The most scenic plane ride: Himalayas in photos along New Delhi-Leh flight

Coming to Ladakh was like a dream. While I had anticipated breathtaking sights, I did not expect to be overwhelmed with such beauty.

Since my travel companion and I were arriving at the tail end of winter and the roads were closed, we took a flight from New Delhi to Leh. I asked at the check-in counter that we each have a window seat so that we could fully enjoy the scenery ahead that morning. I was happy I made that decision, and I strongly recommend this for anyone flying for the first time to Ladakh.

I had planned to sleep a bit on the plane as soon as I finished eating the in-flight meal, as I barely got any sleep at the airport – we had arrived late night at the airport directly from Agra.

But, as I was still eating, I did a double take when I saw this outside my window:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

At first, I thought they were clouds, but yes, those are the Himalayas!

How could I sleep now after seeing this? My full attention was now outside.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I zoomed in a bit with my camera to really confirm. Yes, these were no clouds.

Himalayas mountain range close up shot, tail end winter, view from the plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

Slowly, from a faint line in the distance resembling clouds, the mountains began to get closer in view.

Himalayas mountain range medium shot, tail end winter, view from the plane, with aircraft wings, flight to Leh from New Delhi, India.jpg

Yes, they were this close to the plane.

As I saw snowcapped mountain after snowcapped mountain, I began to see shapes and patterns. Many times in the past especially during childhood I would see and imagine shapes and figures in clouds, and now I was seeing them in the Himalayas – the Himalayas! I could not contain my glee. At some point I must have bounced up and down like a child on my seat,  and I did not care. It also helped that I had the row on my side to myself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Peaks like these strongly remind me of waves in the sea, except that these are frozen.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Among the rugged peaks, this gently sloping – almost flat – terrain (bottom of the photo) caught my attention, and I slipped into an impossible daydream of walking on this slope.

With each moment, I found myself more and more arrested by Himalayas’ beauty. Each scenery was just as beautiful – or even more beautiful – than the last.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This is one of my favorite sights – that of the mountains, both close and vanishing into the horizon.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Reminds me of windswept sand dunes. How it looks like a painting!

I found myself being swept away in a euphoric bliss I haven’t felt in several years. At that moment, having witnessed such unbelievable and almost unbearable beauty, I believed I was ready to die, if that also meant I could be a part of such beauty. The first time I felt this was when I first laid eyes on a glistening white sand bar amid blue waters years ago. This flight was the next. It might sound like a morbid thought to the average person (my travel buddy was quite mortified when I shared with him this feeling later on), but I was left with a lingering and profound sense of peace.

Later, those feelings naturally faded and were replaced by the desire to see more of that kind of beauty in my lifetime. And yes, I would be seeing more for the rest of my Ladakh trip.

Himalayas mountain range close up, snowcapped brown mountains, like a painting, winter, view from plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

Eventually, the dark blue-gray of the mountains gave way to browns. Yes, some still look like paintings.

Leh town from above, Himalayas mountain range, snowcapped mountains, winter, view from the plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

After more brown mountains covered in snow came my first glimpse of Leh’s town.

Leh town, river from above, Himalayas mountain range, snowcapped mountains, winter, view from the plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

The pilot circled and went back up and we passengers were treated to this view of Leh with its river.

Leh town landing, Himalayas mountains at close range to plane,, snowcapped, winter, view from plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

At some point, we got so beautifully – even a bit alarmingly close – to the mountains.

 

Leh town from above, river, Himalayas mountain range, snowcapped mountains, winter, view from plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

Getting closer to Leh. There’s the river below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Closer….

Leh main town landing, Himalayas mountain range, snowcapped mountains, winter, view from plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

Even as we were so close to landing, I could still see mountains generously covered in snow.

Leh town landing, almost landed, Himalayas, snowcapped mountains, winter, view from plane, flight to Leh Ladakh, Kashmir, from New Delhi, India.jpg

Almost touchdown…

Touchdown, ladakh, winter, snowcapped mountains, kushok bakula rinpoche airport, leh, india.jpg

Yes, touchdown! And mountains are still white and dreamy all around, which we would see more of during our trip. This was one of the advantages coming to Ladakh on winter, I later learned. During summer, little snow can be found on mountains around Leh town.

after touchdown, ladakh, winter, snowcapped mountains, kushok bakula rinpoche airport, leh, india.jpg

One of the most beautiful airport sceneries I have ever seen

leaving the airport, ladakhi women in traditional attire, ladakh, winter, snowcapped mountains, kushok bakula rinpoche airport, leh, india.jpg

As we left the airport, the Himalayas continues to stand like a dream in the distance. We would be seeing more dreamlike sceneries in the next days.

This flight – the best plane ride I’ve ever had so far – was just the beginning. I would be seeing more beauty that would leave me awestruck in the coming days.

To see what happened next, read Part 2 of my Ladakh adventure: Mountains, markets, and monasteries: Magical one-day tour of Leh town in Ladakh.

Part 3 is: Deeper into snowy and monastery-carved mountains: Day tour of Alchi and Likir Monastery, a walk on snowscapes, and the road to Pangong Lake, Ladakh.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “The most scenic plane ride: Himalayas in photos along New Delhi-Leh flight

  1. grabe, para ngang painting, especially when you got closer sa Leh, dun sa brown parts na ng mountains. I had to look twice if it was real or not. And I’m happy you got to see the Himalayas from the plane. How about climbing it the next time you’re there? Also, medyo morbid nga what you shared to Jherson.. hahah! But I totally get you, especially after seeing such a beautiful perspective. 🙂 Glad you guys are home safe!

    • Matindi-tinding preparation yan para umakyat kasi simpleng lakad lang na medyo inclined ang hirap na dahil sa altitude hahahaha! Pero oo, ang ganda talaga ng Ladakh kaya nagkaron ako ng ganong moment. 🙂

  2. Pingback: Mountains, markets, and monasteries: Magical one-day tour of Leh town in Ladakh | Traveling Light

  3. Reading this makes me want to blindly book RT flights to Ladakh already. 🙂 I’ll be asking you and Jherson for tips ha. Keep the India posts coming!

  4. Pingback: Deeper into snowy and monastery-carved mountains: Day tour of Alchi and Likir Monastery, a walk on snowscapes, and the road to Pangong Lake, Ladakh | Traveling Light

  5. Leh airport doesn’t have an aircraft landing system, so the pilot has to manually glide in for landing. And on Enroute to Leh, you come across a lot of glaciers, at one pint you feel like dropping down and start skiing.
    Thanks for righting this

    • Cool! I didn’t know that the pilot had to manually glide, but I kind of felt that our pilot was quite good.

      • It is the same flight that takes off from new delhi and returns back and all of this has to be done before 2 pm because after this time the weather starts to change. Only if the weather is good to go, flight takes off from New Delhi.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s