchi Stupa- at dusk- looks very photogenic.
The Grand Dragon hotel, Leh is a great hotel. Service is top notch and its location is also nice. Food is good, though I found their vegetarian better than their non vegetarian.